Laura and Michael’s Wedding in Dunboyne Castle Hotel
Michael and I met through mutual friends on the night I finished my Leaving Cert. It was a busy night out in town so our mutual friends suggested we all divide up into groups of two or three. So we went in together (much to my excitement). Following lots of chatting we discovered we lived about ten minutes apart. We shared a little kiss at the end of the night and exchanged numbers.
Our first date is debatable. In terms of a “typical first date” we did go to the cinema on a date within the first week of meeting. But the morning after the night we met, Michael sent me a text saying he would love to meet up. He invited me to baby-sit his younger brother with him, which really showed me how much family meant to him, so that will always be our “first date”.
Michael proposed to me on our first Christmas morning in our house. We had bought our house in the August prior and we were due to have both sets of parents along with Michael’s two brothers and my sister over for Christmas dinner. Unfortunately my Grandad had passed away the night before, so I was a little out of sorts. Michael had always (in the previous nine and a half years) said that he wouldn’t propose on an occasion like Valentine’s Day, birthday etc. So the morning in question I was a little distracted, but we went downstairs to exchange presents in the living room. As we came to the end of the gifts, Michael told me I had one more gift left, and it was on the Christmas tree. As I was a little distracted, I thought it was a tree ornament. It wasn’t, it was a box, with a ring box inside and as I turned back around Michael was down on one knee and he took the ring from the box and asked for me to spend the rest of my life with him.
We knew from the day we started planning our wedding, that we wanted as many of our family and friends to share our day with us. Along with the amazing help from both our sets of parents we were able to realise our dream within 18 months. We are both very family orientated so we felt a traditional Irish wedding was what we wanted.
I had 3 bridesmaids, Geraldine my only sister who was my maid of honour. Helen one of my best friends, and Niamh my cousin, who was like my little sister growing up. The girls were a great support, but the day itself would definitely not have happened without all the organisation and hard work of my AMAZING sister Geraldine. Her attention to detail was phenomenal and any request myself or Michael had, was not a problem for her. I would be lost without her!
My first wedding dress shopping experience left a lot to be desired as I was directed to the plus size dresses. We (bridesmaids and Mothers of the Bride and Groom) politely humoured the lady in the first shop for our allotted time. But to say I felt deflated was an understatement. We had an appointment an hour later in Dress of Dreams (located in Clane at the time, now in Harold’s Cross) It was like night and day compared to the first experience. We were shown to the fitting area, plush chairs, prosecco for the non-drivers and a greeting that was out of this world by Dee. Dresses lined up for me to try on based on my body shape, with the option to look around for any other style I wanted to try! I ended up falling in love with the third dress I tried on and returned to put the deposit down just before Christmas. Dee and Trish were a delight to deal with and my dress truly was straight out of my dreams.
Michael, his groomsmen and both the fathers of the bride and groom were suited and booted by Richie Whelan’s Menswear in Naas town. Michael and I met Richie at a wedding fair, and his range of suits for purchase and matching suits for hire was exactly what we were looking for. Michael fell in love with a pair of shoes on display at the wedding fair and that was the deal clincher for him. When we brought the male side of the bridal party to the store, the service and attention to detail was out of this world.
Michael’s brother Jason was his best man. Despite their differences in football team allegiances, Michael would have no other person to stand by his side on our big day. Jason organised a most memorable stag party along with the input from both Mark (their younger brother) and David, the grooomsmen.
As traditionalists, there was no other possibility than to have our wedding at home in Ireland. Similarly in order to facilitate guests to be able to share our big day with us we decided to get married at home.
The excitement began to build at the rehearsal in the church the night before, as we had all the bridal party, pageboy, flower girl and parents together and it all began to feel very real. We were lucky to have my Grand uncle home from Birmingham to perform the ceremony and having the family link was just so special. For both of us heading home to our childhood homes the night before was extra special as the excitement in both houses, was at an all time high. The morning started off overcast, and despite every Child of Prague linked to both families being out, we still didn’t get the sun. This was swiftly forgotten when both hair and makeup got underway in my house. It was lovely to have Michael’s Mam over to have her makeup done with the bridesmaids, myself and my Mam. The lads were grooming themselves from early and the food was flowing as per usual when Michael’s Mam is catering. Excitement built in my house as I got dressed and I loved sharing that time with my sister getting the final touches. Outside the cars had arrived and it was time to make my way downstairs. The moment I had been dreaming of all my life was about to happen. As I glanced down the stairs my dad was waiting for me, and as I saw his eyes fill up with emotion I lost control and joined him in shedding a tear. We headed out to the car, where a crowd had gathered outside to wish us well. We got married in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Clondalkin Village. It is our parish church and was also able to accommodate our 247 guests.
When we arrived the church it was drizzling, but I didn’t care as I just wanted to meet my Prince Charming at the altar. I remember looking in and being amazed at the flowers and décor provided by my good friend Caroline Slevin of The Flower Studio Dundalk. Walking up the aisle with my dad was an amazing experience I will cherish forever. When I reached the altar and saw Michael I knew I was ready to marry my best friend. After the ceremony we headed out to Dunboyne Castle Hotel, where both of us and our guests were greeted with the best hospitality any bride and groom could wish for. The grounds were immaculate and the hotel had even sprinkled rose petals out by the old castle ruins for photographic purposes. John, the Banqueting Manager, and all of his team went above and beyond for each and every one of our 247 guests. Service and food were out of this world. After the dinner and speeches, we danced the night away to the fab sounds of the Prickly Pears Band. Entertainment was also provided in the shape of my own Irish Dancers which was one of the proudest moments of my life.
Our honeymoon destinations were Cancun, Las Vegas, San Francisco and New York, which can only be described as the holiday of our lives. Nadine Farrelly from Travel Counsellors assisted us to construct the tailor made plan for our adventure. We spent a total of 19 days away, and from the transfers to the luxury of all the accommodation we had the time of our lives.