Kate Middleton's Wedding Dress Inspired This Bride's Big-Day Look for Her Celebration in the Irish Countryside
It all started with an invitation to have steak in New York City. Shannon Geraghty first met Eric Subin when they were both guests at a graduation ceremony at the University of Georgia, but Eric, a lawyer, was living in Manhattan, and Shannon, a student at the time, was about to move there for an internship. (She now works in sales for Ralph Lauren.) The pair spent the rest of the summer falling in love.
After an epic proposal on their five-year anniversary in Montreaux, Switzerland, the pair started planning their dream day in County Clare, Ireland, a nod to Shannon's family heritage; the celebration unfolded at a romantic castle that could accommodate all of their family and friends—and their New York City-meets-Great Gatsby wedding reception, which involved a dramatic color palette of white, mauve, blush, and gold.
So, on August 10, 2019, the pair gathered 165 of their nearest and dearest at the Ennis Cathedral in County Clare for a Catholic ceremony—and then moved the whole group to the Dromoland Castle for a regal black-tie celebration filled with candlelight, dramatic draping, opulent florals, and personalized details (think monogrammed napkins at every place setting and custom coat-of-arms banners).
At dinner, guests were treated to a piece of the newlyweds' love story: They had their choice of wild hake or, as a nod to the couple's first date, a grilled filet of Irish beef—garnished with Peter Luger steak sauce flown all the way from their home in New York City.
You've Got Mail
The letterpressed invitation suite, embellished with gold foil by Kelsey Malie Calligraphy, featured elements that introduced the big day's theme and color palette: The taupe envelopes coordinated with fabric from Shannon's wedding dress, and the couple's new monogram (which would make an appearance during the party) was placed at the top. An illustration of the venue, Dromoland Castle, was splashed across the envelope liners, as well.
Ireland, Through and Through
Shannon's great-grandfather was from County Clare, Ireland, and both she and Eric grew up Catholic, so getting married in Ireland made sense. Plus, it was the perfect location for them to host their friends for a weekend of Irish festivities: On Thursday, Shannon's father chartered a trip for all celebrants to the Cliffs of Moher with a stop at Gus O'Connor's Pub for a bowl of soup and a pint of Guinness—followed by a pub crawl later that night in Ennis. (When in Ireland, right?) On Friday, the men played golf while the women attended a bridal luncheon, fascinators included. That night, during the rehearsal dinner, Irish dancers provided entertainment.
The pair had a specific vision for their reception venue. They wanted "somewhere magical that would surprise our guests and make their long trip across the pond worth it," Shannon says. Enter the Dromoland Castle: It broke ground in the 16th century, and now serves as a five-star hotel. Guests either stayed there or at the nearby Inn at Dromoland.
Making an Entrance
This Is Us
Shannon's mother and grandmother (who finally made it to Ireland after two cancelled flights!) helped her get ready before the ceremony. In fact, both women were there when Shannon chose her wedding dress, she says: "The day I found my gown was the only day my Grandma could come with us. She brought us good luck!"
The First Look—Kind Of
The couple didn't have (or want) a first look, so Shannon and her father shared their own version; she presented him with custom cuff links that read, "I loved you first. Love, Shannon" on one and the wedding date on the other.
Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, inspired Shannon's wedding dress, a lace Monique Lhuillier ball gown. It was a sweetheart strapless gown when she tried it on, but she added removable sleeves (which she took off post-ceremony) to embrace the cathedral setting. She knew it was the one "when I saw the look in my mom's eyes," she recalls. "I was Miss Georgia Teen USA when I was 15 years old, so we had a decade of experience gown shopping together. Once I knew I wanted a traditional lace dress by Monique, it was a unanimous decision." To finish the look, she added a dramatic veil and blusher.
Shannon's bridesmaids wore one-shoulder satin Jenny Yoo dresses. "There is something Old-World about satin and the color resembled the castle walls," Shannons says. "Plus, I think one-shoulder looks good on everyone!"
A Stroll Through the Gardens
The women enjoyed walking through the castle grounds, which featured picturesque bridges and lily ponds, before the ceremony.
Shannon held a loose, organic mix of roses, white wax flowers, ammi visnage, astilbe, scabiosa, clematis, alche milla mollis, flowering oregano, eucalyptus, and button holes.
Eric and his groomsmen all wore Ralph Lauren Purple Label tuxedos. Shannon gifted them black-and-white pocket squares from Ralph Lauren, where she currently works.
Just the Two of Us
Shannon's father walked her down the aisle to Pachabel's "Canon in D."
Sealed with a Kiss
During the Catholic ceremony, Shannon's cousin, a professor of vocal performance at the University of Wisconsin, sang "Ave Maria," a family favorite.
Let It Glow
The couple carried their fairy-tale theme straight into the reception hall, where tufted sofas, trailing flowers, and plenty of candlelight set a romantic scene.
At the Center
Dramatic tall centerpieces, which contained a mix of greenery and flowers, dotted the long tables.
Each place setting was topped with a monogrammed hemstitch napkin and a letterpress menu, both of which were emblazoned with the couple's monogram. Gold-dusted white chocolate truffles did double duty as seating assignments and sweet treats.
A cabaret-style server offered up Cuban cigars during cocktail hour.
A Banner Day
Flags, placed around the party space, featured a crest that contained emblems of the couple's relationship: a scale of justice for Eric, a lawyer; a silhouette of their beagle, Harvey; and elements of Shannon's family's coat of arms.
Dressed to Impress
On the inside, the couple's five-tier cake contained layers of lemon and chocolate cake; on the outside, one layer was wrapped with fondant inspired by the lace used on Shannon's dress sleeves.
During their first dance, the newlyweds swayed to Ray LaMontagne's "You Are the Best Thing," a tune they'd both heard live at Radio City Music Hall the year they got engaged.
Photography, Perry Vaile
Ceremony Venue, Ennis Cathedral
Reception Venue and Catering, Dromoland Castle Hotel
Event Planning and Design, Eva Clark Events
Flowers, The Garden
Videography, Justin Peay Productions
Officiant, Father Pete Mahoney
Stationery and Calligraphy, Kelsey Malie Calligraphy
Cake and Favors, MM Cookies
Music, Nigel Bridge (organist); Kiral Artists (ceremony and cocktail hour); Michael Cunio (reception); The Faithettes (reception); SCE Event Group (after-party DJ)
Rentals, Total Events; Audrey O'Dwyer; Cater Hire
Bride's gown, Monique Lhuillier via The Bridal Finery
Tailoring, The Bridal Finery
Bride's accessories, Girl and a Serious Dream (veil via The Bridal Finery); Prada (ceremony shoes); Jimmy Choo (party shoes)
Hair, Elin Nyberg (bride and bridal party), Beauty Asylum (bridal party only)
Makeup, Oksana Lobanova (bride and bridal party), Beauty Asylum (bridal party only)
Bridesmaids' dresses, Jenny Yoo
Men's attire, Ralph Lauren Purple Label
Flower girl dresses,
Lighting, Gorilla Design
Transportation, Pat Keogh
Dancers, Celtic Rhythm Dancers
Cigar servers, Kiral Artists
Monogrammed napkins, The French Table
Fireworks, Pyrotechnics & Effects