Rachael and Arlo’s wedding is the perfect mixture of charm and personal details that make a wedding so unique and memorable.
Held at Rachael’s family’s home in Kilkenny, Ireland, Rachael planned the whole thing from New Zealand where she and Ario met (and currently live) in just a matter of months. (I’m suffering second-hand anxiety just thinking about managing such complex logistics.)
Rachael included abundance details about the wedding but I want to showcase the big day before we break it all down. Enjoy!
Rachael & Ario
Event Date: Jun 08, 2013
In Rachael’s words:
What were the most important things to you about your wedding? What were your priorities?: How did you go about planning your day? I spent all my free time online for weeks planning the wedding. We had so little time as my brother was getting married the following summer so we decided to do it quickly rather than waiting another year. Pinterest was probably my biggest inspiration and eBay and Etsy.
What kind of ceremony did you have and why? Although Ario is not religious, it was important for us to celebrate the coming together of both cultures as part of the wedding. We had a civil ceremony at the registry office in Kilkenny a few days before the wedding and, on the wedding day, my uncle, William Bennett, who is a church of Ireland, minister performed a traditional-style Church of Ireland service. Ario’s father and uncle performed an Iranian style ceremony afterward. It was really lovely to have the coming together of both cultures.
What was your favourite part of the day? My favorite part of the day was riding down for the photos at the castle with Ario after the ceremony. It was a lovely moment alone. The first dance was also very special.
Things you included, DIY touches, anything unusual, gifts or things that people did for you? I think the thing that made the wedding for us was family. Not everything went as planned and there were lots of little hiccups on the day such as the Iranian stew not being defrosted on time (luckily my dad had two camping stoves in the back of his car so we reheated the food on those) or the caters not having enough bar staff or catering staff so everyone chipped in. What made the wedding so special for us is it wasn’t formal; everyone got stuck in and family and friends came together and helped out and had fun together. It was an opportunity for both families got to know each other. It was a very unique type of wedding and I think people didn’t know what to expect.
Makeup Artist: My best friend and bridesmaid, Leigh Salmon, who’s a beautician, did my makeup. My sister did the bridesmaids’ makeup. She’s really good!
Dress(es) & Shoes: Dress was hand made in New Zealand by Rue De Seine . It was handmade from vintage french lace and tulle. It took me ages to find the prefect dress and, in the end, I went for something completely different than what I was expecting. My shoes were ruby heels from a High Street shop in New Zealand.
Engagement Ring(s) & Wedding Rings: The engagement ring was from Keshett in Melbourne, Australia, a shop that specializes in vintage and art deco rings. I still look down at my hand often and just admire my ring I love it so much!
Jewellery / other accessories: I borrowed my veil from one of my oldest friends, Emma. It was a handmade lace veil that perfectly complemented my dress. I wore my grandmother’s diamond and ruby ring on my right hand which was very important to me . It felt like I carried a part of her with me on my special day. I had a simple diamond and white gold pendant necklace that I have had since my 21st birthday. It was a present from my aunt.
My wedding day was also my birthday and my mother gave me a gift of some simple and beautiful white gold and diamond stud earrings to finish off my outfit.
Groom’s Clothing & Shoes: The groom was in a navy Hugo Boss suit. I wanted him to have a simple suit he could wear again for years to come. He had a signature waistcoat made at a local tailor in Auckland and he purchased a pale blue shirt in Kilkenny when we got there. He topped it all off with a tartan tie and ruby silk pocket square to complement my ruby shoes.
What did your bridesmaids & groomsmen wear? It took a long time to find the bridesmaids dresses! I wanted something pretty that would fit with the vintage garden party theme of the wedding and something the girls would like and use again. Shopping in New Zealand isn’t great so it was hard to find something suitable and something that would also suit all of the girls’ styles (and that they’d like). I found an amazing shop on Etsy called ‘Plum and Pigeon’ based in Manchester. The handmade 1950’s-style floral vintage dresses were very affordable at only £50 each. The groomsmen were in simple navy suits with blue shirts that we hired locally and they had ruby cravats.
Flowers: Flowers were amazing and really made the atmosphere of the wedding for me. They were down by “Flowers by Lucy” in Kilkenny. Lucy is an old family friend. I e-mailed her before the wedding with some pictures – I really wanted sunflowers and lavender and lace as part of the bouquets and everyone thought I was mad to include sunflowers but I wanted something bright and sunny and I wanted the smell of lavender in the air. Lucy met with me two weeks before the wedding when I got to kilkenny and we talked through ideas. My family had been collecting jam jars for weeks for the table settings and I took a trip to Ikea to but some lovely metal bucket vases. Lucy had some amazing ideas for the centrepieces and also for the flowers for the marquee for the ceremony (we kept the flowers white for this to symbolise the solemnness of the occasion and kept the colors for the party marquee). Lucy had the great idea to put an old vintage bicycle outside the marquee and also an old vintage suitcase filled with flowers. It looked awesome.
Wedding Cake: My wedding cake was very unique. My aunty made the top tier of the cake and it was a chocolate biscuit cake with pink icing and it had a his and hers rubber ducks on the top. The other tiers were a present from a family friend who runs the best Italian restaurant in Kilkenny callled Rinuccini’s. I had always wanted a tiramisu wedding cake (it’s my favorite dessert) and Antonio’s tiramisu is the best I’ve ever tasted and they were so kind as to give me a present of a tiramisu cake for my wedding and also a lemon drizzle tier so there was something for everyone.
Invites / Other Stationery: The invites I hand made with the help of my friend Helen. I used brown paper outers and printed off the invite to go inside them. I had bought an alphabet set of stamps and different colors of ink and we hand stamped each of the invites with “you are invited” on the outside (it took hours one evening). I also had confetti hearts for the inside and tied them up with some lace I got from the local fabric shop. I then hand sealed each one with wax, they were quite original and took a long time to make but were worth the effort. I also printed off all the other stationary myself you can find lots of templates online. We had an order of service and also menu’s for the meal typed out and printed at the local printers. It was a personal touch and also saved lots of money on expensive printers. I got good paper for printing on so as not to lose the quality but it was not very expensive.
Cars: We didn’t have to drive between venues however I wanted to be able to take a trip to the castle and around Kilkenny for the photographs so we had an old VW van as our wedding car. It was a perfect fit to the theme of the day.
Wedding Favours: Wedding favors I had little Cath Kidson-style boxes that I bought from eBay and each one had a Lindor chocolate in them as they were my favorite chocolates and everyone got a sparkler. I had planned on going outside and having some photographs taken with the sparklers in the dark however there wasn’t time for this. My favorite favour was a little match book with “Rachael & Ario – A perfect match” written on them. I also ordered these from eBay. I had lots of accessories and signs around the gardens. I picked up things in different places and had hearts hanging everywhere and signs everywhere all over the garden along with heart lanterns. My brother, Eoin, and my husband’s cousin, Amir ,stayed up ’til 2 am the night before the wedding hand-painting signs for going around the garden; they were amazing and another real personal touch. I got a lot of decorations also from eBay and Etsy and had different types of bunting and paper pom poms hanging from the roof of the marquee. My family and new in-laws were so helpful in setting everything up and it wouldn’t have been possible with out everyone’s hard work!
Any DIY touches? If so how were they made?: The food was very important to me and I wanted the wedding to be intimate and personal. I really dislike the formality of hotel weddings and I wanted my wedding to be different. Ario and I discussed that we wanted the wedding to be like: a big crazy party like a carnival but with a family feel.
I wanted all my favorite foods. We had my mum’s homemade pate and my brother’s pickled cucumbers and the caters made BBQ chicken and salads from recipes that I gave them.
My husband’s family brought with them some traditional Iranian Stew all the way from Sweden. We also had Iranian Kebabs for the BBQ that were hand made and a mixture of goat and lamb (my father had the goat killed and minced it himself). All of my aunts and my mother’s girlfriends made a dessert each – it was the most amazing desert table. It was so lovely to have everyone playing a part in helping the wedding come together.
Living in New Zealand it’s common for people to “bring a plate” (a dish to share) to an event or to a wedding. I wanted to incorporate this feel for the wedding.
My Dad welded the bar out of some old oil barrel drums and an old trough. We covered it with linen. I had also ordered lots of solar fairy lights on Groupon and had them lining the bar and used an old gazebo from home to put as a cover.
In the marquee for the wedding ceremony we had bales of straw for people to sit on as pews and we hired a red carpet to use as an aisle. I used blankets from around the house and bought material and duvet sets and blankets from Ikea to use as covers for the bales of hay. I have since used the material from Ikea to make curtains for my daughter’s bedroom so it’s very special to have a bit of our wedding in our home.
My dad also welded metal hanging rods that we had flowers hanging from lining the aisle and we had white balloons filled with marbles (to make them hang) hanging from the trees in the garden.
We had giant games of drafts, connect four and operation for people to play whilst enjoying their prosecco and cocktails. Brennans pub also provided large drinks suspender for cocktails and I had ordered umbrellas and colored straws from eBay. I also had bought lots of cheap flip flops from dunes stores for women to put on if their feet got sore. For the party we had lots of silly glasses and feather boas and party poppers.
I had bought lots of fleece blankets form Ikea in case people got cold and we had set up chairs outside in case people got cold. Donal Croghan who takes care of the gardens at my family home had borrowed large plant pots form various places to fill the garden and it looked amazing. He also made a special walkway down to the reception marquee and had a large R and A made in stones on a big mound as a decorative piece. I had bought flags to place lining the walk way and we had tea lights lighting the path. I also bought a lot of toiletries from TK Max to put in the port a loos should anyone need anything. such as tooth paste, deodorant etc. and had some lovely vintage looking soaps.
We had two stilt walkers and a juggler milling around during the drinks reception to add to the carnival feel and to entertain guests between the dinner and the band starting whilst the tables were cleared we had a fire dancer perform in the garden beside the house.
What advice would you give couples planning their day? My advice would be to keep it simple and not sweat the small stuff. It’s only one day as much as you’ve been looking forward to it your whole life and planning it the marriage and what comes after the wedding is much more important. Yes, you want to look and feel like a princess, but the more you stress the less you’ll be able to actually enjoy it. Try to take your time and savor every moment. Get a good videographer so you can jog your memory later.
Also, make sure you hand over the reigns to someone else on the day so you don’t have to worry about anything and you both can relax and make the most of it. Save money where you can and put it towards a magical honeymoon. It’s most definitely worth it.
I made the mistake of starting the ceremony at 3 pm as I didn’t want people to have to wait too long to be fed. However, I wished I’d started earlier so I could have more of the time for the day. If I could do it again I’d start at 6a m (ha ha!) so I could have more and more time to enjoy it.
Most of all have fun and relax. I wish I’d stressed a little less on my big day and savored every moment. It went too quick.
What does marriage mean to you? For me marriage is about friendship and companionship and making a commitment to each other. I feel the celebration of the wedding is about celebrating this commitment and your love as a couple together with your family and friends and celebrating that you have chosen to make this commitment to each other.
Photographer: Weddings by KARA// Other:Byrne Marquees // Floral Designer: Flowers by Lucy //Jewelry: Keshett Jewelery // Transportation:Lazy Days // Other:LPM Bohemia // Design and Decor:Lulabelle Vintage // Other:Luxury Loos Ireland // Linens and Coverings:M O’Byrne Hire // Jewelry:Murphy Jewellers of Kilkenny // Bridesmaid Dresses:Plum and Pigeon // Cake Designer:Rinnucini’s // Dress Store:Rue De Seine // Other:Sonix Entertainment // Band:Ultrasound Wedding Band // Submitted via Two Bright Lights