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.

Katie & Dan Part 2: Whirlwind Reception at Luttrellstown Castle

This week we’re continuing with Katie and Dan’s gorgeous wedding in Part 2: Luttrellstown Castle reception!  Their beautiful, simple ceremony was held in Kilruddery House & Gardens’ orangery room (see here for the post!). The natural light just poured through and cast an almost ethereal glow to the atmosphere that made for some stunning pictures beautifully captured by Bruno Rosa.  A light cocktail and nibbles reception followed immediately after, and guests got a chance to tour the Kilruddery and the gardens at a leisurely pace while Katie and Dan made their way over to nearby Luttrellstown Castle for some pictures.

Thankfully the weather stayed cooperative and the rain stood at a distance for a bit longer, allowing Katie and Dan to take some gorgeous photos on the castle’s expansive lawn and in and around the castle before their guests arrived.  We are so in love with the gorgeous floral arrangements by Bella Botanica — the purple shades mixed in with the gold accent made for an elegant presentation that still felt fresh and seasonal.  Katie and Dan continued their “elegant but relaxed” approach into their reception, offering a buffet of desserts and one one but three cakes for guests to choose from (instead of one traditional multi-tiered cake), and a colorful display of local cheeses, seasonal fruits, and much more for guests to enjoy throughout the later afternoon and evening. And the best part of the reception? The incredible pacing of events:  live music, Irish bands, Irish dancers, heartfelt speeches and Norwegian traditions, and ending with a glorious private fireworks show right outside on the castle’s grounds.

Romantic. Bold. Colorful. FUN. Everything you want in your dream destination wedding in Ireland.

A Fairy Tale Castle

“We chose Luttrellstown because it was a show-stopper,” says Katie. “It was the perfect setting for a romantic, show-stopping event, and was the perfect place for our day-after festivities.”  Luttrellstown Castle has many advantages for a venue. For one, it’s available (only) for exclusive hire, meaning you will have complete privacy for your event and more creative control over what you can feature not just for your wedding day proper, but throughout your stay. This really enables couples to completely customize their wedding experience, as Katie and Dan did, to provide a balance of comfort and activities to create a bespoke event for you and your guests that extends farther than when your reception ends.

Large, comfortable rooms conveniently located upstairs are wonderful if you’re planning to invite guests with smaller children (they can nap and be safely asleep for the night while the parents can go back downstairs to continue socializing). If you’re inviting older guests, there are plenty of quieter, relaxing rooms off the main dining room where they can get a break from the festivities. There are a few spaces that can be transformed throughout your days to host a variety of activities as Katie and Dan did, including a formal tea with proper authentic vintage china, lawn games, tastings, and much more.

It really is the perfect combination of relaxation and that ability to really customize your event to suit every detail and activity you want to create for your wedding celebration.

Knocking Their Socks Off

If there was an official theme for their wedding day for Katie and Dan, it’d be “we want to knock their socks off.”  They wanted to excite their guests from the very beginning, enticing them to make the trip to Ireland (for many of them it was not only their first trip to Ireland but to Europe!) and to make the overall experience an exciting one full of color and sounds and something new and amazing at every turn.

“Our reception was formal, so most guests wore long gowns and some of the men wore black tie (we did not require black tie as we did not want people to feel obligated to rent tuxedos since most were traveling overseas,” says Katie. The official dress code was:  “Castle Best” attire, and we absolutely love that.

Katie and Dan wanted to stun their guests as they entered into the castle. The venue is already naturally decorated with rich crown molding, antiques, gilded mirrors, and rich jewel tones, but the natural light that pours in allows for some ability to work within a more centralized color palette.  Katie and Dan chose to work with the elements the castle already had, and instead enhanced the look by focusing primarily on florals.  “We went to the nines on decorating every mantle in Luttrellstown,  a mixture of tall and short arrangements for the Kings Tables in the dining room, a mix of figs and dark grapes for our floral arrangements, loads of candles everywhere, and gold plating, glassware and flatware. The flowers were a mix of dark burgundy and purple hues with whites, creams and leafy greens…the results were stunning,” says Katie. Sylvia of Bella Botanica worked her magic bringing Katie’s vision to life.

The Details

Katie and Dan wanted a relaxed atmosphere in the more elegant upscale space at the castle. They chose to have a buffet of snacks including local farmhouse cheeses, fresh seasonal fruits, and a variety of desserts and delights for guests to munch on throughout the reception and afterward. In lieu of a traditional wedding cake, they instead chose to serve 3 individual cakes. They weren’t keen on the traditional cutting of the cake scene, so this worked perfectly with their preference to have one large dessert table for guests to enjoy. Confections included: Mr James Carrot Cake, Maple Chocolate Cake and Baxter Cake, meringue spinning tops with chocolate ganache in the centers, and loads of cookies and shortbread bars custom baked by Brown Hound Bakery. The perfect accompaniment? Irish tea of course! Served in antique vintage china provided by Mrs. Doyle’s Vintage China.

Also included for their wedding day was a special selection of brews. “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!” In addition they served Guinness, Smithwicks, and ciders on tap.

Music played a central sub-theme throughout Katie and Dan’s wedding. Continuing the pace of the elegant string duo from the ceremony, the cocktail reception at the castle began with a trio playing lighter, fun music. This transitioned into a full swing band to get the guests dancing.  “We danced to U2’s “Every Breaking Wave,” which was the song Bono and Edge performed right after Bono announced our engagement. And then we decided to also dance to “We Can Work It Out” by the Beatles,” says Katie and Dan.  A DJ took over after dinner to really get the party going well into the night. And a surprise performance by professional traditional Irish dancers delighted the crowd to add that perfect Irish touch.  Everyone gathered outdoors for an amazing fireworks display, done right on the grounds of the castle…wow factor indeed.

As the DJ started to close his set around 2 in the morning, guests were invited into the library at Luttrellstown for a whiskey tasting including  Connemara 12 Year, Glendalough 13 Year, Midleton Very Rare, and Dingle Whiskey (first batch!). In our opinion, the perfect way to end an epic evening!

Special traditions

One of the bride’s best friends from school is from Norway. There is a custom at Norwegian weddings where any guest can go up to give a speech, tell a story or sing a song. Lizzy wrote and sang a song about her friendship with Katie; Lizzy’s husband Jan joined in about ¾ of the way through the song where he talked about coming into the picture and then how all four of them(Dan included) are close friends now. “It was the most tear-jerking, lovely, amazing moment of the evening. Everyone leaped from their seats in a standing ovation when they were done. It was incredible!”

Also a Norwegian tradition, but this was not planned in advance: when the groom leaves the room, the men get up one by one to kiss the bride. The same goes for if the bride leaves the room, the women go kiss the groom. “Dan left and I was smothered in kisses!” recalls Katie.  “I was smart enough after that to not leave the room so Dan didn’t have the chance to get any kisses himself (other than from me!).”

Favorite Part Of The Day

“We can’t choose!  We enjoyed literally every minute of the day. From one thing to the next, it all went beyond our wildest imagination of how well it could go. One moment was better than the next. It was also wonderful seeing everyone’s faces and reactions to everything we had planned. And it was soooo gratifying seeing it all come together after 2 years of planning!  The only thing is we wish we had hired a videographer. We thought it was maybe a bit cliché and that we wouldn’t watch that video; that was absolutely wrong! We would watch that video probably every week if we had it. We thought we were being smart by saving money, but that video probably would have captured things photos just can’t. It’s our only regret. Absolutely no other regrets otherwise – it was truly the most perfect day.”

A Bride’s Piece of Advice

“We made this more of a trip of a lifetime for our guests much more beyond the wedding day. And it was fabulous- people got to know one another well by the time we got to the wedding, they got to see and experience the best parts of Ireland so if they only had those 4 days, they still had a terrific experience….We really wanted to put on a truly unique celebration that people would never forget – not like any wedding they’ve been to. We did not want anything cookie cutter, and wanted to showcase only the best Ireland had to offer. I think we achieved it.

Have a vision and go for it. Don’t hold back. You won’t regret it – give yourselves and your guests a celebration to truly remember. And then once the planning is done, let it all go and really enjoy it.”

We couldn’t agree more!!

Katie and Dan – we are so in love with your wedding day and are so excited for your future together. For sure it will be a bright one with Katie’s infectious bright smile lighting the way. We love your energy, we love your sense of adventure and thirst to love and enjoy life, and thank you for letting us share your gorgeous wedding day that will no doubt help inspire other couples in planning their dream destination wedding in Ireland!



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  ·  Rentals: Caterhire / Mrs. Doyle’s Vintage China  ·  Entertainment:  Celetic Rhythm Dancers  /   Velvet Lounge Band   ·  Bakery:  Brown Hound Bakery

For more details, vendor information, and help planning your dream destination wedding, contact us today!



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