Crafting a Dream: My Journey Orchestrating an Irish Countryside Wedding

As a seasoned wedding planner, I have been privileged to create many unforgettable events. However, there is something particularly enchanting about working in the heartland planning an Irish countryside wedding. The wedding of Stephanie Weimer and David Greaney is one such gem in my portfolio.

When Stephanie and David approached me, they were clear about their vision: a wedding in Ireland. As David was a native, the allure of the lush Irish countryside won over Pittsburgh, the bride’s hometown. It was a decision I couldn’t have agreed more with – Ireland’s natural beauty is truly unmatched.

They had chosen Adare Manor (for a complete guide of Adare Manor – check out the blog post I wrote detailing every aspect of this stunning venue), a stunning neo-Gothic manor sprawling over 840 acres of verdant green in County Limerick. My familiarity with the venue and its staff was an advantage as we embarked on this journey. Throughout the process, I knew I had to be their eyes, ears, and voice, given the vast distance that separated us.

The Role of a Planner

Having been in this industry for years, I understand that wedding planning, particularly for a destination event, is about more than just creativity. It’s about managing logistics, making sound financial decisions, and knowing the local landscape to ensure the ideal Irish countryside wedding they were dreaming of. This is why, when Stephanie and David entrusted me with their special day, I was more than a planner; I was their advocate, making sure that every dollar of their budget was spent wisely.

My deep-rooted connections in the industry allowed me to recommend top-tier vendors whom I knew would deliver outstanding service. I took charge of communicating with them, providing regular updates to Stephanie and David over Zoom. Their trust in my expertise made the process seamless.

Juggling Currencies When Planning A Destination Wedding

Managing international payments can be a significant challenge for couples planning a destination wedding. This was true for Stephanie and David, too, as they had to make payments in both Euros and pound sterling. Recognizing this early on, David had the foresight to set up a Euro-based account, which made the transfer of payments much more straightforward.

Furthermore, we closely monitored currency exchange rates. When the exchange rate was in our favour, we made more substantial payments. Booking vendors two years in advance also played to our advantage, as we secured rates before the pandemic-induced price hikes took effect.

Visiting the wedding venue in person undoubtedly adds an extra layer of excitement to the planning process. Stephanie and David took two trips to Ireland, about eight and three months before the wedding, after securing all major vendors. The couple had the chance to dive into the fun details like food, wine, cake options, and more during these visits. “It was amazing,” Weimer recalls.


In consideration of their guests who had travelled, they filled the wedding weekend with various activities. From a bus trip to Doolin to a golf game and a falconry experience, there was plenty to explore. An itinerary was provided to guests, ensuring that they could make the most of their time in Ireland.

To prevent inundation with queries from guests, they provided a detailed FAQ on their wedding website, including COVID protocols. Also, they directed all questions and concerns to me, effectively delegating tasks and relieving the stress of constant communication. “I was able to actually breathe and enjoy and just take in the moment instead of stressing,” Weimer shares. A big plus for the couple when planning an Irish countryside wedding.

To create an authentic and unique ambience, Weimer worked closely with an event designer and florist. She desired a mood board reflecting the Irish countryside rather than cliche Irish aesthetics. She also incorporated elements of American flair and her Serbian heritage into the festivities.

In the days leading up to the wedding, the couple arrived a week early to adjust, visit family, and take care of final details. Amid all the hustle, they managed to steal a quiet moment for themselves, setting their stress aside and focusing on the essence of their journey – their love for each other.


If you are interested in reading more from the wedding parties’ perspective, check out this fabulous article on Conde Nast’s Traveler here.

The journey to Stephanie and David’s wedding was both challenging and rewarding. Together, we created a magical day that celebrated their love amidst the breathtaking beauty of the Irish countryside. This experience reaffirms the belief that despite the many challenges of planning a destination wedding, the joy of crafting a unique celebration of love is immeasurable.

Slán go Fóill,


Planner: Tara Fay Events | Photographer: Corbin Gurkin | Video: Reel Vision Films | Venue: Adare Manor | Designer: Garth Kelly | Florist: Amie Bone | Staging: Gorilla Design | Furniture: Total Event Rental | Stationery: Grosvenor Stationery Company | Music: ALR Music, The London Essentials, Mamisa String Quartet | Glam: David Cashman, Kate Best, Darren J Feeny, Care of Creatives | Dress & Groom’s Suit: Ralph Lauren

Make Your Irish Destination Wedding Stand Out

Planning a destination wedding is not for the faint of heart. In fact, it requires quite a bit of heart (and a fantastic wedding planner) to pull it all together. If you want to make your Irish destination wedding stand out, it’s truly all in the details. You’ll want to focus on personalisation and infusing your unique story and personality into every aspect of your wedding.

Start with Personal Details

Every couple has a unique story to tell; include it in the story of your wedding day.

  • Maybe it’s a location that holds significance to your family or to you as a couple. Maybe it’s where your grandparents met, where you had a special date, or simply a place that resonates with you.
  • When the day arrives, you can set up a display with photographs of important moments in your relationship, from the time you met to your engagement. This visual timeline can be a touching way to share your journey with your guests.
  • Write vows that reflect your past, present and future. Share anecdotes, promises, and aspirations that are uniquely yours.
  • Incorporate family heirlooms into your wedding attire or décor. This could be jewelry, a veil, or even a piece of fabric from a family member’s wedding attire.
  • Create a playlist of songs that are meaningful to you as a couple. Include both Irish tunes and songs that hold significance to your relationship.
  • Create decorations that reflect your personalities. This could be through personalized signage, table centerpieces that represent your hobbies or interests, or mixing in your favourite colours.

Stand Out with Cultural Elements

If you’ve travelled all this way, Ireland must hold a special place in the hearts of you and your partner. For this reason, incorporating Irish cultural elements will truly make your wedding standout.

  • Include Irish wedding traditions, such as the Claddagh ring, which represents love, loyalty, and friendship. A handfasting ceremony, where your hands are bound together with ribbon or rope, is a beautiful symbol of unity.
  • Traditional Irish music and dance will create the perfect ambiance. Consider having a traditional Irish band or dancers perform.
  • Irish folklore, phrases or blessings in your vows are a memorable way to honour the culture and traditions of the country.
  • Showcase Irish cuisine in your wedding menu. Incorporate dishes like colcannon, soda bread, Irish stew, and seafood. To make it personal, share stories about why certain dishes are meaningful to you.

Great Details Make Great Memories

There are many ways to make your Irish destination wedding stand out. Start with memories that will last a lifetime.

  • Engage your guests with interactive elements that showcase Ireland. You could have a whiskey tasting station, Irish dancing lessons, or a DIY station where guests can learn how to make traditional Irish crafts.
  • Offer guests wedding favours that are tied to Ireland. This could be local chocolates, miniature bottles of Irish whiskey, or small trinkets representing Irish culture.
  • Instead of a traditional guest book, have guests sign a map of Ireland or a piece of artwork that can be displayed in your home as a lasting memory of your special day.

Remember, it’s all in the details! It’s the personal touches that really create a memorable experience for you and your guests. By incorporating the unique aspects of your love of each other and of Ireland, your wedding will truly be a reflection of your journey together.

Slán go Fóill,


Images by Brett Harkness Photography, Brosnan Photographic, Under The Veil Weddings, Fred Marigaux Photography

A Dream Wedding at Killruddery House: Brett and Jos’ Unforgettable Day

Love, laughter, and cherished memories filled the air at this Killruddery House wedding in County Wicklow, Ireland, on June 4th, 2022. This historic venue provided the perfect backdrop for the long-awaited wedding ceremony of Brett and Jos. From their serendipitous meeting in 2016 to a heartfelt proposal in 2019, their journey led them to this picturesque moment of pure joy and celebration. Before diving in, if you are looking for more tips about planning a destination wedding at Killruddery (or Ireland in general), check out this blog I wrote detailing do’s and don’ts when wedding planning. And now, a little more about this wonderful couple that we adored working with. Brett and Jos, congratulations on your day and beautiful marriage too!

An Enchanting Proposal

Brett’s proposal to Jos was a culmination of careful planning and sentimental value. Having carried the ring for a year, he chose a breathtaking location—Jos’ family house on a dock overlooking the river. With the ring sparkling in his hand, Brett asked Jos to marry him, and she joyfully accepted. It was a heartwarming start to their future together.

The Welcome Party

Before the grand day, the couple hosted a welcome party at the whiskey distillery beside Powerscourt House. Their desire for a dynamic and vibrant evening led them to this unique location. The impromptu blue and white colour scheme added an unexpected charm to the event, and the couple couldn’t have been happier with the result.


Preparing for the Ceremony

On the wedding morning, Jos found herself surrounded by love and support as she got ready at Powerscourt Hotel. Accompanied by her closest friends and family, and with the talented David Cashman and Christine Lucignano by her side, she eagerly anticipated the momentous occasion. However, when it came time to get dressed, it was a quiet and intimate moment shared with her mother in one of the bedrooms before her Killruddery House wedding.

A Perfect Setting

As the ceremony began, guests were captivated by the ethereal beauty of the amphitheatre at Killruddery. Normally inaccessible during public tours, this secluded spot had hosted open-air operas in the past. With umbrellas at the ready for the unpredictable Irish weather, fortune smiled upon them with a clear sky. Also, an important feature included throughout the ceremony and reception was the use of ceramic swans (symbolic since they mate for life) at the request of the bride and groom.


The Ceremony Unfolds

Jos made her way to the ceremony, accompanied by her brother. The sound of a string quartet playing “You and Me” resonated throughout the gardens as she walked with grace and elegance. The couple’s commitment to ensuring their loved ones enjoyed the surroundings was evident, as each guest was served champagne on the way to the ceremony, adding an extra touch of celebration.

Personal Touches

Jos’ dress was an absolute stunner! She found it during a shopping spree with her mom in Florida, and it was a perfect match for the day. When it came to choosing an officiant & wedding planner, the couple wanted someone who truly understood them. They asked me and I gladly accepted the task, and the ceremony turned out to be everything they had imagined. They even incorporated an old Celtic tradition, binding their hands with a blue rope during the hand-fasting ceremony, inspired by their wedding invitations.

Ringing in Joy

As a sweet touch, each guest received a little bell tied with a blue ribbon. It’s an Irish tradition to ring bells at weddings to ward off evil spirits. As the ceremony ended, the sound of bells mingled with the quartet’s melodies, creating a symphony of joy. Brett and Jos couldn’t wait to move on to the cocktail reception and celebrate with their loved ones.

A Night of Fun and Elegance

The couple’s vision of a glamorous champagne coupe tower became a reality, with everyone enjoying the same champagne that had been a hit at Jos’ sister’s wedding, brought all the way from their parent’s home in France. London Essentials provided the perfect soundtrack during cocktails and dinner, setting a romantic and enchanting mood in the orangery. The flickering candlelight from the hand-dipped candles added an extra touch of magic. Any future weddings could not be more picturesque than this Killruddery House wedding.


If you are interested in reading more about this dreamy Killruddery House wedding, check out all the details and story coming very soon over at Over The Moon.

Slán go Fóill,



Killruddery House Team: Planner & Design: Tara Fay Events| Flowers: Mark Grehan | Candles & Tabletop: Tara Fay Events | Photography: Barry McCall | Video: Story of Eve | Stationery & Invites: TPD | Dinner Music & Sunday Music: London Essentials | Vintage Coach: Vintage Coaches | Ladies Activity: Orange Works | Mens Shooting: Courtlough Shooting Grounds | Late Music: Dj Gordo | Ceremony Music: Mamisa Strings | Music Rehearsal Dinner: Seaver Consulting | Venue Wedding: Merrion Hotel & MoLi | Venue Rehearsal Dinner: Powerscourt Distillery | Venue Lobster and Champagne: Lu Wicklow Polo Club | Hair: David Cashman | Makeup: Christine Lucignano | Cake: Claire Ann Taylor | Linens & Napkins: Bespoke Irish | Chairs: Total Event Rental | Plates: Maison Margaux | Glassware: Caterhire | Lighting:  Gorilla Design C29 | Catering Wedding Day: Killruddery House and Gardens | Catering Sunday Lobster Day: Claire Hanley

Enchanting Sicily: The Ultimate Sicilian Wedding Guide

The island of Sicily, nestled in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, offers the perfect backdrop for a romantic Sicilian wedding. You’ll not only find breathtaking landscapes, rich cultural history, mouthwatering cuisine, and luxurious resorts, Sicily is truly a dream come true for couples seeking an unforgettable wedding experience. We’ll explore two Belmond properties that provide perfect venues for your big day, Mount Etna experiences for your guests to enjoy the island, and share some travel tips to help you plan your perfect Sicilian wedding.

The Belmond Properties

I recently attended an Engage! event in Sicily that was hosted at the two Belmond properties below and wanted to feature them in this wedding guide as potential destination wedding venues because they are not only beautiful but really capture the essence of Italian culture.

Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea

Set on the dazzling shores of the Bay of Mazzarò, the Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea is a stunning 19th-century villa that exudes romance and luxury. Surrounded by lush, subtropical gardens, the villa offers an intimate and serene setting for your special day. Exchange vows on the private beach or in the fragrant gardens before dancing the night away under a canopy of stars. The experienced staff will take care of every detail, ensuring that your wedding is nothing short of magical.


Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo

Perched high above the town of Taormina, the Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo offers breathtaking views of the Ionian Sea and Mount Etna. This historic hotel, with its timeless elegance and charm, has been hosting lavish weddings and events for over a century. Choose from a variety of stunning venues, including the Ancient Greek Theatre, the terraced gardens, or the elegant ballroom. The professional team at the hotel will work tirelessly to make your wedding dreams come true.


Experiences for Guests to Enjoy

A trip to Sicily would not be complete without exploring the wonders of Mount Etna, Europe’s highest and most active volcano. With various experiences available, couples can choose to incorporate the majestic mountain into their wedding or honeymoon plans:

Mount Etna Wine Tour

Celebrate your love with a unique wine tour, exploring the slopes of Mount Etna. Visit local vineyards and wineries, where you can savor the distinct flavors of Etna’s volcanic terroir. This extraordinary experience allows you to immerse yourselves in the rich wine-making culture of the region while sampling some of the finest wines Sicily has to offer.
Visit a Film Location showcased on HBO’s White Lotus Series.
One of the show’s main filming locations was at Cefalù Beach. Cefalù is a northern Sicilian coastal town located about 2.5 hours from Taormina, one of the locations mentioned above. Cefalù and Taormina are also famous for their sandy beaches, and dramatic cliffs and even include a temple dedicated to the Roman goddess Diana.

Sunset Jeep Tour and Dinner

Take your wedding party on an exhilarating sunset jeep tour, traversing the diverse landscapes of Mount Etna. Witness the magnificent views of the sun setting behind the volcano before enjoying a gourmet dinner, prepared by a talented local chef, in the heart of the Etna National Park. This unique experience will leave your guests with memories they’ll cherish for a lifetime.

Travel Tips

Best Time to Visit

The ideal time to plan a Sicilian wedding is between May and June or September and October. During these months, the weather is mild, and the island is less crowded, allowing you and your guests to enjoy the beauty of Sicily without the summer tourist rush.


The island is well connected by air, with international airports in Palermo, Catania, and Trapani. For transportation within the island, consider renting a car, which offers the flexibility to explore the stunning landscapes at your own pace.

Language and Etiquette

Although Italian is the official language, Sicilian, a unique dialect, is widely spoken on the island. While many Sicilians, particularly in tourist areas, speak English, it’s always appreciated when visitors make an effort to learn a few basic phrases in Italian or Sicilian. Be mindful of local customs and etiquette, such as dressing modestly when visiting religious sites.

Local Expertise

Hiring a local wedding planner can make a world of difference when planning a destination wedding in Sicily. Their knowledge of the island, its vendors, and unique experiences will ensure your wedding is a seamless, authentic, and unforgettable celebration.

Sicily, with its breathtaking landscapes, enchanting venues, and rich cultural experiences, is the perfect destination for a dream wedding. The Belmond properties, Mount Etna experiences, and world-renowned cuisine will captivate your heart, leaving you and your guests with memories that will last a lifetime. Embrace the beauty of this enchanting island as you embark on your journey of love and commitment. With careful planning and the right guidance, your Sicilian destination wedding will be a truly unforgettable experience.

Experience Sicilian Cuisine

Sicilian cuisine is an essential aspect of the island’s culture and a must-try for couples celebrating their love. From traditional dishes like arancini and cannoli to fresh seafood, Sicilian food is a delightful fusion of flavors and influences. Ensure your wedding menu showcases the island’s culinary gems by working with your venue or a local catering company to create a bespoke menu that reflects the essence of Sicily.


If this blog doesn’t convince you, check out my blog featuring 5 different European wedding destinations worth considering as well.

Slán go Fóill,



Images by Belmond