Aimee & Adam’s Ashford Castle Wedding

Long before Aimee and Adam shared their first dance as husband and wife during their enchanting Ashford Castle wedding, they were teenagers meeting for the first time at Theatre Club in Dublin. The two playfully competed over who was more flexible (Aimee won) and an instant friendship blossomed, followed by romance, when the two began dating a couple years later. From there, Aimee and Adam navigated life: college, new jobs, new friends, their “dog child”, and travelling the world. They grew up together; it only made sense to grow old together, too.

So, at a view point between Adam’s family cabin and Ashford Castle in County Mayo, overlooking Lough Na Fooey, Adam caught Aimee off guard when he asked a very important question. After 11 years together, Adam and Aimee were finally engaged and they knew exactly where they wanted to host their big day.

In the 1960’s, Adam’s grandfather bought a cottage in Joyce Country for his family to spend some time away from the city. Adam’s fondest childhood memories centre around the cottage, and when Aimee was introduced to the area she fell in love with the beauty of County Mayo and was thrilled to learn she had family connections there, as well! “Ashford Castle represents the history and beauty of this area,” says Aimee. “It was an easy decision to get married in this stunning venue.” And just like that, the date was chosen, the invites were sent, and shortly after, the day arrived!

One of Aimee’s favourite memories of the day was eating breakfast, relaxing and getting ready with her girls before the ceremony. It was a special time of bonding and toasting the day to come. When it was time to get ready, each bridesmaid wore a dress from Covet.

Yet another easy decision was the time of year the couple wanted to say their vows. “Autumn is our favourite time of year,” says Aimee. Flowers in every autumnal colour adorned the wedding, bridesmaids wore gorgeous dresses to match their bouquets, and the entrance to the ceremony was even decorated with fall foliage and gourds.

 

As the ceremony grew closer, Aimee was ready. “I wasn’t nervous at all. I knew everything was being taken care of,” Aimee says. “Tara was able to get to know our personalities, our likes and dislikes, our values… and produce a wedding that was even better than our wildest dreams.” At St Mary’s Church, an historic church just off the castle grounds, guests were gathering and preparing for Adam and Aimee’s walks down the aisle.

One of Adam’s favourite memories from the day was watching Aimee walk down the aisle. His second favourite memory was their first dance.

The groom and groomsmen got their suits from Louis Copeland & Sons. Inside each suit, Adam and Aimee had created personalised designs to match each groomsmen. Inside Adam’s suit were bikes to represent his love of cycling.

With the ceremony complete, Aimee and Adam moved on to the reception where they were a special surprise was in store. “A friend of the family surprised us with waiters who transformed into opera singers midway through dinner,” says Aimee. “We were so shocked, but it was absolutely brilliant and amazing to be surprised at your own wedding!”

Boasting a surprise of their own, each guest found a personalised picture and note waiting for them at their seat in The George V Dining Room. “Watching them find and seeing their reactions was really special,” says Aimee.

 

With two full time jobs and the inability to spend every extra moment planning a wedding, Aimee and Adam say they knew from the start they wanted to hire a wedding planner. “Wedding planning is such a daunting task, without a planner we wouldn’t have known where to start,” says Aimee. “Our wedding day was one of the most important days in not only our lives, but the lives of our immediate families and we wanted it to be the best it could possibly be for everyone involved.”

Something that warms this planner’s heart? Aimee and Adam say there is nothing they would have done differently. “From going on a run to shake off the nerves first thing in the morning, to bringing our dog with us, to hiring the most incredible vendors,” says Aimee, “There is nothing we wouldn’t do exactly as we did it.”

From the incredibly grounds of Ashford Castle to the reception surprises to the very special love between Adam and Aimee, this won’t be a wedding I soon forget. I was honoured to plan such a special day and wish you two the very best of luck in life (and on your honeymoon in Kenya and the Seychelles)!

Enchanted as I am by this incredible event at Ashford Castle? Learn everything you need to know here: Ashford Castle Wedding Venue: A Complete Guide

Slán go Fóill,

Tara

Event Planner: Tara Fay | Venue: Ashford Castle |  Photography: Peter Carvill Photography| Videography: Dream Catcher Productions| Invitations: Sarah O’Dea | Groomswear: Louis Copeland | Bridesmaid Dresses: Covet | Bridal Makeup: Ashley O’Rourke | Bridal Hair: David Cashman | Flowers: Shop the Garden | DJ: Tommy Elliott | Wedding String Ensemble: D-Strings |

Top Places in Ireland to Wed in 2024

Are you considering a destination wedding to Ireland? I am absolutely thrilled that you are here! It is no secret that I believe Ireland is the most beautiful and magical place to say “I Do”. In fact, deciding on a wedding venue can be one of the hardest parts because there are so many gorgeous venues to choose from. Ireland is known for its picturesque landscapes and romantic settings, making it a popular destination for weddings. But there are some that stand out amongst the others. Here are the Top Places to Wed in Ireland in 2024:

Ashford Castle (Cong, County Mayo)

A stunning castle set on the shores of Lough Corrib, Ashford Castle offers a fairytale setting for a wedding. With its gorgeous acres of manicured gardens, lush forests and lively woodland, there is magic floating on the breeze and over the sparking waters of Lough Corrib. Additionally, working with the team of professionals at Ashford Castle is truly a rewarding experience in itself. It is nearly impossible to run out of things to do or options for entertainment. A wedding at Ashford Castle can be customized to fit the personalities of every couple that decides to say their ‘I Do’s’ at this enchanted place.

My other favorite detail? The accommodations at Ashford Castle are beyond compare. Each of the 83 rooms have been lovingly designed and individually restored, whilst taking every effort to incorporate the latest modern luxuries. The unique works of art and antique furniture are carefully and meticulously curated. Every one of the team’s efforts comes to fruition as you and your guests take in the sumptuous fabrics, custom-designed carpets, exquisite toweling, feature lighting and drift off to dreamland on bespoke beds wrapped in Egyptian Cotton bed linens.

Find my Deep Dive here: Ashford Castle!

Adare Manor (Adare, County Limerick)

A five-star hotel set on a vast estate, Adare Manor is known for its opulent architecture and elegant surroundings. The manicured gardens and the grandeur of the Manor provide a luxurious backdrop for a wedding.

Adare Manor wedding grounds scenery

An Adare Manor wedding is always one to be savoured, whether it’s small and intimate or a grand affair. It has a unique ambience, a mix of old-world glamour and modern technology and comfort, suffused with warmth and good old-fashioned Irish hospitality, that makes it one of my personal favourite Irish destination wedding venues. It’s what is known as a Gothic revival calendar house, so named because it has 365 leaded windows, 52 chimneys, seven stone pillars, and four towers, which mark the days, weeks, and seasons of the year. The award-winning hotel also includes a championship golf course (set to host the Ryder Cup in 2027) and a Michelin-starred restaurant. In 2018, it was named Hotel of the Year at the Virtuoso Best of the Best Awards ahead of properties like the famed Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat in France and the Berkeley in London.

But really, what makes Adare so unique is not only the setting, but the people. They have a motto they use, ‘Beyond Everything’, and that is really what they do. They go above and beyond for every single guest and every single wedding. For example, there’s Philip, the wedding butler and one of my favourite people at Adare. He becomes so involved with the wedding couple that when they say goodbye it’s a little like parting from a member of the family. Another example is Mary, part of the Adare Food and Beverage team. She gets to know every member of both families, what they would like to eat and drink, and where they need to be and when. It really is an extraordinary level of service, which reflects my philosophy as a wedding planner. It’s this kind of personal attention that makes guests feel truly pampered and turns an Adare Manor wedding from an event into an experience.

Find my Deep Dive here: Adare Manor!

Museum of Literature (Dublin)

When I speak to couples who imagine their wedding in an an intimate and opulent setting, surrounded by rich history and literary legends, I tell them the Museum of Literature Ireland (also known as the MoLI) is the venue for them. Couples who appreciate this city’s love of literature know that MoLI is the perfect wedding setting. Just traverse through Dublin and you’ll find a myriad of bookshops,  historic libraries, literary plaques and statues. Some of the world’s most famous writers called Dublin home.

Museum of Literature Ireland wedding groom

A relatively new addition to the cultural scene in downtown Dublin, it is a dedicated museum that celebrates the rich literary heritage of Ireland and its literary luminaries. MoLI is a partnership between University College Dublin and the National Library of Ireland. Inside the hidden historic rooms of the MoLI, you will find yourself encompassed by Georgian lavishness and you and your guests will join the ranks of all the fascinating characters that have passed through over the centuries.

Couples who choose the Museum of Literature Ireland have access to the gardens outside, including the beautiful Iveagh Gardens, which were originally owned by the Guinness family. The Iveagh house is located just a few doors down from the MoLI. Intimate weddings at MoLI are a joy to plan. It is stylish and elegant and offers opportunities for celebration both inside and out. I relish creating an atmosphere of exclusivity for you and your cherished friends and family to focus on the moment at hand.

Find my Deep Dive here: Museum of Literature!

Dromoland Castle (Newmarket-on-Fergus, County Clare)

Another castle setting, Dromoland Castle, offers a historic and romantic atmosphere. The castle is surrounded by lush greenery and a beautiful lake, creating a magical setting for a wedding.

Originally the seat of the descendants of one of the last High Kings of Ireland, Dromoland Castle is now an amazing luxury hotel that has welcomed celebrities and dignitaries from Bono to Nelson Mandela. Magnificent scenery, sumptuous interiors, a championship golf course, and elegant French-inspired fine dining add to the unforgettable experience. The venue is also incredibly versatile, offering a wide range of ceremony and reception spaces of different sizes, from a charming walled garden to the magnificent Brian Boru Hall.

Read more about Dromoland Castle weddings here!

Merrion Hotel (Dublin)

As soon as you step through the elegant Georgian doors of the Merrion Hotel in Dublin, you’re immediately transported into a world of luxury and charm, wrapped in a warm Irish welcome. This place embodies grace, romance, and hospitality – making it an unrivaled destination wedding venue in the heart of Ireland.

The Merrion Hotel takes its distinctive character from 18th-century townhouses, which once belonged to influential Irish figures — boasting 123 guest rooms and 19 suites, a two-star Michelin restaurant, a luxurious spa, and meticulously manicured private gardens. The hotel exemplifies grandeur, splendor, and comfort – everything you might wish for your wedding day.

You cannot go wrong with a Merrion Hotel wedding; it is undoubtedly a testament to Ireland’s rich history, elegantly situated within four meticulously restored Georgian townhouses in Dublin. These 18th-century townhouses, once the homes of notable figures such as Viscount Monck and Garret Wesley, were designed by famed Irish architect Richard Cassels. Over the years, they have witnessed significant events in Irish history, such as the birth of Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington. The hotel’s name, ‘Merrion’, comes from the title ‘Viscount Merrion’, granted to Sir Charles Monck in 1760. Today, the hotel blends its historic grandeur with modern luxury, offering a unique retreat that is deeply rooted in the city’s architectural and social history. It serves as a beautiful reminder of Dublin’s Georgian heritage while providing world-class services to its guests.

Find my Deep Dive here: Merrion Hotel!

Ballyfin Demesne (Ballyfin, County Laois)

I’m always delighted when my clients choose Ballyfin Demesne for their destination weddings in Ireland, as it truly is a special place. Built in 1820, the neo-classical Regency mansion (and later, boys’ school) underwent an extensive renovation in the early 2000s, finally reopening as a luxurious five-star country hotel in 2011. Since then, it has received multiple prestigious accolades, including being voted the best hotel in the world by Conde Nast Traveler and receiving the AA’s Hotel of the Year Award in 2018. If you want something very unique and private, then this is the place for you.

Wedding photos in front of Ballyfin Demesne

What makes Ballyfin wedding venue so special is that visiting it is like walking back in time. Think of it as a Downton Abbey house party of your very own. On arrival, the staff line up to greet you, just as if you were the lords and ladies of the manor returning to your country pile. And that’s just the start of the old-world charm and traditional Irish hospitality you can expect during your stay. The butlers all have a personal connection to the property, so they are part of the family there, and everyone has a story to tell.

Although Ballyfin is described as a country house venue, I think of it more as a little bit of paradise in the middle of Ireland. On a clear night, it’s easy to imagine what the world was like 200 years ago. With very little light pollution, the countryside is so still and serene that it feels like you’re the only people for miles around. And it’s so private that once you enter you really feel like you have arrived home. I’m delighted to have such a strong relationship with the wonderful team there, and to be able to recommend it to my clients knowing that they’ll love it as much as I do.

Read my Deep Dive here: Ballyfin Demesne!

Mount Juliet Estate (Thomastown, County Kilkenny)

A country estate with a Georgian mansion, Mount Juliet offers a blend of luxury and natural beauty. The estate includes a golf course, gardens, and a river, providing various picturesque backdrops.

To describe a bit more about why I suggested Mount Juliet, it is nestled within the verdant Irish countryside, it is a breathtaking wedding venue that offers an idyllic setting at a majestic Georgian Manor house, set on a sprawling 500-acre estate. The bride described to me that she had always dreamt of a winter wedding and this venue seamlessly blends historic elegance with modern luxury, providing an enchanting backdrop for the ultimate fairy-tale winter wedding. Surrounded by meticulously landscaped gardens, ancient woodlands, and the tranquil River Nore, Mount Juliet is the epitome of romance and charm.

Read about Esias and Sheena’s Mount Juliet Estate wedding here! 

These are some of my favourites and what I would consider the top places to wed in Ireland in 2024. There are so many, so reach out! We can talk about even more Incredible Wedding Locations in Ireland. Remember to consider the capacity, check reviews and testimonials, and visit the location, if possible. You should always discuss your specific needs with your wedding planner as they should be the expert in whatever venue you choose. Once you’ve decided on a location, you can move on to the next best part: First Steps to Planning a Destination Wedding.

I am so excited for you!

Slán go Fóill,

Tara

Images by Ashford Castle website, Christina Brosnan, Dromoland Castle website, Story of Eve, Mount Juliet Estate website

How to Find Your Wedding Vendors Overseas

Finding wedding vendors overseas can be an exciting yet challenging task. Planning a wedding in a different country requires thorough research, communication, and coordination. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you find and hire wedding vendors for your overseas wedding.

Hire a Wedding Planner

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: A local wedding planner is worth their weight in gold. I won’t go into every detail here, because I already have here: Why You Need a Wedding Planner Now More Than Ever. A seasoned wedding planner will help you compile a list of trusted vendors (venue, catering, photography, florals, entertainment, etc.) with positive reviews, impressive portfolios, and experience with destination weddings.

Check Reviews and Portfolios

If you want to research some of the options yourself, make sure you review online reviews, testimonials, and portfolios of the vendors you’re interested in. This will give you an idea of their quality of work, professionalism, and how well they’ve served previous clients.

Get in Touch and Stay in Touch

You can arrange virtual meetings or video calls with the vendors you’re considering. (Email works, too!) This will give you a chance to discuss your vision, ask questions, and get a feel for their personality and communication style. Ask about their availability on your wedding date, and inquire about their services, packages, pricing, and any additional fees for working internationally.

A Checklist of Topics to Discuss

Some important details to confirm and questions to ask when interviewing your vendors:

  • During your meetings, discuss the specific details of your wedding, including your theme, colour palette, and any cultural or traditional elements you want to include. Make sure the vendors understand your expectations and can accommodate your requests.
  • Discuss the specific details of your wedding, including your theme, colour palette, and any cultural or traditional elements you want to include. Make sure the vendors understand your expectations and can accommodate your requests.
  • If possible, ask the vendors for references from past clients who have had destination weddings with them. This can give you insight into the vendor’s performance and how well they handle international events.
  • Ask for detailed quotes that outline the services, inclusions, and costs. Review contracts carefully to ensure they cover all aspects of the service, including payment terms, cancellation policies, and what’s expected from both parties.

Tips for Success

  • If you have the opportunity, visit your wedding destination in advance to meet vendors in person, tour venues, and get a feel for the local atmosphere. This can also help you finalize your decisions and make any necessary adjustments.
  • Communication is key. Maintain open communication with your vendors leading up to your wedding. Discuss logistics, timelines, and any changes that might arise.
  • Once you’ve chosen your vendors, review the contracts once again to ensure everything is in order and keep records of all transactions.
  • Prepare for the unexpected. Despite thorough planning, there may be unforeseen challenges with an overseas wedding. Have backup plans in place for potential issues like travel restrictions or weather concerns.

If you’re wondering how to find your wedding vendors overseas, look to the pros. An experienced wedding planner can take all the to-dos off your plate. They will communicate with your vendors, ask the right questions, organize the details, provide an invaluable local contact, and help avoid unnecessary bumps in the road. The celebration, reflection, and revelling in special time with friends and family – that part is up to you.

Slán go Fóill,

Tara

Images by Story of EveLisa O’Dwyer Photography, Christina Brosnan, Aspect Photography

Why Choose Tara Fay Events?

Nice to meet you! I’m Tara Fay.

You may be wondering: Why Choose Tara Fay Events? Before I point you to my website and my Instagram where you can see many examples of my work, I thought I would start with an introduction. I am so excited you’re here and happy to share a little bit about myself!

First and foremost, I’m a Dublin girl and I truly believe Ireland is the most incredible place. No matter where in the world my career or travels with my husband and children take me, this city will always be my home.  Even when I’m traveling, the Emerald Isle is never far from my heart. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I think this beautiful isle is simply the most magical place on earth!

Wedding planning is what I love to do (and I have been doing it internationally for more than two decades) but I am a fan of all events, big and small. I started my career as an event planner in Los Angeles but returned home to Ireland in 1997 to begin Xena Productions, which would eventually become Tara Fay Events. In those days, wedding planners were something completely new, and I think people thought I was a bit mad! We were the very first company here in Ireland to specialise in private parties, weddings, corporate and social events.

We’ve come a long way since! (My Instagram is a testament to this fact!)

Over the years, my team and I have created and produced many of the country’s most creative and extravagant celebrations for a discerning list of celebrities and leading business figures, both at home and abroad. We’ve had our work featured in all sorts of publications, including Hello Magazine, Martha Stewart Weddings, Brides, and many more. (Most recently, I was interviewed by The Knot about the Irish Ring Warming Ceremony.) I have been a regular guest on national radio and television and I host a YouTube channel with my colleague and dear friend, Bruce Russell, called: Bruce & Tara Live.  You could say I keep quite busy!

If you’re newly engaged and ready to start looking for a wedding planner, here is my best advice:

First, ensure that you have a rapport with your wedding planner and can trust them. This will be the base of your relationship and the most important factor for a stress-free wedding experience. Second, learn about their pricing structure! This information will provide you with a better understanding of what you can expect from them. Lastly, request testimonials from the venue where you’d like to host your wedding, the vendors that you’d like to hire, and from couples they’ve worked with in your selected venue.

I’d love to help you plan the most important day of your life, so if you’d like to learn more about me or discuss working together, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

I wish you all the best!!

Slán go Fóill,

Tara

Image by Barry McCall, Story of Eve, Aspect Photography and my Instagram