Some may view getting married abroad as a nerve-wracking gamble of sorts: “I haven’t seen the venue! I won’t be able to try hair and makeup trials — how will I know if it will work?! Will the florist understand my vision?” The answer to these is a resounding “it will all be fine and actually even better than you expected.” Truly! And Tim and Dana’s intimate elopement is proof in the pudding of just that! “Honestly, I was so amazed by how everything fit together on the day. I didn’t even see what my flowers or hair piece would look like and meeting these people to do my hair and makeup at the moment they were going to do it was all so exciting!” says Dana. “Every single one of them were truly amazing and each brought a piece to make the day fit together so well!”
Dana and Tim actually got married on their 15th anniversary of being together! When they decided to get married, they knew eloping was the right choice for them. They wanted something magical with a real historical feel that felt like a different place, a different time — and Ireland fit the bill perfectly. From there we carefully crafted a bespoke wedding day for them at one of the most spectacular venues in Ireland — Newtown Castle — and worked in some amazing details like a First Look and spectacular portrait shots along the famous coastline. We love Dana’s approach for the day and their style together as a couple — traditional with a touch of whimsicality in the sea glass colored skirt of her dress and orchid hairpiece in lieu of a veil that added that unique personal touch. We love their casual approach to the day in choosing what made them comfortable but still would present well in Ireland, their easygoing attitude and willingness to embrace everything that came that day clearly comes through in the pictures. You can see they love being there, they love being there together, and taking everything in. Enjoy the gorgeous photos taken by Awake and Dreaming Photography!
HOW THEY MET
Dana and Tim met a while back when they were teenagers! Despite not going to the same high school, they met in their teens at a mutual friend’s BBQ and instantly clicked. They years spent together were enough — they never really felt the “need” to get married, especially with the pressure and opinions that often accompany a larger wedding at home, so they sort of shelved the topic until their thirteenth anniversary. They got home from a short vacation the night before with a late flight and Dana had to wake up early for work the next morning. Completely exhausted, she got to bed. But Tim had other plans: he cleverly grabbed the box of Cheerios and laid out his proposal message in honey-covered oats on the kitchen counter and set her engagement ring out for her to find as a surprise the next morning. Groggy and tired, Dana woke and made her way into the kitchen where still half-asleep tried to make sense of the cereal on the counter. When it all finally clicked she ran back into the bedroom, woke Tim up, and she said “yes.”
CREATING THEIR OWN STORY
Having a large traditional wedding just wasn’t something Dana and Tim were ever interested in doing; eloping somewhere amazing was always more their style, so they agreed if they ever got married that would be the way they’d go. At first eloping in America was considered but they couldn’t quite find the right place or fit for what they envisioned; it just didn’t feel “right” to them. So they began to look abroad. “We didn’t want traditional, as I am a firm believer that you create your own story and path; you don’t have to follow what everyone tells you how you have to do things,” says Dana. Tim and Dana always shared a love for Ireland and it was their dream to go there one day. It occurred to them to celebrate their upcoming 15th anniversary by eloping to Ireland! It was a perfect idea! They got in contact with Waterlily Weddings and we sorted out the details! After some research and discussion, western Ireland quickly rose to the top of the list and their bespoke wedding elopement was planned!
A RAY OF SUNSHINE
They were blessed with gorgeous weather. The sun shone a glorious golden hue from dawn to dusk on their wedding day, seeming to add to the enchanting backdrop. Dana woke that morning and had breakfast with her good friend Emily, who joined on the trip. They took a stroll down to the tower to check it out — Dana’s first time seeing it in person! — and was just blown away. The sun shown through the crisp morning air, light beaming through the fluffy clouds to highlight the green countryside and castle architecture just like out of a fairy tale. She got butterflies in her stomach knowing she’d return in just a few short hours to get married to her best friend! They returned to hotel to get ready and Dana let the hair and makeup team take over, perfectly executing exactly what she wanted. Meanwhile, Tim enjoyed a leisurely morning eating breakfast and taking a stroll about the grounds. “It was just so calming and peaceful on the grounds, definitely refreshing to have before our day started,” says Tim. The country house hotel where they were staying had a holywell in the basement; Tim took the time to go explore and just sit next to it, relax and listen to the sound of the water. Back upstairs, Dana changed into her custom Jenny Yoo gown and sandals and debuted her look to the ladies in the room who gasped in delight and approval. This was really happening! And everything was going just perfectly!
Dana and Tim wanted to get married in a historic, rustic castle a little off the beaten path. Something smaller and intimate that had a bit of Irish history and charm to it that wasn’t huge and overwhelming, something set in the heart of Irish country that would look and feel magical. Newtown Castle was the perfect choice for them: situated picturesquely on the coastline in the west, the small medieval tower has that rustic, cozy feel with the added huge bonus of sitting on some pristine, incredibly beautiful landscape showcasing the coast and the country.
They elected to do a First Look which we love and always encourage our couples to consider. The grounds of the country house were quite lovely this time of year, and the lighting from that sun was just perfection so they chose to do the First Look shots right in the garden. Then a vintage car arrived to take them to the tower for the ceremony.
They chose to host a spiritual, non-religious ceremony. They incorporated some Irish traditions including Irish blessings and vows, the handfasting, and the Irish harp played to set the mood perfectly. Their handfasting chord was made in the Aran Islands, a keepsake for them to remember their special day. Dan and Tim even bought their wedding bands in Ireland! Dana found hers their second day in Ireland while in Dublin and Tim found his while visiting the Cliffs of Moher just the day before!
After the ceremony Dana and Tim celebrated with some champagne outside of the castle before taking some pictures. They made their way down to O’Loclainn Whiskey Bar after with their guests for a little snack and some refreshment. The owner was so fun joining in the celebrating and even let the couple pour their own pints! Dana and Tim then left with their photographers for an epic photographic adventure touring the western coast: countryside, lighthouses, cliff sides, roads — they really enjoyed spending the first few hours together as husband and wife exploring together this beautiful part of Ireland they always wanted to see. Later on that evening, they returned to the country house to relax in front of the fireplace with some more champagne and mingle with their guests before changing and heading out into town for dinner and dancing.
“We laughed so hard and had so much fun with our photographers — taking the pictures was a true adventure!” Dana and Tim also loved the intimacy of the post wedding celebration, and how intimate and simple the ceremony was. Having done away with a lot of the distractions of a big wedding for them enabled them to be able to focus the day on the meaning of what they were doing, and really let them be present throughout their wedding day. Especially for them having been together for so long before deciding to get married, choosing to elope was really the perfect choice: “Actually going through with officially getting married after 15 years together — it was like a wave of emotions came over me and flashes of our life together; it’s hard to believe we have come this far,” says Tim. “The only thing we’d change is have it last longer!” says Dana.
A PIECE OF ADVICE
“Don’t be afraid to make this adventure into something that is so unique to you! Make it your way! For us, it was eloping away from the ‘typical expensive and overwhelming wedding’ that most people feel inclined that they have to do. Our families are small and very understanding that it was not something that fit for us. The entire day was reflective of us and I wouldn’t change a thing. Have as much fun as you can. Enjoy the moments. Drink your wine/pint and celebrate! Every person that has heard our story wishes they did the same thing, so don’t ‘wish it’ — DO IT! Also hire Waterlily Weddings! It was one of the best decisions — I really don’t think I could have done all of this myself — from another country on top of it — it is worth it!”
Please enjoy more of Dana and Tim’s charming elopement in the slideshow below. And contact us for more info and to get started planning your dream elopement in Ireland!