A Studio 54 & Taylor Swift The River Lee Wedding

A Studio 54 & Taylor Swift The River Lee Wedding


Michelle & Stephen’s wedding day wedding was absolutely stunning. Jaw dropping. The details were incredible, the love was tangible, and everything about their The River Lee wedding celebration was perfect! This fun-loving pair threw a Studio-54-Meets-Taylor-Swift wedding for their 80 lucky guests, complete with plenty of pink and red decor and lots of retro DIY disco details (all created by the bride and groom!). But what made this day even more special was the sense of ‘them’ and celebration. This couple truly embraced being themselves all while making sure their guests were comfortable, and had a great time. They wanted their wedding to be a reflection of who they are, and they nailed it. It was a celebration of love, fun, and being genuinely YOU. Selecting the photographs for their wedding feature was a near-impossible task – every last one of the images taken by Shane O’Sullivan of SOSAC was a heart-stopper!

Let’s get to know our lovely couple a little better, shall we? Our bride Michelle is from Inch, West Kerry and groom Stephen from Douglas, Cork. The pair are currently based in Carrigtwohill in East Cork.

The couple met and matched on Tinder in July 2019 which led to their first date in August 2019 in the cosy Poor Relation bar in Cork.

In 2022, two years into dating, the proposal happened when Stephen proposed to Michelle on Valentine’s weekend in her native Inch overlooking Inch Beach.

Once engaged the couple set about planning their wedding for October 2023. In planning their wedding in the city, the focus wasn’t on the dress, or food, or even music. It was always more about how they wanted it to feel. “It was paramount to us that the wedding vibe and styling showcased our personalities and what we love. When we bought our home in October 2021 when designed and renovated it in our eclectic maximalism style and we knew we needed to recreate this on our special day. We wanted our guests to walk in and say “yes, this is Michelle and Stephen”.

It was also important to the pair that the wedding be personal. So, they legally married the day and on the day the couple’s ceremony was conducted by the bride’s Aunt Lilian who is a seasoned Radio One DJ who worked closely with the couple to curate a ceremony and blessing that was meaningful, funny and highly personalised.

Michelle walked up the aisle to her beloved to a rather alternative song choice! “We paid homage to our rocker/goth teen years with me walking down the aisle to an acoustic version of My Chemical Romance’s Welcome to the Black Parade played by my brother’s fiancé Róisín.” “My brother Martin also read Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters as a ceremony reading.”

“A city venue was also important to us, we wanted it easy and accessible for our guests to get to. Cork was where our love story began and grew so we wanted to celebrate our wedding there.”

And the perfect venue for this fun loving pair? The stylish The River Lee in the heart of Cork City. “It was important that our styling didn’t look out of place at the venue, so we had to rule out some gorgeous but classical venues. We were worried we wouldn’t find what we were looking for until we viewed The River Lee. It was just perfect to elevate our theme and the existing styling and décor would have blended so well with our style and choices. The event manager Lauren, was so understanding, friendly and fun and seemed as excited about our wedding as we were and we knew we wanted to work with her to bring our vision to life.”

Michelle’s swoonworthy gown is by Wilderly which she found at Memories Bridal in Cork. She completed her wedding day look with a full-length veil she also picked up at Memories, Swarovski crystal earrings, a bespoke hairband and white heels which she purchased second hand on Vinted.

Stephen and his best men all wore suits by Remus Uomo which were sourced at Red Church in Cork. Stephen completed his wedding day look with cufflinks personalised with the lyrics “I’ve loved you three summers, now honey, but I want ‘em all” from their first dance song by Taylor Swift.

The bridesmaids looked incredible in wine velvet bridesmaids dresses which the bride found on JJs House.

The couple incorporated tons of Taylor Swift-inspired decor and music choices into their special day, and it’s so fun to see how they managed to make it all work seamlessly. Wondering how to have add subtle #swiftie wedding? There were tables named after Taylor Swift albums, heart-shaped napkins, neon bracelets, mirrorballs, and custom signage with TS lyrics!

Summing up the vision for their day in a few words, the couple tell us, “Our vibe was retro and disco inspired, heavily influenced by the vibe of Studio 54. Our theme was “Till death do us party”.

When asked what inspired their unique wedding aesthetic, the couple tell us, “Our home”. The bride adds, “Our home is a reflection of our style and personalities and is an eclectic maximalist 70s-inspired haven. We’ve had people tell us that it resembles a cool speakeasy in the 70s with our dark academia bedroom and bright pink sittingroom with a gallery wall and vintage and antique pieces. We’re heavily influenced by interior designers like Dani Dazey and by Kitsch hotels reviewed by Margaret and Corey Bienert. We knew we had to bring this theme to our special day, so hunted down disco balls, used pink and red coloured inspirations and designed a retro wedding cake.”

For their one-of-a-kind wedding, the creative couple took on all the planning, design and styling of the day themselves. “We worked with stationery designers, bought a cricut, handmade menus and place settings, purchased multiple candles and candle holders and spent hours on Pinterest and Instagram looking for inspiration!”.

Michelle adds, “Our colours were red and pink. We named each table after a Taylor Swift Album and printed the names with our Cricut onto Vinyl records we found in my grandfather’s house. We incorporated disco balls into our floral arrangements and decorated the table with empty Diet Coke glass bottles and red and pink flowers. We cut out guest’s names onto pink cardboard hearts and strung them to little disco balls for our name settings. The groom designed and built a custom LED sign which red “Till death do us party” and hung to a shimmer wall on a round gold hoop. The groom built and programmed an audio guestbook on an old pink rotary phone.”

“As huge of an undertaking it was, the DIY-ing we did definitely made the day special and personal to us.”, the bride says.

We love a signature wedding cocktail moment! “We had two signature cocktails after our star signs we called “Pour Choices”. The Taurus, a Mexican Pornstar Martini (bride’s sign and favourite) and the Libra, a whiskey Old-Fashioned (groom’s sign and favourite)”.

Another fun and personal touch at cocktail hour was added by the couple’s maid of honour Aoife. “She knows what a crossword head I amso printed a personal crossword for our guests to do at the drinks reception!”

The couple added a sweet nod to the brides’s late grandfather. “We included a candle lighting and photo on table dedicated to his memory. He was a little bit of a conspiracy theorist so the sign read “This candle is lighting in memory of the bride’s grandfather Dermot Smith, who is watching us today from Jesus’s spaceship”.

After dinner, the couple held a Mr & Mrs style quiz where they tasked the bride’s brother Daniel, and Groom’s brother’s Martin and Oliver to answer questions to win title of “best brother” hosted by the bride’s best friend which brought loads of laughs!

Bride Michelle closed out the speeches and presented Stephen with a clock she had stopped exactly at the time they had their first kiss at the end of the ceremony to immortalise a moment in time in which they were most in love. How special is that?

Michelle has some sage advice to pass on to engaged couples. She says, “Make it your own. Wedding styles and fashions come and go so take the risk to put a personalised stamp on it, your personality is always in style.”

The couple are yet to go on honeymoon, but hope to go to California in the near future, “It keeps getting pushed out as we continue to renovate our home, but we’ll get there!”

The newlyweds started the party with a meaningful first dance to Taylor Swift’s Lover. “We later boogied the night away with neon bracelets and necklaces to disco bangers and pop remixes and ended on “Love Story” by Taylor Swift.”

Thanks so much to Michelle & Stephen for sharing their epic The River Lee wedding day with us, and to Shane O’Sullivan of SOSAC Photography for providing the beautiful imagery! There are even more gorgeous photographs to peruse in the gallery below.

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



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