Far and away the biggest wedding Waterlily Weddings had the pleasure of planning and producing in 2017 was Katie and Dan’s incredible dream destination wedding in Ireland. And when we say “dream” we literally mean it was a “dream come true;” expertly navigating through some of eastern Ireland’s most iconic venues and areas, Katie and Dan carefully orchestrated a wedding celebration spanning four days with each new sight and experience crescendoing to their wedding day. We love how they not only embraced everything Ireland had to offer, but they took the elements that spoke to them and made it their own, creating a completely bespoke wedding event that reflected themselves and told their own unique story.
The entire event started off perfectly, with gorgeous custom-created invitations detailing not only the wedding day details, but the events guests could expect to enjoy throughout the four-day celebrations. “The invitations were by far what I focused on the most leading up to the wedding. It was our first introduction to our wedding that we had for our guests, and it needed to be spectacular – giving folks a full sense of what these four days were going to entail,” says Katie. “I wanted our designer to create a wedding invitation package that, when people saw it, they couldn’t say no to.”
This wedding is so well done and packed with so many gorgeous and inspiring details, we decided to break it up into two parts: Part 1 focuses on the ceremony. And we’re SO excited to finally be able to share with you some of the amazing details captured beautifully by the uber-talented Bruno Rosa.
How They Met
Katie and Dan met at a party Katie was co-hosting for her birthday back in 2010. Dan jokes he was the best birthday gift she’d ever gotten (we will agree!) Five years later — in the middle of opening a new office for the business, buying a new house, and getting an adorable labradoodle puppy named Ellie — Dan and Katie went up to Toronto for a U2 concert. They both love music and hadn’t seen U2 yet together, so they were both very excited. Little did Katie know, Dan was in plans to propose…and this epic wedding had an equally epic engagement to live up to. Dan knew a guy who “knew a guy” who knew lead singer Bono, and asked if Bono would be able to help him out at the concert propose to Katie. At one point during the concert, Bono turned to the audience and said, “Somebody met somebody outside called Dan, and he wants to ask a girl called Katie to marry him here. So, I don’t know where you are but now’s the time to do it. This is definitively a weddings, funerals, bar mitzvahs moment. We’ve had enough of funerals, but we’re up for the bar mitzvah and we’re certainly up for the wedding.” Dan then turned to Katie and said “Did you hear what he said?” She didn’t actually…just heard some generic “Dan” and “wedding” and didn’t put two and two together. Dan asks again (this time more frantically): “Did you hear what he said?!” As it began to finally sink in, Katie began to realize slowly that she was the Katie and he was the Dan and he took something out of his pocket, got down on one knee, and asked Katie to marry him. Stunning into silence a second time, Dan prompted “Are you going to say yes?!” as the raucaus of the concert continued around them. Katie snapped back into it, screamed “YES!”, they hugged and kisses and everyone around them cheered and congratulated them. And thank goodness for technology because this amazing proposal was captured on video and now immortalized on YouTube!
Why Choose Just One?
With a wedding now to be planned, Katie and Dan wanted something equally impressive to match this proposal. They decided on hosting a destination wedding with their closest family and friends and Ireland quickly rose to the top of the list. Katie had visited Ireland a few times as a friend of hers lives in Kildare, and she knew it’d be a perfect place to host their wedding: most of their guests would be traveling to Europe for the first time and Ireland is a really easy first country to visit oversees. The language is English, it’s easy to navigate around, airports are easy, and the Irish people are the friendliest on the planet. Hosting it in Ireland was the perfect way to tie in the U2 connection as well.
Now it was a question of where in Ireland to host?! They knew they wanted to be on the eastern size of the island, but had trouble decided on the venues — there were so many perfect options, each beautiful with its own value brought to the table. After some talking Katie and Dan decided “why choose one?” and figured out a brilliant way to incorporate them all into a four-day long celebration exploring and enjoying Ireland. They began at Powerscourt House in Wicklow — a spectacular venue with incomparable grounds located in Wicklow, known as “the garden of Ireland.” The ceremony would then move to the Kilruddery House and Gardens for an open and bright bespoke ceremony. Then the festivities would move to the famous Luttrellstown Castle for an incredible dinner and celebration ending in a fireworks show!
It Began On A Bright Sunny Day…
… in July at Powerscourt House. Two days into their Irish adventure, Katie and Dan were in the middle of a whirlwind trip exploring eastern Ireland. Dublin, pubs, sight-seeing, lots of music and laughs permeated throughout the last two days. Katie woke in her gorgeous suite at Powerscourt with view overlooking the incredible garden outside in full summer splendor, a little tired but excited to get the day started. Hair and makeup arrived and Katie enjoyed a couple of coffees as the guests leisurely went about the morning getting ready and enjoying the last moments on the grounds of the grand estate. She slipped into her custom-made Ali Eagen gown (Ali Eagen is the owner and head designer of Made by Anatomy), beautifully embellished to match the formal notes of the day but still comfortable enough to dance the night away! She glowed as she made her way down and arrived at Kilruddery House and Gardens.
Katie and Dan opted for a simple ceremony presided “non-traditionally” over by their friend and chiropractor, Patrick. An ordained minister (via internet!), he enthusiastically kept the pace of the ceremony as the guests glowed in the soft light of the orangery. Katie and Dan aren’t particularly religious or traditional, so they chose to keep many of the elements (Irish and American) out of their ceremony, instead focusing it exclusively on what made sense and had meaning for them. To tie in the U2 element, Katie made her entrance to “All I Want Is You,” gorgeously interpreted by violin and cello. Again, that mix of modern with a traditional twist would be a theme we’d see throughout their wedding day.
The overall theme for Katie and Dan’s wedding day was to simply “blow everyone’s heads off.” They wanted to thank their guests for making the trip out by making sure every detail was attended to, that every thing they saw and tasted and heard and experienced was something memorable and special and worth the trip. We love how they structured the day of their wedding in particular. The morning began relaxed and comfortable. Guests were greeted with the incredible views and comfort Powerscourt House has to offer, instantly setting the right tone and mood for the day. Transportation was coordinated for everyone throughout the day, making it very easy for everyone to get from location to location on time and without hassle. Kilruddery is a beautiful venue with spectacular grounds — their ceremony was simple and heartfelt, true to them — and still worked in details to match the formality of the day. We love how they played with the formal vs casual throughout their wedding day, like string instruments playing pop songs for example. It’s the perfect way to express themselves but still be venue-appropriate. We love the unique details that really stood out: her gorgeous Alexis Bittar emerald green earrings are a modern take and “something Irish” to add to the day that perfectly complimented Katie’s look and bouquet; we love the “I have found what I’m looking for” quote from U2 Dan had embroidered under his collar; even their beloved dog Ellie makes an important appearance on the invitations! These little personal touches worked seamlessly throughout their wedding design and was unique to them and their story. Perfect!
Katie and Dan chose to host a small reception immediately after the ceremony right on the grounds of Kilruddery — we love the bright and flavorful appetizers, refreshing drinks, and we love how they served a mixture of Irish beers and whiskey and brought some from home! “Sullivans is a brewing company in Kilkenny and they recently opened their US headquarters in our hometown of Buffalo, NY. We had met their head brewer, Ian, at their opening in Buffalo and loved the beer on our first taste. We knew we had to have a keg of Sullivans at our wedding to bring our two ‘homes’ together!”
After the reception and some pictures, everyone made their way over to Luttrellstown Castle in nearby Castleknock. Please join us next week for Part 2 of this incredible wedding, where we see gorgeous floral arrangements in the castle, probably the best dessert table in history, and end with a spectacular fireworks show!
Please check out some more gorgeous pictures of the first half of their wedding day, including some shots of Kilruddery House, more detailed shots of their amazing invitations, and more. See you next week!
Venue: Kilruddery House & Gardens · Photography: Bruno Rosa Photography · Planning & Coordination: Waterlily Weddings · Flowers: Bella Botanica · Stationary: The Wells Makery · Dress: Made by Anatomy (Buffalo, NY, USA) · Accessories: Alexis Bittar · Groom: Bureau · Accessories: Warby Park (glasses) ; Top Man (shoes) · Music: Jenny Dowdall · Hair: Claire Barry · Makeup: Sarah Golding · Men Hair / Grooming: Men’s Grooming Ireland
to be continued….