Lauren O’Connell met software engineer Iain Billett at a college party. The couple had been pals for years before they felt a romantic spark.
Lauren grew up in London but has spent most of her life in Dun Laoghaire and Dalkey and Iain are from Clontarf.
The blushing bride told us all about her big day, from engagement on the River Shannon to cheese instead of cake.
Read more: Dublin bride’s special surprise for hubby at the altar
Tell us a bit about the engagement
We got engaged a few months after Covid – we had booked a holiday to France which we had to cancel. Instead we hired a boat on the Shannon for a weekend which was fabulous. We moored in a small village on Lough Derg and he proposed to me that evening on the boat.
It was quite a long engagement due to Covid. We were in no rush to get married and wanted to have as many people as possible with us that day. When we went to see the wedding venues in 2020 there were only a small number of dates left in 2021 so we picked a date in 2022 and thankfully didn’t have to change it at all.
Tell us about your wedding and your location
It was a small, casual wedding in May of this year, we had about 75 people, which was a perfect number for us.
The venue was a beautiful Georgian house in Wicklow called Trudder Lodge which you could have for the whole weekend.
The venue was absolutely stunning – it has beautiful interiors and grounds so it really didn’t need much decoration other than flowers. Trudder provided lists of suggested vendors, but you could pick and choose whatever I really liked, it made for a very unique experience.
We had a humanist wedding ceremony at Trudder, outdoors in a small walled garden. We went with a summer wildflower style from Wallflower for the floral decorations, it was really bright and colorful and I loved it. Our DJ Cian O’Ciobhain was fabulous too, it was a bit different from the traditional wedding tunes.
Tell us about your wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses
I found that I liked a lot of individual parts of different dresses, so I decided to have a dress made by Sarah Foy. I loved this experience, it was amazing to be able to design a dress from scratch and have it perfectly tailored. It was an ivory organza dress with a V-neck in a mermaid-style silhouette. The bridesmaid dresses were blue with yellow floral accents.
What was the best part of preparing for your day?
I really enjoyed the final dress fittings and seeing the finishing touches. It was also nice to be able to meet some of my partners’ extended family that I hadn’t met before, as well as catch up with some of my own extended family that I hadn’t seen in a long time.
What was the best moment of your day and your other favorite parts?
I loved the ceremony itself and the dance after dinner.
What would you tell other brides to plan first and what are your top tips?
I think the things to sort out first would probably be the venue and the celebrant, especially if you’re having a humanistic wedding, they book up incredibly quickly.
Then it depends on the most important moments of your day for you and your partner – if you have a particular photographer/group in mind, book as soon as possible.
What were the hardest parts to plan? Did you encounter any difficulties?
The seating plan and the scenario of the ceremony were quite difficult. Everything else was fine. The suppliers were all fabulous and very responsive and helpful.
Tell us about your wedding theme? How was it different?
Relaxed, informal, abstract is probably how I would describe it. We had the ceremony outdoors – luckily the rain stayed away and we had some sunshine. We had a ukulele band for the ceremony and drink reception entertainment, which was probably a bit different.
We didn’t have an after dinner band, instead we had an alternative wedding DJ that people loved, the setlist was a bit different from what you might normally hear at a wedding and was very suited to us and to our guests.
The bride doesn’t always give a speech but I’m glad I did, it was important to me to let my husband, friends and family know how much they mean to me. Oh – and we got cheese instead of a wedding cake.
Would you do something different or wish there was something you didn’t worry about?
I left it quite late to book the hair and makeup even though the girls I finally had (Cara Cameron and Lara Ford) were amazing.
I probably would have asked the Trudder team more questions before this, they’ve done that before so there’s nothing that came up that they weren’t sorted or why they haven’t had no solution.
SaveMyDay.ie was launched in 2021 by Dublin couple Ian Menzies and Shell Holden to showcase unique, stunning and alternative Irish venues available to hire for weddings.
The online platform connects couples with the ceremony and party venues that suit them, whatever their style, the size of their guests and their budget.
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