Set on a 560-acre estate lies an estate that’s worlds away from any hustle and bustle of city life. Rumoured to have been built before 1436, during the reign of King Henry VI, Luttrellstown Castle has been home to countless celebrations of love (Including Victoria & David Beckham's 1999 wedding) which is why Chelsea Dougan and Patrick McClean chose it as the venue for their special day on the 4th of May 2023. Captured by Anna G Photography, styled by Epic Event Design and featured in the Spring issue of SOCIAL & PERSONAL WEDDINGS, this wedding day is dripping in glamour and style.

The pair have been together for years, being introduced through mutual friends and falling in love. Patrick proposed on a weekend away at Cameron House in Loch Lomond. "He had taken me on a walk around the beautiful lake situated at Cameron House where he found the perfect view and got down on one knee. I had no idea this was happening nor did he show any signs that he was about to pop the question."

Chelsea started her beauty journey as soon as she got engaged. "I run my own business, The Skin Guru, where I specialise in skincare so I knew from the start exactly what my plan was going to be. I started to give myself AlumierMD customised chemical peels every month up until the wedding alongside homecare products. I would highly recommend a peel to any bride wanting a perfectly even complexion on the day." For her hair, Chelsea wanted something sleek and clean that didn’t cover her face. "My stylist Petra Carroll pulled everything back into a really elegant low bun with a central part and into it, we pinned my gorgeous pearl-accented veil." She kept accessories to a minimum, just adding a pair of pearl stud earrings and her engagement ring (Of course!).

Chelsea's signature scent for the wedding day was YSL Tuxedo. "It's such a beautiful, comforting, and elegant scent, it starts off with the bergamot and rose being prominent and then it fades a bit and the vanilla and patchouli take over. It's amazing."

For Chelsea, picking her wedding dress was surprisingly stress-free! She wore an A-line skirt gown with a daring split, structured bodice and glamorous train from the Elysian Bridal Muse collection for her ceremony and reception dinner dress. "It wasn’t what I anticipated falling in love with but as soon as I tried it on I knew I wouldn’t find a dress I loved more." After dinner and dancing, she changed into the Daphne mini ivory from Rebecca Vallance, a classic structured mini dress with a statement bow applique and long tails. "I wanted something fun that I could dance in but I loved having the drama with the train of my dress so this was the perfect pair." She wore the same shoes with both dresses, a pair of silver leather and pearl sandals from Mach and Mach. "I think if you’re going to wear a dress with such a statement split then you should have a statement heel to match!"

The couple shopped around quite a bit trying to find the perfect tux for Patrick and his groomsmen but in the end, Chelsea found that most places offered the same thing as they were looking for a classic tuxedo. "Because of that, we were able to be a little more relaxed with the whole process, we ended up going to Statement Menswear in Portadown and what really sold it to us, in the end, was the quality of the suit. I also can’t compliment the customer service enough, the team was so helpful and friendly, they made the entire process feel relaxed and fun!"

Chelsea kept her bridal party small, with her sister. being the only bridesmaid. "I loved the look of the bridal party and the groom's party in matching colours so it made the most sense to have her wear the same shade of black as the tuxedos." She looked amazing and elegant in her black off-the-shoulder dress. "I knew from the get-go that I wanted to get her a custom-made dress, after hunting around I found a designer in Belfast, Ruedi who offers a full made-to-measure service." And to match Chelsea's pearl accessories, her sister added a pair of pearl and diamond drop earrings. 

For Chelsea and Patrick, it was vital that the ceremony be relaxed and intimate. "We included a love letter into our ceremony which involved writing a letter to each other on the days coming up to the wedding, how we were feeling and what the future may hold. We then sealed it into a box with a bottle of wine and planned to open it on our fifth wedding anniversary." Chelsea had asked her friend to read at the ceremony and instead of providing her with the reading, asked that she pick something that she would like to read to the couple. "This was very special and meaningful for us both, I can’t recommend this decision enough."

Originally, the couple had planned to go abroad for their wedding. "The whole getting married in the sun, relaxed vibe appealed to me. However, I didn’t want to completely rule out getting married at home so the very first place that I visited was Luttrellstown Castle and immediately I fell in love." The pair had looked at multiple other venues but were always drawn back to Luttrellstown due to its charm and luxury. Although she wanted the wedding to look very classic & timeless, Chelsea wanted the day as a whole to feel very relaxed and less regimented. "Before I even got engaged, I never had a clear vision of what I wanted my wedding to look like or include. Things just fell into place once I started to plan my wedding. Pinterest was probably my biggest influence on the look that I ended up with." Jayne from Epic Design also had a massive input with the decor and aesthetic look. The pair also opted not to have a wedding cake and instead went for a champagne tower. "One of the highlights of the wedding venue was that they allowed dogs so we were able to bring our French bulldog to the venue and have her with us and include her in the day!"

Entertainment was one of the most important aspects of the whole day for Chelsea. "I had seen The Event Band on social media and instantly knew that I had to make an enquiry." The couple wanted something different in regards to a wedding band which can be quite hard to find but the band did not disappoint. "There were some traditions we didn’t want to do on our wedding day, we knew we didn’t want to do a first dance with just us so we welcomed all of our guests up onto the dance floor for our first dance as husband and wife. I think it was such a wonderful decision, it felt so special to share such a big moment with the people we love." 

Regarding the best decision Chelsea had to say, "For any future brides, I would recommend deciding what things are important to you both and worth spending a little bit more on and what things are not as important. For us, the venue and entertainment were two things that we felt that we wanted to get right. I am really hoping that we have friends in the future who will choose this venue so we can enjoy it again as guests."

Regarding the worst decision Chelsea had to say, "I can thankfully say that I don’t have one. I would do the whole day again and not change a thing! It’s very easy to get caught up in the traditional ways of a wedding and be influenced by other people’s opinions or what other people might think. Sometimes you need to take a step back and keep reminding yourself that this is YOUR big day."

- Gráinne