Photo by IG Studios

Your Big Day

'The test of strength machine was harder than expected!' - A fun games-themed wedding for Aideen and Jonny in Killaloe

Aideen, from Ennis in Co. Clare, and Jonny, from Huddersfield in Yorkshire, met at a mutual friend’s birthday weekend in North Wales in 2012.

Jonny proposed at a private lodge in the Cevennes mountains in the South of France in June 2016. "Jonny attempted to show his man skills by lighting a good fire to set the mood," said Aideeen, "it took a while!"

Aideen, who admits to hating surprises, still can't get her head around how he managed to plan it without her knowing. The couple tied the knot on the 22nd of July 2017 in St Joseph's Church in Ennis and held a 'games' themed, fairground style reception featuring beer pong, giant Jenga and a kissing booth, in the Killaloe Hotel.

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Their photos are by Greg Kociela of IG Studios.

The Dress

Dress shopping was no mean feat for the bride, and starting out Aideen was nearly put off finding 'the one' after a particularly uncomfortable shopping experience however she eventually came upon her dream gown.

"In the first shop all the dresses were massive and had so much going on with them. I just wanted a dress that I felt comfortable in and was nice and lightweight. Then I went to Lilac Rose in Limerick and the lady there listened to me and almost immediately picked out this dress for me. It looks like a slip or nightdress off the hanger but I put it on and loved it."

The dress was the Torum gown from Charlie Brear, and Aideen eventually purchased it in the UK where she lives so that she could easily attend fittings. She had lace sleeves attached to the gown with popper buttons so that she could remove the sleeves for the reception.

Aideen also plans to alter the dress to make it shorter - and maybe even dye it - so that she can wear it again.

The Ceremony

The couple said 'I do' in a catholic ceremony in St Joseph's Church, Ennis, which is Aideen's local church.

"The stained glass windows are class," said Aideen. "Greg (the couple's photographer from IGStudios) got a fantastic shot of a silhouette of me and my Dad about to walk up the aisle with the multicoloured stained glass behind us."

Father Jerry Carey, who the bride has known since she was in secondary school, was the celebrant on the day. As a family friend Aideen says he was able to make everyone feel comfortable on the day. "We wouldn't have had anyone else marry us or couldn't have wished for more personal and heartfelt words," said the bride.

The Day

Aideeen and Jonny's theme for the wedding was 'games', which they managed to integrate into their nuptials from the planning stages through to the big day itself. "We're both fairly competitive and love games and we wanted the atmosphere to be casual and fun so that confirmed the games theme for the whole wedding," said Aideen, who popped the question to her bridesmaids with miniature crosswords she made herself.

The couple sent Monopoly themed invitations, and their tables on the day were numbered with Scrabble tiles. "We had a table quiz between courses led by my hilarious friend Aoife - think D'unbeliveables - and we had little cards that I made up for people to play bingo during the speeches," said the bride.

They had a graphic designer design the selection of cards using a caricature of themselves drawn up by Allan Cavanagh. Allan was also on hand to create caricatures of guests at the drinks reception on the day, which Aideen says was a big hit with all the guests.

"During the drinks reception we had a large 'kissing booth' that Jonny's dad built and myself and Jonny decorated. He numbered all the bits of wood so we could 'flatpack' it for transporting it. It should have been so easy then but putting it back together turned out to be the most challenging of all the preparations. Luckily the maintenance guy from the Killaloe hotel was on hand to help us."

They rented a 'test of strength' machine which they note was "harder than expected" and a friend made a giant Jenga game featuring their names and some quotes. Later in the night they played beer pong. "For the table plan I spent hours making a sting art display where guests had to follow the sting to their table number. It looked so pretty with the glittery thread but perhaps with 160 guests it was a little challenging for some folk."

"After the church Miriam from traditional sweet shop Tierney's in Ennis supplied all the guests with freeze pops. This was an alternative to the ice-cream trucks that are now common at weddings and kept in with the carnival theme that we wanted to achieve. My sister Claire painted us a great tree which we has guest's put their finger prints on like the leaves and we now have this framed in our house."

The Bridesmaids

The bridesmaids dresses were from Tracy Bridal in Galway. "It was the first time I'd been shopping for bridesmaid dresses and I had an idea that I wanted the girls in either different colours or completely different styles. Ideally I wanted dressed with a print or design on them but I was hard to get something that toned in well together like that that suited them all.

"When the girls put these cowl neck dresses on they were the first ones that I liked all day so the decision was made. We had the buttons removed and all four girls loved them. I love looking at the photos of the five of us with the graduation in colour. I think it's like the sky.

Groom Jonny was determined to have a tailor made Huddersfield tweed suit and "being the proud Yorkshire man he is", had his customised with the Yorkshire rose logo under the collar.

The Standout Moment

"Oh the whole lot of it," says Aideen of her favourite moment of the day. "The ceremony was so perfect and loved saying the I dos. The band were awesome, everyone danced so much. The fact that all of our friends and family were together and were clearly having an amazing time made us both even happier."

At the reception Aideen got up on stage with the band a rapped Fresh Brince of Bel Air.

The Music

The bridesmaids walked up the aisle to Adele's Make you Feel my love sung by Elaine Ryan, and Aideen walked up to Bill Withers Lovely Day. "We had Dream A Little Dream during the lighting of the marriage candle, Jack Johnson's Better Together as we signed the register and then The Beatles' I Wanna Hold Your Hand for our celebratory walk as husband and wife."

The Venue

"We chose Killaloe for the beautiful scenery and great fishing location and the fact that with our number of guests we would be the only people staying in the hotel."

For the food, the couple want to mix in some Yorkshire fayre with Irish tradition, and cam up with some real crowd pleasers. "The food in the Kilaloe had been so fantastic when we had eaten their before so we were so excited about the menu and it certainly didn't disappoint, according to the guests!"

"We wanted a bit of Yorkshire and Irish tradition on the menu so for canapés we had mini yorkshire puddings with beef pastrami and bacon, cabbage and potato croquettes as well as mini smoked salmon and caviar croutons. The starters were goats cheese bonbons or pork belly and either duck or salmon risotto for mains. On advice from the management we opted for well done duck because some people wouldn't eat it pink. Not really our preference but again some of the guests did say after that they were fearing that it might be pink so I think the choice was right."

For the wedding cake the chef made a giant heart shaped chocolate brownie which was then served as dessert. "It was to die for!" For evening food, the couple had a Taco bar with ingredients laid out for people to serve themselves which they say went down really well.

The Regrets

"I would have asked a friend to check that all our little props were all put out and in the correct places in the hotel," said the bride, "and we would have went over to Ireland a couple of days earlier rather than three days before the day."

The Advice

The couple's advice is to ensure every task is completed well before the day rolls around. "Make sure that everything - absolutely everything - is fully finalised at least three days before the wedding. This includes the groom's jobs and speeches!"

"In the last few days there will be lots of lunches, getting nails done etc and people do call round to visit in the last few days. It will be nice to feel relaxed and enjoy this time with friends and be able to spend some relaxing time together - And don't forget the green form!"

Vendors

Photographer: Greg at IG Studios | Videographer:  Tom at Vow Art | Celebrant: Fr. Jerry Carey | Ceremony location: St Joseph's Church, Ennis | Ceremony music: Our friends Sarah Power Bell, Kevin Fitzgerald, Gary Walsh, Elaine Ryan| Wedding dress: Chairlie Brear | Shoes: bride's shoes from Office, groom's shoes from Cavani | Accessories: BM's earrings OeiCeramics on Etsy | BM's bracelets meitaltoledo on Etsy | Bride's diamond earrings JBP Half moon street, huddersfield, bracelets Kurafuchi on Etsy | Groom's DeathStar cufflinks: saffronandsaege on Etsy | Father's 20p coin cufflinks: wowcoin on Etsy | Mother of the Bride's dress: Marion Murphy Cooney, Nenagh | Engagement ring: Custom ring by JBP Half moon street, huddersfield | Wedding rings: JBP Half moon street, huddersfield | Bridesmaids’ dresses: Tracy Bridal Galway | Grooms/groomsmen’s suits: Owen Scott tailors, Huddersfield | Flowers: Ann Mahon, The Flower Den, Ennnis | Reception venue: The Killaloe hotel and Spa | Hair and makeup: Chloe Cornu (hair) Hilda Murphy (make up) | Reception entertainment: Allan Cavanagh Caricature artist  Band/DJ: Phil n the Blanks | Getting ready outfits: H&M with graphics from Fell Promotions Huddersfield

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