Sam & Benji: STUNNING Cliffs and Ruins Wedding with Blush & Peach Details

You may recognize this photo from our homepage! Sam and Benji’s wedding day was the best of what Ireland has to offer: incredible one of a kind backdrops, breathtaking views over the Atlantic, romantic ruins for their ceremony location, historical and unique backdrops of The Burren for portrait shots and some seriously perfect style. Add a sunny day to the mix and you have a really jaw-dropping gorgeous gallery beautifully captured by Butterfly Photography.

The Details

Sam and Benji wanted a memorable wedding that encompassed everything Ireland has to offer.  Gregans Castle served as home base for the day. As Sam got her hair and makeup done, Benji took a quick trip to the nearby Burren for some writing inspiration. How amazing to sit next to the Poulnabrone Dolmen, one of Europe’s most ancient historical sites! A relaxing morning gave way to a glorious sunny day as the couple made their way to nearby ruins for their bespoke spiritual Celtic inspired ceremony. They said goodbye to their guests and took a tour of the area with their photographers for some breathtaking portrait shots at the Cliffs and nearby countryside — absolutely stunning and showcases the variety of terrain and colors this part of Ireland has to offer! No quintessential Irish wedding is complete without a pint of Guinness at the local pub.

The Style

We love Sam’s look from head to toe — you can tell she felt so comfortable and beautiful in her dress and it really shows in the photos! Her hair and makeup on point, and simply accessories with diamond earrings for an effortlessly beautiful look. Benji was ever so handsome in a classic suit — love the navy color against the Irish backdrop! Smart choice! When playing with your color palette, keep in mind the terrain and backdrops you’ll be working with — will it be predominately green or are you working against water? The beautiful blush and peach tones worked in Sam’s bouquet and makeup worked beautifully against the blue and green tones of the Cliffs and Burren countryside. The softness of the flowers — peonies are gorgeous! — worked great to balance out against the rocky textures of the ruins and coastline!

Reliving the Memories

Sam and Benji — we wish you a wonderful life together full of more sunshine and gorgeous memories!!

And as a super special surprise for Sam, Benji created this video on his own for their one year anniversary and we’d love to share it with you! “Our wedding in Ireland was the best day of our lives, it turned out even better then we could have imagined. And while many of our family and friends were not physically present, we carried their love with us throughout the day. The following day we all went into Doolin to watch Blackie O’Connell perform trad music at McGann’s Pub. The pub was packed, but when a few seats opened up in front, Blackie motioned for us to sit closer to the band. Once we sat down, he introduced us to the crowd and then asked if we had our first dance yet. We responded with ‘no,’ and he replied ‘well, then let’s give you one.’ They played us “If I Never Spend a Morning Without You,” which is the song featured in this video.”  Click over to the youtube video here to check out Benji’s super sweet gesture and make sure to crank up the volume to get the full effect. Tip: grab a tissue!


Planning Advice: UNPLUG those phones!

Photo courtesy of Hannah Way Photography

Without a doubt one of the biggest pet peeves for wedding industry professionals is the overzealous wedding guest photographer. It’s become an almost obsessive race to social media platforms, who can snap the perfect filtered shot first and share it with the world.  In theory, a great idea. But as many great ideas often do, falls desperately short on practical application.

Texas-based photographer Hannah Way Hannah Way Photography recently posted a shot she took at a client’s wedding with a caption that’s since gone viral. It’s pretty self-explanatory, and adds to the (already long) list of other photos arguing for the case on hosting an unplugged wedding.

The Argument To Unplug

The first and most glaringly obvious is the guests gets in the way of the professional photographer you’ve hired (and spent a good amount of money on).  As Hannah posted in her post, “…not only did you ruin my shot, but you took this moment away from the groom, father of the bride, and the bride. What exactly do you plan on doing with that photo? Honestly. Are you going to print it out? Save it? Look at it everyday? No. You’re not. But my bride would have printed this photo, looked at it often and reminisced over this moment as her dad walked her down the aisle on her wedding day. But instead, you wanted to take a photo with your phone, blocking my view, and taking a photo that you will not use.” 

A compelling argument to make.

Especially for destination weddings, you’ve purposely chosen a location for its spirit, natural backdrop, unique details and although the temptation to document every moment is there, there really is no substitute to fully immersing yourself into the space. When you’re busy snapping every shot you’re really cheating yourself out of that experience and it’s a shame. Encourage your guests to put the phone away, and invite them to experience your destination wedding in Ireland with all of their senses! They’ll remember it far better than any photo!

Getting Your Guests On Board

You’re proud of the location and details, all of the hard work that’s gone into months of planning and you’d love to delight in your guests’ reactions and admiration. And the reality is, asking them to not bring their phones at all is probably not going to happen.  Here are some ideas to help you structure your wedding day so your guests can actually enjoy the day (and your photographer can capture it all beautifully!):

  1. Things like wedding hashtags are great but can send a confusing message to your guests; consider not encouraging copious guest photography by eliminating this wedding trend.
  2. If asking them to unplug completely for the day probably won’t happen, think about asking them to unplug for just the ceremony itself, then letting loose at the reception. Keep that moment (and point of the whole event!) sacred and all attention focused on the importance of your vows rather than getting the perfect angle and filter.
  3. Display a sign at the entrance to your ceremony space asking guests to keep phones on silent and no pictures during the ceremony.
  4. Ask your celebrant or wedding coordinator to make an announcement before the wedding begins.
  5. If you really think it’s not a possibility, have a frank conversation with your guests before the day asking them to be discreet and draw some clear boundaries: avoid the aisle, standing in the aisle at any point is completely out of the question, do not stand up or reach up/out during the ceremony, etc.
  6. Limit the devices to smaller iphones — literally no reason to be bringing an ipad to a wedding to take pictures and leave the Nikon for the sight-seeing!
  7. If you’re hosting your wedding in a particularly amazing location (Cliffs of Moher comes to mind), asking guests to keep their phones away may not be realistic. Instead, try building in some time for them to have with the ceremony space and scenery before your ceremony starts so they can document the day as they like. Then have your celebrant make an announcement to put them away before your cue to walk begins.

Remember, this is your wedding day and you deserve to have the attention and adoration on you both and what you are doing: joining your lives together. Flowers and castles are wonderful, but they are not the important part. Send a clear message to your guests and encourage them to engage with one another and take in the environment you’ve worked so hard to create.

Hannah really says it best: “You are important to the bride and groom, you would not be attending the wedding otherwise. So please, let me do my job, and you just sit back, relax and enjoy this once in a lifetime moment.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Bryanna & Jason: Beautiful Intimate Wedding in Howth

The Details. THE DETAILS. The. Details. As planners and designers, we keep telling our clients to take the opportunity and interject personal and meaningful details into your day. It’s those details that are going to make your day stand out and be special, having meaning and be unique to you. And Bryanna and Jason’s beautiful intimate wedding in Howth is a great example of that!

They wanted a small, intimate ceremony with a bit of privacy (i.e. no tourists!) and chose the Howth area, outside of Dublin, as the perfect spot! Bryanna was a vision in her gorgeous Kitty Chen dress and accessories while Jason made every part the handsome groom! But it’s those smaller details we’re obsessed with and so moved by…. Bryanna’s claddagh ring is a family heirloom from her Irish grandmother who passed away before the wedding. And the green handfasting chord — that was made from her grandmother’s shirt.  Her something old/borrowed/and blue managed to bring in a loved one so perfectly into the day and while writing this blog, you can add me to the list of “misty eyes” on this wedding. Their wedding was full of Irish traditions and really embraced Ireland and all it has to offer! There to document was Wim of In Love Photography to (once again) beautifully capture the day!

Here is their story….

Going Back to Your Roots

Bryanna and Jason’s destination wedding would be exciting and wonderful on so many levels! For Jason, this was his first trip outside of the US! For Bryanna, it was her first trip to Ireland and a chance to reconnect with her Irish roots — all of her paternal great-grandparents were Irish coal miner immigrants. “It was always on my #1 bucket list to travel to Ireland,” recalls Bryanna, “and connect with my heritage. When I suggested my dream idea to get married and honeymoon across Ireland, Jason loved the idea as Ireland’s been a bucket list destination for him as well!”

The Details

Jason and Bryanna wanted a meaningful ceremony that really took inspiration from the gorgeous natural backdrop Ireland has to offer. They were originally inclined towards the Cliffs of Moher, but were a little deterred from the tourists.  Our stylish planner / on the day coordinator Orla brought up her native Howth / Portmarnock coastal area outside of Dublin as a possibility and it was a perfect fit! “Howth was the perfect blend of both beauty and privacy.” They designed their humanist style ceremony with the help of their celebrant, Romy, to reflect their personalities and personal journey together. Joining them were their closest family and friends, making the day the meaningful and intimate wedding they dreamed of. “We wanted our vows to be meaningful and not overly cliche,” recalls Bryanna.

The wedding was full of really special, beautiful details. Bryanna’s claddagh ring was her grandmother’s, and the hand-fasting chord they used was actually taken from her grandmother’s shirt.  She had recently passed this past January. Bryanna’s father always wanted to bring her back to her native Ireland but never got the chance; this was a fitting and beautiful way to honor her memory and making her a part of their day.

A casual, authentically Irish celebration followed right in the heart of Howth at a fabulous local pub — the Abbey Tavern. Known for its great Irish food and hospitality, it was the perfect setting for a cozy, warm celebration with their loved ones. Bread and butter pudding served as the wedding cake!

Favorite Moments

“Our first look.  And after — we made a bathroom stop at Gaffney’s and the bartenders were so kind and insisted on giving us free shots of whiskey and let us poor a Guinness together behind the bar! Just one example of Irish kindness and hospitality we encountered that day and on our trip.  So many spontaneous, memorable moments and great photos! Our hand-fasting and vows, just having our families make the trip out and literally encircling us to support us meant so much. We wouldn’t change a thing — maybe stay longer than a week!”

Piece of Advice

“Trust your planner, keep an open mind to suggestions and an open dialogue during the planning process.  Don’t sweat the small stuff and go with the flow! Remember: a wedding is a celebration, NOT a performance! At the end of the day, if you are  married to the one you love then everything went perfectly!”

We can’t agree more! Excellent advice and an absolutely delight to help you both plan a gorgeous, intimate wedding in one of our favorite parts of Ireland!

Bryanna and Jason — we wish you both a lifetime full of more bucket list adventures, laughs and love, and beautiful memories together! Check out more in the slideshow below!