‘A Party with a Ceremony in the Middle!’: Sarah & Joseph

‘A Party with a Ceremony in the Middle!’: Sarah & Joseph

The real wedding we’re sharing today is such a stunner, partially because the couple, Sarah and Joseph, weren’t afraid to break from tradition, and partially because Covid-19 forced them to rethink their priorities. Having planned a seaside tipi bash in Skerries for over 180 people, the couple pivoted to an intimate, bohemian affair for 25 at Killary Lodge in the Connemara countryside, and the results are outrageously cool, featuring bold colours, expertly-styled spaces and one hell of a ceremony arch! Paula McManus Photography was kind enough to share her imagery from this dreamy Connemara wedding with us, so we could swoon over every last detail. We think you’re gonna love this one!

Sarah and Joseph tell us that they’ve been together since they were 14 years old! “We met through friends and spent the evening wrestling each other over his phone, teenage flirting!” Sarah remembers. “A few weeks later, I was late going home for dinner and he finally asked me out.”

Joseph’s proposal sounds so romantic! Sarah tells us, “He proposed at sunset on a beach in Indonesia. It was beautiful and I had absolutely no idea. We were away with two of our best friends, who captured it on video for us, so it is really nice to have that to look back on.”

The couple tell us that having a laid-back wedding was really important to them from the beginning. “We really just wanted it to be relaxed with a focus on what was important to us, which is food, a good atmosphere and spending time with our close family and friends,” Sarah says. “We wanted people to feel comfortable and not have to be dressed in a three-piece suit in the middle of summer!”

This couple tell us they were happy to play around with the wedding formula. “Our main priority was not just doing the typical wedding thing because it was a tradition. Anything we had in our wedding was there because we wanted it. For example, we didn’t have any speeches or a first dance. We cut the cake away from our guests. We wanted our guests to come, relax, enjoy good food and drink and spend time together. It was more of a party, where we had a short ceremony in the middle.”

Sarah and Joseph had their close friend Roisín sing at their ceremony. “She has the most amazing voice,” Sarah says. “It gives me goosebumps whenever I hear her sing.”

The bride worked with her Dad to make a cornhole game for their guests to play on the day. She tells us, “My best friend painted them for us. She even did one with a portrait of our dog, Doug, as he couldn’t be there with us.”

The couple had originally planned a wedding for over 180 guests in their hometown of Skerries. “We were planning tipis in a field by the sea, but, unfortunately, Covid-19 forced us to reschedule,” Sarah says. “We realised in February that we realistically weren’t going to have the wedding we had originally planned and we decided to cut our losses and look for an intimate venue. I spent hours trawling the internet and linking with our amazing wedding planner Nicole trying to find the perfect venue.”

Eventually, Sarah found Killary Lodge. “I instantly knew it would be perfect for what we wanted,” she says. “It’s a quirky, stylish venue surrounded by gorgeous scenery. We love nature, so it was so lovely to have such a beautiful, wild surroundings.”

Sarah found her stunning Anna Campbell wedding dress in Limerick and her bridesmaids looked wonderful in vibrant satin orange bridesmaid dresses with short sleeves and flowing skirts. Joseph was so dapper in his tweed suit that married beautifully with the gorgeous natural surrounds and the couple tied the knot with wedding rings from Voltaire Diamonds.

The couple have amazing things to say about their stylist. Sarah says, “Laura really listened to everything I wanted, which was wildflowers and pops of colour. She tied it all together perfectly and did an amazing job! I was obsessed with my bouquet!”

In the end, the couple are beyond delighted with the day they had. “We both feel Covid-19 did us a favour ultimately,” Sarah says. “Although we would have loved to have had more friends and family at our wedding, we really feel we wouldn’t have enjoyed our wedding as much, trying to make sure we got around to every guest.” Sarah’s wedding planning advice to engaged couples is super sensible.

“If you’re afraid of a wedding not being perfect, don’t be. Also don’t just comply with tradition. If something is in your wedding, make sure it’s there because you want it and not because it’s something you feel you should do.” One of this couple’s top tips is to spend time choosing your suppliers. “Paula, our photographer, was so calm and unassuming,” Sarah says.

“Our videographer, Cian, had been in school with Joe, so it was nice to have that personal connection. June and Ruth, our hair and makeup, were like part of the bridal party and nothing was too much trouble. Our caterers gave us the most amazing food! Laura our wedding stylist created exactly what we wanted and executed it with perfection. If you’re thinking of hiring a wedding planner, we could not recommend Nicole enough! She was absolutely unbelievable and always at the other end of a phone whenever we needed her.”

Sarah made the couple’s wedding rustic wedding cakes – what a talented bride! She tells us, “I used to make cakes for people as a hobby. It was nice to be able to make my own wedding cake and see all of our friends and family enjoy it.”

Thanks so much to Sarah and Joseph for sharing their gorgeous Connemara wedding with us, and to Paula McManus for providing the beautiful imagery! There are even more photographs to swoon over in the gallery below.

Tying the knot? Check out even more Irish Real Weddings!

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