Clinical Nurse Manager Rachel Browne wed PhD Researcher David Smith on the 6th July 2018 in a lush celebration at The Glenview Hotel and Leisure Club in Wicklow.
We are both from a small village in the Midlands, but due to a two year age gap, we did not have overlapping groups of friends. By chance, we met in Dublin while at university and then realised we lived a mile apart back home!
It was 2016 and the couples 10th anniversary was approaching, 'we were never keen on celebrating, and so we hadn't even discussed this milestone. At the time we were busy planning a holiday to Portugal, and as we both adore festivals, we were arranging to attend NOS Alive 2016 while we were there.' The proposal was a complete surprise', says David. Rachel was not expecting it, and quite funnily, David recalls, as the hilarity of passing through security in the airport. 'I didn’t want to pack the ring in case the suitcase was lost, so I ended up throwing it in the x-ray tray with our wallets, phones and keys! I took a picture because I knew she would not believe me that it passed right under her nose!'
David proposed on the last night of their holiday. The couple were at NOS Alive, front stage at their favourite band when he got down on one knee. 'Rachel was so shocked she did not respond for what felt like an eternity,' says David. Finally, she said yes, and he put the ring on her finger, and the couple retreated to anonymity further back in the crowd. Rachel thought they were going from the campground to an AirBnB, but David had booked a lovely boutique hotel in central Lisbon, and they finished the holiday in peace and luxury. In a surprising turn of events, just two hours after they arrived, Portugal won the UEFA Euro 2016, and the whole place went crazy. The streets were instantly full of people, and the hotel was handing out free champagne to everyone. The noise was on par with the festival and Rachel and David ended up partying the night away with some nice Portuguese strangers.
Rachel started planning straight away, and from day one the couple knew they wanted to have a festival theme. The couple chose to undertake a lot of the organising themselves as finding just the right venue was paramount. They felt that while there are plenty of hotels that cater to a festival theme, they also wanted the hotel to feel luxurious. By chance, Rachel had recently taken her Mum on a weekend break to the Glenview and noticed the fantastic gardens -- the perfect setting for host an outdoor festival themed soiree. The couple decided that the Glenview might be the ideal venue and arranged a visit within a week of returning from their holiday in Portugal.
'It was a beautiful sunny July afternoon, and we immediately fell in love with the place.' recalls Rachel. They had no appointment but enquired at reception if the in house wedding planner were free for an informal chat. Luckily, the venue was able to fit them in for a coffee -- they were so happy with the venue, the gardens and the wedding planner's enthusiasm they left just 45 minutes later having paid the deposit for their all-inclusive package! Remember, this is the first place they even looked at!
Over the following two years, they bought a lot of ‘arts and crafts’ odds and ends with which they planned to decorate the gardens to their taste. The Glenview have an amazing all-inclusive package, so the couple did not have to shop around for many individual suppliers. The planning, in general, was a long process, as every detail was personalised, but the couple aimed to enjoy the journey.
Rachel had a very specific idea of what she wanted her dress to be like, and Memories Bridal Boutique in Dublin stocked a vast variety of dress types giving Rachel a wide choice.
The Dress was a ‘La Sposa’ dress purchased in ‘Memories Bridal Boutique’ in Dublin. Rachel recounts, 'The staff were terrific and know absolutely everything there is to know about wedding dresses! I explained what I wanted, and they showed me a dress, which I thought was not suitable, but they made me try it on!' The dress proved to be as perfect on as the staff had promised and it was love at first sight.
The venue staff at The Glenview Hotel and Leisure Club were terrific. Their enthusiasm was incomparable, and they made it so easy to visualise the perfect ‘festival theme’ wedding in their stunning gardens that overlook the valley.
From the getgo, the couple had planned to hold an outdoor wedding; they booked their July date two years to the day from their engagement. Despite this, the hotel was ready to change everything at the drop of a hat should the weather take a turn for the worst and had the inside of the hotel equipped and prepared to go.
The food at the hotel was among the best they had ever had in any restaurant. From their menu tasting to the day itself, they cannot praise the chef and kitchen staff enough. In fact, all of the team, and in particular the bar staff, were so friendly and interacted with all the guests, this was so important for the couple and something that stands out in their minds.
The photo opportunities at the Glenview are second to none and the couple's photographer, ‘Anna G’, frequently shot at the venue and so knew all key spots to capture the couple.
There are nearly too many to mention as the Bride had a particular theme and how to execute it in mind. From the very beginning, the colour scheme was planned right down to the boys matching funky socks! 'The ceremony was stand out for us', says David. Carried out by ‘Spiritual Ceremonies’ the couple were able to customise all aspects of the service.
Anything You Would Change:
If David had his time again he would put a little more time into his speech, 'I did not plan my speech well and looking back, I should have prepared some cue cards so I could check that I said everything I wanted to say. It turns out, I mixed up which of my brothers were back from abroad, and forgot to thank my Mum for all her help over the years!'
Rachel, on the other hand, found the whole experience to be a serene dream, 'I would do it all again in a heartbeat, which many brides find hard to believe. I was quite calm all along, knowing the level of preparation that had gone into everything, but was not prepared for the almost serene feeling that came over me on the day.'
Advise For Other Couples:
People will tell you the day goes so fast - that is an understatement! It vanishes, so make sure you take time to enjoy it. We made a point of sneaking off at several different times throughout the afternoon, so just the two of us could chat for a minute, and these were some of the most beautiful parts of the day.