Johanna & Alex: Stunning Ancient Stone Circle Elopement

Confession: stone circles (especially this one) keeps a special place in my heart [my husband and I renewed our vows here for our 10 year anniversary — first time to my knowledge since Celtic times]. They are breathtakingly beautiful — often set in the most spectacular landscapes — and really have a sense of serenity and ancient spiritualism about them that’s almost impossible to describe. Johanna and Alex chose one of Ireland’s stone circles to serve as location for their ceremony. Taking in the incredible natural beauty of the area plus some Irish traditions rounded out the theme of their elopement for the day. Beautiful photos (and areal shots!!) by the uber-talented Sean & Kate.  Please enjoy…

Nature and Adventure

Johanna and Alex met at a gym after Johanna had moved back home. The gym would put on events for people to get to know one another and some friends introduced Johanna to Alex — the connection was instant. Johanna loves the mountains so when it came time to pop the question, Alex rented a cute cabin up in the local mountains. After exploring the cute town for a bit, they returned back to the cabin and made their way inside. But Johanna forgot something in the car. She entered the cabin and there was Alex down on one knee with their dog Kovi, waiting. As wedding planning got into full swing, Johanna and Alex had trouble finding the right fit back home. “Nothing really spoke to us,” they recall.  They’d already planned to honeymoon in Ireland after their wedding, so out of curiosity they googled “elopements in Ireland” and just knew it was the perfect fit! They originally envisioned an elopement at the Cliffs of Moher but were concerned with the amount of people that may be there — they really wanted a private ceremony as much as possible but one that still had a breathtaking view and drew heavily on nature and Ireland’s landscape. “We looked through the different pictures on Waterlily’s Instagram account and the stone circle drew our attention.” Being on private land the location provided them with the seclusion and intimacy they were looking for — so we took care of booking all of the logistics to make it happen!

The Details

The traditional-humanist ceremony took place at the stone circle and included meaningful readings, personal vows, and the handfasting tradition. Johanna is Latina and incorporated the arras coins into their bespoke ceremony to reflect her heritage. They also had a “secret vow” they worked in: “The night before, we each wrote one, super-important promise to each other that goes beyond the traditional vows,” Johanna explains, “and the next day during the ceremony, we’d reach the promise the other wrote down. Funny thing was… we wanted the same thing!”

The celebrations commenced after a gorgeous portrait session with their photographers, centered around just taking in the local Irish culture and traditions. They stopped in a local pub for a pint and good whiskey (their fave) and later shared a romantic private dinner with wine.

We love the personal touches Johanna and Alex incorporated into the day. The arras coins were their “something borrowed” from her mom and step-father’s wedding. Johanna’s veil was Alex’s mom’s from her wedding. An ankle bracelet with a blue pendant was gifted by her sister for her “something blue” and her jewelry served as her “something new.” We love their looks — Johanna was radiant in her BHLDN dress and Alex in his Indochino suit. Love the plaid wrap for some of the photos too!

Favorite Moments

“Getting to the location — we saw pictures for so long and then waited to see it on the day in person! It was so real! Our vows, the first look was very romantic — it helped calm our nerves and welcomed spending the rest of the day together. Also loved our time at the pub hanging out with Sean and Kate, and a surprise from Alex’s mom at dinner!”

A Piece of Advice

“Have fun and don’t get caught up in the small details. The beauty of hiring a team of professionals is that they are there for you. Trust them. Accept their advice. Location is everything — Kenmare is beautiful, secluded, romantic, and has the most amazing people. Focus on getting there and having the time of your life because it comes and goes and you will be back wishing you were in Ireland all over again!”

 

Johanna and Alex — we wish you a lifetime of happiness as bright as the sun and your smiles on your wedding day! We know you’ll have many more adventures in Ireland ahead!!

For more information on the venues, details, and talented vendors who helped bring this dream elopement to life, contact us today!

Kieran & Aaron: Romantic “Celtic Boho” Coastal Wedding

Ireland is spoiled for gorgeous landscapes and backdrops for weddings. One of the most breathtaking parts of the island is off the western coast. The Aran Islands are a truly unique piece of Ireland, combining a rich Celtic history with Irish culture that manages to somehow transport you back in time. Kieran and Aaron’s gorgeous intimate wedding took full embrace of what Ireland has to offer. From historic Irish ruins serving as ceremony space to fun pub reception, every detail was selected to honor their Irish roots. The gorgeous ruby and garnet inspired color palette was a perfect choice against the Irish landscape. Flowers expertly crafted by the uber-talented Athesis Floral included some of the most gorgeous bouquets we’ve seen and flower crowns. Beautiful photos by the supremely talented Paula O’Hara Photography. This, is their story…..

It Started with Mint Chip & Biochem

Aaron and Kieran met through a mutual friend at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. They  had the same biochemistry class together where Kieran caught Aaron’s eye. He arranged a study group for the class with the help of their friends, and conveniently Kieran ended up being the only one to show up (wink). Some mint chip ice cream sealed the deal and they’ve been together ever since.  Some years later, on lucky Friday the 13th, Aaron whipped up an incredible breakfast and told Kieran she needed to take a mandatory break from her board studies. He planned a surprise road trip back to the university where they first met. They started at the pier where they shared their first kiss, then made their way to the parks where they’d frequent as undergrads… all the while Aaron’s plans to propose being foiled by noisy patrons and overly boisterous persons dampening the romantic moment he was hoping for. Instead of looking to the past, Aaron looked to the future and took Kieran to Lake Monona where he finally popped the question, creating a new Madison memory they could cherish along with the others. Of course Kieran said yes and a wedding was soon in the works!

Back to Their Roots

Both Kieran and Aaron have Irish ancestry so they wanted to take their love of adventures on a destination wedding in Ireland. “We knew that marriage would be the start of a lifelong adventure together,” recalls Kieran, “so we figured what better way to begin our marriage than to go on a literal adventure of our own!” They were researching through the many locations available in Ireland for their dream day and found themselves drawn to the western side of the island. “We really wanted cliffside photos that captured the raw, natural beauty of the Irish landscape,” they said. They excitedly chose Aran Islands for their destination as it had everything they wanted: gorgeous landscape, cliffs, history, Iris culture, and a an intimate spot to share this experience with their family and friends.

The Details

As you know, the weather can be a bit of an unwanted guest for your wedding. That said, it can also help to create a really gorgeous natural filter for your photos and add to the ambiance and overall look of your day to be truly authentically Irish! Aaron and Kieran together with their guests embraced the natural elements and had a great time exploring the gorgeous part of the country and the incredible historic and spiritual spaces on the Aran Islands. Their spiritual ceremony was heavily influenced by the Celtic tradition and included lots of great Irish elements like an Irish wedding bell (made by Galway Crystal that they purchased when in Galway), the handfasting ceremony, and sipping champagne from Waterford Crystal champagne flutes they purchased in Waterford. We’re so in love with Kieran’s look:  her gorgeous Emmy Mae Sage dress was a perfect choice to accentuate her figure and look stunningly romantic against the Irish coastline; we love how she accessorized with a raw emerald bracelet, silver vine earrings, and a moonstone drop necklace. But our favorite accessory has to be the gorgeous floral crown she wore — the perfect feminine touch to bring out her eyes and complete her Celtic boho-inspired look flawlessly! We also love the Aran style sweater shawl — perfect touch for the location and style!

The vibe for the day was “relaxed classically Irish” — every detail from the ceremony to the look to the reception was chosen as a way to connect with their Irish heritage and the location. The theme was boho inspired and the color palette took a moody version of summer tones using gorgeous rich garnet red shades, pomegranate, soft pinks and dreamy cream tones together with rich greenery — absolutely stunning. Absolutely loved how the bridesmaids took the color palette to full expression in their look and the matching floral crowns rounded out the theme perfectly and elegantly.

Irish accents continued into the reception with a coursed meal featuring local fish, traditional Irish stew, and monkfish curry. For dessert, a gorgeous mocha cake with Bailey’s Irish Cream cake and vanilla frosting in color palette and theme rounded out to end on a perfect note. The Irish harp serenaded throughout the day while good ol’ fashioned Irish music brought the group to their feet after dinner.

Favorite Moments

Kieran and Aaron’s day is a great example of focusing on the in-moments and what really matters, as a couple and for us as planners frankly.  Kieran’s mom has severe younger-onset Alzheimer’s and they weren’t sure if she’d be able to make the trip to Ireland.  “We were beyond thankful that not only did she make the journey, but that she was truly present for our day,” recalls Kieran. Another fond memory for the couple will be the time they got to spend together during their portrait session on the cliffs.

A Piece of Advice

“GET A WEDDING PLANNER! Irregardless of whether it’s a destination wedding or not — there is no way this wedding would have been possible without Stephanie and Michelle ensuring that everything was done in a timely fashion.”

 

Congratulations Kieran and Aaron! CONTACT US today for more details on this incredible wedding in the Aran Islands!

Brittany & Nick: “Royal Bohemian” Jewel Tone Castle Wedding

Romantic castle — check! Gorgeous color palette — check! Beautiful good-looking couple with a fantastic energy and attention to details — check, check, check! We are so excited to share with you the epic wedding of Brittany and Nick this week! The “royal bohemian” theme was rich in a jewel tone color palette, punctuated with pops of meaningful personalization throughout the day. The emphasis was on having fun, enjoying beautiful Ireland, and creating a gorgeous document of the day that relives every impeccable detail down to the finest. Superb photography once again by the uber-talented Shane of Aspect Photography. And a real treat for you this week —  make sure to check out the wedding video at the end by Story of Eve

High school sweethearts

Brittany and Nick met back in high school and worked at the same restaurant together. Nick was smitten from the start, leaving Brittany flowers and sweet notes on her car but Brittany played coy.  As time passed, they grew apart. But eight years later they ran into each other at a club downtown and struck up a conversation. They dated for the next seven years before Nick popped the question in Paris, along the Seine with Eiffel Tower in backdrop. It was perfect.

Back to the beginning

When it came time to start planning, Nick spear-headed the efforts for a destination wedding. They wanted to share their love of travel with their family and friends, and Ireland held a special place in their hearts. “We picked Ireland because Ireland was the very first place that we traveled together,” recalls Brittany. “We fell in love with the people, the food, and the beautiful countryside…most of our guests hadn’t traveled internationally before so we wanted their first experience to be inviting and positive.”

Brittany and Nick had their hearts set on a castle wedding from the get-go. On their site visit Adare was actually closed for renovations so they were looking at booking with their second choice. As the clock ticked and it became decision time, Adare opened just in time and the breathtaking renovations exceeded their expectations. “We got a call from our planner Sile saying that Adare had re-opened and it was stunning. So we put our faith in our planner and booked it without even seeing it! It was the best decision we ever made!”

The Details

Brittany conceptualized the overall theme and vibe of the day, merging historic castles and Irish ruins with the elegance of the ballroom and gorgeous jewel tones in “royal glam with a flare of bohemian and vintage edge.”  She’s a systems engineer specializing in machine learning and AI, specifically in retail and literally wrote a book on the subject (wow!) and used her skills to effect when planning her day! We’re completely in love with the color palette showcasing bold romantic garnet and ruby tones with pops of amethyst, sapphire blue, and romantic ivory.  Lots of fresh greenery livened the space and accent of gold elevated the design. Brittany brought in the vintage tones in her look, including  her stunning RIVINI gown and custom hand-embroidered and beaded belt that served also as her “something Irish” being made by Magnificence Bridal based in Ireland! Girl – we love a good pair of shoes and her Choos were S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G. But our favorite part has to be her gorgeous Maria Elena headpiece, beautifully echoing the bohemian and regal vibe with Swarovski crystals. Nick looked every part the handsome prince. Their spiritual ceremony was heavily bespoke, an emphasis on their vows that took on the theme of equality and marriage as a partnership. Their son also played an integral part in the day, reading a poem called “An Uncommon Love” and being bearer of the unity candle.  Bringing in a touch of Irish tradition via handfasting rounded out the emotional, meaningful wedding ceremony that was beautifully decorated with florals expertly prepared by Frog Prince. One of our favorite details included how Brittany and Nick beautifully honored her late father: she had a locket holding a picture of him so she could have him close the whole day, and saved a special seat during the ceremony — the photo speaks for itself.

As the guests enjoyed cocktails (open bar!), Brittany and Nick toured the castle grounds with their photographer Shane. An insanely gorgeous portrait session at the monastic ruins on site created some of the most breathtaking images we’ve ever seen. Call to dinner opened the doors into a ballroom lit with glistening crystal chandeliers and a full pop of jewel tone colors. Guests were invited to “find their face” to find their place — a cute DIY personalization Brittany created herself.

A Piece of Advice

“Make sure to set aside some time for yourself on the day. For Nick, it was the moment he had to himself before the wedding in the Tack Room. Brittany echoes the sentiment, recalling her time getting ready and spending the morning with her bridesmaids. It’s a great reminder to set aside some time for yourselves on the day to zen in. Also enjoy the planning process — do your research, start early and do a little at a time. I make one big decision every month!”

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