Your Big Day

Real Wedding: Inside Fiona and Adam's fabulous Adare Manor wedding

Fiona and Adam met five years ago on Australia's Airlie Beach when Fiona spotted Adam 'flexing his muscles' in the sand, and thought he was 'a bit of alright'.

They hit it off after meeting in a club the following night, and spent the remainder of their holiday getting to know each other. A few hours after they said their goodbyes they were texting to arrange meeting up again in Sydney, where Fiona was living at the time.

Adam popped the question on a Sunday morning on Moreton Island near Brisbane. The couple had taken the boat out - just the two of them - and although Fiona was quite hesitant as the seas were a little choppy, Adam was determined they make the trip. He got down on one knee at the top of one of the beach's huge sand dunes, and when Fiona said yes they popped open a bottle of bubbles to celebrate.

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The first thing they had to decide about the wedding was whether to have it in Ireland or Australia. They eventually decided on Ireland (much to Fiona's delight) and threw a big engagement party in Oz for family and friends who wouldn't be able to make the trip.

Giving her sister Mary a brief of 'a wedding venue with a wow factor' for their Christmas-time nuptials, Adare Manor was immediately on the shortlist of venues. After both Fiona and Adam fell in love with the lavish Limerick manor they set the date of January 2nd for the big day, and the rest fell into place...

Their photos are by The Fennells.

The Dress

Fiona's dress was designed in Brisbane in a boutique called When Freddie Met Lilly. She settled on a style with the help of her friends Beverly and Michelle after finding herself between two different dresses. Vanessa (the owner) and her team of designers incorporated elements from both gowns into Fiona's dress, which was made of French lace and embellished with Swarovski crystals and pearls. "I can’t imagine how long it took them!" says Fiona, who also had a hand made veil made by the same team; "They did an amazing job."

The Hair and Makeup

Fiona and her bridesmaids had their makeup done by one of the bride's good friends, Audrey O’Connor. "Audrey was so amazing she’s easy going," says Fiona, "she knew exactly what I wanted and did it with perfection. Their hair was done by stylist Shauna Lawlor - "Again, she was easy going calm and did a wonderful job of all our hair. Shauna was available to touch up my hair after a wind swept photo outside the manor!"

The Ceremony

The couple tied the knot in the Grand Ballroom of Adare Manor with Romy McAuly from A Beautiful Ceremony as the celebrant. "Romy was amazing on the day and on the lead up to the wedding," says Fiona. "She was so helpful and full of information. She made the ceremony very light hearted and really made us feel special." For music the couple had Claire Heffernan on the harp during the ceremony. "She was amazing," says Fiona, "her voice and talent on the harp was so beautiful." Later in the day Claire and Sharon Howley played their drinks reception.

The Venue

On Fiona's sister Mary's recommendation, the couple researched and fell in love with Adare Manor in Limerick. Their date meant they could spend Christmas in Australia before coming to Ireland for their big day and, as the wedding was on a Tuesday, they had their pick of musicians, photographers, photo booths and suppliers "and we went with the best!" Planning a wedding from abroad is never easy, however the couple had help from family members - and the team of Sandra Flavin, wedding and events manager at Adare Manor, and Brian Lawlor, food and beverage manager at Adare - to make sure she had everything in place for the day. "I was lucky enough to be able to go back to Ireland in October and visit Adare Manor with my mum Helen, godmother Triona and sister Mary. We stayed for one night and had the menu tasting evening which was amazing. I knew then we had made the right choice and couldn’t wait for Adam and all our family and friends to see the venue.

"To say it was out of this world is an understatement. Everything was beyond expectation. We stayed at Adare Manor for three nights over the wedding and we were treated like royalty the whole time. All our guests were blown away. The staff were so professional and friendly. The service was amazing, and the food was outstanding. I could not fault anything. The ballroom and drinks reception are so magnificent."

The Advice

"Enjoy the day it does by so quickly," says Fiona. "I know everyone says that but it does. So take it all in and enjoy!"

The Vendors

The photographer: Mark and Fiona, The Fennells | Venue: Adare Manor, Limerick | Wedding dress: When Freddie Met Lilly (Brisbane) | Grooms’ suit: M.J Bale (Brisbane) | Rings: Diamonds International (Brisbane) | Bridesmaids’ dresses: Cari’s Closet | Hair: Hair by Shauna Lawlor | Make-up: Audrey O’Connor MUA | Venue: Adare Manor, Limerick | Ceremony: A Beautiful Ceremony | Music: Ceremony & Drinks Reception – Claire Heffernan and Sharon Howley | Wedding band: Pink Champagne | Flowers: Lawless Flowers Limerick | Cake: Mary Kelly (bride's sister!)

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