Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ireland wrap up

Saturday morning the rain finally caught up with us. We still went out clay shooting that day, which was a blast. Ryan, the boy who grew up with guns hanging inside the front door, was one of the top shooters of course - hitting only one less than the guy who was a marine. And once I got the hang of it I wasn't too bad.

Even the groom was out shooting guns only hours before the wedding. (I doubt the bride cared though, she and her bridesmaids spent the day getting spa treatments. :) The guys working at the gun place had some of the thickest Irish accents we heard in Ireland and we laughed pretty hard when a man we could barely understand said he was going to be the one to give us the instructions on gun safety.

They also had archery arranged that morning which I was excited to try since I've never done it, but with the drive out to the shooting range we didn't have time to do both before having to get ready for the wedding.

We met the shuttle that afternoon to take us over to the church they were going to have the actual wedding ceremony in. It was quite a famous church with tourists milling around the grounds and had some quite prominent Irish people buried there.  And as everything else with the wedding was perfect, the weather even cleared up just in time for the wedding.

(The church was pretty - just obviously heavily forested.)

The ceremony started and in came all of the wedding party (I think there were about 10 bridesmaids), all accompanied by the organ. Then the organ stops and all of a sudden you hear the blare of a bagpipe and in comes a kilt-wearing bagpiper followed by the bride. Talk about here comes the bride!  It was probably one of my favorite touches of the wedding. I LOVE bagpipes and seriously, what a way to announce your entry.

Even though lots of people were taking pictures of the wedding, I felt weird trying to get in people's way to get a shot, so I just got a couple not good pictures of them signing the wedding certificate and leaving the chapel.

The wedding was lovely, the bride and groom followed the bagpipes out and everyone hung out and enjoyed the beautiful surroundings (not to mention the amazing flowers over the arch) and took photos for a while.

Will and Marion, the happy couple


Check out the sweet ride with the personalized plates they had waiting as their transport back to the castle and off for the honeymoon.  Loved it.

Even the tourists were out excitedly snapping pictures of the wedding party.

Then it was back to the shuttles where a white-gloved staff met us with glasses of champagne that they continued to fill the whole way back to the castle. (And came back with water for two of us.)

At the castle we were ushered around back for a garden party with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. It was beautiful. There was a band (different than the band they would have later that night) and beautiful flowers and delicious seafood appetizers. (Ryan kept stalking the girl with the lobster bisque, trying to pop up in different places acting like he was a different guy :)  They even had shawls for the women in case you got chilly and umbrellas for everyone in case it rained.

The bride and groom made their entrance in their stylish automobile and then mingled a bit before taking some pictures with the wedding party.

 I believe the bride's dress was a Carolina Herrera designer gown (for those who follow those kind of things). I can't remember the designer for the bridesmaids dresses, but apparently the bridesmaids had about 25 dress choices to look over. They each narrowed it down to their top three or so, and then Marion went through with a professional and each girl was matched to a dress and color based on her body type and skin color. (The photographer was always in my way, so this was the best large group shot I got.)

The dinner bell was rung, and we were ushered into the castle.  I swear there was an entire garden's worth of hydrangeas in that room.

Actually the flowers were flown in from Holland early that morning. They were literally flowers everywhere. Tall arrangements on the tables, short arrangements underneath those, flowers on the cocktail tables outside, flowers in the bar, flowers in the bathroom, flowers all over the castle... Wow.  I really liked these arrangements too with rosemary wrapped around them.

Everything at this wedding was monogrammed. I should start with their wedding invitations, actually. Their save-the-date cards were really a small booklet with all sorts of information on Sligo, the accomodations, things to do, etc. beautifully letterpressed with designs from the area and castle in Ireland. The wedding invitations were again beautifully letterpressed and seriously about the thickness of a cardboard box. The dinner menus that night were letterpressed and designed to match the interior of the room we were eating in. But then everything you touched pretty much the whole weekend was monogrammed - napkins, menus, itineraries, coasters, even wooden cocktail stirrers. They had also had their fine china specially designed to be of the castle in Ireland. Pretty impressive attention to detail.

For dinner we had several courses, even sorbet before the main meal to cleanse the palette. For the main course we had our choice of duck or monkfish (I went with duck). After dinner and a few words from the families, the cake was cut and a room for dancing was opened up with a different band playing.

You'd think she might be tired, but that bride danced her socks off all night long.

When they were ready to leave, we found beautifully boxed and packaged cupcakes with an artistically decorated Irish scene with two sheep on it with for all the guests to take as they left. Of course there had to be one final perfect touch, as they drove off.  We all lined up with sparklers, then as they started down the dirt road from the castle, a tunnel of fireworks shot up like fountains along their path lighting their way out. It was a pretty spectacular ending.

The next day, our last day for sightseeing our way back out of the country was pretty much seen through the windows of our car as it rained almost nonstop the whole day.

And then we came to this one area on the coast where there were wild purple and yellow flowers growing everywhere.  Entire hillsides were covered in them. So gorgeous.

That night we stopped in Galway, a really cute town, for our final Irish meals and meandering.

We really did try our fill of anything Irish we could think of there. Lots of fresh seafood, fish and chips, Irish stews, lamb, shepherd's pie, and of course Irish coffee and lots and lots of beer for everyone else.

And of course we have to give a HUGE thank you to Ryan's sister who flew all the way across the country to leave her 4 kids (older than ours) and come take care of our three unruly boys. We walked in to a clean house and happy boys - (I can never get both of those simultaneously). Brave woman even took the kids swimming every day, did projects with them, and even my cupboards were organized and food was made to last for the next day or two.  How's that for service??!

Oh Ireland. It was an amazing time. The perfect wedding. Our accomodations were great, food was great. The country was beautiful. I love the accents. I kept saying I could live there. I'm sure there are downfalls to the country but I didn't see them. I guess the rain.  But just think, my tall, lanky, pasty white kids would even fit right in!!


Safire said...

Wow, a trip of a lifetime for you guys! And that about amazing. I went through and read it twice because it just seemed like a fairy tale. Hope the bride and groom enjoyed it as much as you did!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely incredible! I loved the bride's dress, and the way they did the bridesmaids' dresses. The hydrangeas, everything! What was not to love about the entire thing!

You both looked wonderful. Was that a new dress? I thought it was burgundy.

That wonderful Laurie! You were all so lucky that she could make your incredible trip possible.


Anonymous said...

You certainly made the right decision to go to the wedding, and now will the darling new bride be your new neighbor?


AnnaMarie Ferrell said...

Seriously unreal. I guess that would be a pretty good reason to get married when you can afford a wedding like that instead of when you're in college. :) I'm so glad you guys went! I loved the bride's dress, the flowers, the details. Unreal. Everything looked so beautiful and perfect. Thanks for sharing. I feel like I just watched a movie.

Chadlee said...

Gorgeous wedding (makes my wedding look like a walmart wedding) and gorgeous pictures. I so want to go to Ireland now!

Rochelle said...

I have loved reading and seeing your pictures!! It is like a fairy tale out of a movie. What an experience! Such a unique and amazing opportunity. So glad you got away for that! And you looked smokin' in all your pics. LOVED all your dresses and especially that one at the wedding. Gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

Wow. I didn't know non-celebrities even had weddings that picture-perfect. LOVE her dress. What a dream.

I can't get my comments to post on blogs ever since getting a new computer. I guess I"ll try doing it "anonymous"-ly.


Jenilee said...

What a beautiful wedding. Thanks for sharing your trip with us.

Goeb Life said...

What a trip! It was such an amazing wedding! I especially love the pic of the two of you all dressed up.:) Glad that you guys had such a important for couples to get away and spend time alone.

Ty and Trista Swartzlander said...

Absolutely amazing!!!! Every picture is breathtaking. What an awesome experience. Great job documenting. Hope you and fam are doing well back home.

SuburbiaMom said...

Thanks for posting all the fun pictures! What a wonderful trip!

Heather said...

Wow. What a beautiful place for a wedding. Sounds (and looks) like it was amazing. So glad you guys were able to have a nice little get away and enjoy it.

Anonymous said...



kimber said...

OK, I'm convinced...I want to go to Ireland now too. Can I have your sister in law too?

Mary said...

Thanks for the beautiful photos! Especially loved the flowers--white arch and table arrangements full of hydrangeas.

How do you know Kimber and Chad? I have known Chad since the day he came home from the hospital with his mother and Grandma Holmes. Small world!

Love, Your Aunt Mimi

duck said...

Absolutely amazing!

Cecily said...

Jen -- don't know if you remember me from W1 Ward, but I love to read your blog... I especially LOVE your dress at the wedding. You always have such nice formal dresses... where do you find them. I have a black tie event in a few weeks and I have no idea where to start looking. If you could email me and give me some pointers that would be AWESOME! My gmail is cecilyrebecca.