real wedding: intimate winter wedding {emily & ian}

Whilst we might almost be in the middle of summer (yes, really!) I know from my facebook and twitter pages that some of you are busy planning your winter weddings, so today I’m sharing Emily & Ian’s intimate celebration at Barberstown Castle to give you all a little inspiration!  Winter weddings are beautiful things, the roar of open fires, lush green foliage and delicate white and ivory winter flowers create an elegant yet cosy atmosphere. I can’t think of anything I’d rather do on a chilly mid-winter’s night than gather all my loved ones together to celebrate love.

Emily & Ian’s love-filled day was captured by Lisa O’Dwyer, who’s natural style and beautiful images we love!  The thing I love most about this wedding? Emily’s smile!  I’ve never seen such a happy bride.  And I love her adorable flower girl too!

Here’s Emily with their story ~

Ian and I met at a mutual friend’s wedding in Belfast in May 2009 – I was living in London at the time and he was living in Dublin, but he soon found a job in London and moved over! He proposed in June 2011 in the evening sunshine at a bar on Regent’s Canal in London, with a stunning ring designed by his brother. We proceeded to drink a lot of champagne (for a long time after that as well!).  We got married in November 2011 (no hanging around!) in Barberstown Castle, Co. Kildare. We knew we wanted a civil ceremony and after looking at a few venues knew that Barberstown was perfect for us, we also really thought it suited a winter wedding with the lovely dark wood in the banqueting hall. It wasn’t too far from Dublin Aiport too, which was a consideration for friends who were flying in for our wedding.

The most important thing about our day was to enjoy it and celebrate with friends. For example we’d been at quite a few weddings where the bride and groom are taken off by the photographer for HOURS and miss their entire drinks reception. We knew this isn’t what we wanted at all – and that photos, while important, were just one element of the day. So our amazing photographer Lisa O’Dwyer did as we requested, and got stunning photos of our family and of just the two of us in just 20 minutes – and we could get back to our friends and family then! From looking at the beautiful results – you’d think she’d had us posing for hours! She then got great candid photos as well which are some of my favourite.

I fell in love with a beautiful lace dress (from De Paor Designs in Kilcoole), it was the second shop we went to and I loved it immediately – and as she makes the dresses on the premises, I was able to pick and choose different elements that I wanted (a Chantilly lace overlay and champagne underneath which was different to the sample I tried on).  I loved the idea of a birdcage veil with it and so we went for a vintage-inspired theme, with old jam jars on the tables for the flower arrangements.  We had a basket of ballet pumps in the ladies bathrooms with a sign saying “Take a Pair and Dance Some More” which went down a treat. Instead of the traditional guest book, we had a large mounting which everyone wrote fun messages on which now hangs in our house with a wedding photo in the middle – this was such a low cost idea, and one of my favourites! My sister did most of the planning with me – and was invaluable!

What was your first dance, and how did you choose the song?

Our first dance was Bright Eyes “The First Day of my Life“. We weren’t the kind of couple that had their “own song” so as we were planning the wedding we just googled (a lot of) different options. We knew we wanted something a bit different, not predictable! And after a few glasses of wine we found this song on YouTube and fell in love with it! Our band played it beautifully on the day and I was so happy we choose it.

Do you have any advice for couples currently planning their wedding?

Make quick decisions. Over thinking things is completely unnecessary. If you like something (and can afford it!) then go for it. I’d definitely recommend throwing in a few elements that you don’t see at every wedding, it’s nice to have yours stand out in everyone’s mind. And finally, do a timetable for your wedding day and distribute it to your close family, wedding party and all suppliers. I included the time people were arriving places, when dinner was, when cake being cut, when afters food is coming out. It means on the day you can completely relax knowing everyone’s aware what’s going on – and not asking you stupid questions like what time the bar closes, what time the photographer leaves etc!



Photographer: Lisa O’Dwyer Photography // Dress: De Paor Designs // Shoes: Penney’s // Veil & accessories: De Paor Designs // Bridesmaids dresses: De Paor Designs // Venue & Catering: Barberstown Castle // Flowers: Dorothy Roberts, Killiney //  Hair: Sian Sharkey // Makeup: The Beauty Studio // Cake: Bottom layer by groom’s Gran, the rest by Lolly & Cooks


After a decade-long career in corporate interior design, I took a giant leap of faith, left the security of an office job, and founded B.LOVED in 2011 as a platform for romantic and beautiful wedding inspiration. Thanks to a whole lot of creativity, hard work and passion, my gamble paid off and B.LOVED became one of the leading wedding blogs in the UK.

I'm also a co-founder at The Brand Studio, where I design and curate beautiful photoshoots for wedding and lifestyle brands, as well as running wedding industry community the B.LOVED Hive where I support and nurture wedding pros building industry leading businesses. Yep, I definitely have the best job in the world.

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What a lovely wedding and her smile is infectious! Winter weddings are the coziest, especially with all of your close loved ones around to celebrate. I absolutely adore her birdcage veil. Thanks for always picking the good one’s love! xx


What a glowing bride! And gorgeous photos from Lisa! Can’t believe they planned it all in 5 months!


Wow, one of the most beautiful weddings I have seen recently. The flower girl is a stunner and the pregnant bridesmaid is glowing. What a special day for everyone involved! Well done, and congratulations.