Your Big Day

Far from the cookie-cutter wedding for Clare and Keith in the Dunraven Arms

Clare and Keith camped beside each other in a field in Punchestown at Oxegen festival in 2004.

Clare was playing cards with her friends and Keith joined in.

The two groups of friends joined forces for the weekend and a moment sharing a poncho to shelter from the rain marked the start of their big romance.

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They got engaged after 10 years, when Keith surprised Clare with a proposal on Inchydoney Strand. The pair planned their wedding over 17 months, concentrating on a task a month and quickly establishing a tradition of drinking a bottle of bubbles every time a job was ticked off the list!

Their photos are by SOSAC Photography.

The Venue

"The Dunraven Arms has a great reputation," said Clare, "and its roast beef was something my father had always raved about!

Once we viewed this old country hotel in the picturesque village of Adare, with character oozing from every corner, we could easily visualise our wedding here."

The Style

Clare and Keith knew they wanted to add their own touches, "to avoid the feeling of a 'cookie-cutter' wedding". They created decorations from hearts made of wine corks to their own signage.

"However," said Clare, "what made the day most personal to us was the music."

The Dress

Claire wore Cleo by New Zealand designer Rue de Seine. "It was the first dress I tried on and I knew it was the one instantly," she said.

The Day

"The weather teased us with blue skies and warm sunshine," said Clare, "broken every half an hour with stormy showers.

Thankfully, it cleared in the afternoon and our 145 guests enjoyed the gardens in the evening sun."

The Stand-out Moments

While the couple say they loved every minute of the day - and in particular all the fun on the dancefloor - the stand out of the day was the ceremony.

"It felt sacred, special and really personal," said Clare. "We play in a band together, and music was always going to be at the core of our day. A good friend put together a choir of my students to sing at the mass, my flower girl surprised us with a performance on the ukulele, and we took to the stage later that night to play a few songs. These are the moments that we will always cherish."

The First Dance

The couple's first dance was to Desire by Ryan Adams.

The Photos

"Our photographers, Shane and Adele at Sosac Photography were a dream to work with," said Clare.

"They understood the vibe and atmosphere we wanted to capture and the whole process felt like a creative collaboration. Shane did an engagement shoot with us - I was seriously nervous about being in front of the camera - and it totally put us at ease."

The Honeymoon

Clare and Keith spent three weeks in Hong Kong, Fiji and New Zealand which they booked through Trailfinders.

The Advice

"Follow your gut. If you love it, have it. Forget etiquette and ‘rules’: we had ivory bridesmaid dresses, a circular top table and a dinner party the night before."

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The Vendors

Photographer SOSAC Photography | Dress shop The White Gallery, Co Down | Bridesmaids’ dresses: folkster.com | Flower girl dress: Zara | Groom’s suit: connollyman.com | Venue: The Dunraven Arms Hotel, Adare, Co Limerick | Cake Kate O’Brien (bride’s sister) | Flowers: Lovebird Designs