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Voltaire Diamonds – Diamond Specialists

Engagement-ring-specialists.jpg

 

Seamus FahyJudging by a recent increase in the purchase of diamonds, they’re not just a girl’s best friend, says Seamus Fahy, founder of Voltaire Diamonds, who has offices in Dublin and London.

“Without a doubt, we have seen an increase in sales this year, a sign that the economy is picking up.” He says spend is up by 15 per cent in some cases. “Most of our market comprises of people buying engagement rings. The average spend is anything between €1000 and €4500, with most people going for engagement rings within the €2,500 to €3,500 mark.”

Fahy set up the company in 2006 in order to sell diamonds at competitive prices. “I thought that people would be able to get cheaper deals if we cut out the middle man- in this case, the store. It means the overheads are lower so customers get more diamond for their money. I did a lot of research before I opened a business and studied gemology at the Gemological Institute of America,” he says.

There are 22,000 weddings a year in Ireland, so there’s always a market for diamond engagement rings and very often people use diamonds in their wedding rings too. “People first come to us when they get engaged. Then they come back to us when they want to buy eternity rings later on or special rings for when their first baby is born. What we have realised this year is that discretionary spend has increased, where a few years ago no one was spending money on pendants, earrings, bracelets and such items.”

Fahy says men who are looking to propose to their girlfriends are often intimidated by shops, so having offices near St. Stephens Green in the heart of Dublin where people can look at rings in a comfortable environment is preferable to many of them.”

Wesley Quirke, Rosanna Davison’s now husband bought her diamond engagement ring at Voltaire Diamonds.

“Wes designed the ring and we made it for him. It’s a cushion cut diamond engagement ring with diamond-set shoulders,” he said. Clearly Rosanna loved the €40,000 ring and she was photographed with it in numerous leading Irish newspapers. TV star Karen Koster also bought her engagement ring at Voltaire diamonds.

“We do advise people to shop around, see what they like and then come back to us. We will then be able to offer a cheaper price. We even suggest they take photos so we know what they want. Our experienced craftspeople create an extensive range of engagement rings and diamond jewellery to suit all requirements and budgets. We also create unique bespoke designs. If you have a design in mind then we will work closely with you and liaise with our craftsmen to produce the ring of your dreams.”

Voltaire buy all our diamonds from Antwerp, where diamond sales have also increased this year. Some of the biggest diamond traders reported profits up to 35 per cent for the first six months of the year. All diamonds are ethically originally sourced in South Africa, Australia, Canada and Russia.

“We supply loose diamonds in various shapes, sizes and colours. Many customers like the option of purchasing a loose diamond and bringing it to a jeweler of their choice to be set. We are very happy to source that special diamond for you and guide you through this process,” he says.

Fahy also owns Merrion Vaults in Dublin. “We have over 2,500 safes, where people can leave their valuables for as little as €200 a year. They not only buy themselves piece of mind, but it’s cheaper than if they insure their valuables on their contents insurance. “Average contents in safes are worth between €70,000 to €80,000, so the saving are considerable.” They are not just useful for jewelry, he says. “Personal items, deeds, medals and things close to people’s hearts are left in the vaults, as many of these can’t be replaced.” People no longer trust the banks and aggravated burglaries have increased, so a safe is by all accounts a safe option.

 

He has also recently launched Merrion Gold, also based in Dublin. “There has been a particular interest in coins this past year. Gold coins are big sellers as they are manageable and more reliable than shares. Gold never really loses its value.”

For more information visit www.voltairediamonds.ie or call Dublin: (01) 677 8449 or London: 020 7404 7524.

Planning Your Perfect Irish Honeymoon Road Trip

Planning Your Perfect Irish Honeymoon Road Trip

Irish newlyweds spend 67% more money on their honeymoon than regular vacations, according to a new survey by Censuswide. So, what makes Ireland so interesting that these couples prefer to spend that much locally? From breathtaking sea cliffs, rolling hills, luxury castles, and other incredible and romantic scenery, Ireland has something for every couple out there. Whether in a luxurious RV, van, or a classic car, the country’s vastness and variety of scenic power will give you the fun-filled and romantic honeymoon road trip you always craved. But how do you plan to convert all these into a unique and memorable honeymoon?

Getting ready to hit the road

Before you even consider where to drive to, you need to discuss how far you can afford to go. Coming up with a detailed budget is paramount. While at it, make sure to start with crucial areas such as accommodation, fuel, car emergencies, and impulse shopping expenses. To avoid maintenance chaos, make sure your vehicle is in good shape. Have your mechanic check the oil, filters, tyre condition, AC, brakes, and other safety features. If you will be towing your camping trailer, make sure it is intact as well. Your RV may have been sealed up all winter long. If that’s the case, take the time to open all the windows, clean everything, check for any leaks, and ensure the electrical systems and all other functionalities are working well. Another thing to include in your plan is emergency food. You need to pack simple snacks like chocolate and energy bites and set aside money to restock them as you make your stops. Regarding entertainment, don’t forget to carry a playlist of the most enjoyable tracks that you both relish. However, don’t let it interfere with the romantic stories that the environment is whispering to your ears as you drive. It’s also advisable to plan for travel insurance depending on your routes, places you are staying it, and the length of your road trip.

Enjoying the romantic destinations of Ireland

If you fancy midnight romance, be sure to drive to King of Kerry and spend time at the Kerry International Dark-Sky Reserve. On a moonless night, you can see the Milky Way, the Andromeda Galaxy and other clusters that describe pure love and romance. Valentia Island, which is near Kelly Cliffs, has a stunning lighthouse to watch the sunset sea as you stop for ice cream in the friendly sea-towns nearby. Other key romantic areas to visit include, Killarney, Dingle Peninsula, and Doolin, which is perfect for romantic photos filled with authentic Irish charm. Your itinerary is not complete if you haven’t planned to go kiss the Blarney Stone that is surrounded by a phenomenal landscape to spend romantic hours in. All these places have beautiful accommodation facilities, some dating back to the 15th century. They offer all kinds of budget-friendly and luxurious packages that will make your honeymoon road trip memorable.

 No rule says you have to board a plane after your wedding – going on a road trip could be better. Planning your perfect Irish honeymoon road trip does not have to be complicated. All you need is a detailed and timely budget and a well-researched itinerary. You can leverage road trips apps to provide further tips and suggestions. With Ireland’s scenery, fantastic food, welcoming people, and diversity of experiences, you do not have to take the typical vacation abroad.

A List Of Wedding Entrance Songs for Church

wedding entrance song list

I’m dealing with a lot of brides who are very anxious about their wedding entrance song. All brides want that perfect wedding entrance song to walk down the aisle to! As I tell every bride & groom, song choice is a matter of preference – the entrance song chosen should always mean something to both bride & groom. (Although in reality, the groom won’t always get a say in this one – sorry guys!!)

Most brides will know exactly what song they want to walk down the aisle to, others however are unsure and need a little guidance. (Contrary to what some articles will tell you – not every bride has every little detail of her wedding planned from the time she was 5 years old – so don’t stress it if you’re one of those brides, your wedding singer will be delighted to guide you in the right direction!).

As such I decided to do a short list of the most popular bride entrance songs that I’ve been asked to do by brides and grooms over the years and they are as follows (in no particular order of preference!)

I hope you find this useful!

Bride Entrance Songs

Click the title to watch.

Modern Entrance Songs

More songs for church

Psalm

Offertory

(or any of the entrance songs)

Communion

Register/Recessional

 

 

Any questions feel free to contact me here through mydreamwedding.ie or through my website: www.weddingsbyantoinette.ie

Antoinette

wedding entrance song list

Image credits:

Ceremony decor Brittany Ester Photography via Style Me Pretty

Bride and groom  Alyssa Maloof Photography via Style Me Pretty

The Ultimate Guide to a Perfect Wedding Dress

buying perfect wedding dress

Of all the arrangements and plans that go into a wedding, nothing sticks into people’s mind than the wedding dress. The big day is defined by the impression that the bride makes on those in attendance. No wonder a wedding dress is among the first things that cross your mind immediately you get engaged. For many, it is an opportunity to realize a little girl’s wedding dress dream.

What kind of a dress should I wear? What about the neckline? Is my body shape made for a specific dress style or should I go wild? What about acquiring the dress, should I hire or buy online? These are some of the questions that are sure to keep you awake as your day down the aisle approaches.

To give you a headstart on your quest, we have prepared the ultimate guide to a perfect wedding dress. We have broken wedding dress terminologies to give a simplified take on the different choices on wedding dress types, necklines, silhouettes, and sleeves. That’s not all, we have researched on where to buy your dream wedding dress, how to fit one and even how to protect your purchase. Indulge yourself below;

perfect wedding dress for every bride

Wedding Dress Styles

Wedding dresses come in limitless details and designs. However, they all revolve around the following styles.

A-line Dress

The A-line dress is fitted at the bodice and then flows all the way in a straight line that creates an ‘A’ shape, hence the name A-line. The simplicity of this dress makes it suitable for any kind of wedding occasion.wedding dress a line dress

While it’s great for all body shapes, it particularly helps to balance out a large bust. It can also accentuate your waistline if you are full figured or apple shaped. This is especially so when it comes with embellishments at the bust or waistline.

Do you want to conceal a larger lower body or give a narrower one a curvier look; this is the dress to go for.

Another amazing thing about the A-line dress is its ability to hide your underwear especially from waist downwards. If you have never worn a thong and you shudder at the thought of one, this dress will forgive you for wearing practically anything or nothing under it.

Pro tip; If you are pear-shaped, A-line dresses with hip or thigh area decorations can exaggerate these parts.

Fishtail/Mermaid and Trumpet Dresses

The fishtail or mermaid dress and the trumpet dress are great for confident brides. This is because they highlight every curve on your body. They both hug the body from the bust down the hips; the trumpet flares out mid-thigh while the fishtail flares out at the knee.

wedding dress trumpet dress

The styles suit slender bodies but are perfect for showing off the hourglass figure. When it comes to choosing what to wear underneath them, panty lines and other bulges are a no-no. You might have to go with a thong-cut underwear or shapewear to smooth out everything.

Your shapewear should end where your dress starts to flare; anything that ends somewhere along the way might be noticeable.

Pro tip; this is not the best dress to hide any flaws, only go for it when you are absolutely confident.

Ball Gown Dress

Have you always wanted to feel like a princess on your wedding day? Here is your opportunity! The ball gown is one of the most popular and timeless wedding dresses. It is characterized by a fitted bodice and a full, dramatic skirt.

ball gown wedding dress

Also referred to as the princess dress, the ball gown is great at accentuating your waist. The full skirts helps to conceal larger hips in a pear-shaped woman, consequently keeping the attention at the bust. If your upper body is athletic, you can make the bust look fuller with embellishments. The dress can also give you an hourglass look if you have a large bust.

With a ball gown, you can go wild with sexy lingerie like corsets, garters and stockings or you can just try your patience with the bodice and go completely granny-panty-comfortable beneath the skirts.

Pro tip; If you are petite or on the shorter side, you might want to stay away from the ball gown since you might get lost therein. However, if your heart is set on the princess experience, less volume on the skirt might work.

Empire Dress

The empire dress is characterized by a high waistline that starts just below the bust while the rest of the gown flows all the way to the hem.

The dress is perfect for hiding anything that you want to hide from below the bust downwards such as a long torso, a large lower body characteristic of pear shaped women and short legs. Petite women can create an elongating illusion with this type of dress. It also suits small busted women well especially when it comes with embellishments that draw attention to the neckline or the sleeves.

fit&flare empire wedding dress

Additionally, it is hard to notice a baby bump beneath the flowing skirt of the dress not to mention the comfort that it offers to mums-to-be.

What you choose to wear under your dress above the waist depends on the bodice that you choose to go with. The lower part on the other hand gives you the liberty to go as adventurous as you want or as simple as you can keep things. You won’t even have to worry about wearing shapewear with this one.

Sheath or Column Dress

The sheath or column dress is a relaxed, comfortable and trendy dress style. Unfortunately, it is also very unforgiving as far as unflattering bits are concerned since it closely fits the body from bodice to hem.

Sheath wedding dress

That said, the dress goes well with slim taller brides or those with athletic bodies. The dress also tends to create an illusion of added height for petite or short brides. The hour-glass shaped brides can also pull off a sexy look with the sheath dress. Statement backs, embellishments and lace can make the dress to stand out.

The column dress calls for seamless underwear and possibly shapewear to keep things smooth all the way. Bras tend to be especially visible beneath so you should take care of this beforehand or have yours sewn into the dress.

Pro tip; If you have some bulges and bumps, this dress tends to overemphasize them; you want to keep away from it.

The Dropped-Waist

This dress offers the perfect blend between a form fitting silhouette and a  voluminous ball-gown look. It features a fitting bodice with a waist that is ‘dropped’ to rest just above or at the hips.

The look flatters the hourglass-figured brides or the pear shaped brides who don’t mind showing off their lower body assets.

The dress calls for careful selection of underwear to create a smooth look especially for the upper form fitting part. If you are into bridal hosiery, this dress will comfortably allow it.

Cocktail/ Tea Length Dress

If you are looking for a special, casual or informal look, a cocktail or a tea length dress might come in handy. These dresses don’t go the full length of the usual wedding gowns. Tea length dresses can come in different styles and lengths depending on personal preferences and choices.

The dresses can go with any body shape as there is no limit to the variety of style. Yours can be designed to highlight your assets and conceal the bits you would rather not flaunt.

What you wear under also depends on the particular dress. These dresses are particularly great for your reception; think of how easy it is to move around or even dance without having to worry about someone stepping on your skirt.

Wedding Dress Necklines

For whichever dress style you settle on, you have to decide on the neckline that will most flatter your look. Here is a look at the common necklines;

Sweetheart Neckline

As the name suggest, this neckline resembles the shape of a heart. The fabric is cut low to give the appearance of the upper part of a heart. With the shape running across the bust, it’s the epitome of femininity and playful romance. It also gives you an innocent and charming look.

The neckline works with both strapped and strapless dresses. It’s also perfect for small or big busted brides. Do you have strong facial features and you are looking for a way to smoothen your overall look, then this is the neckline for you; the soft curves of the ‘heart’ will draw attention from your face. Also, it allows you to show a little cleavage while adding balance and softness to the exposed neck and collar bones.

Strapless Neckline

Chic and elegant, does that sound like your style? If so, then a strapless neckline is what your wedding dress needs. The dress has no sleeves or straps attached to it. To support the dress, the top part runs under the arms and sits comfortably across the bust while being secured at the back.

These kinds of dresses can support any body shape but might not work for big busts- without straps, brides with larger busts can appear incorrectly postured. That said, a strapless dress is perfect for a lady with a long neck. Additionally, the neckline provides enough surface to showcase your wedding necklace.

V or Plunging Neckline

The neckline originates from two diagonal lines running from the shoulders and meeting at the cleavage. The ‘V’ can go as low as you wish or depending on the design. V-necks are extremely beautiful on apple shaped shapes. The style works best if you want to reduce the appearance of your bust.

If you have a small bust, it will look much minimal in this neckline. A big bust on the other hand will look smaller while accentuating your height. The plunging shape can also help in showing off a beautiful collar or choker necklace.

Halter Neckline

This is neckline define by a single strap that goes round the neck to offer support to the top. This unique style can also be made up of two straps originating from the bodice and meeting into a knot at the back of the neck. The style is flattering and a popular one with modern brides, who want to show off shoulders and arms.

It’s a stylish alternative to strapless dresses that features a high neck with a backless design. The back can however be covered and the front take different shapes depending on your preference. Exposing the upper arms can help in making a petite bride look taller. The design also takes care of loose underarm fabric that is usually seen in oversize strapless dresses.

Square Neckline

Formal yet elegant is what comes to mind with a square neckline. This is an angular shaped design with three linear edges across the chest. The straps that hold up the top do not cross but join at right angles, which create the appearance of a square or rectangular neckline. Some styles can have soft angles and slightly ‘cupped’ designs which adds to the femininity of the dress.

The angular appearance works best in balancing round faces or adding breadth to the chest and shoulders. The look also flatters brides who are big busted and want to keep their chest well covered, or just want to show a little cleavage.

Wedding Dress Sleeves

Sleeves are another part of wedding dress lingo that is bound to be confusing. From full-length and short-sleeves, intricate vintage and modern sleeves designs have become major fashion statements.

Sleeveless Strapless wedding dress

Most of these styles comprise of lace sleeves which may be attached onto the bodice, or sold separately. Here are some of the designs that will make your wedding dress pop.

Sleeveless or Strapless

As earlier noted, wearing a strapless dress gives you a chic and elegant appearance. Without any straps to attach sleeves to, the arms are well exposed which can work for bride with hand tattoos that need showing off. The style also goes well with loose hairstyles.

Cold Shoulder

Delicate neckline, lovely shoulders and beautiful collarbones, if this sounds like your strong features, then off-the-shoulder sleeves is what your dress needs. The look is modern and incorporates sleeves that originate below the shoulders. The style gives the appearance of strong shoulders while leaving space for showcasing statement necklace.

Whether the sleeves are draped or holding tightly to your body, they draw attention to the neck area and upper body. This can be flattering especially for apple body shapes which require eyes to be on the bodice- providing even better effect than what a strapless dress does.

Cap Sleeves

These are sleeves that just cover the shoulders without extending to the rest of the arm. The cut can be at or just below the armpit level. They have minimal fabric and are a nice addition to a dress with floral patterns. Cap sleeves are excellent in adding padding to your shoulders while leaving most of your biceps bare. The style is common with A-line dresses and square necklines.

Pro tip: Short sleeves can also do instead of caps. These are sleeves that hit halfway at the biceps or just below the shoulder; cinching the bicep or draping loosely.

Long Sleeves

long sleeve wedding dress

If you want to draw away attention from your arms and on to your face then long sleeves are your kind of style. These sleeves are made of straight sheaths than can extend to or just before the wrists. Your dress will have a classic and authentic look. Long sleeves can also add a modern feel especially when paired with low-cut backs, V-necklines and lace embellishments.

3/4 Sleeves

These are a fitting alternative to long sleeves, especially for brides who want to show off wedding bracelets. The style also gives more room for mobility compared to long sleeves. They are also excellent for showcasing a little more of your amazing wedding dress fabric or decorations.

Bell Sleeves

Bell sleeves are a type of long sleeves with only one minor adjustment, they equipped with dainty bell-like flowing sleeves that go up to the wrists. They offer more mobility than sheath sleeves. Also, they add a carefree and breezy vibe to your dress.

bell sleeve wedding dress

Bell sleeves are inspired by the oldies, especially the 70’s clothing- think of hipster dresses and bellbottoms. If you are a modern bride with liking for colorful and fabulous occasions, then you should consider this style.

Bishop Sleeves

Unbound and easy going is what comes to mind with a bishop sleeve. The sleeve is cinched at the wrists while the fabric is loose and light weight, giving a romantic and elegant feel to your wedding dress. It’s a long sleeve which is fuller at the bottom compared to the top, and enfolded into a cuff. The style goes well with plunging necklines, low-cut backs and short wedding dresses.

Wedding Dress Fabric

When it all comes down to choosing your wedding gown fabric, the choices are limitless;

  • Tulle- silk, rayon or nylon netting. It can be stiff or soft and is usually used on veils or to give skirts body and volume
  • Satin- woven fabric that is glossy on the front and dull on the back
  • Voile- Soft sheer fabric which can be made of cotton or a blend of cotton, linen and polyester
  • Brocade- Heavy woven fabric with distinct raised designs
  • Damask- It is brocade like but with textured designs
  • Charmeuse- a semi-lustrous, soft and light-weight fabric
  • Chiffon- A soft semi-transparent fabric popular with veils and layered skirts
  • Linen- Fabric woven from flax. It is cooler and more lustrous than cotton but creases easily
  • Illusion- Fine translucent netting
  • Crepe- silk or rayon fabric with a pebbled or puckered appearance
  • Moire- silk fabric with a ripples lustrous appearance
  • Organza- Sheer fabric similar to chiffon but with a stiff feel
  • Taffeta– Light crisp fabric that feels like paper

Trains and Gown Length

Gowns

  • Short- the dress reaches just above the knee
  • Knee length- the hem reaches the knee
  • High-low- The hem reaches just below the knee in the front and at the ankle or train length in the back
  • Mid-calf/ Tea length- The hem reaches the middle of the calf
  • Floor length- The hem skims the floor with no train

Trains

  • Sweep – this is the shortest train; it extends about 1 foot along the floor
  • Watteau- a dramatic detachable train that falls from the shoulders or upper back
  • Chapel- It extends 3.5 to 4.5 feet from the waist
  • Semi-cathedral- flows 4.5 to 5.5 from the waist
  • Cathedral train- it extends 6.5-7.5 feet from the waist
  • Extended Cathedral/ Monarch train– Cascades 9 feet and above from the waist

Veils

  • Bird cage- a flirty veil that covers just the eyes
  • Blusher- a short loose veil worn over the face and pulled back after the ceremony
  • Shoulder length- hits the shoulders
  • Fingertip- goes beyond the hips
  • Ballet-length- falls to the ankles
  • Floor-length- matches the length of the bride’s gown
  • Chapel length- extends beyond the brides gown
  • Cathedral length- extends beyond the bride’s train

Where to Shop For Wedding a Dress

Now that you know your body shape and the styles that go with it, where do you shop for that one-in-a-lifetime dress? Here are your options;

Bridal Salon

A bridal salon is where you will get entire collections on a single line from which you can make your choice. For more variety you can opt for the traditional bridal salons which stock dresses from both international and local designers.

Trunk Shows

Trunk shows are special events during which salons showcase a wide range of collection. This would be the ideal events for you to widen your dress search. Most trunk shows come with discounts on dresses and accessories. From your local business listings, you can such events and book appointments.

Wedding Designers

Big names in the wedding industry have dedicated salons where they stock designer dresses. From Caiomhe Keane to Patrick Casey collections, our article on Ireland’s finest wedding dress designers has you covered.

Online Stores

The world has gone digital and online stores are here to make life easier for you. Are you looking for a nontraditional look? Online stores are perfect for casual wedding dresses or the typical court house dress. Just be sure to get your order right, otherwise you can end up with a completely different dress!

Second Hand

Are you working on a string budget, then a second hand dress can be your way out. Sell My Wedding Dress is one such marketplace for pre-owned wedding dresses. Most dresses come with a one day mileage and slashed prices, hence a great bargain. Other stores worth your perusal include Wed Dalia and Still White.

Second hand or consignment stores are also a good place to hire a wedding dress. This trend has been on the rise with eco-conscious brides preferring a used dress to a new one- such a dress can actually be your ‘something borrowed’!

Sample Sales

These are periodical sales events that comprise of a number of bridal boutiques. Different salons pool their wares together providing the largest single physical marketplace for bridal outfits. These events are perfect shopping grounds for variety of designer dresses from all over the country; most happen twice a year, so keep your ears open for the next event.

Departmental Stores

These are huge outlets with national reach. As such they have the capacity to stock dresses from various designers. Their sales power allows them to offer wedding outfits at lower prices than bridal boutiques. As much as the low prices might be appealing, these stores do not offer the kind of specialized treatment one gets from a designer’s shop or from bridal salons.

How to Find the Perfect Wedding Dress

Keeping up with trends is part of the wedding circles. This means that last year’s top bridal dress might not make the cut into this year’s weddings. So how do you find the perfect dress?

Step 1. Research

Wedding websites offer an easy place to start your research on bridal outfit trends. Apart from what is current, you will get to know about possible sales, second hand outlets and ow prices compare. You can also get most of this information from bridal magazines.

Step 2. Shopping

Once you have identified your dress style, it’s time to shop around. Set aside time to visit bridal stores or the designers to view their selections. This should be at least 6 months before the wedding date, since some dresses and designer gowns have to be pre-ordered well in advance.

Shopping can be made easier by having a bridal consultant by your side. The consultant will help in selecting dresses that will flatter your figure and ones that are within your budget. It’s also advisable to give heed to the professional advice of the consultant, if she wants you to try on a dress that you deem not to be your style, just go with it. You may also have to wear your hair a certain way or dab on some makeup to achieve a better fit and look.

Step 3. Purchase

Whether you will be purchasing the dress from a bridal salon or an online store, the process is usually the same. That said, making a purchase requires due diligence on your part and the seller’s. It’s for this reason that sale agreements receipts and exist.

Go through the agreement to ensure that the right data is captured, from your size, and dress size, to the down payment and date of delivery, ensure every detail is ironed out. When it comes to make settling the account, ensure that you use a credit card. Not only is it a water tight proof of payment, but use of a credit card can lead to a refund if the contract is breached by the seller.

Step 4. Trying On a Wedding Dress

A big part of landing the best wedding dress is ensuring that it fits perfectly and does justice to your figure. This can only be achieved by dedicating your time and energy to trying it on. This not only gives you chance to make necessary alterations but also builds confidence in your wedding day look. Below are step to help you achieve this.

perfect wedding dress

  • Be Prepared

Wedding salons might not be overly busy places but the details that go to a fitting are time consuming and specialized in nature. With this in mind, make your appointment at least a day or two in advance. This will give the attendant time to prepare for your visit. Also, let the salon know about your preferences prior to the visit. That way they can prepare appropriate dresses for your perusal- that beats having to try on every other dress.

  • Try Different Styles

As much as different body shapes calls for specific dress styles, it’s good to keep an open mind. Try on several styles to see how your silhouette fairs in each. Keep in mind that sleeves and veils could make all the difference, so be ready to try them out too.

  • Take your Time

A dress that looks good on the mirror may not feel so good after spending one hour in it. To ensure you don’t end up with the wrong dress, spend at least 10 minutes in each dress.

  • Practice in It

You will have to walk, dance, eat and do other stuff in that single dress during your big day. So, why not practice a little in the salon to see how a dress holds. This will help you to order alterations or narrow your search to a better choice.

  • Document

The opinion of others could help in landing the perfect dress. If you are shopping alone, then take photos that you can show friends and family. The approach can be instrumental in choosing the best dress.

  • Schedule for Fittings

Once you have settled on a dress, it’s time to schedule for fittings. This will ensure that any changes in your size are accounted for. Make the visits frequent especially towards your nuptials.

The Bottom Line

Looking for the perfect wedding dress can be a real hassle especially if you don’t know where to start. The different styles, parts and requirements that constitute your dream wedding look don’t make it any easier. Luckily for you, our detailed guide is your timely help in your hour of need.

More wedding dresses

Will A Professional Wedding Band Make A Difference?

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As you might have already figured out, planning a wedding is a huge undertaking. There are many different details and plans that have to be worked out and it can get a little hectic at times. One important part of the planning process that you do not want to slack on is the reception and the music that will be the entertainment for your guests.

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As you might have already figured out, planning a wedding is a huge undertaking. There are many different details and plans that have to be worked out and it can get a little hectic at times. One important part of the planning process that you do not want to slack on is the reception and the music that will be the entertainment for your guests.
You could go for the DJ or you could go for the more popular choice of the live wedding band. If you want some spark and life during your reception, you will want to stick with hiring the live wedding band.

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When looking at a wedding band to hire, it would be a good idea to make sure that you are catching a live performance of theirs. This can be done by attending one of their public gigs. If you are unable to do this, you should have no problem getting your hands on a demo CD. By taking a close listen to their music, you will be able to truly determine whether or not they are a good fit for your wedding reception.
If the band has a website, you will want to make sure to check it out as it will provide you with a lot of the information you need. There are generally photos, musical tracks, and videos to review, all of which will give you a clear understanding of how professional the band is.

You might luck out even further and find some testimonials on their website. This will clue you in as to how well their previous customers enjoyed their music and performance. If you happen to stumble on the bands repertoire, make sure that you are taking a look at that as well.

With so many different types of music out there, you want to try and make sure that you are selecting a wedding band that will play music that will appeal to most of your guests. Think about what the average age of your wedding guests is and you should have no trouble selecting the music you want for the reception.

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While price is a factor, you will want to make sure that the band is truly going to provide you with everything that you are looking for. Once you have ironed out the price and all of the details, make sure that a solid contract is being put together. When you sign the contract and turn it in, you usually have to submit your non-refundable deposit at the same time. This will ensure that the date is reserved for your wedding.

As the wedding gets closer, you will want to make sure that you are calling the band to confirm the details of the reception. If you are concerned about the wardrobe they will be wearing, make sure that you discuss these things with them in plenty of time before the reception.
A nice gesture is to make sure that you provide the band with some food since they most likely traveled a long way, took some time to set up, play all night, and then tear down their equipment. You might also want to make sure that the band has a copy of the planned events for the evening so that they can work around them.

Picture credits:

Picture 1 Ben & Colleen via Style Me Pretty

Picture 2 Glass Jar Photography via Style Me Pretty

Picture 3 13:13 Photography via Style Me Pretty

Picture 4 The Nichols via Style Me Pretty

7 Unique Things to Try at Your Wedding

wedding favours

Traditional weddings are beautiful and classic, but more and more couples are trying to make their ceremony and reception be an extension of their relationship! After all, your wedding day is a celebration of who you are as a couple and should reflect your personalities, whether you are witty, funny, more laid back. It’s important that your big day feels like you! The great thing about planning your own wedding is that you can mix and match ideas and themes together to make it unique to you. Here are some cute ideas that you can add to your wedding to make it more you!

Dress Change

Although your wedding ceremony may have been a more formal affair in a church, your reception doesn’t have to be! Many couples opt for a beautifully proper ceremony in a church with their family priest to recreate the family tradition, just like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex. After having such a gorgeous ceremony, you deserve to kick back at the reception and have fun with your family and guests by dancing the night away. Your elegant ball gown and the groom’s white tie suit may not lend itself to being fully comfortable on the dance floor. Therefore, it might be in your best interest to join the many brides (and grooms) that have a separate reception look so that they can have fun and greet all of their guests in comfort. For the bride, you can opt for a reception dress and a pair of white sneakers. For the groom, removing the tailcoat and vest will make it easier to dance and enjoy the night!

New Look

You will want to look your best for your wedding day, and sometimes that means trying something new! Some brides and grooms want to look extra special, and this can mean changing things up for the ceremony or before the reception. You can go from beautiful beachy waves to an updo perfect for dancing. If you’re considering a serious change, like a haircut or color, reach out to your stylist to get their thoughts and opinions. A new length could affect your original hair plans and even how your veil looks. Likewise for the groom, updating your facial hair is a great way to change up your look. For a more formal event, you may consider just trimming your beard and straightening up your cheek line and neckline for a more refined effect. If you’re looking for that hipster casual look, then ask your bride’s opinion on sporting a mustache. As always with shaving, you need to make sure have the best products for shaving for a soothing and comfortable shave.

Signature Cocktail

Even if you’re hosting the reception at a very traditional venue, you can find tasteful ways to add your personality to the party! Ask your vendor (or the venue) if they are willing to create signature cocktails just for your event that your guests will enjoy. If you each have very different tastes, then try creating a drink for both the bride and the groom. Get extra creative and come up with quirky names for the drinks. Your families and guests will love this idea and have a great time ordering them by name. For a super cute addition, create a third drink in honor of your unity as newlyweds.

DIY Backdrop

Backdrops have become a trendy wedding idea for many couples because they are a great place to get some pictures during the reception. They also add a charming touch to the venue and reception space. DIY (do-it-yourself) projects are a great way to save money and add a personal touch to your wedding. Since you’re doing it yourself, the possibilities are endless! This idea can be adapted for any wedding theme and style. The key to a great backdrop is the frame. If you’re looking for something unique, you can use a a grid wall, which you can use to weave ribbons, fabric or even greenery and flowers for a beautiful effect! This is an easy DIY that you will save you money and time. A more traditional backdrop can be built out of PVC pipe and draped with flowers or a sign with your new married name!

Late Night Reception Snacks

So the ceremony is over and so is the dinner portion of your reception, but you’re hungry from all the dancing. Plan for some late night snacks towards the end of your reception. Your families and guests will love this idea! You can make this arrangement through your caterer or go for a ride with your wedding party to grab some snacks. Doing this snack run in your wedding dress and suits will create a great memory you’ll never forget!

Takeout Wedding Favors

If you’re indecisive on what to choose for wedding favors, think about creating takeout favors out of the leftover foods from the reception! If you’ve ever been to a wedding, you know that some favors are impractical. Often they are super charming or even funny, but they will get no use after the wedding is over. Choosing to do something with leftovers is great for you and the environment. Your caterer and baker may even love this idea as well because they won’t have to throw out extra food or force you to take it all home at the end of the night. Create a leftover kit so that your guests can take a little bit of the wedding home with them. Get takeout boxes for the buffet food and wedding cake along with a custom water bottle. Don’t forget to keep some of the wedding cake for yourself though, so that you can freeze it until your first wedding anniversary!

Sparklers for the Send-Off

Instead of using confetti or doves, consider using sparklers as your send-off! The classic option is rice, but you’re saving food and you’re going to want something interesting with extra flair. The reception is over and you’re ready to go home as a married couple. Have your DJ or wedding band announce the last song and then once it’s over, have your wedding party hand out the sparklers. This will create a beautiful photo opportunity and be a fun alternative to the conventional wedding exit!

Takeaways

Your wedding should be as unique as you and your relationship! If you have a cool idea that doesn’t fit into the classic wedding theme, do it anyway. This is a celebration in honor of your relationship and taking this new step towards a life together. Your guests will appreciate the unique touches that show off your personalities. With all of these interesting additions, your wedding will surely be a memory of a lifetime

Diamond Engagement Rings Vs. Other Stones: What’s the Pros and Cons?

diamond engagement ring

Diamonds are one of the most classic and timeless choices used for engagement rings by couples for decades. Before you do the same, it’s best if you actually take the time to weigh its pros and cons. This information will help you determine whether or not a diamond engagement ring is perfect for your needs and budget.

You’ll have a wide variety of options when you’re looking for a stone for your engagement ring. Regardless of whether you’re looking for a simple ring or a showstopper, you’ll easily find one in the market today. If you’re planning to go for the classic diamond, consider the following advantages:

  1. Diamonds are top quality


As mentioned, diamond engagement rings have been sold in the market for decades, and stone quality is closely measured using the four “Cs”: Cut, Clarity, Carat, and Colour. Reputable jewellers and diamond experts, such as Chisholm Hunter, will handpick only the best diamonds to fit their unique engagement ring designs. Depending on your budget, you can select one large stone or several smaller gems to ensure you get the best possible quality for your money.

  1. Add a splash of colour


Engagement rings represent your commitment and plans of marriage in the future, and should reflect the individuality of your love and relationship. If you want to wear something that’s a little different from the norm, consider brightening your style with a coloured diamond or complimentary gemstone. Princess Diana and, more recently, the Duchess of Cambridge, popularised sapphire and diamond rings. For something more meaningful, consider marrying your diamonds with the birthstone of your betrothed, for example ruby and diamond for July, or emerald and diamond for May.

  1. Nothing sparkles like a diamond


Your betrothed will be wearing this ring (hopefully!) for the rest of their lives. If they’re looking for sparkle to impress friends and family with, diamonds are the way to go. Because a diamond engagement ring creates more sparkle, expect that wearing one will make you stand out from the crowd!

  1. A shape to suit every hand

Women know the shape of clothes that fit their body and make them feel gorgeous, and a ring shape is no different. If you or your partner want an engagement ring that can make your finger look slimmer, buy a diamond engagement ring that has an oval cut. Since diamond engagement rings come in a variety of shapes and sizes, you’ll find one that complements the shape of your hand.

But since nothing in this world is ever perfect, buying and owning an engagement ring also comes with some disadvantages such as:

  1. Blowing the budget


It’s recommended to set a budget before shopping for an engagement ring. If your heart is set on a diamond, be prepared to add a zero or two to it! Depending on the size, a diamond engagement ring can be very expensive, to the point that several financial institutions will provide financing options to customers who want only the best. If you can’t pay for the price of the diamond engagement ring upfront, you might need to pay high-interest rates in the next five to ten years.

  1. Diamonds depreciate

Similar to how a brand-new car loses its value the moment you drive it on the road, the same is true when it comes to diamond engagement rings. Companies who are selling engagement diamond rings don’t buy back their products at nearly the same price. The reason? Diamond engagement rings easily depreciate. This means that by the time you’ve paid for a diamond engagement ring, it’s at least 40% less valuable from the moment you bought it. This depreciation is one of the reasons why people don’t invest in diamonds anymore.

  1. A status symbol?

Some people choose to buy a diamond engagement ring to use as their status symbol. They think that if they wear this stone, they can be considered as belonging to the upper echelons of society. If you have the same motive in buying a diamond engagement ring, be wary. Since diamond engagement rings depreciate easily, buying one as a status symbol isn’t the best idea. Instead, consider buying a house, or other alternative jewellery.

Consider Other Factors

Aside from thinking about the pros and cons of a diamond engagement ring, you should also consider the maintenance and lifestyle of its wearer. All of these factors are essential, so you and your partner can enjoy the diamond engagement ring you’ll buy!

brilliant diamond

Top 20 Irish Wedding Venues

top irish wedding venues

In Ireland, weddings offer big business which has seen the industry skyrocket to unimaginable heights. Why is this you ask? The answer lies in the beautiful and stunning wedding destinations that the country has to offer. From small venues by the sea to picturesque historic sites, the busy streets of Dublin and Cork to cottages and luxury castles in the countryside, Ireland has got you covered. There are wedding locations dotted all over the Emerald Isle.

What’s even more exciting is the fact that every venue has something unique to offer. With such a competitive nature in the industry, you are certainly spoilt for choice. That said, choosing a perfect venue is almost similar to getting the right partner; you ask around, go through tones of directories, and size up different venues for the perfect pick.

This can go on for weeks or months until you stumble upon that one place that takes your breath away. As much as the search can be thrilling, it can eat up your time for other wedding preparations unless some help comes your way. To help you in settling for the best venue complete with a reception area, here are our picks for the top 20 Irish wedding venues.

  1. Adare Manor, County Limerick

Are you looking for a classy, stately and unique wedding venue, Adare Manor will do you justice. Located in County Limerick, the facility is a fine masterpiece of Gothic architecture which sits on 840 acres of beautiful parkland. The property has diverse activities that will keep you and your guests well entertained, for the duration of your stay.

 

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The hotel was the winner of the 2018 Virtuoso Awards as the ‘Hotel of the Year’. This just goes to add to the hospitality tag that defines the venue; a quality carried forward from the days the manor served as the seat of the Earl of Dunraven. What should you expect from the venue? Well, the management promises a sense of belonging, a place where you are known and treated like family.

  1. Ashley Park House, Tipperary

Walled gardens, 300 year old trees and an orchard are just some of the attraction that Ashley Park House has to offer. The property sits on 76 acres of woodland populated by beech trees. Its located six miles north of Neganh, right in the middle of County Tipperary. The venue offers a mix of modern and traditional Irish values, with a five star experience in the midst of idyllic countryside.

 

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One of our favourite drone shots of the house, boathouse ceremony room & pavilion next to the lake. Image by @paulduanephotographyireland

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Ashley Park is designed to host both exclusive gatherings and huge parties. On a good weather day, a civil blessing can be held by the lake or inside a boathouse. On the other, hand large celebrations will find enough space in a pavilion, which can hold up to 300 guests.

This peaceful haven comes with “an excellent reputation for hosting weddings over the past 15 years.” If you choose to go with the venue, your guests can look forward to walking, hiking, golf, and clay pigeon hunting among other activities.

  1. Ballymagarvey Village, County Meath

Ballymagarvey is a venue which is synonymous with Irish history. Its beginning goes back to over 800 years when it was associated with royals. This was the home of Gwenllian de Lacy, the last true native princess of wales. Stunning architecture from the 12th to 13th century still exist, including a tower and church; all which showcase the Anglo Norman stone-masonry.

The venue offers a variety of choices when it comes to the size of your wedding party; the Conservatory Library can accommodate 50 guests while the Banquet Hall can hold up to 226 guests. If the weather permits, you get to have pictures taken beside a breathtaking waterfall or in the woodland in which this ancient property stands. Whichever season you choose to hold your big day, there is a package deal waiting for you at Ballymagarvey Village.

  1. Borris House, Carlow

Stunning gardens and stately rooms is what greets when you venture into the huge Boris House. The venue has hosted some notable weddings in the Irish history, a fact that has seen it being listed among the best wedding venues in the country. The property dates back to the Irish kingdom of Leinster.

With a professional staff running the house, you can get any form of custom wedding that you can think of; from a private ceremony or an inclusive one to a themed celebration or an over-the-top after party.

If yours is a religious ceremony, then this is a venue that you should seriously consider. For Catholics there is the Sacred Heart Church, while Anglicans can hold their ceremony at the onsite Chapel. That’s not all, for civil unions there are plenty of spaces including the granary barn and the ballroom.

  1. Breckenhill Barn, Ballyclare

This is “A unique rural venue for your perfect wedding with flexible options and facilities surrounded by beautiful gardens”. That’s what you should expect from Breckenhill. The facility is arguably one of the best venues for a country or a barn wedding in Ireland. It’s fashioned from an 18th century Georgian house, which once served as the site for six textile mills. It sits on an 18 acre hilly expanse located half hour from Belfast International Airport and the City airport.

Breckenhill is ideal for both outdoor and indoor engagements. For an indoor and small gathering, the Stone barn is where you want to be. It’s a one storey barn with the ground floor holding 25 people, which will do for a small wedding service. The upper floor can host the reception or after-party for at least 80 guests. Larger ceremonies are also welcome with variety of outdoor locations outside the barn; from manicured lawns to beautiful gardens that overlook the Tilgard Fishery.

  1. Carton House, Maynooth

Less than 15 miles from the busy Dublin City is this regal house, located in Maynooth County. The facility provides a mix of sophistication and idyllic luxury. It’s a four star wedding venue with a spa, two championship golf courses, eateries and tennis courts among other attractions. The resort also happens to be the home ground of The Irish Rugby team and the Kildare Gallery.

For your wedding, Carton House provides an 18th century Manor house that can hold up to 100 people. The interiors are made of Baroque architecture, a fine addition to an already exquisite wedding venue. The house sits on 1100 acres of parkland which opens up interesting possibilities for your dream wedding; from an outdoor ceremony at the courtyard to a private affair in the Al Fresco Arch.

  1. Dunloe Hotel and Gardens, Killarney

The Dunloe Hotel sits on a 64 acre estate and has been hosting weddings for almost 4 decades. The rural setting is suited for a truly romantic wedding, with walled gardens and secret walkways running around the facility. There is also a confluence of modernity brought about by a techno gym, luxury steam room and sauna, tennis, and a golf course.

Dunloe Hotel prides itself in being among the best five star wedding venues situated away from busy cities. Let your guests take in the ambience of the 12th century castle, whose ruins are within the grounds and River Laune- this provides a unique background for your wedding photographs. The venue also comes with an onsite wedding coordinator, a welcome addition especially for those going for a destination wedding.

  1. Gougane Barra Hotel and Church, West Cork

As far as exclusive wedding venues goes, Gougane Barra has found itself among the best Ireland has to offer. No matter the simplicity or complexity of your plans, the venue provides a magical atmosphere that will make your dream wedding come true. Located in South West corner of the country, it borders the westerly peninsulas and stretches into Lee Valley; a scenery that is truly breathtaking.

 

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Two beautiful photos of Gougane Barra 😍 Thank you for sharing them with us @jimjam194

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The hotel comes complete with a tiny church, St. Finbarrs Oratory, which is part of the venue’s appeal. If you are into Celtic culture, then you will find plenty of archeologies in the area to occupy your days. Within an hour of the venue are Drombeg Stone Circle, Carriganass Castle and the Timoleague Abbey. Your guests can also enjoy excursions to Mizen Head, the most South Westerly point in Ireland which comes with a Lighthouse.

  1. Inishbofin House Hotel, County Galway

Overlooking the Inishbofin Harbour and located off Galway and Mayo coastline, is the Inishbofin House Hotel. The venue is set in an island which is removed from the noise and busy life of the mainland. From the miles of beach sand and beautiful mountains to sea-view rooms, the hotel has something for everyone. The scenery and the rich Irish traditions of the region provide a stunning getaway, especially for a destination wedding party.

 

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Veiws from the Bar….⛵ #inishbofinhousehotel #inishbofin #inishbofinisland #connemara #galway #ireland

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The luxurious destination is also surrounded by crystal clear blue water and a rugged terrain that is just perfect for your wedding photos. The venue is however limiting in terms of capacity, with only 34 rooms available for guests. This however makes it the ideal site for a small, intimate and invite-only ceremony.

  1. Kinnitty Castle, County Offaly

The venue is a 37 ensuite-roomed gateway fit for a beautiful private wedding. Castle Bernard, as the venue is also known, offers a tranquil experience with guest being surrounded by medieval legacy and architecture. For those picture perfect spots, the venue has you covered with grounds and forested areas running across the Slieve Bloom Mountains.

The castle grounds also come with horse riding instructors, making a great getaway for your adventurous guest. The venue serves as a base for most local events, meaning you can time your big day to coincide with a festival of your choosing- Birr Festival of Music, Tullamore Tradfest or if you are into farming, the National Ploughing Championships!

  1. Lough Cutra Castle, South Galway

Located in South Galway, is this fairy-tale castle which is perfect for hosting any ceremony. The castle is part of a 1600 acre private estate, complete with a mile long driveway and three holiday cottages. The attraction of the venue is further enhanced by the warmth and hospitality which is part and parcel of the staff.

 

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Apart from the majestic location, Lough Cutra Castle is home to an extensive art collection; what’s more, the castle was designed by John Nash, the renowned architect who also came up with the designs for Buckingham Palace. Since its completion in 1817, the venue has hosted notable persons including Prince of Wales and Irish President Michael D Harris.

  1. Lough Eske Castle, Donegal

The castle’s history goes back to the 15th century and is closely associated with the O’Donnell clan, part of Ireland’s founding fathers. This fairy-tale wedding venue is located a near Donegal Town, a town which once served as the capital of Gaelic Kingdom. It’s an idyllic location on the shores of a lake overlooking the Blue Stack Mountains.

The five-star Castle offers some of the best wedding packages in Ireland, including winter packages and six course wedding dinners. The natural scenery, excellent staff and majestic architecture has seen Lough Eske Castle win several prestigious awards. Such include 2017 Luxury Hotel of the Year, 2016 Venue Coordinator of the Year and 2016 Travelers Choice of the Year.

  1. Lough Rynn Castle, County Leitrim

The Rynn Castle is one of the most luxurious and exclusive wedding venues in the country. The facility once served as the home of the Clement family, one of the biggest and wealthiest Irish landlords up to the end of 20th century. The home has now been transformed into a magnificent modern hotel sitting on 300 acres of land in county Leitrim, West of Ireland.

 

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The Hotel which has been awarded the “Best Castle Venue” in Ireland boasts of many features that makes it ideal for a wedding. Rooms that face the lake, rolling lawns that make for picturesque wedding photography, and the huge Inglenook fireplace. These are some of the attractions that make this 320 capacity hotel a timeless venue; not to mention, the woodland pathways and chauffeured tours around the estate.

  1. Marlfield House, County Wexford

Just outside Gorey is the Marlfield House, a luxury boutique hotel that has been operating for over 37 years. The house occupies part of 40 acres of woodland, which also contains an ornamental lake and a beautiful garden. The venue also comes with other attractions including hens, peacocks, dogs and lovely ponies.

Marlfield House is a member of Relais and Chateaux, a testament to the hospitality standards of the staff that run the place. The venue can hold up to 145 wedding guests in the sprawling grounds, as well as small intimate gatherings in the Conservatory and Duck restaurants. The hotel can also accommodate up to 42 guests, making it ideal for a luxurious destination wedding.

  1. Montalto Estate, County Down

In the traditional market town of Ballynahinch is the Montalto Estate, a lush 400 acre property located in County Down- Northern Ireland. The venue is converted from an 18th century home and a 19th century mill, which now serve as sites for unforgeable weddings. For your big day the venues offers three options including The Carriage Rooms, the estate grounds and the main house.

The carriage rooms are stone outbuildings which once housed a mill. The Estate Grounds are sprawling grounds with spectacular backdrops for your wedding photographs. Last in the list of the estate’s venues is the Montalto House, a Georgian mansion that can hold a wedding party of up to 66 people. There is also a Chinese Room complete with oriental art and delicate chandelier lighting for a complete romantic ceremony.

  1. Mount Druid, County Westmeath

In the village of Castletown is Mount Druid, picturesque parkland that covers 100 acres. The venue offers a tin chapel, a barn, and a boathouse, all which are available for wedding attendees. Being the home of over 200,000 trees planted by the Murphy Family who run the estate, the venue blends well with nature. The estate also doubles up as a farm for organic foodstuffs and sheep rearing.

 

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Mirror mirror on the wall…

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The area is also dotted with yurts which can be intimate getaways for guests. Whether you want a full ceremony or a wedding blessing, the tin chapel is sufficient in holding a small gathering. That said, the venue is located opposite St. Michael’s Catholic Church and within 15 minutes’ drive from Mullingar Town where the All Saints Church of Ireland is located.

  1. Angler’s Rest, Castleknock

As one of the top 100 best wedding venues according to One Fab Day, Angler’s Rest is a cut above the rest. The property lies next to River Liffey and is an alternative wedding venue that can hold up to 150 guests. Its location next to the Phoenix Park provides a spectacular backdrop for wedding photographs. It also comes with ample parking and is easily accessible from the nearby Dublin City.

Angler’s Rest is famous for its fine food and the beautiful Strawberry Beds. One of the outstanding features of the venue is Collins Room which, “can be adapted in layout to suit individual needs”, says the management.

  1. The Cliff House Hotel, County Waterford

An intimate, historic and luxurious ceremony, does that describe your dream wedding? If so, then Cliff House Hotel is your kind of place. The facility is a five star ‘Wedding by the Sea’ venue, County Waterford. It sits on a cliff overlooking the village of Ardmore and the Atlantic.

For the reception, your party will be hosted in the North Pavilion room, which private, spacious and comes with a balcony and courtyard. The Restaurant houses the Chef’s Table, a long American oak table that can hold up to 18 guests. The room is however spacious and for a bigger party of up to 40 people, additional tables can be added for you.

  1. The Dean, Dublin City

Ireland has all imaginable wedding venues, including many that are located inside big cities. The dean is one such venue that sits right in the city centre. Press Up Group, the leisure and hospitality company behind the venue has gone over and beyond to make The Dean one of the leading wedding locations.

In its design is the Blue Room which is spacious enough to hold a party of 120. The ambience is made electric with stark coloured interiors dappled with artwork and mod cons. There are flexible wedding packages which are carefully designed to accommodate any ceremony that you might desire. The venue also comes with an in-house wedding planner, which makes your planning much easier.

  1. Thomas Prior House, Dublin

The Thomas Prior House is another of Dublin’s exquisite wedding venues. The hidden gen once housed a Masonic school and has retained 18th century architecture, which goes to add to the beauty of the venue. Since 2016, the facility has seen upgrades including a contemporary bar, inbuilt lighting system and a mobile dance floor.

The management offers a fabulous wedding package that is meant to make your big day as personalised as possible. Thomas Prior House is also designated as a ‘one wedding a day’ venue. This ensures more attentive service and red carpet arrival for guests. The package also comes with a designated wedding coordinator which makes the venue excellent choice for a city-themed destination wedding.

Final Word

Regardless of the factors that come to play in your choice of a wedding venue, Ireland offers many locations for any type of wedding. Whether you are aiming for a civil union or a religious celebration, there is a venue for you; you just need to know what you are looking for and where to look. The above list gives you an informed head start as you go about picking the perfect wedding venue.

10 Winter Wedding Ideas to Warm Your Heart

10 Winter Wedding Ideas to Warm Your Heart

June weddings have a lot going for them. The weather is warm and inviting, the roads are free from snow and ice, and the world is ripe with vendors and venues vying for your attention.  However, that being said, there are a host of couples who opt for a stunning winter wedding instead. These winter weddings are both magical and exceedingly budget-friendly, as they are considered “off-season.”

Carried out correctly, a winter wedding can impart a warm sense of togetherness among guests, provide fabulous, snowy photo ops and furnish an enchanting atmosphere. In fact, Game of Thrones themed weddings are a thing, and did you know that most are performed in winter? By supplying your guests with the proper setting, entertainment and other essentials, such as warm, cozy blankets, you can turn your nuptials into an extraordinary, wondrous event. Here are just a few winter wedding ideas that’ll warm you up from head to toe.

winter wedding
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Have a Winter Carnival Wedding!

Create a plethora of warm memories for friends and family alike by choosing a winter carnival as your theme. While it may be chilly outside, the experience is sure to enliven them with warm, glowing hearts. Winter carnivals or festivals are celebrated the world over and enjoyed for their good food and drink, atmosphere and entertainment.

Hosting a winter carnival wedding is an excellent choice for those of you planning a weekend wedding as you are free to be as creative as you’d like. Consider hiring carnival entertainers, an ice sculptor, or a food truck or two. You can even incorporate a children’s station, which includes games, treats, toys, and a puppet show. Don’t forget the hot food and beverage stations which help keep your guests toasty as they leave the comfort of warm, heated tents. If the idea of planning a themed wedding in winter interests you, then a wonderful winter carnival is an excellent choice!

Create a Vibrant Color Palette

Sharon Naylor is a celebrated wedding planner who has written over 30 well-received books on the subject. She believes that dazzling your nuptials with color is absolutely essential for a winter wedding; “Bright jewel tones are in, such as sapphire, purple and navy”. Indeed, amid the backdrop of frosty winter snows, deciding to have a technicolor wedding, one bursting with brilliant bright colors, shimmering orbs, and glittery accessories may be just the thing.

Winter wedding palettes are absolutely gorgeous, so go ahead and warm up that wintry setting with a rich raspberry, silver and rose gold palette, or opt for a regal selection including deep purple, charming cherry, with a hint of pale lilac. The metallics go exceptionally well in winter weddings, as they reflect the time of year accordingly, and they also blend well with the seasonal flower offerings. Just pictures it – rich berries with silvery ribbons, nestled amid a sea of crisp, white Gardenias and Oriental Lilies.

Hot Chocolate Bar

There’s nothing quite like the taste of a cup of hot chocolate when you come in from the cold. This is why installing a hot chocolate bar in the middle of your festivities will thrill and delight your wedding guests. With a hot chocolate bar, your guests will not only enjoy a delicious mug filled with a hot, fresh beverage but also be given the option to create their very own special drink, just as they like it. Place various hot cocoa flavored packets, toppings, candy canes, marshmallows and chocolate chips on a beautifully decorated table for your guests to mix and match. Having a good assortment of decorated ceramic mugs available will also give your guests a lovely favor to take home with them.

hot chocolate
Photo by Kobby Mendez on Unsplash

Winter Wedding Candlescapes

Candles, candles everywhere! For those of you considering having an evening or late night wedding, incorporating candlescapes into your overall design will create a warm glow and give off a pleasant scent, enhancing the overall atmosphere. You can include traditional tapers, tea lights, LED or floating candles, with golds, purples and creams being the winter colors of choice. By creating candlelit centerpieces as well as having intricate, creative candlescapes surround the room, you’ll find that candlelight weddings convey a warmth all on their own. Feel free to place candles along aisles, as tabletop centerpieces, or in outdoor hanging lanterns, for that magical glow at your wedding.

winter wedding celebration
Photo by Annie Spratt  on Unsplash

Gingerbread Wedding Cake

When it comes to traditional winter flavors that inspire nostalgic feelings and charm, you’ll find that gingerbread is quite the seasonal favorite. Gingerbread has a long history of being a staple flavour to be enjoyed around the Christmas table. It’s for this reason that some couples choose an elaborately designed gingerbread house wedding cake. This is a wonderful idea, especially if the couple already has children of their own attending the wedding. But these are not your grandmother’s gingerbread cakes. Today, professional cake designers can create a cake as simple as a small, adorable gingerbread cottage, as monumental as a gingerbread castle, or even an entire village. Professionally crafted wedding gingerbread cakes come with a delicious, spicy aroma and flavor, and will definitely furnish your nuptials with a classic, traditional feel.

Rent a Fireplace or Two

If you can’t afford to move the entire wedding party to a Swiss Chalet or sky lodge for the big day, then know that there are plenty of companies which are more than happy to rent out vintage furniture, props, and tabletop accessories. Not only do these companies offer gorgeous classic furnishings for rent, but many also offer electric fireplaces which will definitely add a touch of elegance and warmth to your wedding. Most event companies are stocked with such a variety of styles, that you’ll have no trouble finding anything from Alpine-inspired furnishings, to medieval and postmodern.

cosy fireplace for winter wedding
Photo by Stéphane Juban on Unsplash

Heated Canopy Tents

Heated, clear top canopy tents offer you and your guests the best of both worlds: the ability to enjoy the starry winter sky while in the comfort and warmth of enclosed, heated tents. These waterproof tents come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors, enough to suit your number of guests, as well as your budget. Depending on your taste, you have many choices when it comes to the style of tent, tops, and side panels. Pole tents, for instance, are reminiscent of circus tents, and will provide you and your guests with expansive space and ceiling height. Also, depending on how frosty the weather is, consider renting portable flooring. These are installations which provide your guests with insulation from any cold, frozen ground, and make for a great dancefloor too!

Don’t Forget the Lighting

Having appropriate lighting may not be the first thing on your mind when planning a winter wedding, but it can be among the most important when it comes to creating a perfect environment for the reception. For instance, by simply integrating strands populated with hundreds of twinkling lights you are sure to create a magical atmosphere for your guests. You can also hire companies which specialize in transforming venues into winter wonderlands using high tech, theatrical equipment. Proper lighting is sure to enhance your reception by infusing it with creative and colorful light shows and professionally designed digital video projections. If you’re truly ambitious, then adding some fireworks or sparklers to the mix will definitely create an experience you and your guests will remember for years to come.

Hot Food and Beverage Stations

One very satisfying way to keep your guests nice and toasty during your wedding is to add one or more hot food and beverage stations. Also known as food bars, these areas can be set up to serve anything from savory, hot soup and sandwiches, to warm cookies, smores, pretzels, donuts and coffee. Winter beverages that you should consider including are mulled wine or glogg, which will definitely warm up your guests as they sip these spicy, enticing holiday favorites. Food stations allow you to be as creative as you’d like, offering your guests their favourite culinary delights. It helps to get to know the particular palates of your guests before you prepare, and make sure you cater for any food intolerances!

hot food for winter wedding
Photo by Ibrahim Boran  on Unsplash

Let’s Dance!

In 2018, Preston Bailey was named one of the best wedding planners of 2018 by Vogue magazine, and is known for his gift of turning any dance floor into an immersive, theatrical experience by creating fabulous light-driven patterns. While he might be a bit out of your budget, take a page out of his book and use strobe lights and disco balls to give your dancefloor that fun, inviting atmosphere. Compliment your festive dance floor lighting with a good list of high tempo songs, designed to keep your guests glued to the dance floor. Line dancing is a particular favorite at receptions and is guaranteed to get most guests to hit the dance floor. Request your DJ or band perform crowd favorites such as Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, Gloria Estefan’s “Conga”, Van McCoy’s “The Hustle” and the Rocky Horror Picture Show’s “Time Warp”. Upbeat in tempo and familiar to most guests, these songs are guaranteed to enliven the reception and keep everyone warm.

A Holiday Wedding Favour Tree

Last but certainly not least in the idea of having a holiday wedding favour tree. These trees are not only fun for adults but also children who attend your wedding. Decorate the tree with lovely items such as festive ornaments and small stuffed toys. Instruct your guests that they are free to choose their favourite favour from the tree to take home with them. These ornaments may be anything from simple holiday tree baubles to personalized trinkets with you and your partner’s initials on them. If it’s a small wedding, you may opt for personally creating small favor gifts addressed to each guest. Whichever way you go, a holiday wedding favour tree will be certain to create a pleasant, long lasting memory for your family and friends.

 

10 Most Popular Irish Wedding Bands

wedding bands ireland

So your wedding plans are well underway and it’s time to pick entertainment. Among the many options on the table is hiring a band. This will be the team responsible for the music played during the ceremony and if you like, during to the reception and after party. The problem is, you will be spoilt for choice; you have a vast number of choices ranging from the local garage bands to the ones who have won a national spotlight. You may therefore need some help figuring out which one to go with.

Friends, family and online searches are great sources of information on which group is currently rocking the wedding scenes. Questions however arise: What makes a good band? What kind of music should be played- covers or original compositions?  Will they keep your guests engaged and entertained? It is easier to make your pick when you have a list to compare and contrast. Here is our list for the 10 most popular Irish wedding bands.

Top Irish Wedding Bands

#0 The Dream Band

Does a large and multi-talented ensemble appeal to your love of live music? If so, then The Dream Band is your kind of band. This is one of Ireland’s best wedding and corporate performers. They bring to the table a 6 to 12-piece act, making them more than an average ensemble. The high flying band boasts of elite clientele- the likes of BMW and BA Airlines.

Behind the instruments is a multi-cultural group with members coming from as far as Japan and Peru. This versatility provides a unique blend of style and energy that will keep your wedding guests rocking all day long. What’s more, their packages also include an in-house DJ. They are also renowned for overseas performances, hence a good choice for your destination wedding.

#1 Pink Champagne

If you are looking for a dynamic and exciting group of performers, then Pink Champagne is just that. The band is made of four artists who can all sing, a unique quality not seen in most groups. They also boast of a star keyboard player who is also good with a trumpet. The band is renowned for their expert performance of wedding songs of all ages.

From 1940s songs to the current charts, Pink Champagne are ready to cover music from any decade you want. Their versatility and professionalism has seen many awards come their way. Such include Irish Wedding Awards’ “Entertainers of the Year” and multiple “Wedding Band of Year” Award from online publications. It’s also worth mentioning that they are available to perform at weddings abroad.

#2 The Firm

The Firm has been touted as one of the best wedding bands in the country, if not internationally. Made of some of Ireland’s best musicians, the group brings out energy and excitement in each and every song. With both male and female vocalists making up the crew of 5, the band is definitely versatile in every sense. They have performed in high profile events including at the Aviva Stadium.

Among its outstanding members is lead singer Laura who continues to receive praises for her amazing vocals. Reading the mood of the audience is also a strong suit of the group, so expect your guests to be engage at all times. The Firm comes with playlists touching on modern chart toppers, 80’s and 90’s hits, as well as waltzes and oldies. To better sample the band’s talent, you can attend free viewing in select establishments across Dublin.

#3 Jungle Boogie

Are you a rugby fan? Then you probably hear of Jungle Boogie, the homecoming band for the Ireland’s IRFU. The band is arguably one of the most professional outfits in the country, a trait that has allowed them to perform in over 1000 weddings. Behind this success is a 5 piece of talented individuals, each an artist in their own right. Among the outstanding talents is the lead singer Andrew, a finalist of the hit reality show, The Voice of Ireland.

Also in the ranks is Larry, who has worked with Bono and Ronan Keating. He also brings platinum-level mastery from performing and recording hit music over the years and writes music for television. What’s more, Jungle Boogie also boasts of Brian Hogan, a member of ‘Kila’, another successful band in the country. Not to forget Paul, the drummer who has played with some of Ireland’s top musicians.

#4 Party at the Back

Serving the island and Sunset Strip with 80’s music is the Tribute Band aptly named Party at the Back. The members, Blaze, Storm and Tico, have been rocking the greatest hits from the era in weddings across the country. The trio has over 50 years of experience between them, a trait that allows them to switch effortlessly between songs to keep guests on the party floor.

Their costumes and their general act are reminiscent of the great 80’s, meaning they can be a great addition to an oldies-themed wedding ceremony. The group has had world famous live shows that have seen their portfolio continue to rise with every event they perform at.

#5 Blue Moose

This is one of the high energy wedding bands in Ireland right now. The 5-man outfit is headed by Tony Ward, a founding member and accomplished showman. They have been performing for over 20 years and are a favorite addition to most Irish weddings. Each member has something unique to bring to the table which adds to the group’s versatility and success.

Tony can command any size of crowd, an experience that has led the group to many successful gigs both at home and abroad. The band’s guitarist, Phillip has been playing for over 30 years. Tamas is the man behind keyboards and is also trained in sax and clarinet. Production and engineering fall under Ben, an amazing instruments player who comes with endorsements from Zildjian Cymbals and Vater. Bass is manned by Keith, who has played alongside Lisa Mc Hugh among other great artists.

#6 The Celtic Factor

This is a band that will bring a unique traditional experience to your ceremony. The Celtic Factor identifies as a traditional Irish band and will comfortable handle oldies from way back. From ballads to Irish folk music, the group has a playlist that will bring nostalgia to everyone present.

It’s not just the singing that works for them, but also mastery of to the almost-forgotten instruments like the mandolin, accordion and the bodhrán. If you decide to hire the group, adding a few Irish dancers to the act can do for a wholesome event. What’s more, testimonials from previous party goers point to a band that is organized, energetic and accommodating.

#7 Brass Tacks

This is a rocking piece made of 4 accomplished musicians. The band has amassed lots of experience from playing with other successful acts such as The Frames, and James Vincent Mc Morrow and Jerry Fish. For a wedding gig, the group brings a set list of upbeat and fun music. They are also good at playing any music as per requests; be it jazz classics, slow instrumentals or current top chart music.

Among other things going for Brass Tacks is their considerably lower rates. This has seen them listed among best bands for a budget wedding. Their memorable performances and excellent crowd engagement have led to positive reviews and features in wedding publications.

#8 Boombastic Brass

This is a 6 piece brass band made up of 2 saxophones, a drummer, a trombone, a trumpet and a sousaphone. The group is known for high energy performance and chilled sets that are well timed. They are also renowned for electric walk about performances that are sure to keep guests on their feet and thoroughly delighted.

To ensure that the band is completely mobile at any given time, the drummer has his set in a portable harness. Their playlists are carefully selected to include both the classics and current chart toppers. Their style is well coordinated with individual talents also getting a chance to wow your guests.

#9 The Midnight Revellers

This Dublin based wedding band consisting of 3 members. It’s a cover band made up of highly professional and talented musicians. Between the ranks is a powerful exciting sound, which is sure to electrify any number of guests. They can supply any music of your choosing from classic Irish songs to modern hits.

The group also performs their own composition, courtesy of Andrew and Meg- a duo with pitch perfect harmony that is unrivaled by most musicians. The act is also flexible and can get an extra member if need arises. This allows for a combination of instruments and vocals for any part of your wedding; whether it’s the main ceremony, reception or after parties.

#10 Whitewater

The band was established in 2002 and has been performing ever since. They have continued to be on the rise, resulting in performances at major events and festivals across the country. They have also toured much of the UK which has made them a major force to be reckoned with in the industry.

Apart from rocking the wedding scenes, the band is available for corporate and exclusive parties. Wedding bands and DJs go together, a fact that has not escaped Whitewater. To ensure that you get a complete act, the groups offers packages inclusive of a DJ. This dynamic business model allows them to be a favorite for couples going for a budget wedding.

Final Word

The form of entertainment that you choose for your wedding is vital to the success of the day. It might make the difference between a plain and a lively ceremony. This is where a band comes in; with it comes the electric, lively and if need be, slow and cool music for everyone’s enjoyment.

The above list comprises of the top wedding bands worthy of your consideration. Our hotlist takes into consideration diverse groups including brass, jazz, Rock N’ Roll and traditional wedding bands.

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