Getting married at Hotel Doolin

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When Conor decided to pop the question after 8 years of a wonderful relationship the only possible answer was YES!!! I had never been the type to dream about my wedding day, I am not into girly girl things normally but being Conor’s wife and planning our big day has been some of the most fun times we have had, apart from the stressful bits!!

I basically cruised through the first few steps, we got engaged at the end of April and by May 14th I had my dress bought and date and venue picked and booked! We decided to get married on December 28th of the same year, I have always loved small winter weddings, it gets dark early, candle light, roaring fires and stormy weather…perfect with a pint of Dooliner by your side!

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Picking the venue was a no brainer, I work at Hotel Doolin and have seen weddings every weekend for the past few years so I didn’t need to look any further. Hotel Doolin makes it so easy for couples, the Wild Atlantic Wedding package we booked includes nearly everything except for your band and in this day and age with both of us working full time it was essential not to have to worry about booking different vendors. I also love the relaxed atmosphere of Doolin in general, traditional live music runs through the veins of the village and there is something magical in West Clare that I have not felt anywhere else. I am originally from Spain so having my family over and being so close to the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren was also a huge factor on the location to organize a mini holiday for them.

My main aim with my big day was to have an Eco Wedding, I am hugely involved with the environmental program of the Hotel and doing my bit for the planet has always been a priority. There are so many simple things you can do to ensure your life causes minimum impact to the environment, one might think, sure what difference does a few pieces of paper make? I met Louise from Grace Events, her services for wedding decorating are included in all of the Hotel Doolin Packages, great help for a bride to be! As soon as I told her she ran away with the idea, I just love, love, love what she came up with. She collected Beachwood from Doolin/Liscannor that became some of the centre pieces of our tables, she also planted herbs into terracotta pots that gave a lovely green fresh colour and smell to our room. Our menus were not printed at all, they were written in black boards (in two languages may I add Spanish & English!! Poor Louise, I believe she is nearly fluent now), it became a great talking point among our guests as they had to share menus around the table and it gave them a chance to introduce themselves! Our table plan was also written on a huge black board at the reception area and outside the Aileen Suite where the main meal took place.

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Our invitations had been previously sent with a JibJab video, we created a Mexican dance with two cartoons, put our faces on them and away they were all sent by the wonderful world of the Internet! Needless to say our thank you cards are on the way with another funny video…..

We also chose a menu using local producers, this is why I looooove Hotel Doolin, most of our main suppliers are just a few kilometres away from the hotel, this helps our local economy and also gives us a range of delicious fresh food, what else could you ask for! There was no limitations as to what we could choose on our menu so we decided on a delicious Monkfish dish from our local seafood suppliers and Fillet of Beef from Noel O’Connor’s Butchers. The food was one of the most talked about themes of the day after the wedding, everyone of our guests were absolutely delighted with their meals.

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My wedding dress could not come from any other place but our local Bridal shop, the Bridal Emporium in Miltown Malbey. I met Anne on my very first visit and I could not compliment her enough, I Knew from the word go I wanted a short type dress, T length they call it? But she wisely advised me to try some of the longer dresses so I could see all options before deciding. Short one it was, I bought it there and then on my first visit, T length, simple and most important super comfortable! I could bounce around and dance for 3 days in that dress no bother!

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As an organized freak I am, I felt confident and over achieved! The drama started when looking for the right hair piece. Why oh why is there so many choices? I must gone through about 6 different styles and while I liked them all at the same time I didn’t like any. I had heard of bride meltdowns before and I never thought it would be me, boy did I have a meltdown over a silly hair piece!! So into glitzy bits I went, yes, glitzy bits! I bought 4 different hair accessories and gave them all to Irene, my fabulous hair dresser for the day, I asked her to work her magic and not to show me anything until the morning of my wedding. Boy did she produce a beautiful Blue piece with pearls and white flowers on it, I adore it, it was unique to me and it suited the rest of my outfit perfectly.

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Talking about Irene, what a lovely addition to my wedding day! She works in the Hair Design in Ennistymon, it was my first time using them and now they have a customer for life. Their relaxed approached was the perfect fit on the day. I left it up to Irene to do what she felt was best, I don’t like to brag but I did look stunning!!! LOL. Of course Susan Fox, my make up artist had a lot to do with it, natural make up that looks like you are not wearing make up, that’s what I asked for and that’s exactly what I got, a better version of my face but still looking like myself.

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Mrs RedHead our chosen photographer for the day was able to come and take pictures of everyone getting ready. Olga is one of the best photographer’s I have ever met, her photography is pure art, I never wanted photos where people are clearly posing and ready for a shot, we asked her to go for very natural shots while we were going about our business and that’s exactly what she did!! The result is a complete story of our big day as it happened hour by hour without any staged shots bar the ones we wanted specifically. Doolin is full of gorgeous locations and Olga knew all of them and was not afraid to get out in the rain to take amazing pictures!

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One might think “Its all about the Bride!” so on to the Groom, typical laid back Irish lad, in fact so laid back he is nearly horizontal!! The Groom bought his suit in Leonard’s in Limerick, an classics man’s shop, his claim to fame? He actually managed to wait until 2 days before we were due to get married to actually purchase the suit! The “I have plenty of time” sentence became a much used phrase in our house from May till December, since I was planning every other aspect of the wedding I thought Id leave him alone on the suit issue, and that’s what happened!! Last minute rush into the shops 2 days before the wedding, but sure he ended up looking gorgeous anyway! I would have married him in a bin bag.

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I always thought I would be a ball of nerves the morning of my wedding and that Conor would be cool as a breeze, quite the opposite! I woke up happy and excited, the early champagne and girly chat with my friends and family continued into the afternoon, one of the best things about the hotel is that with only 17 rooms the entire hotel is for you and your family so we were able to walk around in our pyjamas and it felt like we were at Home, not in a hotel. On the other hand Conor was at home getting ready with his brother’s, after zero sleep due to nerves the poor groom had to go for a run on Liscannor beach to calm himself, and it is not pleasant to run on a cold December’s morning!

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My favourite part of the day was around 3pm…all the guests were seated in the ceremony room and I took just 5 minutes to sit down at the bar with my dad and enjoy a glass of Dooliner beer. It is those little moments that you will remember, we had a really nice moment just the two of us, walking up the aisle and seeing Conor’s face was the icing in the cake!

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Thank you to all of the vendors that made our big day so especial, Irena, Susan Fox, Olga, Louise, our fabulous band The Trips and especially Hotel Doolin, Paul Coote is a dream to deal with on your wedding day, I can’t praise every member of staff enough to make our wedding day so special.

Raquel,

Hotel Doolin.

 

Image Credits: Mrs Redhead Photography.
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