Museum of Literature: A Complete Venue Guide

About the Museum of Literature (MoLI)

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.

Founded in 2019 and encapsulated in Numbers 85 and 86 of St Stephen’s Green, these two buildings have also served as a university, a museum, and the townhouse of one of Ireland’s most infamous playboys and adventurers – Buck Whaley. MoLI is designed to be a dynamic and immersive museum that explores and celebrates Irish literature, from its rich history to contemporary contributions. The museum aims to engage visitors of all ages and backgrounds in the world of Irish writing and literary creativity.

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.

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.

Why I Love Planning Weddings at 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. The couple who chooses to wed at The Museum of Literature Ireland likely prefers to be surrounded by their closest loved ones, desires a more private event, and revels in the historical and literary significance of a venue like MoLI. Fun Fact: The nickname “MoLI” hints to James Joyce’s heroine in Ulysses: Molly Bloom.)

Museum of Literature Ireland wedding groom

This means their wedding will include a special entrance reserved only for guests at No. 85 St. Stephen’s Green where your ceremony will be held. When the “I Do’s” are finished, everyone can retire to the adjoining Saloon for a lavish cocktail hour. Wedding photos can be staged in Dublin’s famous Iveagh Gardens or in the Reader’s Garden, which has its own access. Private dining options are available upon request.

MoLI Ceremony and Reception Spaces

The Readers Garden

Newly landscaped, the Courtyard and Readers Garden are meant to be a place of peace and enjoyment. A quiet space for learning and reading. They are famous for two protected trees, one being the ash tree that James Joyce had his graduation picture taken against. The other is a Killarney Strawberry tree. (James Joyce is pictured below, second from left, graduating at UCD Newman House in 1902.)

Iveagh Gardens

Commonly known as Ireland’s “secret garden”, Iveagh Gardens is a stunning green space located just behind The Reader’s Garden. A public park with humble beginnings, the Gardens were started in 1756 under the title of “Clonmell Lawns”. In 1939, the space was offered to the chancellor of University College Dublin as a “gift to the nation”. The garden features a large sunken lawn, a pond, a boating tower, a cascading waterfall that flows over rocks from each of Ireland’s 32 counties, and a maze that is a miniature copy of London’s Hampton Court Maze.

literary Dublin destination wedding inspiration

Iveagh Gardens are a beautiful place, surrounded by buildings, and located close to the Museum. Iveagh Gardens are a little harder to find but so worth the effort! They are dedicated to Irish novelist, Maeve Binchy, providing yet another literary link. And, while weddings are not currently permitted there, couples can obtain a permit to use it as a location for wedding photos. I encourage romantic and literary couples to incorporate small nods to their favourite stories into their wedding design and photography. If you need a little help visualizing what this kind of theme could be, read my post: Literary Wedding Inspiration for a Romantic Dublin Destination Wedding.

Commons Café

Commons Cafe is a stunning space with a modern design. Built in the original student dining hall of the University College Dublin, this venue has long been the setting for the gathering of close friends. In fact, the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins lived here during his time as Professor of Classics at the university, and James Joyce was a student here before graduating with a BA in 1902. Other famous Irish writers to have studied at UCD Newman House include Flann O’Brien, Kate O’Brien and Maeve Binchy.

Led by sisters Domini and Peaches Kemp, Commons Cafe prioritizes Ireland’s fresh produce and culinary heritage. Set in the original student dining halls of UCD Newman House, the Commons has long been a space for sharing food and ideas amongst friends. Couples fall in love with the original artwork and curated culinary quotes. For events, the cafe opens out onto the Courtyard Garden, creating a masterful blend of indoor and outdoor spaces.

Newman House

Newman House, where MoLi is located, is a magnificent historic space. With its marble floors, Cuban mahogany staircase, and lavishly-detailed plasterwork, it is a unique Dublin wedding venue. To do it justice, one might follow cues from this styled shoot I produced.

The table design featured earthy tones and rich, dark ones, with luxe details like custom calligraphy layered with simple household items to play out the juxtaposition of the blue and green palette. Aged wooden farm tables were chosen to bring character, balanced with delicate natural greenery, in the form of ferns and succulents. Layers of dots and petal-like patterns at each place setting modernised the rustic setting, while votives in copper glass holders and emerald green taper candles created an intimate, elegant feel.

Old Physics Theatre

The Old Physics Theatre is bursting with timeless style. The ballroom, decorated in neo-Gothic décor, features handmade wallpaper, beautiful high-arched windows, and an impressive chandelier. The entire room has an ethereal golden glow. It’s a wonderful option for an intimate wedding in Dublin, with space for private dining for up to 60 people. It also made a gorgeous backdrop for this photo shoot: Contemporary Vintage Bridal Style at the Museum of Literature Ireland Wedding Venue, which combined vintage sensibility and retro flair with modern romance!

Museum of Literature Ireland wedding table décor

Experiences and Events Nearby

For those that plan on spending some time in the city, Dublin offers a wealth of popular tourist attractions for visitors to explore. The city is also known for its lively pub culture, scenic parks, and welcoming atmosphere, making it a great destination for travelers interested in history, culture, and entertainment. Here are some of the most well-known and highly recommended attractions in the city:

Keeping it within a 15-min walking distance, you and your guests can explore St. Patrick’s Cathedral. One of the largest Gothic cathedrals in Ireland and steeped in history, visitors admire its magnificent architecture and explore the beautiful gardens. The National Museum of Ireland is home to several branches of the National Museum, each focusing on different aspects of Irish culture and history. The Archaeology Museum, Natural History Museum, and Decorative Arts and History Museum are all worth exploring. Art enthusiasts can appreciate the extensive collection of European and Irish art at the National Gallery, which includes works by renowned artists such as Caravaggio and Jack B. Yeats. Lastly, Trinity College is Ireland’s oldest university, and it houses the world-renowned Book of Kells, a beautifully illuminated manuscript. Visitors can also explore the historic campus and the Long Room library.

Just a bit farther, Dublinia offers an engaging look into Dublin’s Viking and medieval history with interactive displays and reconstructions of historical scenes. Dublin Castle has played a pivotal role in Irish history and is known for its stunning architecture. You can tour the State Apartments, the Chapel Royal, and the Dubhlinn Gardens. Lastly, the iconic Temple Bar. Dublin’s cultural quarter is known for its vibrant atmosphere, featuring numerous bars, restaurants, galleries, and street art. It’s a hub for nightlife, entertainment, and the arts.

To stay within a literary theme, there are a handful of writer-focused locations to be sure to see. This includes The Dublin Writers Museum (featuring exhibits and memorabilia related to Ireland’s literary greats), The James Joyce Centre (exhibitions, lectures and walking tours dedicated to the life and works of Joyce), The W.B. Yeats Exhibition (celebrates the life of the poet and is located in the National Library of Ireland in Dublin), and The Oscar Wilde House (showcases the famous playwright’s life, works and contributions to literature and culture).

Jump on a bus and you can visit Kilmainham Gaol. A former prison turned museum, Kilmainham Gaol provides insights into Ireland’s turbulent history, particularly during the struggle for independence. It’s a significant historical site. While you’re on that side of town, locate Phoenix Park and visit the Dublin Zoo. It’s a popular family attraction with a wide variety of animals from around the world. It offers a fun and educational experience for visitors of all ages.

MoLI Location

Centrally located in the heart of Dublin, on the south side of St. Stephen’s Green, there are many methods of travel to get to the MoLI. Once in Dublin however, your guests can use other city centre landmarks to find their way. MoLI is about 10 minutes’ walk from Merrion Square, the National Gallery of Ireland, the National Museum, Dáil Éireann and Trinity College.

I like to remind my couples that there are areas of the MoLI that are not wheelchair accessible. If you intend on inviting a guest that will need additional mobility requirements, the MoLI is able to assist them in accessing the building. However, there are many other available areas at the MoLI that do not require additional assistance for those with limited mobility.

Let’s Plan a Wedding at MoLI

Planning intimate weddings at MoLI is a delightful experience. The venue exudes style and elegance, providing ample opportunities for celebration both indoors and outdoors. My aim is to create an atmosphere of exclusivity, so that you and your cherished friends and family can focus on the moment at hand. If you’re eager to tie the knot at The Museum of Literature Ireland, don’t hesitate to reach out!

Museum of Literature Ireland Venue at a Glance

Address: UCD Naughton Joyce Centre, 86 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2

Phone: +353 1 716 5900

Email: hello@moli.ie

Website: https://moli.ie/

Capacity: 60 guests

Slán go Fóill,

Tara

Images by Story of Eve, Heritage Ireland and the Museum of Literature Ireland website

Ashford Castle Wedding Venue: A Complete Guide

About Ashford Castle

Voted the most romantic hotel in Europe, Ashford Castle is a fairy tale venue. Boasting suites tucked away in turrets, breathtaking views, and luxurious accommodations, it is unlikely anyone will forget a wedding event hosted at Ashford Castle. Before we get into the unbelievable details of this extravagant venue, let’s dive into the castle’s history.

Although Ashford Castle has a truly remarkable history, its greatest claim to fame is its standing as the former home of the Guinness family. This 800-year-old castle has played host to notables and royalty, including The Prince of Wales (later King George V), George Harrison, John Lennon, Rory McIlroy, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and President Ronald Reagan (to name a few). After a five-year restoration that included the talents of local experts and artisans, Ashford Castle remains an impeccable example of medieval and Victorian architecture. Although the walls may be ancient, the Red Carnation hotel inside is the picture of luxury.

After the castle re-opened in April 2015 following major refurbishment (820 windows were replaced, a new lead roof installed, and its stonework repointed), Ashford Castle has gone on to be awarded as a Forbes five-star hotel, as well as the Ashford Castle Spa, making them the first and only hotel in Ireland to hold two Forbes Five-Star awards. A few other awards of note include No. 1 in The 5 Best Hotel Resorts in the UK and Ireland (Travel + Leisure 2022),  5 Star Hotel Bar of the Year (Bar of the Year Awards 2022), and Winner of Sustainability Initiative Of The Year – Communities (The Travel Industry Awards 2022).

Why I Love Planning Weddings at Ashford Castle

Honestly, who wouldn’t love planning a wedding at Ashford Castle? It’s like coordinating a fairy tale! 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 towelling, feature lighting and drift off to dreamland on bespoke beds wrapped in Egyptian Cotton bed linens.

 

Ashford Castle Ceremony and Reception Spaces

No matter what you’re dream wedding looks like, Ashford Castle can make it come true. With the castle’s 83 bedrooms and suites, gatherings of all sizes can abide on the gorgeous property. From 16 to 160 guests, the sky is the limit.  You can even hire the entire estate and make the entire place your own, allowing you and your wedding party to enjoy the full castle experience without interruption.

When I think of an “unforgettable experience, I think of an “exclusive use” wedding at Ashford Castle. This means all estate activities are available for your and your guests to enjoy (this includes falconry, equestrian, golf, river cruising, fishing and spa treatments), exclusive use of all restaurants and bars including The George V Dining Room, and the underground Wine Cellars for a magical pre-wedding event. Sweets can be provided by the epic PaulaPastry. Soak in a ‘secret garden’ feel when we plan your ceremony in the Walled Garden. Retreat to the Maigue Suite, or to Oak Hall located at the heart of the castle, where your reception will have your guests reminiscing for years to come.

Need more options? Say no more. How about hosting your ceremony in the Castle’s Drawing Room? Were you imagining more of a church vibe? Saint Mary’s Church Cong is located in the village, just a three-minute drive from the Ashford Estate. Just 40 minutes further, you’ll find historic Ballintubber Abbey, a popular destination for many a bride and groom. When all is said and done, couples can retreat and recover at The Boathouse or the legendary Reagan Presidential Suite.

Let’s look into some of these options a little further.

The George V Dining Room

Produced exclusively for the Ashford Estate, creative Irish cuisine inspired by the first seasonal ingredients from the West of Ireland is presented by Executive Chef Liam Finnegan in The George V Dining Room. Along with fresh produce foraged from the estate itself, alongside an extensive wine cellar, it’s no wonder The George V Dining Room has hosted distinguished guests from almost 800 years. Your guests can dine where the Prince of Wales (also known as George V of England) dined in a special dining room built in honour of his visit in 1905.

Experiencing Chef Liam Finnegan’s culinary brilliance is not limited to just the Dining Room- there’s also casual dining in the beautiful setting of Cullen’s at the Cottage or the atmospheric Dungeon, or a delightful Afternoon Tea in the elegant Connaught Room. A note to all my couples who value sustainability and shopping local: Ashford Castle proudly shares the same beliefs. In the castle’s six restaurants and three bars, much of the produce is sourced locally or grown in their own gardens and polytunnels.

PaulaPastry

Here’s something I’m really excited about – PaulaPastry! Who better to provide your wedding day treats than award-winning chef, Paula Stakelum? Ashford Castle Estate has launched a new chocolate and patisserie concept, PaulaPastry, developed by by Chef Paula Stakelum herself. Crafted in small batches by Paula and her team, each delectable treat comes with meticulous attention to detail and the finest flavours possible. Your guests will write home about the signature chocolate shards, indulgent praline spreads, chocolate-covered nuts, and hot chocolates.

The Wine Cellar

Listen closely, my friends. If you want to impress, invite your guests to follow you into the secret tunnels of Ashford Castle. They will gasp in awe as they take in the historic passageways that were unearthed during the renovations and be taken aback even still when they experience a private dinner and wine pairing in these 16th-century tunnels. The cosy ambience and soft lighting is the perfect atmosphere for an intimate celebration. The knowledgeable Head Sommelier will educate your guests on his carefully curated wine list.  He may also inform you of the history of the cellar and its beginnings as the old servants’ entrance to the coal bunker where buckets were gathered and delivered to warm up each of the rooms of the castle.

The Walled Garden

If you’ve always imagined Ashford Castle as your wedding venue, but you’ve envisioned something more outdoor and garden-themed, they’ve got you covered. The gardens at Ashford Castle are something out of a ‘secret garden’ fantasy. Restored with loving attention to its original formation in the 1890s, the great formal Main Parterre, the beautiful Walled Garden full of perennial borders, fruit and vegetables, and the long Terraced Walk and Broad Walk are perfect for an open-air ceremony. Afterwards, you and your new spouse can spend time wandering and reflecting in the great woods, where the wildlife and great ancient trees add towering and unparalleled ambiance.

Connaught Room

Treat your guests and indulge in speciality teas, delicate finger sandwiches with traditional fillings, warm scones and handmade pastries in the Connaugt Room. The floor-to-ceiling windows offer spectacular views of the manicured gardens and Lough Corrib. Not to mention the captivating Donegal Crystal chandelier, panelled oak walls, and hand-carved fireplace. I think a Welcome Brunch would be fabulous in this space. It’s also available for Afternoon Tea or a private Wine Dinner.

 

Oak Hall

Everyone’s breath will be stolen by the incredible Oak Hall, one of the remaining features of the Guinness period. The crystal chandelier that hangs overhead looms largely, but not as largely as the castle’s 80kg (170lb) Irish wolfhounds (beautiful and docile dogs) who are often found relaxing here, among the fresh flowers. In Oak Hall, you’ll also find the castle’s guestbook, an enticing read full of names, both celebrity and royal. Above the hall, on the mezzanine is a library of over 800 antique books. It’s a spectacle to behold and a remarkable place to greet your guests for a cocktail hour!

The Boathouse

One of my favourite spaces at Ashford Castle is the restored boathouse, located a few minutes from the castle, on the shores of Lough Corrib. Constructed more than a century ago, The Boathouse is a hideaway for two, an intimate and private escape, a place to relax in isolation. Originally used by the Guinness’ to store Italian Riva boats, The Boathouse offers lake views that will fill your heart with peace and your ears with the soothing sounds of lapping lake waters.

When you’ve had your fill of the expansive views, you and your new spouse can retreat to the marble-lined bathroom and soak in the deluxe tub for two after dining à deux inside or al fresco on your private lakeside terrace. If you can ever get your fill of the incredible architectural and interior design detailing (including handmade timber parquet floors, original art, bespoke Murano glass chandelier, and king-sized bed), you’ll find two bicycles for jaunts around the property. Return home, enter through the gates, unlock your front door, and find your 24-hour butler ready to take your dessert order. Is this a dream? If it is, I promise to ask the incredible staff to not wake you two up!

The Reagan Presidential Suite

Located in the oldest wing of the castle, I always recommend The Reagan Presidential Suite. There is nothing more romantic for a bridal suite than an original wood fireplace, antique George III style four-poster bed, original portrait art, individually sourced antiques and spectacular floor-to-ceiling views of Lough Corrib. This split-level suite offers two bathrooms and can be combined with two adjacent rooms – the Kennedy Suite and Corrib Lake View Room – to complete a private three-bedroom wing of the castle.

This suite also includes a complimentary bar, complimentary viewing of “Quiet Man” (the movie filmed at Ashford Castle), 24-hour in-room dining, and many other exclusive amenities. Definitely the kind of perks all couples will want to take advantage of!

Additional Events and Activities

From Ireland’s first and finest falconry school, to horse-riding, golf, fishing, tennis, kayaking, archery, clay pigeon shooting and cosy movie nights in our stylish private cinema, Ashford Castle has a myriad of experiences and activities to keep your guests entertained. Here are just a few:

For hundreds of years, the grounds of Ashford Castle have been hailed as one of the finest sporting estates in all of Ireland, if not the world – which is proudly continues to this day. I am a confident fan of the dedicated Activity Coordinators, Michael and Fiona, who will guide each individual to the perfect past time. For example, those who love a day on the lake, experienced Lough Corrib guide, Frank, will take anyone out in the traditional wooden boats he hand-crafts himself. As a local marine and approved countryside guide by the Irish tourist board, Frank offers guided boat trips on Lough Corrib for up to three guests at a time, visiting its many beautiful islands.

Another option is falconry! An experience of a lifetime for those flower girls and ring bearers 7 years and older. Truly, the oldest established Falconry School in Ireland is an experience for those of all ages. Bond with a new hawk friend before sending them into the woodlands, gasping as they follow you from tree to tree, ready to return to your gloved hand when you call for them. Using their exceptional eyesight, speed, and training, the hawks will allow you to learn all their fascinating traits (via the Falconry School instructors, of course). What a unique and incredible memory to send your guests home with!

The Spa at Ashford Castle

Imagine spending time with your closest friends in this incredible place of relaxation. It is unlikely you’ll find a space that is more well known for its ability to rejuvenate and refresh in the entire country. This is why The Spa at Ashford Castle was awarded ‘Ireland’s Best Hotel Spa’ in 2021 for the 6th year in a row by World Spa Awards and we were also voted ‘Best in Sustainability’ in the 2019 Irish Tatler Awards.

If you’re going to spend time at Ashford Castle, I would highly recommend spending a significant amount of time at The Spa. The team is dedicated to restoring beauty and balance through treatments and spa journeys, personalised for each of their guests by exceptionally skilled therapists. I can’t recommend them highly enough. Your entire wedding party (and guests, as well) will leave feeling restored and renewed.

A Five Star Focus

Believe it or not, I am just scratching the surface of all the venue spaces and experiences Ashford Castle has to offer. If you’re interested in learning more, you can visit their website listed below. If you’re ready to take the leap and plan an incredible fairytale wedding at this magical castle in County Mayo, get in touch! Together, we can create something as marvelous as you absolutely deserve!

Ashford Castle Wedding Venue at a Glance

Address: Ashford Castle, Cong, Co. Mayo, F31 CA48, Ireland

Phone: +353 (0) 94 954 6003

Email: concierge@ashfordcastle.com

Website: https://ashfordcastle.com/

Slán go Fóill,

Tara

Images collected from The Ashford Castle website and Peter Carvill

Real Wedding: Emma and Lane’s Wedding at Adare Manor

On April 15th, 2023, a fairytale came to life at Adare Manor Hotel in Adare, Co. Limerick, Ireland. Emma and Lane tied the knot amidst the verdant Irish countryside, orchestrating a wedding that was both incredibly personal and uniquely beautiful. Learn more about the day’s charming details, and the heartfelt journey that led Emma and Lane to say, “I do.”

Emma and Lane’s Adare Manor Wedding

Emma and Lane’s story began in Houston, where they were introduced to each other through mutual friends. After a blind date, they quickly found themselves in a long-distance relationship when Emma relocated to Chicago for a fellowship. Their love only grew stronger, and a year and four months after a picturesque Central Park proposal, they celebrated their wedding.

Emma’s wedding ensemble took centre stage with a carefully crafted floral design that adorned her dress, veil, and topper. This recurring motif subtly permeated the entire event, tying everything together in an elegant way. It was imprinted on wedding stationery and even the cake, thereby being an integral part of every aspect of the wedding, from beginning to end.

The couple’s personal touch was particularly evident in the wedding logo, which Emma had designed, inspired by the Rosewood Miramar Hotel’s logo. With a twist of creativity, two intertwined W’s were crafted to look like an old-world regal emblem, sitting atop a Celtic Knot.

Their choice of Adare Manor as the wedding venue was a sentimental tribute to Emma’s Irish grandparents, who had vacationed there several times. As a young girl, Emily’s grandmother often sent her articles about the hotel’s renovation, expressing hope that her granddaughter might consider it for her wedding. And indeed, it came to pass.

Emma’s design flair manifested again in the place cards. Guests found their names written in calligraphy on colourful purple and green envelopes. Inside, a card held a handwritten note from Emily or Lane, expressing their gratitude for the guests’ friendship—a gesture that left many attendees emotional.

The couple, with their eyes on details, did not let any aspect of the wedding preparation go unattended. A humorous incident during the week leading up to the wedding saw Emma suffer from food poisoning. She attended her doctor’s appointment all dolled up, ready to proceed to the welcome party right after!

The couple’s creativity also shone through in their DIY projects. Emma’s mother crafted unique party favours and explained the cultural significance of Ireland’s 99 ice cream through creative notes. She even included euros for everyone to experience this treat, a nod to their Irish roots.

The couple’s outfits were a showcase of sophistication. Emma’s stunning dress, a Carolina Herrera piece, featured a high neck and long sleeves inspired by Grace Kelly, Kate Middleton, and Pippa Middleton. Lane complemented her in a suave groom’s outfit that perfectly matched the elegance of the occasion.

When it came to their theme, Emma wanted to highlight traditional Irish elements. The colours of the Irish countryside, green and purple, were given a modern twist in the wedding’s décor. As for their favourite detail from the day, the couple had a hard time picking just one. From the tactile invitations that replicated Adare Manor’s window patterns to the breathtaking reception design and well-curated music, every aspect was meticulously planned and executed.

Emma and Lane's Real Adare Manor Wedding

Emma and Lane's Real Adare Manor Wedding

Looking back, Emma and Lane cherish their first dance the most. The intimate dance to “Yellow” was a joyous realization of their dream becoming a reality. Emma’s mother’s reaction to the ballroom design was another touching moment, her eyes welling up with tears of joy.

Adare Manor Wedding Reception

While planning a destination wedding amid a pandemic was a challenging feat, the couple found over-communication was key. By keeping their guests updated with timely emails, travel recommendations, and reminders, Emma and Lane ensured everyone felt comfortable and excited about the celebration.

All in all, Emma and Lane’s wedding was a heartfelt celebration that honoured their Irish heritage and personal love story, made all the more memorable by the majestic backdrop for their wedding. It was a testament to the power of love and the magic that can be woven when personal stories meet exceptional creativity.

Slán go Fóill,

Tara

Event Planner: Tara Fay | Venue: Adare Manor |  Photography: Story of Eve | Videography: Dream Catcher | Bridal dress: Carolina Herrera | Bridal shoes: Manolo Blahnik | Groomswear: Custom Mason & Sons | Stationary (Save the Dates, Wedding Invitations, Rehearsal Dinner, Invitations, Place Cards, Menus: Papellerie |  Welcome bags, Mass Books, Songbooks, & Itineraries: Judson Design | Linens Wedding Day: Total Event Rental | Band Wedding Day: Sway | Ceremony Music Singer: Carly Coonagh | Ceremony Music Instrumentals, Welcome Party Music: D Strings | DJ All Weekend: Gordon Johnson | Welcome Dinner Drummer: Hit Machine | Hair: David Cashman | Makeup: Michelle Kinsella| Cake: Clare Anne Taylor  | Staging and Lighting: Gorilla Design | Sound and AV production: KCLS | Rehearsal Dinner Dress: Custom David Peck | Rehearsal Dinner Suit: Custom Mason & Sons | Flowers: The Garden | Welcome Party Sweater: Lalo, Purchased/Styled at Katia | Welcome Party Skirt: Malene Birger, purchased/styled at Katia | Welcome Party Handbag: Gedebe, purchased/styled at Katia

Fairytale at Adare Manor: Ryan and Emily’s Enchanted Wedding

You may have heard the saying before: It’s all about who you know. In the case of Ryan and Emily, a string of knowing-someone-who-knows-someone is what brought the two together. At a business dinner, Emily sat next to one of Ryan’s friends. The next day, the same friend told Ryan all about Emily. Interested, Ryan started asking around. When he found a mutual friend, he wasted no time asking Emily out on a date. His persistence paid off. Fast forward: Emily was returning from a trip to the Galapagos Islands. Looking for a place to grab dinner and pass the time during a 12-hour layover in Quito, Ecuador, Emily suddenly found herself inside an empty restaurant – empty, except for a multitude of candles and flowers – and Ryan, down on one knee.

With the magic of their first meeting and Ryan’s perfect proposal, the couple felt certain Adare Manor, adorned with their theme of white, green and a myriad of candles, would be the ideal place to say their vows. The couple booked the venue “sight unseen” and accepted the fact that they wouldn’t see the place until the day of their wedding.

Little did they know their wedding planner (me!) would soon discover they were vacationing in London. With a little coaxing, the couple agreed to take a minor detour. In a whirlwind of 12-hours, Ryan and Emily were swept away by the grandeur of Adare Manor. They toured the venue and the surrounding village, explored after party locations, tasted cake options, and even worked in a hair and makeup trial! It was certainly an undertaking, but if their mind wasn’t made up on Adare Manor before, it certainly was now!

When the day finally arrived, Emily and Ryan stayed true to their color scheme. Emily wore a gorgeous white gown by Zuhair Murid and adorned heels by Manolo Blahnik. Ryan wore a dark green, custom-made suit. Once all the details were in place, it was time for the ceremony to begin. A white horse and carriage arrived to whisk Emily off to the ceremony, where guests were taking their seats amongst the meticulously groomed gardens of Adare Manor.

When Emily felt the horse and carriage pull forward, she began to cry. Her fairytale wedding was in motion. Shortly after, tears of joy were transformed into tears of laughter when she encountered all of her best guy friends in kilts and knee high socks. The invitation had specified “Black Tie or Kilt” and her friends had made sure their attire fit the regulations.

During the ceremony, more laughter ensued when Ryan attempted to follow the Jewish tradition of breaking a glass under his foot at the end of the ceremony.  Surprisingly, it was much more difficult than he had anticipated. After three tries, the glass finally shattered. It was then that Ryan realized the simple drinking glass had been replaced with a nearly indestructible whiskey bottle!

After the ceremony, Ryan and Emily spent some quiet time together, reflecting on their new roles as husband and wife. With so many emotions surrounding the wedding, it’s easy to be swept up in all the special moments. Taking time away from the crowd post-ceremony to meditate on such a monumental day is imperative. In fact, these are the moments many couples will remember the clearest when recalling their wedding day.

When Ryan and Emily returned to their guests, they were met with a wonderland of green and white floral, candles, and all of their family and friends. The atmosphere was absolutely enchanting.

 

Emily and Ryan spent the evening celebrating with all their favourite people under a chandelier of lush white and green florals. The Event Band kept the party going so everyone could let loose on the dance floor. Even Emily slipped into a light and breezy Vera Wang party dress that made it much easier to move. With so much to celebrate, dancing all night felt entirely appropriate!

If you ask Ryan and Emily for their advice, the couple’s first recommendation is to inquire with others who have gone before you. Find out what they did and how they did it. Secondly, the couple advocates strongly for an experienced wedding planner. Emily and Ryan knew they wanted a planner from the beginning, but they couldn’t have known how freeing it would be to have someone take control, help make the big decisions, and be there to navigate any unforeseen bumps in the road.

Emily and Ryan’s wedding at Adare Manor was an absolute vision. The beautiful couple spread their contagious joy wherever they went and their true love was evident to everyone in attendance.

Slán go Fóill,

Tara

Planner & Designer: Tara Fay Events | Venue: Adare Manor | Stationary: Appleberry Atelier| Calligraphy: Sarah O’Dea | Photography: Brosnan Photographic | Hair: David Cashman | Makeup: Christine Lucigano | Cake: MM Cookies | Shoes: Manolo Blahnik | Dress: Zuhair Murid | Florals: The Garden| Linens and Chairs: Total Event Rental | Ceremony Music: Deirdre Seaver | DJ: The Event Band | Entertainment: Orangeworks | Staging and Lighting: Gorilla Design | Sound and AV Production: KCLS

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,

Tara

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

Planning a Memorial Service or Celebration of Life

Over my years as an event planner in Ireland, I’ve been honoured to become part of my clients’ lives. I’ve shared in their happiest moments, such as weddings, birthdays, and baptisms. And I’ve also been called on to help them celebrate their loved ones when they unfortunately pass away, by planning funerals, memorial services, and celebrations of life.

The first time I was asked to do a funeral and memorial service was about thirteen years ago. It was for a very old client, a very well known businessman in Ireland. I had worked with his whole family at different stages. He knew he was ill and dying, so he approached me to plan his funeral and memorial himself. It was an honour and a privilege to be asked.

Since then, I have been asked to plan one or two memorials each year, usually for families I have worked with previously. Most are akin to small state funerals, so I have to liaise with the police, local authorities, etc.

In Ireland, we are known to do death particularly well. We like to treat it as a celebration of life, frequently with a lively wake. Unfortunately, this has not been possible during the time of Coronavirus, where large gatherings are impossible. So I do think that many families will throw a much bigger memorial celebration later on. Meanwhile, they have time to think about the type of service they would like, and the details they will include to remember their loved ones. For example, which music they would like played, which prayers (if any) they might like said, and so on.

If this is something you’re dealing with at the moment, I’m so sorry. Losing a loved one is always heartbreaking, but it must be especially difficult at the moment. To help you, I’ve put down a few of my top tips for planning a meaningful and memorable celebration of life.

You aren’t alone

Planning a memorial service isn’t something you have to do alone. And, while I work closely with the funeral directors, my role has always been a different one. I act as a central point of contact between the family, the florists, musicians, the press, and media (when relevant). In many ways, it’s similar to my role as a wedding planner. It allows the family to hand all the coordination over to me at what is already such a difficult and stressful time.

Consider the seating carefully

That first funeral I planned was at home in a small family chapel, but the memorial was very large. Over a thousand people attended from all over the world, including dignitaries, presidents, and other heads of government. I had to update my knowledge of seating etiquette, and it showed me how important seating is at a memorial.

When creating the seating chart, it’s important to take into account the different aspects of someone’s life, and seat guests accordingly. If you’re dealing with a particularly large headcount, consider creating a second space with video feed. We have often done this, especially where there has been a live broadcast of a funeral mass.

Include a book of condolence

A common feature at a funeral or celebration of life is the book of condolence. At two different memorials, we had areas for guests to sign this, creating a lasting gift for the family. You can also use this opportunity to really stamp your loved one’s personality on the tradition. For example, one person had been involved in the aviation business. We had the undercarriage from an old plane set up in the tent and encouraged all his friends to sign and place messages on it. His children proudly displayed it later, as an homage to their father. Another client was an art collector, so I hung a blank canvas and placed a pot of lipsticks and black sharpie pens beside it so guests could leave their messages.

Select meaningful flowers

Flowers always add warmth and beauty to an event, and a funeral or celebration of life is no exception. Choose flowers that are meaningful to your loved one. For example, you could include their favourite flower varieties or colours, or the flowers of their birth month or the place they were from.

Include those who cannot attend

Even when large gatherings are allowed again, some people may not be able to attend or might be uncomfortable doing so. This is especially true for elderly people who are at higher risk but will want to celebrate the life of their friend or family member. One option is to webcast the memorial service, so they can attend virtually. You could also invite them to share their favourite stories or memories, and play them as part of a tribute video.

If you would like to talk to us about helping plan a funeral, memorial service, or celebration of life on your behalf, do get in touch. I hope we can help make this difficult time one of happy memories.

Slán go Fóill,

Tara

Image by John Ryan Photography