We are nearly two months on from our wedding day and to be honest I feel as if my feet are just hitting the ground. June was a total blur and it was only when we got back our photos that all the memories came rushing back.
I loved most of planning the wedding but it was steep learning curve. I don't come from an events background and also hadn't really thought about the practical side of things prior to getting engaged. I found a lot of blogs really helpful and I though I might share some of my tips here:
Enjoy All the Beauty Prep
I recently bumped into bride-to-be Aisling Keenan and we both agreed that leading up to your wedding you take your beauty much more seriously. I love skincare but in the last month in particular I really stuck to my routine. Catherine from Yonka gave me a Hydralessence Facial a week before the wedding and I used all the Hydra range the morning of the wedding to get my skin looking as fresh and naturally glowy as possible. I would definitely advise you to get a treatment or two in the lead up but most importantly trial your skincare for at least 6-8 weeks before the big day.
I knew I wanted to be tanned and I tried a few but in the end I was most impressed with a St. Tropez tan from Anu Beauty. I got it done on the Thursday before my wedding on the Saturday. I also got a manicure and pedicure in The Salon in The Shelbourne on the Thursday and was thrilled with both. You can see how I spent the week before in this video:
Leading up to the wedding my hairstylist Holly Murphy in Peter Mark and I chatted about what I had in mind and she worked out a colour schedule. I knew early on I wanted a braid but it wasn't until we had the trial that we got it exactly right then she mapped it out. The fact that Holly also knew how my hair responded to humidity was so helpful as she was able to prep it thoroughly on the day. I think also having a familiar face on the morning was very reassuring.
Fitness wise I did two sessions a week with John in Number 17 Personal training. I feel having some sort of an outlet for stress is really important.
I didn't want a veil but I wanted something to lift the sparkle from my dress upward and I chose a hair vine from Jules Bridal. It was made a little longer for me and I felt it suited the style of the dress and made it a bit glam boho. I didn't wear any other Jewelery as I felt that was enough.
Saying Yes To The Dress
I looked in three boutiques for my dress. I knew I wanted something simple and quite classic. I fell in love with my dress in the second place I went to. After trying it on I didn't really want to try on any more but my mum and I went to one more boutique. I tried on a few dresses there but all they did was reaffirm my earlier choice was the right one. Be sure to ask your boutique how many fittings (if any) you will need in advance. I had about five appointments but as Myrtle Ivory, where my dress is from, was only a fifteen minute walk from my work it was easy to get to. Meg and her mother who run it were honest and to the point which I appreciated. They bought in a tailor to the shop which was great as not all places do that but I think it's important for the people who sell you the dress to stand over it until it's exactly as you want it to be. There was an extra tailoring cost so I would advise you to ask for an approximate figure in advance as it will need to be paid towards the end when it's crunch time and everything needs to be paid for!
When it came to buying my wedding shoes my mum and I went to Kildare Village about three months before the wedding and I found myself trying on a really simple pair of sandals in Kurt Geiger and to be honest they were perfect. I actually also changed into a pair of flip-flops after dinner and I'm really glad I didn't go overboard with my shoes. Don't feel that just because these are your 'wedding shoes' they have to be the most perfect thing in the world, just make sure they're comfortable, wear them in and make sure a bridesmaid has Compeed to hand as well.
Accessory wise my mum made me my bridal bag. My bridesmaids dresses were pink and she lined it in pink flowers as a nod to that. I had seen her over the years making them for other brides using vintage bag handles and lace and this was really special.
Say No To Things That Don't Feel Right
I honestly didn't know what a wedding favour was until a few weeks before when someone asked me had we thought of them. Around that time I was signing up to run the the Mini-Marathon for the ISPCA and they mentioned that some couples had made a donation to a charity instead and that felt right to me. They give you the cutest little placecards for the tables and we had a little photoshoot with the cats before it. I have been down to the ISPCA I was really happy to support the work they do.
There is pressure for other wedding paraphernalia and to be honest go with your gut. It's your day and I think as long as the priority is on keeping people fed and watered and entertained, everything else is at your discretion.
Monitor The Spreadsheet and Think About What Will Matter in Ten Years
Five hundred euro here and there very quickly adds up into a whole different figure. Towards the end it came crunch time for our wedding bands. We had intially wanted them to be made by Rudolf Heltzel who made my engagement ring and we picked out ones we really liked. Being custom made they were a little steeper than standard wedding bands that are widely available. We thought a lot about it in the last few weeks and eventually decided to go with them. There are some elements to your day that won't matter in a decade but I felt that our wedding bands would be on our hands for the rest of our lives and it was important we went for the ones we loved. My Mum and Dad's wedding bands are actually from Rudolf Heltzel also so it's quite a sentimental thing but plenty of things fell to the wayside with the will it matter in ten years rule.
Showcase Your Personal Taste
Andrew and I both work in food and it was really important to us that the menu represented our style. I am very much into serving food buffet style and like people to help themselves. It's also a social thing. I designed four big sharing bowl salads, potatoes and vegetable options that were placed in the middle of the tables and then people ordered their preference of the vegan option, the fish or beef to go with the sides. The Hotel hadn't served a meal like this before but afterwards said they were delighted it went down so well and said that they would be offering it as an option in future packages. My point is don't be afraid of going a little off menu or asking for something to be served differently. It's important that the day represent you as much as possible.
When it came to the cake, which was also our dessert, I knew I wanted this to be a vegan cake. Andrew and I are big Susan-Jane White fans. She called over to the house one day with her book The Virtuous Tart and some freshly made brownies and we just clicked with her straight away. She made our wedding cake for us and it's actually the one on the cover of the book. It was a raw chocolate and raspberry torte. We served this with fresh Irish strawberries and Nobó salted caramel ice cream. The dessert was vegan and I think showed that side of me but in the most delicious way and everyone seemed to really enjoy it.
End The Night On A High
I look back on the first six months of being engaged and feel I was very naive. There is a lot of pressure to have the band, photographer, make up artist, or DJ in weddings and initially I took it all to heart and felt we needed to book certain people straight away. In hindsight no one needs that pressure and there are plenty of brilliant wedding suppliers. That said one recommendation we took verbatim and I am so glad we did was for our band Mix Tape. A wedding is a funny mix of people from all ages and musical preferences and a good band will get everyone up dancing.
The best advice they gave us was that our guests would follow us. If we stayed on the dance floor, our guests would stay there and we made a decision to dance all night long. The lead singer also MC-d the night and called everyone over from the bar, in from the smoking area and kept the dance floor full and everyone engaged. Whatever kind of entertainment you choose I think it's a good idea to keep things upbeat till the end and remember if you dance all night long, your guests will too!
Have Your Say
I know this isn't for everyone and honestly I've no idea what I actually said but I did give a little speech. I wanted to take the opportunity to say a few words as it felt very male dominated otherwise with my dad, Andrew and the best man all speaking. I should have put more thought into what I planned on saying but I felt if I thought about it too much I would back out. What I will say is that on your wedding day everyone is relatively polite and it is a day where you feel so full of love and happiness that it's nice to thank everyone for being there and for helping you along on your journey to get there.
Pick Your Suppliers Carefully
The morning of our wedding it lashed rain. Having gone from being absolutely sweltering the day before to raining solidly I'd be lying if I didn't say I was a little disappointed. I saw the groomsmen putting on the ribbons on the cars in the pouring rain and began wondering about the drinks reception which was supposed to be outside. Thankfully we had an incredible planner Marie Chawke co-ordinating the day. She reassured me that the hotel is used to hosting events in every condition so they just moved the reception inside. I was so pleased she kept me calm. Your wedding day is the time to delegate and pick a bridesmaid or friend as the point of contact for suppliers who is a solutions focused person. You don't need extra stress as there will be enough emotion going round your head as it is.
Your hair and make up people will also set the pace of the morning. If they're efficient the morning will run smoothly so make sure they are well briefed in advance and have a timetable printed for them all. I allowed 45 minutes for each person's hair and make up but your suppliers will guide you on this. It's important to remember your hair, make up and photographer will be with you the whole morning so try and pick people who you feel comfortable around. I knew I needed calm, rather than extrovert, people around me. For photography I was so happy to have chosen a very unobtrusive photographer. I barely noticed Trish and she didn't need any direction from me, she just quietly worked away.
Let The Day Take Over
Once we got to the Church nothing mattered and the day opened up. Although we had planned it all, everything surprised me. There is nothing I wouldn't give to walk up the aisle again as that was the moment where I just connected to what was happening and external factors, like the weather, or worrying about the morning, didn't matter any more. It's not that I'm cynical but I just hadn't felt that depth of emotion before and it took me by surprise. I had heard all the clichés about weddings, I just didn't think that would be my experience but it was amazing and such a special memorable day.
We are onto the next chapter and I feel in some ways sad it's all over. I wish I could re-do it all with what I know now but I've to remind myself there will be other parties...
If you are a bride-to-be I really hope these tips are of use and I wish you all the very best for your special day!
Lots of love,
Please do not repost any of these images without my permission. x
Photography unless specified - We are The Mastersons.