A Musical, Cherry Blossom-Filled Wedding in the Heart of the Irish Countryside
Bláthnaid and Dáire grew up in the same town in Ireland, went to the same university, and both lived in the same city—but it was a dating app that helped their paths finally cross. They shared their first date over a pint in Dublin during St. Patrick's Day weekend and instantly realized they had tons of mutual friends. The pair instantly began dating and later moved to New York City together.
Five years into their relationship, the pair was celebrating Bláthnaid's birthday in New York at Morimoto, one of her favorite sushi restaurants. Dáire popped the question over dinner, and as soon as Bláthnaid said "yes," the waiter was ready with Champagne to celebrate. "I couldn't eat my meal—I was overwhelmed with excitement!" she says.
The couple planned their April 20, 2019, black-tie wedding from afar in New York without the help of a planner. With family in the United States, Ireland, Scotland, and Australia, it was important for this couple to choose a private venue that would allow their loved ones to be under one roof for the entire weekend. On a trip to Ireland to see her family, Bláthnaid and her mother toured Gloster House, in Birr County, Offaly, right in the center of Ireland's countryside. They fell in love with the architecture and gardens at the Georgian manor and decided to invite their 120 guests there to watch them tie the knot. Inspired by the manor's front door, the yew trees on the property, and the bride's non-traditional blush wedding dress, the color scheme throughout the big day included green, blush, black, and white.
New Art Deco
Knowing that Bláthnaid would probably want to choose her own engagement ring, Dáire proposed with an eternity band as a placeholder. "I had fallen in love with an antique Art Deco style ring a couple of years before at home in Dublin," Bláthnaid says. "Our jeweler in New York managed to recreate it for us in a bespoke design—we took a risk with it but it turned out so beautifully that I am delighted we took the chance!"
The bride used Minted to create the invitation suite, ceremony programs, menu cards, place cards, and table numbers. The invites featured a watercolor design that referenced the cherry blossoms seen on the big day.
A Cherry Blossom Gown
Bláthnaid shopped for her wedding dress both in Ireland and in New York, trying on almost 20 gowns in different styles along the way. When she visited New York's famous Kleinfeld Bridal, she fell in love with a silk organza blush gown by Romona Keveza that featured a subtle cherry blossom design. "When I tried it on, I felt so emotional—crying, silly, and excited all at once," the bride says. "[It was also] an example of serendipity—my name, Bláthnaid, means blossom in Irish. My family often calls me 'Blossom,' so my mother and I knew it had to be!"
A Dress to Celebrate In
The bride let her hair down and changed into a separate white satin dress by Halston for the reception, which featured a fitted peplum design.
The Finishing Touches
The Groom's Look
Dáire enjoyed designing his own custom tuxedo. He chose a black tux with a blush pink lining to match the bride's gown; the couple's initials and wedding date were stitched under his jacket collar. The tuxedo, shirt, suspenders, and cuff links were all from Enzo Custom. Black Magnanni dress shoes were the finishing touch to his ensemble.
The Happy Wedding Party
The Flower Girls
The couple's three nieces served as their flower girls, who wore dresses by Nicki MacFarlane. They held custom initialed baskets and donned white baby's breath floral crowns.
The Ceremony Setup
Though there was an onsite chapel at the venue, Bláthnaid and Dáire decided to use that area as a backup in case of bad weather. Instead, they planned their ceremony in the property's garden, surrounded by yew trees and fountains. The bride asked her father to build an arch for the wedding, and her sister took control of decorating it with pink cherry blossom, apple blossom, white magnolia and white thorn, cut from their parents' garden. "It was beyond special," Bláthnaid says. "Each of my immediate family took the time to help my sister add to the blooms. I felt like I was encapsulated in an arch of love and home during the ceremony."
Similar blossoms were added to the couple's ceremony chairs—they were arranged in a U-shape (and were upside-down versions of the full-sized arch that anchored the space).
Special Moments with Dad
Though Bláthnaid and Dáire skipped a first look, the bride shared a private (and emotional) moment with her father ahead of the ceremony; he later walked her down the aisle.
The Ceremony Unfolds
When Bláthnaid made her way from the front door of the house down to the garden for the ceremony, she was overcome with emotion. "It was a long walk down to Dáire, but I took the time to try and soak it all up in slow motion keeping my eyes on Dáire," she says. The couple carefully chose poetry, prose, and a traditional Irish blessing to be read during the ceremony.
They also decided to perform a Celtic hand-fasting ceremony; both sets of parents and the bride's grandmother placed ribbons over the couple's clasped hands. "Many say that this is where the term 'tying the knot' originates!" Bláthnaid explains.
Bite to Eat
Cocktail hour took place in the property's garden area immediately following the ceremony. Guests enjoyed the couple's signature drinks, one of which was called "The Blossom" and included fresh cherry blossom petals. The groom's drink was named "The Fitz," a gin and tonic made with Irish gin and garnished with fresh rosemary and cucumber grown at the venue. Finger foods were also served, including traditional Irish black pudding, a wild mushroom and lemon balm tartlet, and pulled teriyaki chicken.
Mirrored Seating Chart
The seating chart was displayed on an antique gold mirror decorated with greenery and two lanterns.
Time to Celebrate
Guests moved from the front of the manor through the back courtyard to enter the indoor reception space. The bride and groom sat at an oval table with their wedding party and parents, while 15 round tables were set up for guests.
On the Tabletops
Tables were topped with crisp white linens and blush organza table runners. Centerpieces featured white lilac, cherry blossom, and hydrangea. Smaller votives that held lily of the valley and greenery were also set up on the tables, along with plenty of blush candles in crystal holders.
This couple wanted to include as many local Irish ingredients into their dinner menu as possible. They went with a sharing platter to start, which included local smoked salmon, camembert cheese from Coleeeny Farm, and serrano ham. Guests enjoyed a roasted butternut squash soup before selecting either pan-seared sea bass with vegetables or a fillet of Irish Hereford beef with braised oxtail for the main course. While the reception room was being set up for the band, guests moved to the attached sunroom (where the bar was situated), as well as the courtyard in the gardens.
A Note for the Newlyweds
In lieu of a traditional guestbook, the duo "ordered a leather-bound dictionary with our embossed initials and wedding date," says the bride. "Each guest chose a word from the dictionary that represented us or the wedding day or a story we shared. They circled it and wrote us a note on the pages of the dictionary. We displayed it near the wedding cake using a sign ordered from Etsy."
A Surprise Serenade
Bláthnaid works as a singer and, although she has performed at plenty of weddings, singing at her own from the venue's balcony was extra special, since it was a surprise for Dáire and their guests. "I will never forget looking down at all my favorite faces looking up at me and finding Dáire's eyes amongst the crowd," the bride says.
The moment was also a highlight for a historic reason: Opera soprano Dame Nellie Melba famously sang from the same balcony in the early twentieth century. "I followed in her footsteps," Bláthnaid adds.
The couple's three-tiered pink cake was embellished with cherry blossoms, tying in the theme of the day. Each layer was a different flavor, including vanilla sponge cake with raspberry jam filling, raspberry cake with raspberry buttercream, and chocolate sponge with raspberry buttercream. In addition to the confection, the couple served a tasting plate that featured chocolate and rum spoons, vanilla and lavender ice cream, and strawberry shortcake.
Once the couple cut the cake, guests enjoyed dessert while the fathers of the bride and groom, best man, Bláthnaid, and Dáire each gave speeches. They were a highlight of the entire wedding for the duo and lasted over an hour.
The First Dance
For the couple's first dance, the band performed "Everywhere" by Fleetwood Mac. "We knew we couldn't go wrong with a classic and that it would get the party started and get everyone on the dance floor—we were right!" Bláthnaid says. The party lasted into the early morning hours; the happy newlyweds hosted a send-off the next day for guests.
Photography, Studio Brown
Videography, B & G Productions
Venue, Gloster House
Wax seals and stamps, Artisaire
Catering, Green Olive Catering
Flowers, Richard Haslam Flowers
Officiant, Romy McAuley
Linens, Mood Fabrics
Cake, Vanilla Bean Bakery
Engagement ring, Solitaire Creations by Dennis
Hair, Joanne Kelly O'Haar
Makeup, Danielle Mahon
Bridesmaids' dresses, Watters
Bridesmaids' accessories, Club Monoco
Flower girls' dresses, Nicki MacFarlane
Groom's suit, Tom Murphy Menswear
Groom's shoes, Magnanni