Paul and I recently went to Ireland to check out wedding venues. We also had our families come along so we had lots of opinions coming our way!
When it came to our venue, we were both in agreement that we wanted somewhere we could hire exclusively. We’re going to be having people travel from all over – the US, Malaysia, England – as well as from home, so we wanted to be able to put on a weekend for them. It’s something that’s a lot more common in America and sure if I’ve gone ahead and hit Big Fat Gypsy Wedding levels with 5 bridesmaids and 5 groomsmen, why not also embrace the American tradition of having a ridiculously long wedding celebration over 3 days?!
I’ve spent hours online researching venues and narrowed it down to two venues – Huntington Castle and Lisnavagh House. A couple of weeks before I traveled home, I got a facebook from my mum. “How many you thinking at the wedding? Your dad and I are going to go check out venues tomorrow”. My initial reaction? Eh, wtf?! Where are you going? Why wasn’t I consulted before now?
Then I realized that I’m fairly lucky to have people “on the ground” in Ireland when I’m 6,000 miles away who are prepared to do lots of the leg work for me! And so I put my bridezilla monster away and made sure to give the parents some direction on what we’re looking for.
It became a new hobby for mum and dad and they spent days “discovering the hidden Ireland” visiting beautiful old houses and castles. By the time I turned up in Ireland, they had two clear favorites – Lisnavagh House (mum) and Luttrelstown Castle (dad), with Huntington Castle a distant third for them.
Our first visit in Ireland was to Lisnavagh House. As soon as we pulled up the driveway, I knew it was the venue I wanted. It is beautiful. Authentic. Original. Different. Isolated. And has an amazing energy. The original family still lives there and you can feel their history all over the property. One of my favorite discoveries was seeing old vogues that used to belong to the grandmother from the 1940s in one of the bedrooms.
I love that it hasn’t lost its originality or that the owners haven’t felt they need to remove their family from the spaces they rent out. Speaking of, Emily who owns the house is amazing. She has this very calming energy that makes you feel cared about from the moment you start speaking to her. I sat in the study with her and my family having tea and just listened to her talk.
One of the biggest upsides for me with Lisnavagh (apart from how beautiful it is) is that it has enough accommodation on site to sleep 64 people. And the accommodation is incredibly affordable!
One of the biggest downsides (although I don’t mind so much) is that they could only sit a maximum of 40 in the house for dinner so with our numbers, we’ll have to use a marquee (tent). This can be tricky if it rains on the day but I’m confident I can create a gorgeous space in the marquee that sure we won’t even notice if it’s raining!
The reason I lean towards Lisnavagh is because it allows you to create entirely your own bespoke wedding. Of course, Paul thinks this is a terrible idea! He’s such a man about these things! He thinks it means too much work and stress and wants the easy life when it comes to the day.
Photos below are taken by my mum on her iPad
This leads up to his favorite venue (and my dad’s) – Luttrelstown Castle. It’s beautiful! A truly stunning venue. It has incredible bedrooms, amazing views, a beautiful history and is done to a very high standard. Given all this – why don’t I love it?
The answer is that I don’t get to put enough of my stamp on it. That’s just me. My sister in law Gill (who I love!) saw it and exclaimed that her and my brother were getting divorced and remarried so they could have it as their venue! Ha! It was the cutest reaction I’d ever seen. The only problem is that her reaction to the venue was so much more enthusiastic than my reaction! My whole family loved it. My brother asked when the family vote was being held so we could all decide to have it at Luttrelstown. However, having spent 6 months pinning all these incredible creative ideas for the wedding, I didn’t want to compromise on a venue where I felt I couldn’t put my stamp on it. With Luttrelstown, you have to use their caterer, their china, their bar…I want to chose all those things myself!
The one last thing I would say about Luttrelstown from my part is that as beautiful as it is (and it is STUNNING), I missed the energy and feeling from Lisnavagh of a house that is still lived in by a family. If I had never seen Lisnavagh, Luttrelstown could have been perfect. When I think about our wedding day though, I think about family, about authentic emotions, about celebrating love – and I can feel that in buckets at Lisnavagh.
Now I just need to convince Paul that not only should we do my country, my church, my religion…but also my venue!