Your Big Day

'We finished off the night in the Shebeen with Tayto sandwiches at 5am!'

A perfect day which ended in crisp sandwiches (and, unfortunately, a broken leg)

Alanna O'Sullivan and Jonny Nolan met through mutual friends.

They 'brushed shoulders' at a couple of parties and nights out before Jonny eventually plucked up the courage to invite Alanna on a date.

"He thought of himself as a bit of a Jamie Oliver and invited me over to his for a meal one evening," said Alanna, "which I thought was quite an original idea at the time."

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What Jonny failed to mention however was that he lived with his parents, and that they would be tagging along on the date too, a rather bold idea Alanna refers to as 'interesting'.

Clearly they all hit it off as, after being won over by his charm ("and his food wasn't bad either"), the couple moved to Canada together, and travelled around Asia (where, in Singapore Botanic Gardens, Jonny asked Alanna to marry him) before returning home to tie the knot in the chic Clonabreany House.

They had the perfect day which hit a glitch when, while 'dancing his heart out' Alanna's uncle fell and broke his leg in two places (on reflection, they say, the only thing they'd change about the day would be to make sure he took it a little easier on the dancefloor). Their photos are by Tara Aherne Photography.

The Engagement

Alanna and Jonny had been living in Vancouver, Canada, for a few years and finally decided to move back to Dublin. Before settling down to Irish life however the couple thought they'd take the chance to do some travelling around Asia.

They took off with their backpacks from January to June 2015, however Jonny had packed a little something extra Alanna didn't know about!

"It turned out Jonny had gotten a ring to propose before leaving Vancouver," said Alanna, "he carried it around Asia for four months waiting for the perfect moment!" Jonny eventually popped the question in the stunning surroundings of the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

The Wedding

"We wanted to plan a wedding that would reflect ourselves as a couple," said Alanna, "a day filled with laughter and love, nothing too formal."

As they married in mid November, the couple went with an autumn/winter candle-lit theme, and used wood fires, tree trunk centerpieces and splashes of deep romantic burgundy throughout.

Alanna roped her parents in to help with some DIY, and they made the table plan and numbers together.

"We did enjoy planning the wedding," said Alanna, "we made all the decisions together and tried to make it fun by popping a bottle of bubbly every time we got something big done or booked! We had an excel spreadsheet to keep the budget on track!"

The Style

Alanna wore a stunning gown by Irish designer Patrick Casey, which she originally found in Myrtle Ivory Dublin's Myrtle Ivory before buying it directly from the designer. Patrick created a bespoke belt for the bride which finished off her look perfectly.

"Honestly, wedding dress shopping was a bit more stressful than I originally anticipated," admits Alanna. "I thought it would be more fun, but it’s a big decision to make and deciding on what style and look you want on your wedding day is no small task!"

Alanna bought her bridesmaid dresses in Folkster and added a custom made velvet belt to give them a little 'something extra'.

The Suits

Jonny and Alanna found their suits in Protocol on Dawson Street in Dublin. "The guys were great. Jonny had to get his ordered in from the UK and the groomsmen had last minute alterations as they were all coming from abroad but the guys were fantastic," they said.

The Ceremony

Alanna and Jonny had a humanist ceremony. "it was very personal as we had handpicked each reading and made it very special," said the bride. "Joe our celebrant went through everything carefully with us and tailored the entire ceremony to fit our personalities."

"Our musician, Lucy Kavanagh, was incredible too. She even learnt a song in French for my entrance (La Vie en Rose)."

The Venue

The couple viewed a few venues early on and when they came across Clonabreany immediately fell in love with the house and grounds.

"We really wanted to make sure everyone had a great time and Clonabreany stood out among all the others in terms of service and the quality of the food - the Shebeen was a great feature as well."

After hearing good reviews from friends and family members who had been to other weddings at the venue, the couple went with it. "We were absolutely delighted with our choice and wish we could do it all over again tomorrow," Alanna said.

The Food

"Jonny is a big fan of craft beers," said Alanna, "especially Blacks of Kinsale so we organized to have a few cases of that for the guys at the drinks reception which left more prosecco for the ladies!"

The couple also used the food to reflect their heritage, and with Alanna being half French they decided to serve Frence onion soup as a starter. "Clonabreany recommended their famous smokies for starters which are a must," said Alanna. "We had lamb / hake for main and for dessert we had chocolate fondant with raspberry sorbet and finished off the meal with petit fours.  They served a great selection of hot food in the evening and

"We finished off the night in the Shebeen with Tayto sandwiches at 5am!"

The Stand-out Moments

"Walking up the aisle was my favourite part of the day," says Alanna. "It was a feeling of absolute elation, seeing all our family and friends all together, smiling, Jonny waiting at the top nervously. Everyone cheering as we walked out was pretty great too."

Another special moment for the couple was getting some time alone with each other in front of the wood fire before going in for the meal.

"The party in the Shebeen at the end of the night was fantastic" they added. "It was great to have somewhere private and cosy to go to and have a couple of pints and catch up with everyone properly at the end of the day."

What they would Change

If they could change anything, they say, they could make sure Alanna’s uncle took it a bit easier on the dancefloor - who was dancing his heart out so much that he fell and broke his leg in two places.

The Advice

"Don’t sweat the small stuff. Take time out from planning to spend with each other and don’t talk about the wedding."

The Honeymoon

Alanna and Jonny decided to do a few mini trips instead of the traditional 'big honeymoon'.

They took off for a few days after the ceremony to the Christmas Markets in Cologne, and followed it up with long weekends in Rome and Barcelona and finally a week away to a villa in Frigiliana.

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The Vendors

Photographer: Tara Aherne Photography | Celebrant: Joe Armstrong | Ceremony location: Clonabreany House | Ceremony music: Lucy Kavanagh | Wedding dress: Patrick Casey | Shoes: LK Bennett | Accessories: Veil from Patrick Casey | Engagement ring: C.M. Weldons | Wedding ring: True Diamonds by Sophie (Alannas), (Jonnys) Martins Jewellers | Bridesmaids dresses: Folkster | Grooms/groomsmen’s suits: Protocol for Men, Dawson Street | Flowers: VP Flowers | Decor: DIY wedding table plan, table numbers | Reception venue: Clonabreany House | Hair: Maven Hair Studio, Michelle | Make-up: Nicola Cuddy | Reception entertainment: The Conor McKeon Band | Photobooth: Pixels Photobooth | Cake: Caroline Goulding, Wedding Cake Boutique in Ranelagh | Invitations: Appleberry Press