Although in and around Dublin tends to be the more popular choice for destination weddings, the heart and soul of Ireland truly lives in the West in my opinion. History, adventure, varied topography and the quieter country all mix together in a cauldron to give you a taste of the real, authentic Irish experience. I was heavily inspired for this shoot by two things: one, a pair of cuff links that were fastened from pre-Euro Irish coins and second, Irish poet (and resident romantic) W.B. Yeats. This shoot’s theme was to translate Yeats’ words into a visual medium, literally bringing his words, love, and the romance Ireland can inspire to life. I challenged each vendor to interpret the works and then emote them through their respective mediums. The cuff links provided the color palette — rich and gloriously colorful, the deep sapphire blue – gold – and fiery orange combination reads at once rich and elegant enough to head the call to arms an imposing castle like Markree commands, while also retaining a fire and passion that are not you obvious “go-to” colors like red or pink. Read on for more details, information, and a list of our incredibly talented vendors including Christina Brosnan who took these glorious shots. And don’t forget to see more in the slideshow!
Now, let us take you on a romantic journey to a castle wedding in the heart of the wildly beautiful Irish countryside….
The Team & Details
Our incredibly talented team and details include:
Design, Style & Coordination: Waterlily Weddings Ireland · Venue: Markree Castle · Photography: Christina Brosnan Photography · Stationary: Lichen Ink · Flowers: The French Touch · Cake: Cupcakes and Counting · Dress: Sarah Foy Couture · Suit & Tuxedo: Diffney · Hair: Leanne Nolan, Vow2Wow Bridal Hair · Makeup: Fiona Harrison, The Makeup Studio · Models: Geoff & Aiofe, Assets Models · Shoes: Badgley Mischka · Earrings: Kendra Scott, Kendra Scott Bridal · Cuff links: Mondeus (Etsy) · Place Setting Details & Decor: Waterlily Weddings Style & Design Catalog
I wanted to work with a castle for this shoot because it is one of Ireland’s iconic images. It is strength, it is power, it is fairytale. Ireland has an abundance of castles throughout the island, but Markree really stood out. The castle’s location is picturesquely placed in western Ireland in County Sligo, an area that has been inspiring writers, poets, and musicians for a thousand years. The castle itself yields so much to work with: glorious entrance staircase, lots of incredible texture, a huge ballroom, incredible studies and bar rooms, a stained glass window and exquisite grounds with their very own sheep just to rattle off a few. Excited to share more about Markree as our Feature Destination in next week’s blog. But for now, we’ll focus on the shoot!
Color and Fire
The color palette for this shoot came straight from the cuff links. Although everyone assumes Ireland is all about green, you’ll find that it’s also about the incredible shades of blue from the ocean to the lakes to the slate in the rock and castles. I wanted to use sapphire blue as the anchor color for this shoot, incorporating different shades from slate grey (often found in the limestone in the area) to lighter cotton blue tones (the Irish sky on a sunny day) to create a lot of visual impact that was still authentically Irish. The light and airy rose quarts/grey/sage combinations are beautiful, but in my opinion this trend has been done and done; I wanted to really embrace COLOR for this shoot and show how incredibly it can look in a space, especially in Ireland. I think people are scared of using a lot of color for their wedding and mixing bold colors together in particular, but when done properly it can work to incredible effect. I took the blue, gold, and fiery orange tones in the cuff links and based most of the supporting colors around them. Softer peach, yellow, cream, and pinks helped to soften the brightness and create that depth I love to see. Greenery added freshness and earthiness to the look that still felt young and seasonal for spring/summer, but still sophisticated to make sense in the castle.
“The wind that awakened the stars are blowing through my blood…”
Wind being the operative word for our shoot! We originally wanted to shoot exclusively outdoors, but almost hurricane-level winds prevented that right quick. We regrouped and shot indoors, making use of the ample textures, backdrops, and incredible lighting the castle had to offer. We even got to use the two Irish hounds for a few shots as well!
The table setting was heavily inspired by the castle itself. The china (Z Gallerie) was custom curated by myself and brought to Ireland, chosen specifically for its pattern that mimics perfectly the castle’s crenelation and the sapphire blue tones we were going with. I wanted to show how pattern can be used for a table setting to create a stunning effect; a modern take on the usual gold charger plate + white plate display here is updated with an interesting pattern and bold blue color. We accented with some vintage gold accents and vintage glass votive holders to balance the more modern pattern of the china. Adding another pop of color with the taper candles, I used three shades of blue within the palette to create the look that worked just beautifully with the flowers and table. A rich sapphire velvet runner was draped over a slate blue-grey linen to create a lot of texture and depth on the table; the velvet adding something rich and elegant instantly to the table.
The floral artistry was exceptionally executed by the incomparably talented Stephanie. She executed the vision down to the leaf impossibly perfectly. The staircase to the castle’s main floor is a huge focal point and right as you enter through the great doors; we wanted to simply accessorize that space with some fresh greenery and pillar candles, letting the grandeur of the castle there take center stage. Markree boasts a handful of fireplaces throughout the castle; we chose to decorate but one to give you an idea of how can accentuate the space with some simple mantle decor.
The incredible cake was created by the stunningly talented Jen. After discussing the vision with her, I told her I wanted to literally bring to life a quote by Yeats:
“Faeries, come take me out of this dull world,
For I would ride with you upon the wind,
Run on the top of the dishevelled tide,
And dance upon the mountains like a flame.”
I was heavily inspired by the Queen Fire Tulip and really wanted to feature that exclusively on the cake as a main, stunning focal point. Jen beyond delivered, creating the blue backdrop of the cake to mimic the movement of water being stirred by wind (a nod to Sligo which sits near the coast), and then creating those sugar flower fire tulips based on a picture I gave her. You’ll notice the tulips’ petals are like a flame licking off a candle (hence their name) and the same shape and movement found in fishes’ tails in the cuff links to tie the theme together.
We chose to do three looks for this shoot — a blue gown to show how it can work with color, a romantic satin gown expertly paired with hair vine, and a glorious quilt pattern vintage gown with cape all custom created by Irish dress designer Sarah Foy. We wanted to showcase three distinct looks, interpreting both Sarah’s dress designs and putting them in context with the shoot’s theme and castle location to show you how three distinct styles can work in one space. Fiona our makeup artist did an expert job transforming Aiofe into three different people. Similarly, Leanne our insanely talented hair stylist created three stunning hair styles to compliment that I must point out, stood against the beastly wind outdoors to absolute perfection. We went with a sweet, romantic look with the blue dress — soft face and braid — then moved into a super romantic and slightly sexy satin gown with gorgeous flowy hair and hair vine accent. The third look was heavily vintage inspired and we really wanted to create a strong but still very feminine vibe. Our “groom” Geoff looked every bit the part in two looks: a smart three-piece suit in navy and blue tones for a more casual, day-time wedding look and classic, modern navy tuxedo for a more elegant or evening affair.