I think we can all agree that a destination wedding in an 800-year-old Irish castle calls for a pretty special wedding dress. Well, today's real wedding features not only a drop-dead gorgeous gown, but incredible florals, next-level décor, an impeccably dressed wedding party (including lots of outragously cute little ones - we've never before been so jealous of a page boy's suspenders!) and a frankly thrilling level of personal detail. US couple Kayla and Bobby planned their wedding at Kilkea Castle (and the epic celebrations around it) without ever setting foot on Irish soil, but they were clever enough to recruit some of the best wedding suppliers in the business to lend a hand. Studio Brown were kind enough to share the photographs with us, so let's get swooning!
Kayla and Bobby tell us that they first clapped eyes on each other at a mutual friend's 21st birthday party! "We're not even sure that we talked that night," Bobby says, "but I always remembered her. We didn’t cross paths again until after she moved back home from college about two years later. We both ended up on the dance floor, and, in my excitement, I threw Kayla in the air and poked her head through a ceiling tile. The rest was history!" We should point out that no Kaylas were seriously injured in the making of this love story!
Bobby popped the question on a very special day for the couple, the day they bought their house! "We closed on the house in the morning," Kayla remembers. "I had planned to go straight back to work, but we ended up dropping by the house first. Bobby snuck off to the bedroom and shouted, ‘Kayla, I think the ceiling is leaking.’ Hearing that, I stormed back, only to find Bobby on one knee with a picnic set up and decorations in the room. I only remember the first few words he said, the rest is a blur! There were lots of hugs and I couldn’t get over what a gorgeous ring he picked out."
Kayla and Bobby say they knew that they wanted a destination wedding in Ireland long before they even got engaged! "We both come from big Irish families and wanted to stay true to our heritage."
We'll talk through Kayla's wedding dress further down the post, but can we just take a moment for her gorgeous hair and makeup looks!? She had the wonderful Fiona Harrison from The MakeUp Studio create a beautiful spring-appropriate makeup look, while Martina King took care of her effortless, half-up, half-down hairstyle.
The thing that would make it so special and memorable was to tie in with family history. We were married in the same church that my great grandfather (on my mom’s side) was baptised in, and the town where he grew up, Leighlinbridge, before he came to America over 100 years ago."
Once they had decided on the church, Kilkea Castle became the front runner for the reception venue! "It was everything we ever imagined," Kayla says. "The castle and the grounds are absolutely stunning, had accommodation for everyone, activities, and the service was impeccable. We chose it all via the internet, as with the rest of our planning, and didn’t see it in person until two days before the wedding. It was even more breathtaking in person."
Kayla and Bobby's number one priority in wedding planning was showing their guests a good time! "Everyone travelled so far that we wanted to make the entire experience worthwhile," Kayla says. "That was the main goal, that everyone else will look back with memories to last a lifetime."
This meant that their wedding also felt like an amazing family holiday! "Having all of our families together, in a new place, to experience something new, is something we will never forget," Kayla says. "The fact that it was also our wedding was just the cherry on top of the trip of a lifetime."
The festivities kicked off with a pub crawl in Dublin. At least, it began as a pub crawl! "We started at Doheny and Nesbitt and then actually ended up staying at the next stop, O’Donoghues, since it was such a fun place and everyone was having a great time," Kayla says. "It was also a rainy evening, so we didn’t want to venture too far and get caught in the rain!"
Thankfully, the rain held off for the big day!
OK, it's officially time to talk about Kayla's dress! She chose a custom Monique Lhuillier gown for the big day, with an off-shoulder neckline and full skirt, all created in stunningly delicate lace. Classic romance for a classically romantic location!
This pair look like they're having the best time. This is what it's all about, folks!
When this couples says memorable, they mean it! "Falconry at the castle was really special! I don’t think anyone had experienced that, so that was very cool to share with all the guests, and have even more Irish tradition involved!"
A room this beautiful could only be the work of Frog Prince Weddings and Events, one of our favourite wedding design teams!
How gorgeous are these cube centrepiece frames!? I feel a décor trend feature coming on!
Kayla describes the couple's wedding as, "absolute perfection. It was magical and everything that we could have dreamed. Sharing our day with our closest friends and family meant the world. The vibe was pretty relaxed – everyone was so in awe of the setting and excited to be there! The look of the day was really beautiful. There was lots of greenery and pink, with a rustic, countryside castle feel – a perfect spring wedding!
For this couple, it was crucial that the day reflected their personalities and love story. "I was very into details," Kayla says, "From the ringbearer pillow with our embroidered wedding date, to handkerchiefs I got for Bobby and my parents, to the pictures I had on my bouquet, I wanted everything to have a personal touch."
Kayla's top tip for engaged couples is something that's rarely mentioned but is so, so important. She advises planning the wedding in a way that works for your personality type. "I knew I needed to time to make sure our day was perfect, and didn’t want to feel rushed. In doing that, I felt I could relax and enjoy the day, instead of stressing out over things. I was truly present in each moment and was able to soak it all in. For me, it was important to be as prepared as I could be, then I could let go of it all once I woke up on the day!"
After the wedding, the couple honeymooned in Italy, with a quick stop-off at the Cliffs of Moher along the way! "I have wanted to go to Italy my whole life as my Dad's side of the family is Italian," Kayla says. "We would highly recommend. Bobby and I had never been anywhere overseas before the wedding, so it was the perfect choice for us to explore another country. The first stop was Venice and we loved it, then we went to Rome and Florence and enjoyed all the historical monuments and shopping. Last stop, and the best was Capri! We would go back in a heartbeat."
What a sensational day! Thanks so much to Kayla and Bobby for sharing their Kilkea Castle wedding with us, and to Studio Brown for providing the beautiful photographs.