Gisela and Gareth’ s Irish Beachfront Wedding

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Gisela and Gareth's Real Wedding

From a ceremony on the beach at Donabate, Co. Dublin to a surprise first dance, followed by Chinese lanterns let off out to sea, Gisela and Gareth gave their wedding guests a day to remember. Pawel Bebenca captured their wedding day beautifully.

Sea at DonabateWedding DressWedding Dress DetailWedding ShoesBirdcage HeadpieceBridal MakeupWedding MakeupBrides Final TouchesGroom Getting ReadyGrooms Cufflinks

How we met

Where and when:

We were travelling in New Zealand and staying at the same backpacking hostel in the city of Auckland. We actually met in the bar of the hostel (Globe Bar).

First impressions:

Gisela: I had noticed Gareth before we actually officially met. I thought he was a good looking guy, but I have to say, he didn’t pay me any attention!!!
Gareth: I first notice Gisela in the elevator of the hostel on the way down to the bar. I have to say this moment I will remember for ever, I was struck by Gisela’s beauty. After a moment of eye contact, we exchanged smiles…..

Our first date:

We went for a drink at REBO bar, situated under the Sky Tower in Auckland. We both recall only having 2 drinks each, the rest of the time flying by as we chatted endlessly for 5 hours.

The Proposal

9th January 2011 at the walled garden of Farmleigh House, Phoenix Park Dublin.

It was a cold yet sunny wintery day, we went for a walk to Farmleigh House, I had already pictured the venue I would propose online, under the stone temple of the wonderful gardens of the estate. I recall walking past the stone temple a few times as the gardens were slightly crowded and myself a little nervous. However, I dropped to one knee and nervously asked in broken Spanish Queres Casarte Conmigo and to my relief Gisela let out a teary SI.

GiselaEngagement RingWedding BandsWedding Flowerswedding flowersBrides BouquetBrides Birdcage VeilBridesmaid Helping BrideGisela

The Big Day

What we were thinking:

Gisela: I was very calm, enjoying every minute around family and friends whilst being pampered by the hair and makeup artists. To be honest, I wasn’t thinking that much, I have to say that I was nowhere near as nervous as I had thought I would be!!!!
Gareth: I was actually very relaxed, I recall my groomsman Duff being rather disappointed that I wasn’t a bag of nerves! I casually enjoyed a Guinness with some friends and family that I hadn’t seen for some time. I was very much looking forward to the much anticipated moment of my bride walking down the aisle.

Before I walked down the aisle, I:

Was quite surprised as I wasn’t feeling nervous. We stood in the corridor of the hotel, waiting for the signal to walk down the aisle; I turned and asked my younger brother who was giving me away if he was nervous, he responded that he was feeling good. In fact, I think my bridesmaids were carrying all my nerves for me!!!

When we first saw each other

Gisela: I was delighted to finally see Gareth as we had spent much of the time close to the wedding apart from each other. I recall how amazing he looked in his blue suit and was also pleased that he had bought new shoes for the occasion! It was great to arrive at this moment after all our hard work.
Gareth: I had frequently dreamt about this moment during the build up to the wedding. Gisela was looking every bit as beautiful as had appeared in my dreams, in fact, even more so, Gisela looked wonderful. I could also understand why we had paid so much for the wonderful ear rings that Gisela was wearing!!!

Your music

We opted for a violin to be played by the wonderful Fiona Crosbie, which suited the outdoor scene wonderfully:

Entrance: Canon in D (Pachelbel)
Rose Ceremony: Lough Erin Shore (Irish Traditional)
Signing of the register: The Ashokan Farewell (Jay Ungar)
The livelier piece after The Ashokan Farewell was Rondeau by Mouret.

Steps To Wedding CeremonyOutdoor Wedding CeremonyWedding MusicianGroom and GroomsmenCouple Exchange VowsUnity SandBrides Wedding RingGrooms Wedding RingHusband and WifeCouple KissSigning Register

Funniest moment:

This without doubt belongs to Alun, Gareth’s father. On requesting some ACDC, he performed what could only be told as an air guitar moment of genius, even sliding down to his knees as if he was Brian Johnson himself playing to a sell-out stadium.

Most emotional moment:

Gisela: For me it was Gareth’s speech, I know he had worked on this and he had prepared some wonderful words for everyone, especially when he recited a poem he had written for me entitled when a boy became a man’.
Gareth: Up until the moments before Gisela walking the aisle I had been very calm and relaxed, but as guests took to theirs seats, the violin playing in the background, the beautiful Donabate setting, I recall being hit by a wave of emotions and with Gisela walking down the aisle I really had to hold myself together.

Most surprising moment:

This has to be when Gareth’s friend from Sweden whom he had met travelling the East coast of Australia made an impromptu speech that no one was expecting. He recited a fond memory of a sweaty bike ride to the steepest and most easterly point of Australia and with this, presented his prize possession to Gareth, his Henrik Larsson Sweden top…..

Most magical moment:

We arranged for 100 Chinese lanterns to be let off. As the setting was right on the shore of the sea front, this created a wonderful moment where all our guests come together in setting off the lanterns. At one point Gisela and I took a step back to see the sky full of lanterns, a beautiful sight……

Any other memories from The Big Day:

To our surprise, we appeared in one of the national newspapers the following day. It appears we made Irish history, as the first couple to have a full outdoor wedding – how about that…….

Couple at BeachCouple Photo ShootCouple Photo ShootGisela and Gareth KissGisela and Gareth Close Up


Vol Au Vents Vegetarian
Vol Au Vents Chicken and Mushroom
Brocolli &  Blue Cheese Soup
Stuffed Red Peppers & Cous Cous with Feta Cheese
Symphony of Desserts

Wedding ToastCouple at ReceptionWedding Speech

As for the first dance, with Gisela being from Argentina we opted to dance Tango, which neither of us had any experience in. After a few lessons and time spent practising in the basement of our apartment, we got into traditional Tango costume and danced to Carlos Di Sarli – Bahia Blanca’, a song we had both heard and enjoyed the mood it expressed. We had managed to keep the whole thing under wraps, so it was a nice surprise for our guests, even though we had both been nervous about it, we later performed it once again for some late drinking guests to prove it was no fluke!!!

First DanceCouple Dance
Couple Light LanternPaper LanternChinese Lantern





Gisela & Gareth’s Wedding Suppliers

Photographer: Pawel Bebenca Wedding Photographer
Dress: De Stafford Bridal Wear
Hair: Carolyn, Art of Hair
Makeup: Josephine Murphy
Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Ted Baker, Grafton Street Dublin
Groom and Groomsmen’s Suits: John Laurence
Shoes and Accessories: Arnotts, Tower Jewellery, Marks and Spencers
Ceremony Venue: The Waterside House Hotel, Donabate, Co. Dublin
Reception Venue: The Waterside House Hotel, Donabate, Co. Dublin
Ceremony Music: Fiona Crosby, Sacred Sounds
DJ: Dave’s DJ Hire
Invitations: I Do Stationery
Cake: Lydia B Cupcakes
Honeymoon: Thailand


8 thoughts on “Gisela and Gareth’ s Irish Beachfront Wedding”

  1. Lisa O'Dwyer says:

    What a beautiful stylish wedding! Well done Pawel!

  2. Eric Savoie says:

    what a great looking day, well done all!

  3. Ailish says:

    Dreamy wedding! Gorgeous couple, dress, venue & photos!

  4. Ruth says:

    Beautiful wedding and stunning photos. Looks like a perfect day!

  5. Agnes says:

    Stunning images !!!!! Love the red shoes 🙂

  6. Vow Floral says:

    this is so so lovely!

  7. Ooooh I love! I feel like this is could be a movie – so well styled and captured! Chinese Lanterns are so fun at receptions 🙂

  8. Maria (Galway) says:

    Congrats. This was a lovely story to read.

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