Traditional Tartan Belleek Castle Wedding | Patti & Dom

This Belleek Castle wedding was one of my favourite kinds of destination weddings! The gorgeous American couple, Patti and Dom, chose Ireland as the location for their big day to honour their shared Irish heritage. Both of their families emigrated from County Mayo to the United States, and so it was only fitting that their big day took place at a castle venue in the same county. It’s a privilege to reconnect couples like this one to the culture and traditions of Ireland, and this heritage was the inspiration for all their wedding details and design.

Another very special element of the wedding is how Patti and Dom met. Both of them have a background in law enforcement and Dom is a bagpiper with the NYPD Pipes & Drums while Patti is a tenor drummer with the Cleveland Police Pipes & Drums. The two became friends through the close bond the two pipe bands share and their annual meeting at the Greater Cleveland Peace Officers Memorial Tattoo. One day, friendship turned to romance and the rest, as they say, is history!


Belleek Castle is a fairytale venue in the west of Ireland that has won multiple awards for its food and service, as well as ‘most romantic castle’. With a site dating back to the early 15th century, the Neo-Gothic castle is nestled in 200 acres of scenic woodland and gardens just outside Ballina in Co. Mayo. As Patti and Dom’s wedding took place during COVID, they had a limited guest list, with 22 friends travelling to Ireland to join them for the big day. Belleek Castle caters for both larger and more intimate wedding parties, and the atmospheric medieval-style Great Hall, with its open fire and intricate wood panelling, provided the perfect backdrop to the couple’s reception.


The Belleek Castle wedding ceremony took place in the restored 19th century stables, a beautifully rustic space which we decorated with candles and greenery that complemented the bride and groom’s attire. Both Patti and Dom wore the Co. Mayo tartan, which had featured on their invitations. Dom and his groomsmen opted for traditional kilts while Patti had the tartan incorporated on the hem and buttons of her dress. The couple had a traditional handfasting ceremony – another tribute to their Irish heritage.


We also used the Co. Mayo tartan as the inspiration for the reception design. A long banqueting table was draped in emerald green, with a tartan runner and dozens of smaller arrangements of traditional Irish flowers and greenery, as well as tall red, gold, and white taper candles. Guests were seated on red velvet chairs, and each found their menu and napkin tied with a tartan ribbon. It was a regal setting, befitting the incredible cuisine served up by the Belleek Castle kitchens!


Here’s what Patti had to say about her experience of working with Tara Faye Events for their Belleek Castle wedding:

“Invest in a wedding planner! I am the ultimate convert to this. I cannot recommend Tara Fay and her staff enough. Do yourself a favour and do this! Weddings and events are their profession, Tara guided us through so much that we never even dreamt of. We would have been lost without her knowledge and contacts.”

Congratulations again, Patti and Dom! I like to think that your Irish ancestors were smiling down on us – and that we did them proud!

Slán go Fóill,


Planner: Tara Fay Events | Venue: Belleek Castle | Transportation & Logistics: Ireland Chauffer Travel | Stationery: Lucky Onion | Groomsmen’s Kilts: Corless Formal Wear | Groom’s Kilt: USA Kilts | Dress: A.Daley Bridal | Whiskey Tasting: Connacht Distillery | Bridal Party Gifts: Olde Shillelagh Stickmakers | Luggage Tag Favors: Currys Leather on Etsy


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10 Reasons to Have a Destination Wedding in Ireland
7 Irish Wedding Traditions to Include in Your Destination Wedding
Castle Weddings in Ireland: Best Venues & Planning Tips

Why Europe is the Hottest Destination Wedding Location for Americans in 2023

When COVID put a halt to travel in recent years, many American couples had to re-evaluate their dream of a destination wedding and turn to venues and locations closer to home. Fortunately, for those who love to explore new places, the world has (mostly) opened up again. Destination weddings are a hot trend for 2023, especially in Europe. In fact, US couples are flocking across the ocean to say “I do” in venues from French châteaux to romantic Irish manor houses. With its stunning landscapes, diverse cultures, and welcoming atmosphere, it’s no wonder the continent is a prime destination wedding location for Americans. And, of course, Ireland is one of the most desirable spots for many of them to tie the knot.

But what makes Europe (and Ireland in particular) such a hot destination wedding location for Americans? Here are just three of the top reasons.

Spectacular scenery. From the towering heights of the Alps to the picturesque beaches of the Mediterranean, Europe offers a variety of breathtaking backdrops for your special day. Whether you want to get married in a fairy-tale castle in the Irish countryside, atop a craggy mountain peak, or on a beach in Portugal or the Greek Isles, Europe provides the perfect scenery for your perfect day.

Ireland is a beautiful destination wedding location for Americans looking to tie the knot overseas. Our natural landscape is a sight to behold! Green rolling countryside, majestic coastal cliffs with views of the Atlantic Ocean… there’s no shortage of striking natural beauty that will provide the perfect backdrop for your special day.

st. patrick’s day wedding ideas handfasting ceremony

Rich culture. No matter which part of Europe you choose, you’ll find a rich and diverse history to explore. What could be more special than hosting your big day in a castle that has seen feasts and celebrations for centuries, or incorporating local traditions and food that will delight your guests?

The culture and cuisine of Ireland are second to none. From traditional Irish music to the best in modern Irish cuisine, the Emerald Isle provides an unforgettable experience for you and your guests. In fact, many American couples opt to wed in Ireland due to the country’s strong connection to their own heritage, which makes a destination wedding in Ireland even more meaningful.

Best of Ireland over a Wedding Weekend: the Cliffs of Moher

Romantic honeymoons. Another factor that makes Europe an amazing choice is that it’s a great place to honeymoon. Whether you’re looking for winter skiing or sun-soaked summer days on the Mediterranean, you’ll find it on the continent. Not to mention all the most iconic and romantic cities in the world, such as Paris, Venice, Vienna, and Barcelona. Your European honeymoon will be just a short trip from whichever wedding location you choose, allowing you to easily explore the continent together. (And your guests will be able to do the same!)

Ireland is not only easy for Americans to access, but it’s also an easy gateway to explore the rest of Europe. Ireland has five international airports, making it simple to access countries like Italy, Spain, Greece, and Croatia. An Irish honeymoon is also a great option, with lots of romantic sites across the island to explore!

With all of these advantages and more, it’s no wonder that Europe is the destination of choice for 2023! Whether you choose to wed in Ireland or any other part of Europe, it will be a day and a trip you’ll never forget.

Slán go Fóill,


Images by Lisa O’Dwyer Photography