Real Couple Wednesday: Sonia & Stuart’s Carton House Wedding

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To complete the happy story of Sonia and Stuart, which we started with their engagement shoot, we now bring you their elegant Carton House wedding. Again the day was captured by photographer extraordinare Paul Kelly from Studio 3 Photography.

Sonia & Stuart Carton House Wedding


Planning the wedding

Sonia and Stuart planned a relaxed and elegant day for both their guests and themselves. Sonia was keen to fill the day with the things she loved including a stylish turquoise colour scheme, her favourite sumer shade and her favourite flowers, pale pink roses and hydrangeas. The French Touch perfectly understood Sonia’s vision and delivered true floral delights on the day which knit the entire day together from the bouquets and button holes to the cake decorations and table arrangements.


toasting the celebrationGetting readyLucky Sonia's shoesSonia getting readyFlats for dancingReady to goEngagement ring Enroute to ceremony


Sonia and Stuart’s wedding was held in Carton House, an easy decision for the couple.

Stuart and I first stayed in Carton House a couple of years ago and he brought me there as part of our engagement in January 2011. The setting, atmosphere and staff make it such a special place and we fell in love with it. In fact, we had provisionally booked our wedding before we checked out on our engagement weekend! It fitted the bill perfectly; we wanted to have a ceremony on site and the fabulous Morrison room in the old house with its high ceilings and ornate features offered a dramatic setting. Guests then moved through to the Gold Salon and Drawing Room for the drinks reception, spilling out into the Rose Garden for photos. The Carton Suite in the new part of the hotel was ideal for our meal and the party afterwards! The best feature about Carton House was the wonderful staff, they are genuinely friendly and couldn’t do enough for us or our guests- everyone commented on how fantastic they were!


The DadsBridesmaid and Mother of the BrideThe gents


The Dress

Sonia and her mum travelled to London in August 2011 on the illusive search for her wedding dress. Sonia had arranged appointments with a lot of designers.

The first appointment was in Stephanie Allin’s store and she happened to be there on the day. She offered a fantastic insight into the shape and style that suited me, advising that a combination of two different dresses would be perfect- and she was right! I tried on so many fabulous dresses that weekend but couldn’t get Stephanie Allin’s out of my head. I deliberated for a while before I ordered it but I have absolutely no regrets- I adored the dress, loved every second that I was wearing it and didn’t have to adjust it at any stage during the day despite dancing like a maniac! I wore a pearl belt for the daytime and chose a sparkly diamante one for the evening- it was nice to have a change and I was so surprised people noticed!


Walking up the aisleCeremonyCeremonyCeremonyCeremonyCeremonyCeremonyCeremony


Favourite moment

This has to be saying our vows. After all the hard work and stress about the details, it all came down to saying ‘I Do’ and I savoured the moment! We had tailor made our ceremony and vows in consultation with our solemniser Tom Colton and it was so unique and specific to us, we both really enjoyed it. A close second was seeing my future husband at the top of the aisle for the first time after all the months of preparation- I was very emotional!


After the ceremonyThe girlsAfter the ceremony


Sonia’s mum, who is a talented artist created a watercolour of roses and peonies titled ‘Wedding Bouquet’ which was used on the invitations adding a very personal and unique touch to the day. Each table in the dining room was named after different paintings and had a print on each.


Man & WifeHaving fun!Sonia & StuartSonia & StuartSoniaSonia & StuartOn the bridgeSonia & StuartSonia & StuartJust MarriedJust MarriedSonia & her maidsSonia


Music played a big part on the day with the couple choosing Manzilla Strings to play at the drinks reception and during the meal. The Ratzingers soon took over and certainly got the party started!

They helped create such a party atmosphere and guests have raved about them both ever since. It helped that we were definitely a dancing crowd’ and if anything, the dancefloor was a little too small! Katie from the Ratzingers was so helpful and agreed to set up before dinner so there was a break of about 20 minutes between the end of the meal and start of the first dance. I would highly recommend this if possible as there was no lull and everybody just kept partying!


ReceptionTable decorSonia's place settingWedding cake


I’m sure there are lots of photographers that can produce pictures of a wedding day, but it takes a special talent to capture the emotions, bring to life the personalities of the people involved and paint the day like the fairytale that we experienced- Paul did just that! All the posed shots were completed so quickly we had time to get lots of natural photos together on the grounds, including on a plinth about five feet off the ground!


Sonia & Stuart


Sonia’s advice to brides

Embrace the planning process and be organised! I used a wall planner and had pages of to-do lists that people laughed at- but I was able to enjoy the last few weeks thanks to them! I had chosen all of my suppliers with care and they all came up trumps on the day- I definitely think the time spent researching, e-mailing and meeting with people paid off, we had the perfect day we had dreamt of! And finally I’d encourage couples to consider an alternative to the traditional top table, we had a long oval table that still allowed Stuart and I to be at the top’ of the room but it was more intimate. Our parents and friends were able to relax and had great craic during dinner!


Sonia & Stuart’s Wedding Suppliers

Ceremony & Reception: Carton House, Kildare
Wedding dress: Stephanie Allin
Musicians: Manila Strings and  the Ratzingers
Photographer: Paul Kelly at Studio 3 Photography
Flowers: The French Touch, Clane 

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