With spring already in full swing and wedding season around the corner, this week we’re going to dive into some trends, ideas, and notes to keep your wedding planning on track or maybe even add in some last minute details for your upcoming summer destination wedding in Ireland! Pictured: a little sneak peek of our style shoot that will display some of these ideas on the list! Coming soon! (photo by Christina Brosnan)
Etiquette always dictates some sort of acknowledgement or official welcoming of your guests to your destination wedding. You have a bit of latitude in how you can express your welcoming and thanks, but a detailed personalized welcome basket is a solid trend many couples are using to great effect. Although some pre-made baskets are available, we encourage you to take this detail on with some consideration and have fun with it — this will be the first impression your guests will have after arriving to Ireland for your wedding, so put in the thought (and money) to make it count!
Some ideas to get you started:
- easy to pack / collapsible container to hold everything your guests can take with them — think bags over structured baskets!
- itinerary — include a map, detailed notes on activities, helpful information like the nearest drug store or gas station so your guests can stay in the loop and get excited for the festivities!
- bottled water — always great to stay hydrated and an often overlooked item to purchase on the go
- snacks — embrace Ireland’s offerings and include some authentic Irish treats like Taytos, chocolates, and candies
- freshly baked goodies — nothing welcomes you more after a hard day’s journey than a couple of freshly baked cookies or scones with fresh jam
- nightcap — a little shot of the local stuff never hurt either…most people do mini Jameson bottles, but if you’re feeling frisky try the more authentic poitin!
- bath and beauty — if you’re planning a retreat style event, consider including some herbal soaps and locally made bath salts and soaps
- shawl / cap — if you really want to gift them something authentic, include a wool shawl or cap they can keep warm with at your wedding and take home as a keepsake
- personalized, hand-written thank you note — they spent a lot of money to come to Ireland, so take the time before the revelry begins and thank them all personally for coming this way, for supporting you both, and looking forward to celebrating together
If you want to take the welcoming a step further, organize a fun event the first day everyone is gathered. Tea parties, outdoor games and activities, a relaxing picnic on the grounds, sight-see together are just some ideas off the bat. For something more spectacular, get a live band to play your rehearsal dinner for a surprise and to get the party started early, then let the DJ take over at the wedding!
Gone are the days of pre-cut, pre-designed details. Take the time to really put some thought into the elements of your day and have yourselves reflected in the details. Express your likes, loves, and journey together throughout the day. Don’t be afraid to ask the venue to create a custom menu and drinks. Take a chance at the dessert table and offer some items that mean something to you — do a design, special color, flavor that reminds you of a shared memory or something that’s unique you. Ask your florist to include your favorite flowers or sneak in something into your bouquet that may remind you of your first date or the first flowers he gave you. Grooms — add a little something to your personal look! Socks, cufflinks, ties, boutonnieres….don’t be afraid to add a little quirky (not tacky) to your look. And with the ceremony, don’t be afraid to ask the celebrant to incorporate your favorite song lyrics or movie quotes. One of the best elopements we ever did the bride walked down the aisle to Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters” played on the Irish harp, and they used quotes from their favorite songs into the ceremony in stead of religious readings. It ended up being really moving because it was authentic and them.
If you need help brainstorming some ideas, Waterlily Weddings is happy to help!
My personal top favorite images from the galleries I see are the “first look” shots. They are a part of the wedding day I really wish every single couple would incorporate into their schedule. The moment is so authentic and raw, and makes for the best pictures out of the entire gallery. I’d love to see this a step further. Especially when you have all of your loved ones with you that day. If you have kids, I’d love to see the first look done with them — the moment mom sees her kids all dressed up and they see mommy dressed up beautifully. Dad’s first look with his little girl is always a favorite of mine — seeing the look of Father of the Bride as he gazes upon his daughter is one of the most moving and spectacularly poignant moments in a wedding. But often overlooked is Mother of the Bride as well. Or parents of the groom. Siblings… little brother seeing his big brother get married. These moments are absolute gold and something you will always cherish — work them into your schedule for the day, talk to your photographer (hire a second if you have to) to capture these!
Get ready. Ceremony. Pictures. Cocktails. Dinner. Dance. Sleep. It’s a formula in the wedding world since time began, it seems, and it’s as stale as it reads. Everyone loves a great party and great music — by no means get rid of it. But step up the game a bit and think outside the box with some added details to enhance and enthrall your guests! Have the band teach your guests Irish dancing — have everyone get up and get involved! It will be the best time every has, I promise you! Invite a professional Irish dance group to come perform for everyone to start off the evening’s dancing! Guaranteed hit. Hire unexpected performers like magicians or artists to perform throughout the reception. The idea is to keep the reception interactive with your guests so they don’t get bored!
Waterlily Weddings has a wonderful selection of exciting performers, artists, and professionals just waiting to delight your guests!
Organic Details at the Ceremony
Some couples think they need to skip on the ceremony decor and splurge it all at the reception. I’m not a fan of this. The ceremony is actually the climax, crowning moment of your entire day and should have the emphasis. Skimping on the chair decor, scaling back on florals will end up bothering you in picture later on. You don’t need to go insane here. But make sure there’s a natural focal point for the eye (besides the couple). Bring in organic details to the space like flowers, flowing linen ribbon, ceramic pots and urns. I’d love to see a mix/match of different urns and ceramic pots with different plants and flowers on a color spectrum worked in and around the chairs. Is there a pond? Add fresh flower petals to it and some fresh blooms. Indoor castle wedding? Drape fireplaces with greenery and flowers to make it look lush and organic. Err on the side of too much rather than not enough!
Sexy, Not Moody
I. Hate. The. Word. Moody. I don’t know who coined this term for this gorgeous aesthetic, but it’s annoying and doesn’t begin to describe the true intention of this darker, sexier presentation. Sweet rose quarts and airy neutral tones have had their time to shine for a while. They are timeless and effortless and always pretty. But sometimes you want to express a bit more soul, a bit more depth to your wedding day. Embrace the bolder colors. Don’t be afraid to use color. Don’t shy away from jewel tones and bright tropical notes…. they will work in Ireland when done a certain way! Use colored candles and napkins, embellish the seating chart more, add pop of color to the stationary, go for the bolder bouquet….don’t shy away from these if the colors are speaking to your soul. And don’t be afraid to go darker — deep crimson, merlot, winter green, dove grey, smoke, eggplant, rich deep navy, even black are all incredible colors to work into your color palette in larger amounts or just as accents.
Contact us today — our design and style department is always looking for new an exciting ways to work with the incredible colors and textures Ireland has to offer!
Mix It Up On the Bridal Party
Girls on one side, boys on the other. Says who?! It’s 2018 and everyone is friends with everyone. I would love to see a bridal party where there’s a mix of girls and boys on both sides of the couple. It’s not about gender, it’s about love and support so let everyone stand where they want.
While on the topic ….. don’t have a flower girl? Have a sense of humor on this and invite another guest to take over the duties! One of my favorite moments of a wedding we did was when the couple had a “flower boy” — their grown adult friend complete with basket in hand gleefully deposited petals with expertise before the bride made her entrance. It really worked, breaking the tension and getting everyone in a great mood to enjoy the ceremony. It was so much fun and just worked. I’ve seen a wedding trend called “flower grandmas” — I cannot express how cute this is and I hope someone does this this year!
You may recognize this gorgeous bouquet from our homepage slideshow. We’re so incredibly excited to finally be sharing with you this stunning fall wedding in County Clare, expertly coordinated by our own Sile in the heart of the Irish countryside.
Wedding high season in Ireland no doubt like many places includes the summer months. And we love those weddings. But we’ve been salivating at the idea of fall weddings in Ireland which can be equally as stunning. We were so excited when Texas couple Meagan and Yates wanted a November wedding in dreamy and romantic western Ireland! “I no longer wanted the gigantic ‘fairytale wedding,'” says Meagan, an event coordinator herself. “I wanted simplicity and to go to a place that was stand-alone inspiration with the people dearest to me.”
Even more than the stunning fall color palette with sexy red tones and the whimsical cozy reception, we love so much how Meagan and Yates really embraced this part of Ireland in full force. The rain — for some can be the uninvited guest who ruins the wedding — but for them, turned into the guest of honor, producing some absolutely stunning photos in the Irish countryside gorgeously captured once again by the uber talented Sean and Kate! This wedding is a textbook of how you can play with texture and don’t be afraid to work in the rougher, grittier elements into your photos and day — the juxtaposition between that and the softness of your flowers, dress, etc. create an irresistible contrast that make for amazing pictures.
Yates and Meagan met back in high school but didn’t actually start dating until some years later. Their “meddling sisters” decided these two needed to be set up and the rest is history. They wanted a destination wedding with their closest family and friends and chose Ireland for its stunning natural beauty and warmth of welcome. Meagan wanted a moody, natural intimate wedding day that took inspiration from the local culture and backdrop but that still had a lot of “new” to look at. Her red color palette is absolutely stunning and worked just perfectly with the darker greens, pops of fall gold, slate blue in the hills, and cream tones of the tower. Her Rue de Seine dress added the right amount of softness and her burgundy shoes and earrings were the perfect pop of red to tie in the look. Yates looked smart in a suit and we love how everyone brought a little bit of Texas to Ireland — big hats and big laughs, but we’re mostly taken by the big smiles and clear love for life.
Enjoy the highlights but make sure to check the slideshow at the end for more!
“Come Away With Us”
Having a theme is always a great way to anchor your wedding day and Meagan really brought that skill in perfectly with her own wedding. “I kept hearing ‘come away with me’ as our them,” she says. “We wanted it to be a time of refreshment and restoration — not just for us, but for all who came with us.” And what better way to escape than to romantic and adventurous Ireland! “I wanted a moody, authentic, natural and intimate wedding day,” says Meagan. One of the biggest challenges was actually finding a florist that would be able to execute her vision. “Because I’m involved in so many weddings myself, it was hard for me to see something and not think ‘oh, I’ve seen this a million times already,” explains Meagan. She envisioned something unique, unstructured, intentional and specific that fit that moody vibe. Juliana of Anthesis Floral came through with a stunning bouquet and reception decor that was both whimsical and intimate, inspired by the season but not a literal obvious translation that really drew on the underlying emotions of the day. Simply brilliant work.
The traditional ceremony was held at Newtown Castle. The couple chose Newtown for its unique architecture, lots of texture, and picturesque placement in the heart of the wild Irish countryside. There is a simple, raw organic beauty about this area and it really fit into their overall spirit of the trip as a whole. Wanting to embrace the local culture, they chose to host an intimate reception at a local Irish pub. The quintessential Irish decor and atmosphere was a warm welcome to the fall rain. Everyone cozied up with good ol’ fashioned Irish food and drink, and danced the night away.
“Every part of our day was an adventure,” says Meagan. But among the moments that stood out for them, during the ceremony they held a moment of silence for those loved ones who have passed on. Their names were read out loud and everyone gathered in the space took the moment to acknowledge them silently. It was a moving and touching moment, sweetly simple and profound in impact. At the receptions, as you can see from the pictures the speeches went over very well. But in particular, Meagan’s dad’s: “My dad used to bea pastor and has always been a businessman so I have heard him speak, present, and lead countless times, but I have never heard him speak sweeter words than he did on this day.”
A Piece of Advice
“‘Go your own way’ was the first thing that popped into my head. And believe it or not, doing you to the fullest is difficult. Really difficult. Because it’s so important. You’ll face a lot of opposition in this but stay to your path. To me, there are a few things in life more important than being your true self — wholly and unashamedly. Sure — research to get ideas and inspiration…glean from others what they’ve done…but please for the love of everything: do what you want to do, how you want to do it, WHERE you want to and with whom you want to! I promise you will never regret it!”
Great advice, Meagan… we couldn’t agree more!
We love us a neutral wedding color palette all day long, but once in a while we love the vibrancy and impact of color for a wedding. Which is just one reason why we’re obsessed with Monica and Alok’s Waterford Castle wedding! The mix of tradition with a modern chic sensibility made for a truly spectacular presentation. And with the picturesque island castle and Irish countryside serving as backdrop, together with the incredible floral talents of Lamber de Bie, you really couldn’t ask for more. There to capture the day beautifully was House of Talent Studio. We know you’ll enjoy these gorgeous photos and fall in love with this fabulous vibrant Indian castle wedding as much as we have!
The wedding celebrations kicked off with the traditional pre-wedding Hindu traditions including the haldi ceremony. Tumeric paste is mixed with fragrant sandalwood, milk, and rose water and then applied to the bride and groom by their family. The yellow color is believed to brighten the couple’s skin, warding off the “evil eye” and medicinal properties of the herbs aiding to help calm any pre-wedding nerves! We are obsessed with the gorgeous details of the mehendi. This ritual is attended by all members of the bride’s family. The bride’s hands and feet are richly decorated in henna while the family and friends sing and dance around her, bestowing their well wishes and positive energy.
The couple also made time to relax and enjoy the the castle’s grounds together and with their guests, taking in the scenery and try activities like clay pigeon shooting.
Monica ended up wearing three gorgeous gowns for her wedding, each look carefully crafted and perfectly accessorized. We love the bright red gown and embroidery detail, and Alok looks smart in his traditional attire. Indian brides often wear their “something red” for good luck (instead of the “something blue”). We love their “first look” shots as they take in the love and romance of the castle together!
One of the best parts of this wedding has to be the sangeet ceremony. Here the family and friends all gather together in a very festive, colorful setting and sing and dance for the couple. It’s an amazing sight to see — full of color and love — and lovely to see the bride and groom honored in such a fun and meaningful way.
As the celebrations continued to build up to the ceremony, it was time for Monica’s next look.
She looked absolutely stunning in traditional Hindu dress. Lamber pulled all the stops in the ceremony space, decorating the traditional mandap in a cascade of fragrant white blooms and greenery. A collection of perfect white lanterns brought in a romantic mood to set the space perfectly. Together with his team, he nailed the look to create a truly stunning focal point.
One of the incredible visuals of a traditional Indian wedding includes the bride’s sari. This traditional dress is often brightly colored and richly decorated with gold embroidery which symbolizes spirituality and fertility. Again, the bright color is for good luck. Not to be outdone, the groom arrives on a white horse (known as the Baraat). Lively music welcome the groom to the wedding space to the cheers and joy of his family and friends. The bride is often secretly watching her groom have his moment to shine before she makes her grand entrance. Alok stunned with his traditional attire and set the stage perfectly for Monica’s beautiful entrance. The couple take their place under the mandap, richly adorned with fresh flowers and greenery in romantic white and green tones expertly crafted by the uber-talented Lambert and his team. The mandap not only serves as focal point to the ceremony, but plays an extremely important part in the tradition: each pillar represents the couple’s parents whose love and support are making this wedding possible.
Even the castle’s falcon made an appearance for the ceremony!
Monica and Alok’s wedding did one expert thing that’s so important and effective in creating an unforgettable wedding: they kept the momentum building. The third part of their dream wedding day is incorporating the castle itself, creating a traditional American style celebration complete with gorgeous dress, unforgettable entrance, and spectacular fireworks show to close off the wedding celebrations. Each detail had a new color, a new texture, something different to look forward to that entranced all of the sense, from beginning to end; you didn’t know what to expect next and that excitement built on itself to create that incredible momentum.
It’s wonderful to see how versatile one venue can be. We’ve seen so many gorgeous weddings at Waterford, from a moody Peaky Blinders-inspired elopement to gorgeous vow renewal to classically Irish weddings — this is a great example of how you can take a venue, embrace it, and make it your own.
Congratulations Monica and Alok on a truly stunning destination wedding celebration in Ireland. A little bit of Irish, a lot of tradition, a gorgeous setting full of color and life and love — this is what a wedding celebration is about. We wish you both a long life of continued happiness.
For more information on the talented vendors that created this stunning wedding, contact us today!