Set on 840 acres of pristine parkland you will find Adare Manor, built in the 1830s this stunning manor house is a staple of the Limerick countryside. Sumptuously restored, brimming with gothic splendour, and perfectly appointed in every detail, this was the venue for Dara Murphy's marriage to Brendan Devane on the 1st of July. Captured by Christina Brosnan and featured in the Winter 2023 issue of SOCIAL & PERSONAL WEDDINGS, your jaw will be on the floor when you see the breathtaking abundance of flowers!

The couple met on a boat trip to the Skellig Islands. Brendan, at that time, was a skipper with the island ferry company Skellig Michael Cruises, the two got to chatting and ended up spending the entire boat ride together. Dara was on a girly trip with a few friends and, as one does, ended up for a few drinks in the mooring pub at Portmagee after they landed back. Brendan and a few of his friends weren’t long behind! 

The proposal was also in Adare Manor! Dara & Brendan were on a weekend away there in May 2022 and it was a beautiful day so during a walk on the grounds Brendan proposed. He proposed with a promise ring and the couple then picked out the engagement ring in Keane’s, Oliver Plunkett Street Cork a few weeks later. "So much thought had been put into the proposal, my father was asked months beforehand and my sister was responsible for convincing me to get a blow dry that morning! Everyone knew but me. We celebrated in Kerry with both our families and it was perfect.  Brendan comes from a large family and me a small one – so it was lovely to have everyone together for a BBQ."

Dara has always been big into skincare and was so excited to start the “wedding prep” when she got engaged. Dr.Clodagh O’Shea in the Beacon Face and Dermatology was responsible for designing the skincare plan. She went for facials monthly on the lead-up and mixed in Obagi Blue Peels and IPL for any unwanted pigmentation. "I knew there was only one person who I wanted to do my make-up for the wedding; Paula Callan. She made all of us feel so beautiful that morning!" Sarah O’Dwyer did the hair, having known Sarah for years there was also no question. Doing a soft wave in her hair and upstyles for all the bridesmaids. For her signature scent, Dara wore Jo Malone Cardamom and Mimosa. Brendan wore Terre D’Hermes. 

She knew from the outset that she wanted a very traditional dress and then a second more comfortable one for the reception, Dara was able to get both from Sharon Hoey. Her ceremony dress was the “Penny” Dress by Suzanne Neville. Sharon then customised it with a sleeve as our bride didn’t want to go strapless. "I’ve always wanted a veil and this too was also created by Sharon with small crystal flowers dotted throughout. When discussing the length I requested for it to be “obnoxiously long!” we settled with cathedral length!" The reception dress was a Sharon Hoey bespoke gown. A take on her own Lotus Dress, the skirt was to the ankle with full sequins. "Seeing Sharon sketching up the design on a blank page to then seeing the creation was truly amazing. All of my accessories were carefully picked by Orla – her style is amazing and I appreciated her help and interest in choosing them."

The couple always knew the wedding would be black tie. Brendan decided to go down the custom route and with the guidance of Adrian Copeland in Louis Copeland, Pembroke Street he decided on a shawl lapel tuxedo. He was able to design his suit, picking the fabric and linings. "He had so much fun going through all the fabrics and getting all of Adrian’s advice from which fabric photographed well to which would be suitable for July! The lining was a racehorse pattern as Brendan is a huge racing fan!" The wedding date and couple's initials were also on the lining of the jacket for added personalisation. The groomsmen wore a peaked lapel tuxedo for a slight differentiation. 

Dara had five bridesmaids, her sister Brónagh, two college friends, Gabriele and Louise and finally her two best friends from school, Jenny and Orlagh. Due to three of the five girls living abroad, a lot of the decisions were made in a WhatsApp group. "I am quite an easy-going person so, as I was not wearing this dress myself, it was very important to me that the girls all loved their dresses. We toyed around with the idea of different styles of dresses in the same colour." Everyone agreed on the one-shoulder Fleur Gown from Folkster. It was a jersey material, super comfortable and floor length. "I had always envisioned black bridesmaids’ dresses - everyone looks good in black!"

The ceremony was beautiful. The couple were married in Saint Peter and Paul’s Church, Crecora Co. Limerick. Their priest Father Patsy Lynch is the parish priest in Brendan’s home town which provided such a personalised touch to the ceremony. The lead singers were Emma and Niall O’Shea, both working professionally on the music scene in London, who provided a range of both modern and religious songs. 

"To my father’s horror after getting engaged in Adare we fell in love with the venue!" Adare is also the halfway point for the couple. Dara is from South Dublin and Brendan is from South Kerry so logistically it was perfect for all parties. "We put a huge amount of time into thinking about how we would use the huge ballroom and accentuate the incredible space. Alex Brislane and her team from Adare Manor were beyond helpful, working closely with our wedding planner Lindsay Moynagh from House of Hannah." The whole vision was executed to perfection. Florals were always going to be the centre point of the décor. "Lindsay was able to perfectly encapsulate our vision with the soft pastels and hints of black. We decided to on a large floral ceiling hanging in the centre of the room; then with the tablescapes and columns the room smelled amazing!"

The pair both come from very musical families so the music and entertainment were extremely important! From the outset, they worked with Lindsay to ensure they had covered all aspects. D-Strings played throughout the cocktail hour and dinner receptions, providing modern string music similar to the Bridgerton soundtrack. One of the first things the couple booked was The Event Band. They are one of a kind, a ten-piece group who blew everyone away. The dance floor wasn’t empty for the night! 

"Our first dance song was “Until I Found You” by Stephen Sanchez. Then to everyone's surprise, my father got up and sang “I Loved Her First” by Heart Land, which I wasn’t expecting and he knocked it out of the park." The day 2 celebrations were as much of a celebration as the main day! Also held in the ballroom in Adare. Super Ceili provided a “trad house” style set list which woke up all the tired heads and the dance floor was packed all over again! Finally, the couple had Mr. Jack Patrick Healy who flew in from London. Nothing short of a musical genius, they sang the night away around the piano everything from Disney Medleys to Sinatra! 

About the best decision, Dara had to say, "Lindsay Moynagh from House of Hannah! She is an expert in what she does. Everything was executed to perfection. From her recommendations in the beginning with planning suppliers to the running of the day itself! We couldn’t have asked for more from Lindsay and her team. Running a 3-day event; Golf tournament, welcome dinner, wedding day and day 2 all was done with a smile!"

About the worst decision, Dara had to say, "Not having Christina Brosnan, our photographer, around for the duration of the weekend. It is our only regret!"

- Gráinne