It’s a cold, rainy day in Seattle and the cup of coffee in my pumpkin Thanksgiving-inspired mug (which miraculously has survived for 10 years now going) is faithfully warming my hands as I sit down to type this week’s blog. I open itunes and put on a playlist that helps me write, and as I start to thumb through Jon and Sara’s gallery I’m instantly transported back to one of my favorite spots on earth. The western coast of Ireland is truly unlike any other place in the world: it literally feels like you’re on the edge of the world, standing atop the Atlantic as the waves crash below you and the sky opens above you. As the November chill firmly takes hold, I borrow my 5 year old’s Paw Patrol blanket and feel my heart beginning to warm; not by the coffee or the blanket, but by the clear and convincing truth of two people absolutely and madly in love.
Jon and Sara met back in 2013. Normally homebodies, Fate decided to bring them together one night via pub crawl in their hometown of Tampa. It was love at first sight, and the two started dating and moved in together soon after. They took a whirlwind trip to Europe three years later, exploring Scotland, England, Ireland and France. Jon surprised Sara by planning to propose to her on the end of the trip in front of the Eiffel Tower. A photographer was on hand to document the romantic proposal, and Sara said yes! One of their favorite parts of this trip was the Cliffs of Moher while visiting Ireland. While doing some research on our Waterlily Weddings BLOG and seeing some of the spectacular weddings we’ve had the pleasure to plan in this magical part of Ireland, their dream of getting married on the majestic cliffs became more and more the obvious choice. They contacted us and we began planning the details for their mid-June wedding!
They’re day was cold and dark, much like today’s. The coastal mist creeps up the cliffs’ side to envelope the green hills about, creating a rich, deep dark emerald to match the darkening sapphire blue of the water below. Purple and yellow wildflowers pop out of the grass defiantly, determined to announce that this is in fact a spring day. As I click through the pictures I feel a smile creep up on my face: Sara literally warms every picture with her glorious head of fire red curls and a megawatt smile that lights up every time her eyes meet Jon’s, and Jon can hardly contain his clear love and admiration for his bride. Their intimate wedding will take you on a journey through one of the most beautiful parts of ancient Ireland: through the ruins of a monastery, the expansive textures of the wild Burren, the soaring Cliffs that seem even more mystical and magical as the mist creeps up from the ocean afar, and finally seeking refuge in a cozy pub in Doolin.
Pull up a blanket and get cozy in front of the fireplace and poor yourself a dram as you look through the moody spring intimate wedding of Sara and Jon at Haggs Head and the Cliffs of Moor, beautifully captured once again by the uber talented Sean & Kate. This, is their story…
“I could stay awake just to hear you breathing
Watch you smile while you are sleeping
While you’re far away dreaming…
The day started off quite cloudy, and rain was certainly in the forecast. Determined to host their ceremony at the Cliffs, Jon and Sara braved the cold spring wind and traversed up the path to that incredible view of the Atlantic. They spent the morning getting ready, relaxed and excited their day finally arrived. The nerves started to kick in a little bit for Sara when Kate and Sean arrived to take pictures, but she was excited to get to the abbey ruins to see Jon. Jon, meanwhile, woke super anxious and excited that this day finally arrived! He spent the morning hours excited and a bit nervous, spending time with his best man and had a couple of shots to calm those nerves.
Jon and Sara chose to do a first look and so chose a monastery ruin near the Cliffs. Jon was dapper in a smart tweed suit, perfectly accessorized in just the right amount of purple accent on the plaid pattern and rich royal purple tie, took his place at the ruins, quietly and nervously waiting that tap on the shoulder. Sara walked through the soft damp grass towards him, clutching her bouquet that combined both of their favorite colors — purple and green — and was a welcomed pop of brightness on this cloudy day. Sara’s Maggie Sottero lace dress hugged her curves perfectly as she walked through the ruins, but the crowning glory of her look was a full cascade of cinnamon red hair, loosely braided in a crown braid adorned with purple wildflowers picked that morning. She touched him and he turned around to find his beautiful princess. They hugged and smiled and could not believe they were actually there — in Ireland — about to get married!
Their spiritual ceremony took place at Haggs Head right on the cliffs and was full of Irish traditions including the blessing of the elements and hand-fasting. Although a little chilly, the view and atmosphere there was so enthralling and added to the excitement when reading their vows to one another in front of their closest friends and family. Chilled but blissfully happy, they were pronounced husband and wife and Jon excitedly kissed his bride!
They explored the area a bit after and then enjoyed a reception with their friends and family at the Roadford where everyone enjoyed traditional Irish food to celebrate. They wanted a very relaxed and effortless day where their friends and family could feel comfortable. They let everyone choose what they wanted to eat and drink, and everyone toasted with Guinness and Smithwick’s in true Irish style! For dessert, a red velvet and vanilla wedding cake was served with a few whimsical cake pops. A live band came to play some traditional Irish music but the star of the show was Sara herself — a lifelong Irish dancer and now instructor, she delighted the guests and her new husband dancing a jig with her father to really kick off the celebrations!
Looking back on it, Sara and Jon really loved that they did the First Look. It was a chance for them to really enjoy that one, special moment with each other without having the spotlight on them with other guests watching. The build up that morning and then walking to the ruins really added to that excitement and made for some really emotional, stunning pictures where you can clearly see the love these two have for each other. As wedding planners we cannot recommend this enough to couples.
Sara and Jon’s wedding day was full of emotion. You can see how clearly in love these two are with each other, and how they really embraced Ireland and the spirit of the island, connecting with it on an emotional level. Their day was about them and we are so impressed with how they didn’t let a little bit of weather intimate them; rather, they used it to their advantage to create some really spectacular pictures. We love how they embraced that spirit of Ireland and really made it their own.
… I could spend my life in this sweet surrender
I could stay lost in this moment forever
Every moment spent with you is a moment I treasure…”
Jon and Sara, we wish you both a lifetime full of absolute happiness and continued adventures. We cannot wait to see where Life takes you both and how your love will for sure continue to grow. We know you will be back in Ireland one day soon as clearly it is a part of you, and you have become a part of Ireland.
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Location: Cliffs of Moher · Photography: Sean & Kate · Reception & Accommodation: Roadford · Dress: Maggie Sottero ( CC’s Bridal Boutique, Tampa, FL) · Shoes: purple wellies · Jewelry: claddagh ring · Groom’s Suit: Tweed Addict, Savile Row, London (England) · Groom Accessories: pocket watch gift from Sarah
Something Old: baptism cap turned into a handkerchief wrapped around bottom of bride’s bouquet
Something New: bracelet and earrings from Jon’s mom
Something Borrowed: socks
Something Blue: Captain America garter
Your Favorite Part of the Day: “The FIRST LOOK. It is really something I would recommend for all couples. And reading our vows to each other during the ceremony. Going out with everyone to the local pub after was also a blast!”
Bride’s Piece of Advice: “Do what you like and do what you want and don’t worry about everyone else. Do it for you and not for everyone else.”