Festive 3-Day Merrion Hotel Wedding | Ellen & Geoff

Ellen and Geoff’s Dublin Merrion Hotel wedding was definitely one for the books! What made their nuptials even more special was that the way they came together after two long years of COVID cancellations – in fact, this couple had no less than five wedding dates! When restrictions finally eased, they were able to turn their Christmas micro-wedding into a full-blown multi-day celebration, which is where Tara Faye Events came into the picture. And celebrate they did! The three days of posh parties included a rehearsal dinner at Michelin-rated Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, a ceremony at Dublin’s famed Newman University Church followed by cocktails at the historic Museum of Irish Literature, dinner and dancing at the gorgeous five-star Merrion Hotel, and a grand finale blow out bash at city hotspot, The Grayson. There were Christmas trees, twinkling lights and candles on every table, but really, it was Ellen and Geoff’s smiles that lit up every room. ‘Twas the season to be merry – and married!

The happy couple met a decade ago at a rugby club ball, when Ellen introduced herself to a handsome stranger on a dare. They started dating and, after taking a break a few years later, were brought back together by rugby once again after a world cup match in Cardiff. It was clear that their love hadn’t faded in their time apart and the rest, as they say, is history.

One of the things that I loved about this wedding was the parade of bridal fashion that Ellen wore throughout the three days of events. The highlight of course was the couture Vivienne Westwood dress and overskirt she donned for the wedding itself. Later, at their Merrion Hotel wedding reception, she switched out her veil for a headpiece, her Jimmy Choos for Louboutins, and her formal gown for a party dress! For the Day 3 event, there was a second, shimmery party dress and custom ABC Dior shoes. And of course, the groom looked equally stylish in his custom velvet tux. What a fabulous pair they made!

The ceremony was filled with special, sentimental details and moments. Ellen and Geoff chose the Newman University Church as it was where the bride made her communion and confirmation, and always pictured herself walking up the aisle. When the big day arrived, she did so to the strains of Nella Fantasia, beautifully sung by talented family friend, Sean Boylan. Another special touch was the silk ribbon that tied the bridal bouquet, which was calligraphed with a phrase special to the couple as well as the words: ‘worth the wait’.

There’s something magical about a Merrion Hotel wedding at any time of year, but at Christmas that magic is amplified tenfold. It’s not just the garlands of greenery decking its Georgian façade, the twinkling of lights on Christmas trees or the elegance of the Merrion’s reception rooms. There’s a particular warmth and intimacy you feel here. To elevate this even further, we added special touches like flowers running the length of the staircase, personalised ornament favours, and touches of festive red, gold, and green intertwined with cool pastels. It created a wonderful atmosphere, further enhanced by the roaming band during dinner, which kept things lively!

For the after party, we also lined the stairs with blooms, and created experiential balloon installations which filled the windows and walls at The Grayson and made for a truly festive atmosphere. It was a party that the couple and their guests won’t soon forget!

Here’s what the bride and groom had to say about working with Tara Faye Events for their Merrion Hotel wedding:

“If I can share one recommendation with you and you have the means to do so. I couldn’t possibly recommend Tara Fay and her team any higher. If you are considering an Irish destination wedding, hire her! Tara and her team were invaluable throughout our short time planning our wedding together and they were utterly indispensable throughout our wedding weekend.”

Congratulations again, Ellen and Geoff! I’m so happy we were able to turn your long-awaited dream wedding into a reality!

Slán go Fóill,


Planner & Designer: Tara Fay Events | Rehearsal Dinner Venue: Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud | Ceremony Venue: Newman University Church | Drinks Reception Venue: MoLI (Museum of Literature Ireland) | Dinner + Dancing Reception Venue: Merrion Hotel | After Party Venue: The Grayson | Photographer & Videographer: Story of Eve | Stationery: Keady Row | Cake: Cove Cake | Linens: Total Event Rental | Napkins: Just 4 Linens | Chargers: White House Crockery | Balloons: Confetti Balloons | Cocktail Reception Catering: Feast Catering | Bridal & Merrion Florist: Fleur Weddings | Church & MoLI Florist: Bella Botanica Flowers | Church Music: Sean Boylan, Palestrina Children’s Choir | Roaming Band: Barberpop | DJ & Band: Riff Shop | Magician: Steve Spade | Local Transport: Dublin Chauffer Services | Getaway Car: Cassidy Chauffers | Christmas Bauble Place Names: Calligraphy by MCW | Bride’s Dresses (Rehearsal Dinner & Party Dresses) & Bride’s Veil: Emma Beaumont Design | Bride’s shoes (Rehearsal Dinner): Manolo Blahnik | Bride’s Robe: Gilda & Pearl via Harrods | Bride’s Sunglasses: Linda Farrow | Bride’s Dress & Couture Overskirt: Vivienne Westwood via The White Gallery | Bride’s Shoes (Wedding Day): Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin | Bride’s Headpiece: FAO Millinery | Makeup Artist: Christine Lucignano | Hair: Matthew Feeney | Groom’s Custom Tux: Paul Henry Tailoring | Groom’s Shoes: Hugo Boss | Bridesmaid Dresses: Jenny Yoo via The Suite | Bridesmaid Shoes: LK Bennett | Groomsmen: Next | Bride’s Caplet: Marina Rinaldi | Bride’s Shoes (Post-wedding Celebrations): Custom ABC Dior


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Place Setting Ideas to Inspire Your Wedding Tables

If you’re having a sit-down meal at your wedding reception, then deciding on a look for your place settings is a key part of the overall design and you’re probably on the lookout for place setting ideas you love. Designing a table setting is so much more than just about providing people with plates, glassware, and utensils. It’s also about adding texture, dimension, and playful details in a way that’s tangible and personal to each guest. After all, it’s right in front of them! So if there’s one wedding detail you want to get right, this is it. With so many options you can mix and match for each element, it’s like creating a little work of art.

Of course, I’ve created hundreds of place settings for weddings and other events over the years, but each one had a distinct style and personality. Here are just a few of my favourite place setting ideas to inspire your own wedding tables!

garden wedding table décor

To create an elevated garden feel, this table was decorated with botanical-patterned linens, featuring ferns and butterflies, and green and plum glassware that picked up the colours of the beautiful floral arrangements. For a rustic touch, we used emerald burlap to wrap the napkins and tucked a little fern leaf into each one. Bamboo flatware and small patterned plates added visual interest.

Place Setting Ideas

This table was all about old world glamour! Classic white plates and silver dinnerwear was set atop a lace tablecloth, while crisp linen napkins were rolled and held with pearl encrusted rings. If you’re looking for place setting ideas for a wedding with a vintage touch or a bit of Gatsby glam, this is a great place to start!

Place Setting Ideas

For this destination wedding in Ireland, we used modern transparent charger plates on charcoal silk linens, with the femininity of blush napkins and romantic floral stationery adding both contrast and balance. Metallic accents on the plates and glassware added a sophisticated touch.

toile napkins with velvet ribbon

Patterned blue china or Toile de Jouy fabrics really pop on a wedding table. You don’t have to limit yourself to one pattern either. For this gorgeous garden wedding, we used Toile napkins with matching menus and placed them on plates with a complementary green leaf pattern. The napkins were tied with a velvet ribbon hand calligraphed with each guest’s name, which also matched the soft blue-grey velvet tablecloths.


Looking for place setting ideas for a European wedding? This table design drew on both French and Irish influences. The wooden tables were set with rich jewel-tone elements in emerald, deep blue, and copper. Blue leaf patterns on the plates (which also had an unusual scalloped shape) played up the organic nature of the arrangements, while hand lettered place cards and menu cards added an extra special touch.

emerald pattern china for Irish destination wedding

Sometimes all it takes is a few clever ideas to elevate a place setting from simple to unique. Guests at this wedding sat down to pretty green and white patterned plates that were a nod to the Irish wedding location, with velvet tablecloths for a bit of luxe. The place names were all inside jokes between the couple and their guests, which is the kind of personal touch that really makes your tables memorable!

Place Setting Ideas

This table was a gorgeous mix of luxury and heritage with a rustic flavour and bright pops of colour! I loved how the plates worked with the strawberries placed on each one as well as the gold flatware that flanked them. And of course, the orchid napkin ties were immediate attention grabbers! All of this worked beautifully on a raw wooden table with a raw silk runner.

These are just a few place setting ideas to get you feeling inspired, but of course we create a custom design for every wedding and event. Get in touch to find out more about working with me!

Slán go Fóill,


Images by Lisa O’Dwyer Photography, Story of Eve, Photogenic Photography, Paula O’Hara Photography, Doreen Kilfeather, DK Photography, Brosnan Photographic,

How to Set a Wedding Tabletop

“Details create the big picture,” said Sanford I. Weill. That’s certainly true when it comes to your wedding design, especially that of the tabletop at your reception. An innovative tabletop design will really make your wedding stand out, whether it’s through a unique colour palette, unexpected shapes and textures, creative stationery, gorgeous florals, or personal elements. But before you can get creative, it’s important to have a complete understanding of the basics – the building blocks of how to set a wedding tabletop. Whether your setting will be formal, casual, or somewhere in between, here’s everything you need to know about how to set a wedding tabletop that will wow your guests.

Here are the most important elements to consider.


Think of linens as the base of your wedding tabletop setting. They create a backdrop for all the other elements. Wedding linens typically include tablecloths, table runners, and napkins. These can match or be complementary, which can add additional dimension to the design. You can keep them clean and classic with fine white linen tablecloths or introduce colour, pattern, or texture through different types of fabric. (For example, velvet tablecloths for a winter wedding, a raffia runner for a tropical destination wedding, or an airy silk runner to add romance to a formal tabletop.) Another option is to have a raw wooden table without a tablecloth or runner if you want to create a rustic effect. (In this case, it’s the absence of linens that makes the statement!) Whatever effect you want to create, linens are one of the best ways to add colour and personality to your design.

fern tied with burlap napkins place setting

Place Settings

The place settings are where a lot of the formality of your tabletop will come into play, as it reflects the food service style you have chosen. For example, a traditional sit-down meal might have a formal setting with a strictly symmetrical layout and the full range of utensils. On the other hand, a buffet setting will not have a plate (since this will typically be on the buffet table) and sometimes will not have cutlery either, for the same reason. The basic elements of your place setting will often be provided by your venue. However, you may want to bring in alternative pieces to change up the overall look and match it to your colour scheme or theme.

Place settings generally include the following:

  • Chargers – A plate that is larger than a standard dinner plate and is used primarily as a decorative element. Chargers are a great way to add colour and personality, especially since they stay on the table as different courses come and go. They are usually removed when the dinner course is served.
  • Crockery – Plates that are usually used on a wedding tabletop are dinner plates, salad plates, and bread (or side) plates. Depending on the food served, other bowls and platters may also be added.
  • Cutlery – An informal place setting will usually just have a dinner knife and fork, a salad knife and fork, a soup spoon and a dessert spoon. However, you may also have additional utensils, such as a fish knife and fork, dessert fork, etc. The rule is that you should only include cutlery that will be used. The other important thing to note in a formal place setting is that utensils are arranged in the order guests will use them, working from the outside in. Cutlery can be another way to add a unique touch. For example, black or matte gold flatware for a modern design or vintage cutlery for an elevated, old world feel.
  • Glassware – Glasses should always go above the knives on the upper right of the place setting. Depending on formality, you might include water, red wine, white wine, and champagne glasses. Again, glasses can be used to add personality, tone, and even colour to your tabletop design!

Museum of Literature Ireland wedding table décor


Next is one of my favourite parts of tabletop styling, the flowers! There are SO many options, from elaborate tall arrangements to blooms in individual bud vases and low, structured designs. Depending on your theme, you can also get creative with the vessels you use, as well as additions like fruit, feathers, foliage, dried pods and grasses, branches, and so on.


Your tabletop stationery can be as simple or as elaborate as you like. Some of the key elements are menus (one per table or one per guest), place cards, and table name/number cards. You can also add in personal elements, such as conversation starter cards or activity packs for children. Handdrawn calligraphy is always a gorgeous addition and can be used to turn anything from ribbons and tags to shells and geodes into place ‘cards’ that reflect your wedding style.

purple flowers for reception


Whether you have low pillar candles, decorative votive or hurricane lamps, or traditional candelabras with tall taper candles, they’re sure to add personality (and sometimes, scent or colour) to your table. Some venues don’t allow candles, but a similar cosy ambience can be created in other ways, especially with creative lighting.


Favours are a great way to show appreciation for your guests, but they can also be a cute way to add visual interest or a thematic element to your table! Place them on top of guests’ plates or beside their place cards for the most impact.

Of course, there’s more to how to set a wedding tabletop than just knowing which elements go into the design. But this is the very best place to start! Next, let your creativity run wild and see where it takes you!

Slán go Fóill,


 Images by Fred Marigaux, Story of Eve, Doreen Kilfeather, DK Photography