Real wedding: Irish castle celebration

Real wedding: Irish castle celebration
Meghan and Simon wanted a destination wedding in a location where all their family and friends could gather. Ireland offered history, hospitality and castles galore

It had to be Ireland for Meghan and Simon’s destination wedding, and they found a picture-perfect castle in the Emerald Isle for celebrating with family and friends

Photos: John Nassari

When Meghan and Simon began planning their celebration they knew their ideal was a destination wedding so that family and friends could all gather together. Meghan’s family is Irish, and with strong connections to the Emerald Isle, so it seemed the natural choice – offering the perfect combination of culture, scenery, fantastic hospitality and more than its fair share of castles.

With quite a large party of around 150 to accommodate, they were quite limited in their options, especially as they didn’t want guests to have to travel too far. But after a well-planned road trip to ‘recce’ a shortlist of potential destinations, they found Cabra in County Cavan and knew straight away that this was the place. A country hotel in a Gothic-style castle, complete with friendly resident Irish wolfhound, it also has picturesque turrets and towers, a river running through the grounds and a beautiful Catholic church just a few minutes down the road.

Meghan and Simon's Irish castle wedding
The castle lent itself to soft and romantic colour themes, including soft dove grey, which featured in flowers and bridesmaid dresses

Once secured, this magical period setting inspired the themes. Guests were sent traditional scroll invitations secured with a wax seal, and bottles of Irish whiskey were chosen as table favours. The styling of the bride and groom’s parties was a modern take on traditional wedding clothing. Groomsmen wore tailored morning suits with a contemporary cut, while the bridesmaids’ elegant long gowns were in ethereal dove grey. The same dove-toned base was used throughout for scene setting, accented with soft spring pastels in peach, lilac and pink. Meghan chose a dress that ensured she looked every inch the perfect princess for the castle – a timeless gown with fine detailing on the bodice, a full skirt and long, gossamer-light veil with delicate floral trim.


Meghan and Simon's Irish castle wedding
The beautiful village church was located just a short distance from the castle

With the bride and groom and their bridal parties staying over before the wedding day, final preparations were easy. From their castle retreat, the couple travelled independently to the church in the traditional way. Meghan says: “For both of us the high point of the day was meeting each other for the first time at the end of the aisle, a very special moment indeed. This was closely followed by our arrival at the castle where all our guests were waiting for us on the red carpet”.


Meghan and Simon's Irish castle wedding
Meghan and Simon travelled in style from the nearby church to Cabra Castle

Traditional Irish hospitality ensured that the guests enjoyed the occasion and the setting as much as their hosts. Meghan says: “Cabra Castle staff were so friendly and nothing was too much trouble. The food was incredible as well – it really is a fairytale-castle wedding location”.



Meghan and Simon's Irish castle wedding
Cabra rolled out the red carpet to welcome the new bride and groom

Meghan and Simon’s advice for other couples is to factor in the memory making. Simon says: “Spend the money on a fantastic photographer and definitely get a videographer, as the day goes so fast and you are running on so much adrenaline that you don’t remember a lot. It has been so special reliving it through our photographs and video. John Nassari and his colleague Katie did a fantastic job documenting the day photographically, with beautiful shots in both traditional and modern styles”.


Meghan and Simon's Irish castle wedding
“We spent 20 minutes alone in the middle of the day just to reflect on what was going on”. Photo: John Nassari

Their other key tip is to ensure you spend as much time as possible together so that you savour every moment. “It is easy to get sidetracked,” says Meghan. “So, to combat this, we really tried to meet all of our guests together. We also spent 20 minutes alone in the middle of the day to just reflect on what was going on and take it all in”.

Meghan and Simon's Irish castle wedding
Spring pastels, including lilac and pink, were used as accent colours to harmonise with the dove grey theme


Meghan’s wedding sourcebook

Venue: Cabra Castle Hotel, Kingscourt;

Photography: John Nassari;

Videography: Edithouse, Dublin;

Flowers: Flowers by Ann, Carrrickmacross;




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