Destination weddings in Ireland and DC/MD USA. Your Irish wedding planner – styling and coordination to die for weddings since 2006. Based in Dublin and Maryland.

Hayley & Spencer: Picture Perfect Elopement at Newtown Castle

Normally we start our real wedding features with a bit of an introduction and background of our featured couple. When I got Hayley and Spencer’s gallery, however, I was simply blown away. The photos — exquisitely captured once again by Awake and Dreaming Photography— tell their story in such a unique and powerful way, that as an editor I need to step back and simply let take a hold of your heart as it’s taken a hold of mine.

A glorious sunny day in one of our favorite venues — Newton Castle — two young hearts so much in love, this post makes me want to grab my husband and jump on a plane to Ireland to renew our vows. Waterlily Weddings is so honored and proud to present to you this incredibly romantic, inspiring elopement of Hayley and Spencer. This, is their story…



Hayley and Spencer met back in college. They worked together and although sparks had flown at first, the timing wasn’t quite right. Some months later and after an incredible internship that drew the two away from each other, Fate would reunite them one fateful evening as they (quite literally) ran into each other on Hayley’s way to the bathroom. Sparks rekindled and they started dating, eventually moving in together and Spencer popped the question to which Hayley excitedly said yes.  Traveling and an adventurous spirit are two things Hayley and Spencer have in common. They were discussing where to take their next adventure and Spencer suggested Ireland. The initial talks of wedding plans drew them closer to Ireland as well, and eloping to a dream destination adventure in Ireland was the absolutely perfect fit.

The original plan was to get married on the Cliffs of Moher.  That sense of expansive adventure and sitting on the edge of the world truly echoed the sentiments in their relationship, so it was a perfect fit. But the seven days leading up to their wedding day were horrendously rainy and gusty — in fact, the night before their wedding was one of the worst wind storms the island experienced this year! — so a ceremony atop the cliffs was not going to happen. Instead they had a meaningful ceremony at nearby Newotwn Castle near the Cliffs. Under the cover of the tower’s embrace, they gathered with their celebrant Dara for a nondenominational ceremony that rather focused on spirituality rather than religion, that also incorporated a few Irish traditions like the handfasting. They celebrated with a cake right after before exploring a bit more of the area together with their photographers Laurie and Dave, and then celebrated in true Irish fashion that night at Gus O’Connor’s Pub in Doolin. Mixing it up with the locals in a fun night of songs and dance, cheering with Irish ale and snacking on the local fresh foods was the perfect way to celebrate. They were even serenaded by the local singers with a song — that just so happens to be Hayley’s favorite from childhood unbeknownst to them, a “very cool coincidence” as Hayley says. A month after their elopement they celebrated with family and friends at home.

What we love the most about this elopement is how organic and effortless it was. Hayley and Spencer really wanted a genuine vibe that was true to themselves, and the entire day really reflects that. She chose her dress for its vintage vibe, and they both chose to wear Dr. Martens to bring a little bit of themselves to Ireland on their wedding day. Spencer’s custom made herringbone suit was made to match, and a special touch — the date of their wedding embroidered in the inside of the jacket — is something we’re so in love with! We’re equally in love with the cake they decided to have immediately after their ceremony! The three-tier raspberry and lemon naked cake was decorated with fresh fruits and colorful wildflowers and was literally the perfect standout against the neutral background inside of the tower. Absolutely well done!

We’re so in love with Hayley’s bohemian-inspired look. The lace detail on the dress, the hair and makeup is perfect, the flower bouquet is rustic but still elegant and perfectly set against the kirkyard ruins for their first look shots. We’re so in love with her moonstone engagement ring — we love when a bride really embraces her own style and uses that to anchor her wedding day!

Again, I need not write a lot for this post. The incredible pictures really tell the story of their day better than I could. All I can say is Hayley and Spencer: you’ve inspired so many people with your love, with your devotion to one another, and with your gorgeous adventurous elopement in Ireland, including us at Waterlily Weddings. We wish you a lifetime of more adventures, more glorious sunny days after the stormy ones, and a lifetime of happiness. We hope to see you again one day on the Emerald Isle! Slainte!


Venue: Newtown Castle  ·  Celebrant: Dara Molloy   ·  Photography:  Awake and Dreaming Photography   ·  Planning & Coordination: Waterlily Weddings   ·  Flowers: The Flower Den   ·  Cake: Marie’s Munchies   ·  Dress: Tadashi Shoji (BHLDN)   ·  Shoes: Dr. Martens 1460 cherry red smooth   ·  Jewelry:  handmade from Etsy   ·  Suit: Enzo Custom (Washington D.C.)   ·  Special Details:  small heart-shaped box to carry wedding bands from groom’s mother   ·  Something Old: trusty wool socks that have partnered on may hikes and adventures with Hayley   ·  Something New: Dr. Martens   ·  Something Borrowed: heart that carried the wedding bands   ·  Something Blue: moonstone engagement ring

A Piece of Advice: “There’s so much pressure in general to make your wedding absolutely perfect. But everyone says it — and it’s true — that not everything will go according to plan. Do your best to be laid-back, flexible, and open minded so that when something does go awry and you need your Plan B, it’s not ruining your day. Focus on the fact you’re promising your soul to the love of your life; that’s the best part and the only part that matters.” — Hayley

“Stand fast and strong beside each other, take each day with grace and recognize that you are in this together for the long haul. By having fun with it and not getting worked up over the minutiae, you will appreciate each step more.” — Spencer

A Really Good Piece of Advice: “Eloping is becoming a more common choice, but it still raises some eyebrows. Especially when it’s done as intimately as Spencer and I did it. We chose this course primarily because of difficult circumstances with my family. We told our friends and family ahead of time what we were planning, and they were all so supportive and understanding; and we still had the opportunity to celebrate with them and show them how much we appreciate their presence in our lives. I’ve had a lot of people, after hearing our story, say that they wish they could have done or could do something similar. If you feel like an intimate elopement is the right choice for you, but you’re afraid of breaking tradition or disappointing anyone, don’t be! Those who love you will always be more supportive than you can ever imagine; and it’s so important that you do what’s best for yourselves for this occasion.”

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