Waterlily Weddings » weddings in Ireland planning packages


This week we’re continuing with Katie and Dan’s gorgeous wedding in Part 2: Luttrellstown Castle reception!  Their beautiful, simple ceremony was held in Kilruddery House & Gardens’ orangery room (see here for the post!). The natural light just poured through and cast an almost ethereal glow to the atmosphere that made for some stunning pictures beautifully captured by Bruno Rosa.  A light cocktail and nibbles reception followed immediately after, and guests got a chance to tour the Kilruddery and the gardens at a leisurely pace while Katie and Dan made their way over to nearby Luttrellstown Castle for some pictures.

Thankfully the weather stayed cooperative and the rain stood at a distance for a bit longer, allowing Katie and Dan to take some gorgeous photos on the castle’s expansive lawn and in and around the castle before their guests arrived.  We are so in love with the gorgeous floral arrangements by Bella Botanica — the purple shades mixed in with the gold accent made for an elegant presentation that still felt fresh and seasonal.  Katie and Dan continued their “elegant but relaxed” approach into their reception, offering a buffet of desserts and one one but three cakes for guests to choose from (instead of one traditional multi-tiered cake), and a colorful display of local cheeses, seasonal fruits, and much more for guests to enjoy throughout the later afternoon and evening. And the best part of the reception? The incredible pacing of events:  live music, Irish bands, Irish dancers, heartfelt speeches and Norwegian traditions, and ending with a glorious private fireworks show right outside on the castle’s grounds.

Romantic. Bold. Colorful. FUN. Everything you want in your dream destination wedding in Ireland.


A Fairy Tale Castle

“We chose Luttrellstown because it was a show-stopper,” says Katie. “It was the perfect setting for a romantic, show-stopping event, and was the perfect place for our day-after festivities.”  Luttrellstown Castle has many advantages for a venue. For one, it’s available (only) for exclusive hire, meaning you will have complete privacy for your event and more creative control over what you can feature not just for your wedding day proper, but throughout your stay. This really enables couples to completely customize their wedding experience, as Katie and Dan did, to provide a balance of comfort and activities to create a bespoke event for you and your guests that extends farther than when your reception ends.

Large, comfortable rooms conveniently located upstairs are wonderful if you’re planning to invite guests with smaller children (they can nap and be safely asleep for the night while the parents can go back downstairs to continue socializing). If you’re inviting older guests, there are plenty of quieter, relaxing rooms off the main dining room where they can get a break from the festivities. There are a few spaces that can be transformed throughout your days to host a variety of activities as Katie and Dan did, including a formal tea with proper authentic vintage china, lawn games, tastings, and much more.

It really is the perfect combination of relaxation and that ability to really customize your event to suit every detail and activity you want to create for your wedding celebration.

Knocking Their Socks Off

If there was an official theme for their wedding day for Katie and Dan, it’d be “we want to knock their socks off.”  They wanted to excite their guests from the very beginning, enticing them to make the trip to Ireland (for many of them it was not only their first trip to Ireland but to Europe!) and to make the overall experience an exciting one full of color and sounds and something new and amazing at every turn.

“Our reception was formal, so most guests wore long gowns and some of the men wore black tie (we did not require black tie as we did not want people to feel obligated to rent tuxedos since most were traveling overseas,” says Katie. The official dress code was:  “Castle Best” attire, and we absolutely love that.

Katie and Dan wanted to stun their guests as they entered into the castle. The venue is already naturally decorated with rich crown molding, antiques, gilded mirrors, and rich jewel tones, but the natural light that pours in allows for some ability to work within a more centralized color palette.  Katie and Dan chose to work with the elements the castle already had, and instead enhanced the look by focusing primarily on florals.  “We went to the nines on decorating every mantle in Luttrellstown,  a mixture of tall and short arrangements for the Kings Tables in the dining room, a mix of figs and dark grapes for our floral arrangements, loads of candles everywhere, and gold plating, glassware and flatware. The flowers were a mix of dark burgundy and purple hues with whites, creams and leafy greens…the results were stunning,” says Katie. Sylvia of Bella Botanica worked her magic bringing Katie’s vision to life.

The Details

Katie and Dan wanted a relaxed atmosphere in the more elegant upscale space at the castle. They chose to have a buffet of snacks including local farmhouse cheeses, fresh seasonal fruits, and a variety of desserts and delights for guests to munch on throughout the reception and afterward. In lieu of a traditional wedding cake, they instead chose to serve 3 individual cakes. They weren’t keen on the traditional cutting of the cake scene, so this worked perfectly with their preference to have one large dessert table for guests to enjoy. Confections included: Mr James Carrot Cake, Maple Chocolate Cake and Baxter Cake, meringue spinning tops with chocolate ganache in the centers, and loads of cookies and shortbread bars custom baked by Brown Hound Bakery. The perfect accompaniment? Irish tea of course! Served in antique vintage china provided by Mrs. Doyle’s Vintage China.

Also included for their wedding day was a special selection of brews. “Sullivans is a brewing company in Kilkenny and they recently opened their US headquarters in our hometown of Buffalo, NY. We had met their head brewer, Ian, at their opening in Buffalo and loved the beer on our first taste. We knew we had to have a keg of Sullivans at our wedding to bring our two ‘homes’ together!” In addition they served Guinness, Smithwicks, and ciders on tap.

Music played a central sub-theme throughout Katie and Dan’s wedding. Continuing the pace of the elegant string duo from the ceremony, the cocktail reception at the castle began with a trio playing lighter, fun music. This transitioned into a full swing band to get the guests dancing.  “We danced to U2’s “Every Breaking Wave,” which was the song Bono and Edge performed right after Bono announced our engagement. And then we decided to also dance to “We Can Work It Out” by the Beatles,” says Katie and Dan.  A DJ took over after dinner to really get the party going well into the night. And a surprise performance by professional traditional Irish dancers delighted the crowd to add that perfect Irish touch.  Everyone gathered outdoors for an amazing fireworks display, done right on the grounds of the castle…wow factor indeed.

As the DJ started to close his set around 2 in the morning, guests were invited into the library at Luttrellstown for a whiskey tasting including  Connemara 12 Year, Glendalough 13 Year, Midleton Very Rare, and Dingle Whiskey (first batch!). In our opinion, the perfect way to end an epic evening!

Special traditions

One of the bride’s best friends from school is from Norway. There is a custom at Norwegian weddings where any guest can go up to give a speech, tell a story or sing a song. Lizzy wrote and sang a song about her friendship with Katie; Lizzy’s husband Jan joined in about ¾ of the way through the song where he talked about coming into the picture and then how all four of them(Dan included) are close friends now. “It was the most tear-jerking, lovely, amazing moment of the evening. Everyone leaped from their seats in a standing ovation when they were done. It was incredible!”

Also a Norwegian tradition, but this was not planned in advance: when the groom leaves the room, the men get up one by one to kiss the bride. The same goes for if the bride leaves the room, the women go kiss the groom. “Dan left and I was smothered in kisses!” recalls Katie.  “I was smart enough after that to not leave the room so Dan didn’t have the chance to get any kisses himself (other than from me!).”

Favorite Part Of The Day

“We can’t choose!  We enjoyed literally every minute of the day. From one thing to the next, it all went beyond our wildest imagination of how well it could go. One moment was better than the next. It was also wonderful seeing everyone’s faces and reactions to everything we had planned. And it was soooo gratifying seeing it all come together after 2 years of planning!  The only thing is we wish we had hired a videographer. We thought it was maybe a bit cliché and that we wouldn’t watch that video; that was absolutely wrong! We would watch that video probably every week if we had it. We thought we were being smart by saving money, but that video probably would have captured things photos just can’t. It’s our only regret. Absolutely no other regrets otherwise – it was truly the most perfect day.”

A Bride’s Piece of Advice

“We made this more of a trip of a lifetime for our guests much more beyond the wedding day. And it was fabulous- people got to know one another well by the time we got to the wedding, they got to see and experience the best parts of Ireland so if they only had those 4 days, they still had a terrific experience….We really wanted to put on a truly unique celebration that people would never forget – not like any wedding they’ve been to. We did not want anything cookie cutter, and wanted to showcase only the best Ireland had to offer. I think we achieved it.

Have a vision and go for it. Don’t hold back. You won’t regret it – give yourselves and your guests a celebration to truly remember. And then once the planning is done, let it all go and really enjoy it.”

We couldn’t agree more!!

Katie and Dan – we are so in love with your wedding day and are so excited for your future together. For sure it will be a bright one with Katie’s infectious bright smile lighting the way. We love your energy, we love your sense of adventure and thirst to love and enjoy life, and thank you for letting us share your gorgeous wedding day that will no doubt help inspire other couples in planning their dream destination wedding in Ireland!



Venue:  Kilruddery House & Gardens  ·  Photography: Bruno Rosa Photography    ·  Planning  & Coordination:  Waterlily Weddings ·   Flowers:  Bella Botanica   ·  Stationary: The Wells Makery   ·  Dress:  Made by Anatomy (Buffalo, NY, USA)   ·   Accessories:  Alexis Bittar     ·  Groom: Bureau   ·  Accessories: Warby Park (glasses) ; Top Man (shoes)   ·  Music:  Jenny Dowdall  ·  Hair: Claire Barry   ·   Makeup: Sarah Golding   ·   Men Hair / Grooming: Men’s Grooming Ireland  ·  Rentals: Caterhire / Mrs. Doyle’s Vintage China  ·  Entertainment:  Celetic Rhythm Dancers  /   Velvet Lounge Band   ·  Bakery:  Brown Hound Bakery

For more details, vendor information, and help planning your dream destination wedding, contact us today!



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pintopinterestFar and away the biggest wedding Waterlily Weddings had the pleasure of planning and producing in 2017 was Katie and Dan’s incredible dream destination wedding in Ireland. And when we say “dream” we literally mean it was a “dream come true;”  expertly navigating through some of eastern Ireland’s most iconic venues and areas, Katie and Dan carefully orchestrated a wedding celebration spanning four days with each new sight and experience crescendoing to their wedding day.  We love how they not only embraced everything Ireland had to offer, but they took the elements that spoke to them and made it their own, creating a completely bespoke wedding event that reflected themselves and told their own unique story.

The entire event started off perfectly, with gorgeous custom-created invitations detailing not only the wedding day details, but the events guests could expect to enjoy throughout the four-day celebrations. “The invitations were by far what I focused on the most leading up to the wedding. It was our first introduction to our wedding that we had for our guests, and it needed to be spectacular – giving folks a full sense of what these four days were going to entail,” says Katie.  “I wanted our designer to create a wedding invitation package that, when people saw it, they couldn’t say no to.”

This wedding is so well done and packed with so  many gorgeous and inspiring details, we decided to break it up into two parts: Part 1 focuses on the ceremony. And we’re SO excited to finally be able to share with you some of the amazing details captured beautifully by the uber-talented Bruno Rosa.





How They Met

Katie and Dan met at a party Katie was co-hosting for her birthday back in 2010. Dan jokes he was the best birthday gift she’d ever gotten (we will agree!) Five years later — in the middle of opening a new office for the business, buying a new house, and getting an adorable labradoodle puppy named Ellie — Dan and Katie went up to Toronto for a U2 concert. They both love music and hadn’t seen U2 yet together, so they were both very excited.  Little did Katie know, Dan was in plans to propose…and this epic wedding had an equally epic engagement to live up to. Dan knew a guy who “knew a guy” who knew lead singer Bono, and asked if Bono would be able to help him out at the concert propose to Katie. At one point during the concert, Bono turned to the audience and said, “Somebody met somebody outside called Dan, and he wants to ask a girl called Katie to marry him here. So, I don’t know where you are but now’s the time to do it. This is definitively a weddings, funerals, bar mitzvahs moment. We’ve had enough of funerals, but we’re up for the bar mitzvah and we’re certainly up for the wedding.”  Dan then turned to Katie and said “Did you hear what he said?”  She didn’t actually…just heard some generic “Dan” and “wedding” and didn’t put two and two together. Dan asks again (this time more frantically):  “Did you hear what he said?!”  As it began to finally sink in, Katie began to realize slowly that she was the Katie and he was the Dan and he took something out of his pocket, got down on one knee, and asked Katie to marry him. Stunning into silence a second time, Dan prompted “Are you going to say yes?!” as the raucaus of the concert continued around them. Katie snapped back into it, screamed “YES!”, they hugged and kisses and everyone around them cheered and congratulated them. And thank goodness for technology because this amazing proposal was captured on video and now immortalized on YouTube!

Why Choose Just One?

With a wedding now to be planned, Katie and Dan wanted something equally impressive to match this proposal. They decided on hosting a destination wedding with their closest family and friends and Ireland quickly rose to the top of the list. Katie had visited Ireland a few times as a friend of hers lives in Kildare, and she knew it’d be a perfect place to host their wedding: most of their guests would be traveling to Europe for the first time and Ireland is a really easy first country to visit oversees. The language is English, it’s easy to navigate around, airports are easy, and the Irish people are the friendliest on the planet. Hosting it in Ireland was the perfect way to tie in the U2 connection as well.

Now it was a question of where in Ireland to host?! They knew they wanted to be on the eastern size of the island, but had trouble decided on the venues — there were so many perfect options, each beautiful with its own value brought to the table. After some talking Katie and Dan decided “why choose one?” and figured out a brilliant way to incorporate them all into a four-day long celebration exploring and enjoying Ireland. They began at Powerscourt House in Wicklow — a spectacular venue with incomparable grounds located in Wicklow, known as “the garden of Ireland.” The ceremony would then move to the Kilruddery House and Gardens for an open and bright bespoke ceremony. Then the festivities would move to the famous Luttrellstown Castle for an incredible dinner and celebration ending in a fireworks show!

It Began On A Bright Sunny Day…

… in July at Powerscourt House.  Two days into their Irish adventure, Katie and Dan were in the middle of a whirlwind trip exploring eastern Ireland. Dublin, pubs, sight-seeing, lots of music and laughs permeated throughout the last two days.  Katie woke in her gorgeous suite at Powerscourt with view overlooking the incredible garden outside in full summer splendor, a little tired but excited to get the day started.  Hair and makeup arrived and Katie enjoyed a couple of coffees as the guests leisurely went about the morning getting ready and enjoying the last moments on the grounds of the grand estate. She slipped into her custom-made Ali Eagen gown (Eli Eagen is the owner and head designer of Made by Anatomy), beautifully embellished to match the formal notes of the day but still comfortable enough to dance the  night away! She glowed as she made her way down and arrived at Kilruddery House and Gardens.

Katie and Dan opted for a simple ceremony presided “non-traditionally” over by their friend and chiropractor, Patrick. An ordained minister (via internet!), he enthusiastically kept the pace of the ceremony as the guests glowed in the soft light of the orangery. Katie and Dan aren’t particularly religious or traditional, so they chose to keep many of the elements (Irish and American) out of their ceremony, instead focusing it exclusively on what made sense and had meaning for them. To tie in the U2 element, Katie made her entrance to “All I Want Is You,” gorgeously interpreted by violin and cello.  Again, that  mix of modern with a traditional twist would be a theme we’d see throughout their wedding day.

The Details

The overall theme for Katie and Dan’s wedding day was to simply “blow everyone’s heads off.” They wanted to thank their guests for making the trip out by making sure every detail was attended to, that every thing they saw and tasted and heard and experienced was something memorable and special and worth the trip. We love how they structured the day of their wedding in particular. The morning began relaxed and comfortable. Guests were greeted with the incredible views and comfort Powerscourt House has to offer, instantly setting the right tone and mood for the day. Transportation was coordinated for everyone throughout the day, making it very easy for everyone to get from location to location on time and without hassle. Kilruddery is a beautiful venue with spectacular grounds — their ceremony was simple and heartfelt, true to them — and still worked in details to match the formality of the day. We love how they played with the formal vs casual throughout their wedding day, like string instruments playing pop songs for example. It’s the perfect way to express themselves but still be venue-appropriate. We love the unique details that really stood out:  her gorgeous Alexis Bittar emerald green earrings are a modern take and “something Irish” to add to the day that perfectly complimented Katie’s look and bouquet; we love the “I have found what I’m looking for” quote from U2 Dan had embroidered under his collar; even their beloved dog Ellie makes an important appearance on the invitations! These little personal touches worked seamlessly throughout their wedding design and was unique to them and their story. Perfect!

Katie and Dan chose to host a small reception immediately after the ceremony right on the grounds of Kilruddery — we love the bright and flavorful appetizers, refreshing drinks, and we love how they served a mixture of Irish beers and whiskey and brought some from home! “Sullivans is a brewing company in Kilkenny and they recently opened their US headquarters in our hometown of Buffalo, NY. We had met their head brewer, Ian, at their opening in Buffalo and loved the beer on our first taste. We knew we had to have a keg of Sullivans at our wedding to bring our two ‘homes’ together!”

After the reception and some pictures, everyone made their way over to Luttrellstown Castle in nearby Castleknock.  Please join us next week for Part 2 of this incredible wedding, where we see gorgeous floral arrangements in the castle, probably the best dessert table in history, and end with a spectacular fireworks show!

Please check out some more gorgeous pictures of the first half of their wedding day, including some shots of Kilruddery House, more detailed shots of their amazing invitations, and more. See you next week!


Venue:  Kilruddery House & Gardens  ·  Photography: Bruno Rosa Photography    ·  Planning  & Coordination:  Waterlily Weddings ·   Flowers:  Bella Botanica   ·  Stationary: The Wells Makery   ·  Dress:  Made by Anatomy (Buffalo, NY, USA)   ·   Accessories:  Alexis Bittar     ·  Groom: Bureau   ·  Accessories: Warby Park (glasses) ; Top Man (shoes)   ·  Music:  Jenny Dowdall  ·  Hair: Claire Barry   ·   Makeup: Sarah Golding   ·   Men Hair / Grooming: Men’s Grooming Ireland


to be continued….


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When pouring over our weddings in the latter half of 2017 I instantly stopped when I got Kelly and Adam’s gallery from their September elopement in Donegal. Absolutely stunning doesn’t begin to describe it. We’ve often talked here on the blog about how varied the geography can be in Ireland, and how we encourage couples to take advantage of that when deciding on their dream location. We love that Kelly and Adam decided to go into the north and have their ceremony atop the cliffs in Horn Head. We love their laid-back approach, allowing for the day to unfold itself and taking the time to really enjoy every moment.  The day started off cloudy and rainy but per usual, the skies parted just in time for the ceremony to take some spectacular pictures atop the cliffs, countryside’s edge, and even the sandy beach below!  Add to that a gorgeous dress, stunning bouquet, and incredible photographs captured by the super-talented Paula O’Hara  and you have the makings of one spectacular, inspiring elopement.


Kelly and Adam met about ten years ago back in university. They were placed in the same dormitory and on the same floor, becoming fast friends. Kelly and Adam knew always knew they didn’t want a large wedding,  envisioning instead a romantic adventurous elopement someplace beautiful. When they started discussing locations, Adam suggested Ireland.  Kelly is Irish — her parents immigrated from West Cork — and she spent many summers of her childhood in Ireland. He’d been before and they both knew how beautiful it was. But they still wanted to preserve that intimacy and “low-key-ness” of eloping. So they set their sights north of the Kerry and Cork area, and upon their photographer Paula’s recommendation, settled on Horn Head!  We can’t agree more that it was a wonderful decision!


In Gaelic it’s Corrán Binne (“Hollow in the Hills”) and from the pictures you can see why. Horn Head sits on a peninsula in Donegal in North Western Ireland, around the Sheephaven Bay. This part of Ireland is considered one of the most beautiful:  there’s a sense of absolute freedom here, of expanse, and an unmistakable connection to Ireland’s rich ancient past. The area is dotted with stone circles, stone tombs, markings etched by the ancient Celts dating back to the Stone Age. It’s really a spectacular and very special place where the adventurous side of Ireland is palpable. The cliffs rise spectacularly high — enough to rival (and in parts surpass) their famous cousins the Cliffs of Moher — offering the same incredible vantage point and incredible backdrop but with less tourists to contend with. Another striking feature you’ll be surprised to find are the white sandy beaches! Depending on the time of year, the hills rolling back from the sea are impossibly green and dotted with white-washed farm houses, wild horses, and of course, fluffy white sheep. The mix of history with a sleepy countryside demeanor make this part of Ireland irresistibly charming and magical, a perfect setting for Kelly and Adam’s elopement.


Kelly and Adam wanted a simple ceremony based on the humanistic tradition (as both aren’t very religious), one that honors the natural world as enough to be revered in its own right.  Theirs was structured around ancient Ireland, the elements, and traditional blessings. Instead of exchanging rings they opted for the Celtic handfasting tradition. Beautiful poetry and an Irish harpist helped round out the details to create the perfect bespoke ceremony that honored both their beliefs and style. Thankfully the ceremony was  on the shorter side as the wind kicked up and it got colder with the clouds rolling back in!

They then joined their photographer Paula for some gorgeous photos exploring the area in and around Horn Head. After, they sought refuge from the cold wind in the local pub and warmed up with a Hot Toddy and pint of Guinness.  The owner of the pub even let Adam pour his own official Guinness and then surprised the couple with a bottle of prosecco to celebrate!  That evening they returned to their hotel and enjoyed a delicious private dinner with more incredible views in the north as they recalled their favorite parts of their dream wedding day!


We love how effortless and casual Kelly and Adam’s elopement was. There was a sense of ease and just “letting go” of micromanaging the smaller details  that enabled them to really embrace the day and live in every moment of it. That in turn made for exquisite pictures — you can see how present they are and how they are absorbing the area, the ceremony, being their together, and really relishing in every sense of the whole day.  We love how they relaxed at a local pub and just took it all in together. Their day was  simple without a lot of pomp and circumstance, staying true to their personalities and comfort zone.  It really is a textbook example of how you can plan your elopement to Ireland, but to remember to allow yourself that freedom to enjoy the free-flow schedule of the day and really embrace every moment to let it all sink in.


We absolutely love Kelly’s BHLDN dress — suits her form perfectly, compliments the terrain, gives off that sense of formality and elegance but offsets within that rugged terrain just exquisitely. We are obsessed with her blue plaid shawl and find that just a lovely detail that really popped in pictures and worked with everything. Hair, make up, THE SHOES …. everything just wonderfully coordinated and executed. Adam made the classically handsome groom to Kelly’s beautiful Irish bride. And the bouquet is exquisite — expertly prepared by Paula — the colors coordinate just perfectly with the colors of the natural backdrop in Donegal and the hints of soft pinks and pops of orange play off of Kelly’s look just beautifully.  We also love the wine box!  Kelly and Adam each wrote notes to each other and slipped them into a wooden box along with a bottle of wine and nailed it shut. The box is supposed to be opened during their first fight or first year anniversary — which ever comes first! — and enjoyed while reading the notes they wrote on their wedding day. Love that tradition!

Kelly and Adam — congratulations on a flawless elopement! We find it so inspiring and wish you a lifetime full of joy and lots of wine to cheers your beautiful life together!


Location: Horn Head, Donegal ·  Photography & Florals: Paula O’Hara   ·  Planning & Coordination: Waterlily Weddings   ·  Dress & Accessories:  BHDLN   ·  Shoes: Rachel Simpson   ·  Hair: Rossano’s   ·  Makeup: Kerry Harvey

Favorite Part of the Day: “Laughing a lot together…just walking around the beautiful mountains in the wind, laughing and taking pictures. We kept trying to open a bottle of prosecco and failing and our hair was all over the place in the wind…it made for a pretty comical adventure. Having the hot toddy to warm up and just looking at each other and enjoying every moment made the day.”

Bride’s Piece of Advice: “Do what’s right for you! Don’t worry too much about other people. If they  love you, and see that you’re happy, they’ll come around, regardless of how you decide to spend your day.”

Parting Thoughts: “Everything went off without a hitch. It was really everything we could hope for and more. Michelle did such an incredible job with the planning and details and working with Paula was an absolute blast!”


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