Apr 19 2018
Each of our brides, grooms, families, guests and wedding days are so special and memorable to us. Each has a different style and various elements which stand out from the rest. Sinead and Padraig live in San Fransisco and hadn't even seen Larchfield Estate when they booked their wedding day which was on the 20th December 2017. Sinead and Padraig held their stunning wedding reception at Larchfield and have kindly shared their fairy-tale wedding story with you. We think you will adore this short blog and take away some inspiration for your own wedding or event. Amongst mixing Irish and American themes, they had beautiful Christmas touches surrounding their day which included our larger-than-life Christmas tree in the main barn. We have all heard what Elf said, "The best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear!"... Sinead and Padraig definitely spread lots of cheer!
Padraig was in his third year of University and I was in my first year. We met in Belfast at Queens Student Union on a Thursday night. Padraig knew who I was from a mutual friend and he knew my brother really well, but I had never met him before. Naturally as boisterous male students do in the Union after a few drinks on a Thursday night, he decided to come and introduce himself ....by lifting me over his shoulder and swinging me around. Let's just say it wasn't something romantic like love at first sight lol. We started hanging around in the same social circles and were just friends.
Always having banter back and forth and it wasn't until the second term of University that another friend had started to mention how well the two of us got along and we were always laughing in each others company. You could say she planted the seed. We started to text and then eventually decided to go on a date and the rest was history. Have been together ever since, even through long distance for a while and we got married 10 years later.
Padraig and I flew home to Ireland from San Francisco in July 2016 to visit friends and family. We typically don't get much time off work in the USA, so I wanted to organise a "mini holiday" while we had made the journey back to Europe. So we could get some sunshine as well, not always guaranteed that with Irish summers!! I had always wanted to go to Rome. We had finished a huge Italian dinner at Roscioli in Rome and we walked to the Trevi Fountain, it was quite crowded. I had read about pickpockets there as well so I said to Padraig as we walked through the crowd, "Be careful of your pockets here I heard there are pickpockets", his face dropped but I didn't know there was a ring in there at this point. I can only imagine he thought his cover was blown but I was completely unaware and was so distracted by finally getting to see the Trevi Fountain.
I am very small so I had to weave through the crowd and I couldn't see much without pushing to the front. Padraig spotted a corner that had a ledge were I would be able to stand on and see the fountain and surprisingly there was no one on it. I was in awe. I was taking pictures on my phone, so excited to be able to see and it was beautiful. Padraig was behind me and I heard him say "Sinead" and I was like "Yeah?" but I hadn't turned around I was too busy taking photos. Second time around his "Sinead" was a lot more firm and I turned round and was like "What??". There he was down on one knee with the ring in hand! I started shaking I was in complete shock. I was half laughing/half crying. He said the most wonderful romantic things about us being best friends from the very beginning, growing old together and asked me to marry him. Of course I said yes!
I hugged and kissed him and out of nowhere I could hear people starting to clap. I had totally forgotten were we were. Literally hundreds of people at the Trevi Fountain started to clap and cheer. A random Italian man came and handed me roses and took a polaroid picture of us. It was like something from a film honestly. We spent time at the fountain just taking it all in, we then went and got gelato and headed back to the hotel to get wifi so we could Facetime our parents and best friends. My dad of course wasn't surprised as Padraig had been a true gentleman and had asked for my Dad's blessing just before we were leaving for the airport while I was running around making sure I had everything packed. We then turned off our phones, went to a nice wine bar and had celebratory drinks. We didn't announce it to everyone else until the next day where we took an announcement photo at the Coliseum.
We had envisioned our wedding day to be a fun day out for everyone and to be surrounded by close friends and family. We really wanted it to represent who we are as a couple. We wouldn't consider ourselves to be the most traditional couple. We like going on adventures and we like doing things a little differently. However we wanted to respect the elements of tradition that were important to our family and our upbringing. Having the wedding ceremony in the chapel and then we wanted to have our reception to be something a little different than the traditional "hotel wedding". We wanted it to be a combination of Ireland and America as we had met in Ireland but we had spent most of our time together living in America. Therefore it was really important for us to incorporate that and our love for travelling.
We had traditional Irish music played throughout the day, a games room that had beer pong and giant jenga, and travel themed decor mixed with seasonal winter elements. So our table plan was a Christmas tree decorated with travel themed Christmas ornaments and tables named after all the cities we had travelled to.
We had actually booked Larchfield without even seeing it in person. We live in San Francisco so we had to plan everything from overseas. We typically only come home once a year so we had to get something booked to ensure we secured a date. We had watched a video online on the One Fab Day blog of a real wedding and the venue looked stunning. We had wondered where it was but it wasn't until we actually recognised someone shown in the video that I realised this place was actually in Ireland. We couldn't believe it! When we googled it and saw that it was just outside Lisburn we couldn't believe our luck. We contacted Larchfield about date availability and set up an appointment for family to go visit the space. We had gathered other alternative locations for family to visit as there definitely was a little hesitation from them in the beginning when we had told them that Larchfield was not a hotel but we already knew. Before they even visited we wanted to choose Larchfield just based on images from online. We just needed them to confirm if they thought it was big enough for how many guests we were thinking of having.
We wanted something that was a bit different. When family went to visit they took videos of the space and as soon as they sent them to us we knew we didn't need to see anything more. What sold us was the pictures of the barn. It had been dressed for a wedding that day. It had the lace runners and all the fairy lights were on in this trees which come as part of the barn. The cake tree with the lights was just beautiful and unlike anything we had ever seen. This place was only something you ever see in magazines or Pinterest.
The night that Padraig proposed he had suggested a Christmas wedding. He had it all thought out, yet I was still in shock so I hadn't even had time to even process that a wedding needed to be planned. It made sense for us as we usually come home every year to visit for Christmas. It was important to us that it also suited our friends in San Francisco. A lot of them return to Ireland to visit family at that time of the year so our intent was to hopefully kill two birds with the one stone. To minimise back and forth transatlantic flights for our friends as they can be quite expensive. We also felt that Christmas time is a great party season and people are generally in good spirits so this would carry through to our wedding.
I have to say I just loved shopping for my wedding dress. I had always loved watching the TV show Say Yes to the Dress so I was so excited to finally be able to shop for myself. Some girls say they always knew what kind of wedding dress they had dreamed off but that really wasn't the case for me. I had a lot of fun trying on all shapes and styles. I had arranged for some appointments when I was visiting home at Christmas so I could really enjoy the experience with my mum, sister and bridesmaids. Unfortunately I didn't find "The One" when I was with them. I actually happened to be on my own in a shop in San Jose, California. I had just randomly booked an appointment one weekend and found it. I knew I didn't need to convince anyone else I loved my dress and the woman in the shop was kind enough to take a video for me and then FaceTime with my Mum.
First and foremost, I want to give a major shout out to the Larchfield staff, Gabby and Sara helped me through the planning process. No question was too big or too small. The manager on the day, Jim, was so friendly and accommodating.
Wedding Food - Old Barn Catering - They were truly amazing. The food was absolutely fantastic and the service was first class from start to finish. Peter and his team are brilliant and their menu selection was delicious.
Barn Decor - Blue Moon Event Design - Andrea from Blue Moon Event design was such an angel to work with. Coordinating from overseas can be difficult and she just made it so easy and brought my vision to life and dressed the barn beautifully.
Bar - NJB - Neil and his team of bar staff were fantastic. The bar was so busy the whole day that they actually brought in two extra staff members to make sure our guests didn't have to wait long periods of time to get a drink. They looked after us so well from reception drinks through closing at 1am!
Videographer - Hatch Wedding Films - Paul was like a fly on the wall. He is such a discreet videographer that even Padraig's mum didn't even realise that we had the day filmed. He does cinematography style wedding films and we are so excited to see ours soon. We just know based on his other work that it will be beautiful.
Photographer - Thompson Photography - Tony captured our day beautifully. He was conscientious to not keep us too long for photos as we really wanted to get in and enjoy the day and he still managed to capture beautiful photos.
Décor - Love Blossoms - Ursula was such a gem. She was always so responsive which was a gift for me as there was an 8 hour time difference to deal with. She always managed to respond immediately! She provided Christmas lanterns for our entryway at the chapel, framed mirrors with welcome messages and sentimental quotes, a selfie mirror photo booth and our favourite was the Christmas tree table plan.
Make Up Artist - Carla Bailie Make Up - Carla did such an amazing job on all of us. She is just so talented at what she does and on top of that a really lovely genuine person.
Mairead Quinn Hairdressing - Mairead was fantastic. Such a lovely girl, so calm and allowed us to truly enjoy getting ready in the morning.
Wedding Transport - Champagne Moments - Trevor and team provided our wedding cars. I had heard of other couples I knew having bother with car vendors not showing up on time. Trevor and his team were fantastic. They were so friendly, kind and approachable. They had drinks at the ready for us and our bridal group which was such a lovely touch. We transported our guests to and from the Larchfield using A2B Buses based in Portadown, the coach service was great and convenient for our guests.
Musicians - We had a day filled with music. Both of us just love our music. Aoife Mc Cullagh Music sang at our ceremony. There are no words to describe how much of a song bird this girl is. Almost everyone commented after our mass on her rendition of O Holy Night - total goosebumps. She played alongside the fantastic Crannagh Wedding Music Quartet who played so beautifully and even managed to pull off the most amazing instrumental version of Halo by Beyoncé. It was amazing. Next up is the lovely Ceallach Reid Music. Ceallach is actually Padraig's cousin so we were so fortunate to have such talented family member play during our reception. Such a unique voice. We then had the three lovely girls from Briste play during our dinner service. They played traditional Irish music which helped create such a great upbeat atmosphere during dinner when often people usually start to get tired. This helped keep the party flowing until the band was ready to start playing. And finally our band the Rubix Band. These guys were fantastic and catered to all ages. Our personal favourite was the 10 minute long remix of all classic songs from the 90's and 2000's - it was unreal and the dance floor was packed.
Evening Food - Nugelato - We had the Nuggy ice cream cart at our wedding as part of the dessert service. It went down a storm with everyone. Their team was amazing.
Decor - Mr & Mrs Balloons - Lauren provided beautiful balloons to decorate the Orangery, bar and games room. They added the perfect touch to the rooms.
Wedding Cake - Cupcake Heaven - I sent Julie pictures I had of a cake and cupcakes I had found on Pinterest and she literally replicated them identically. She made us Harry Potter, Unicorn, American football and GAA cupcakes; they were our way of adding small things we loved and were personal to us into the wedding in a subtle way. She is a very talented lady.
Flowers - Vintage Violet Floral Boutique - Our bouquets were fabulous and complimented our whole vision well.
Plan the day that YOU want. At the end of the day its a day celebrating you both and your love. There is nothing worth getting upset or stressed about. It is supposed to be a happy day for you both and be surrounded by those who love you most so they will be happy no matter what you choose. So don't sweat the small stuff worrying, just go with your gut.