Our wedding was more beautiful than I ever could have imagined, it was magical and we were as blown away as our guests were on the day. I’m very particular (fussy) and had a very clear vision for our wedding day. I knew exactly what I wanted and, more importantly, I knew what I didn’t want. Since sharing some photographs on social media, I have had so many queries from people about the décor and other personal touches from around the venue. Here are the details on our Romantic Enchanted Castle themed wedding.
We had chosen 4 venues to visit initially and Barberstown Castle was the second one that we viewed. Needless to say, we never made it to the other 2. I love anything with a history and I especially love castles (being a princess and all that), so naturally nothing excited me more than getting married in a 13th century castle.
When we walked into the drinks reception hall, it was spectacular. The log fires blazing, the rot iron chandeliers, the red velvet and wooden chairs, the arched windows; it was just perfect. When the owner Ken brought us into the banquet hall, it was a done deal. I have this thing about carpets and the fact that the banquet hall and drinks reception had the most beautiful wooden floors definitely ticked another one of my million boxes.
The grounds of the venue were just as picturesque. Red ivy running up the side of the castle, a huge willow tree in the gardens and given that we visited in October, the multi-coloured leaves of autumn covered the grounds. Even the lawns were groomed to perfection, courtesy of the robotic lawnmowers!
We had already decided that we would get married in autumn because it’s our favourite time of year. We signed on the dotted line there and then and on October 30th 2016, we would become husband and wife in the most beautiful wedding venue I’d ever seen.
You wouldn’t need to do a single thing to the venue in terms of decor; the whole place is picture perfect. However, me being me, I always want more and I had so many ideas swirling around my head that it hurt! I knew I wanted something unique and even after scouring Pinterest, I just couldn’t find anything that represented what was in my head. Then I was thinking, ‘even if I find all of these things that I want, who’s going to physically decorate the venue?’ I was adamant that the bridal party wasn’t to be running around on the morning of the wedding. They would have done enough at that stage. Regardless, you’ll see from the pictures below that there is no way we could have done it all ourselves and we didn’t. We had a secret weapon and her name is Amber.
Styled by Amber
I was told about Amber from a work colleague who had been to a wedding that she styled. When I seen pictures of her work on her Facebook page, I was literally in awe. The décor was so unique, elegant, romantic and just downright dreamy! I arranged a call with Amber and from that moment on, we were soul mates (you can have more than one right!?).
The first time I spoke with her she asked me, “when you imagine your wedding, how does it look and feel?” and I answered immediately. I wanted candles everywhere and a warm, cosy autumnal feel. Also, it was essential that our guests felt like they were in a castle. I told her I loved green and burgundy and also told her about all the things that I didn’t like. After the call, I sent her on some pictures that I had saved of designs and concepts that I liked. That is the extent of the guidance I gave Amber initially, and somehow from that, she understood my vision and she wasted no time with turning it into a reality.
Bespoke Design Concept
A few days after our call, Amber emailed me a beautifully presented design concept in which she detailed plans for the drinks reception, the ceremony, the banquet hall and other little touches for around the venue. She would source everything and set it up on the day. We would have a Romantic Enchanted Castle themed wedding with:
“autumnal rustic earthy textures incorporating natural unstructured florals in rich jewel tones, natural woody elements, candlelight, moss and trialling foliage, creating an overall ethereal romantic feel”.
Every single time I communicated with Amber, whether it be over the phone, an email or a text, my heart literally raced with excitement. She was so passionate about every single detail and her energy was so infectious. She drew these sketches to show us at our first meeting and I actually swooned!
Although not exactly part of the décor, in my view, the invitations should definitely set the tone for your wedding and give guests an idea of the theme. I told Amber that I wanted the invitations to be “old looking” with gold writing. Shortly after, she sent me a mail as long as both my legs with loads of ideas and recommended Antonella from Magva Design and Letterpress. I just loved the concept of the letterpress invitations. Antonella had the patience of a saint because I changed them at least 10 times, whether it was the design itself or the wording. Antonella also made our wedding favour cards and worked secretly with Amber to incorporate our favourite quotes around the venue.
I wanted to include something with the invitations, usually people include a sprig of lavender, but lavender makes my head spin and it’s better suited to a Spring/Summer wedding in my opinion. We needed an alternative, something that suited the time of year and our theme. I just had to mention that to Amber and she had feathers in the post on the way to me the next day. She then incorporated the feathers throughout the florals and styling and even handmade us a quill for signing the register!
After the effort that was put into the invitations, I didn’t want to risk ruining them by writing on the envelopes myself. I came across Doireann from The Wandering Pen on Instagram and hired her to work her magic.
Our Wedding Day
On the day of our wedding, the bridal party did absolutely nothing but get pampered and relax and that is exactly what I wanted. There was no running around or stressing and we were oblivious to the blood, sweat and tears that were going into making our wedding venue look like something straight out of a fairytale. I loved dealing with Amber, I loved every single detail she included, but what I loved most about having her was this- I did not have to worry about a single thing when it came to our décor! She offered creative direction on all aesthetics to ensure a cohesive look throughout and liaised with the venue and all of the vendors on our behalf. Amber can be contacted via Facebook, Instagram or her website.
The Drinks Reception
For the drinks reception, I asked Amber for a table for the guest book (a jigsaw) and 4 green bottles so that guests could write a note that we could open and read on our different anniversaries. On the day, there were 4 green bottles with personalised labels, the most beautiful writing paper and pencils carved from trees with our initials engraved into them. The table where they stood was decorated to perfection and the level of detail was just incredible. Amber had sourced and incorporated crowns, keys and books to really capture the fairytale vibe. She had so many little surprises like this for us throughout the day. She’s such a kind and thoughtful person and wanted the day to be perfect just as much as I did.
We had our ceremony on the grounds of Barberstown in a building where the roof is completely glass with an amazing view of the castle. There were candles everywhere on freshly cut logs. The table on which we signed the register incorporated the candles, moss, pinecones, greenery and florals like the rest of the venue. Every log, candle and flower you see were sourced and set up by Amber.
The Banquet Hall
Usually in Barberstown, the banquet hall is set up with round tables but we wanted the tables to be long and rectangular so guests felt like they were at a banquet in a 13th century castle (they were!). It was set up with just 2 long tables that extended across the length of the room and as well as enhancing the castle feel perfectly, it created a nice and lively atmosphere. The top table was horseshoe shaped to make sure everyone could see each other.
I left the menus and place settings up to Amber. She sourced the paper goods for these, as well as for the table plan, from D’Epoca Vintage Inspired Stationery. She incorporated our personalised monogram, our wedding date, the crown, the key, the feather and the burgundy ribbon; all of which featured throughout the décor and signage. She added the antique keys to myself and Darren’s menus and gave us a second set to keep as souvenirs.
I just loved the idea of a gold cake with fresh flowers. At a friend’s party over 3 years ago, I tasted a red velvet cupcake made by Emily’s Pantry and said then that I wanted her to make our wedding cake (I wasn’t even engaged at that stage!). So when we did get engaged, the cake was one of the first things that I booked. We even loved our cake tasting with Emily. She is so bubbly and friendly and her apartment/pantry is goals! Amber worked closely with Emily throughout the process to ensure that the cake complimented the overall theme. It had 3 layers; red velvet, salted caramel and orange chocolate sponge and tasted just as amazing as it looked. Every last bit of it was eaten over the 2 days.
My wedding dress, and the bridesmaids dresses, was blush and so I wanted the florals to pick up on that. The groom’s suit was grey with burgundy check and himself and the groomsmen wore burgundy ties. I wanted the flowers to be natural and earthy, almost messy looking; like they had been freshly gathered from a garden that morning. Amber worked with Carlow Florist to make this happen and they were the most beautiful flowers I’ve ever seen.
At my mam’s wedding, the flower girls wore fresh flower rings in their hair and I loved it. I always said that mine would have the same and so she did. She had a basket of flowers too but she wouldn’t carry them! The bridesmaids wore flowers at the back of their hairs which I loved.
Photos courtesy of my amazing wedding photograph Hilda Mc Mahon from Mc Mahon Studios, who was an absolute pleasure to have around on the day.
Every bride has a vision for her wedding day and this was mine, down to every last detail. I’ll be publishing more blogposts on our wedding but in the mean time, there are plenty more photographs over on my Instagram account.