Nestling at the foot of the Slieve Bloom mountains is the stunningly beautiful and unique 300-year-old Gloster House. Surrounded by extensive gardens, woodland and lakes, Gloster House was the magical venue for David McGuire and Erin Abram's wedding on the 11th of May 2024. Captured by Niamh Smith, The Photography Hub and styled by both The Art and Romance and Nessa Loves Weddings, every detail of this stunning elopement was executed to pure perfection.

David and Erin met in Philadelphia on the 4th of July weekend in 2016. She was living in a condo at the time with her newly adopted tortoiseshell kitten named Honey. "On our first date when David came to my house to pick me up, my downstairs neighbour pushed him to just let himself inside since my friends always came and went without knocking. He awkwardly and uncomfortably opened my front door, which I heard from upstairs and went to check on. He was standing at the platform inside my front door, and the first thing I ever said to him in person was, “Did you just let yourself into my house?”. It was love and laughter at first sight."

The pair didn’t have a traditional proposal. Having been together about 6 years, they both knew that they wanted to get married, but also needed to expedite the process to get David’s green card (since he is from Dublin & Erin is from New York). "We had been talking about scheduling a courthouse wedding for months, and finally one random morning while I was on the phone with my parents, I got an email from the Brooklyn Courthouse saying our marriage license appointment had been scheduled. I was reading the email, slightly confused, and a second email came in that said that our marriage ceremony had been scheduled. Excited and giddy, I told my parents, “I think David just proposed to me - I have to hang up and call him”, and confirmed that he had, in fact, proposed to me in this unconventional but hilarious way."

"I did the normal bride prep - grew my hair long, obsessed over skincare and keeping hydrated and moisturized, stayed out of the sun and stayed away from fake tans, and got my nails done into pearl French tips." For her signature wedding day scent, Erin wore a mix of two Jo Malone scents, Nectarine Blossom & Honey for the bright and floral, and Nasturtium & Clover to help darken the scent with a slightly peppery touch. The wedding theme was emerald green and gold with bits of orange, so she wanted her scent to stay on that theme.

Being a very analytical person, Erin prepped tremendously before even going in person to look at gowns. "I fell in love with the designer Jenny Yoo - timeless, classic, and understated looks. I scheduled my appointment with them and brought a completed Excel spreadsheet of each dress I was interested in, in order of preference and with pros and cons for each option." She brought her sister, Becca, and two of her bridesmaids - Julia and Alyson - to the appointment. The planning paid off, and Erin ended up purchasing a beautiful made-to-order A-line ball gown and veil from Jenny Yoo that day!

David knew that he wanted his wedding suit to be classic and timeless. "I want to be able to look back in 50 years time and still think it looks sharp and has aged well (unlike my Dad’s top hat and coattails)." With that in mind, a classic tuxedo was the only way to go. The couple shopped around New York but found the prices to be a bit steep for what they wanted. In the end, they bought the groom's suit in Louis Copeland in Dublin and were very happy with that decision.

As a typical American, Erin had a very large bridal party, consisting of her sister Becca, her cousin Rachel, her sister-in-law Fiona, and her friends from throughout her life - Lauren, Gina, Alyson, Laura, Julia, and Heather. "Alyson, whom I had known since I was a child, unfortunately, passed away the December before the wedding. She was with me to pick out my wedding dress, and it makes me incredibly emotional and thankful that she was able to see me in it, even if not on my big day. Even though she couldn’t be there on my big day in physical form, I had a locket with her picture with me throughout the day and I know she was there in spirit." Erin let her bridesmaids pick out their dresses, telling them that since it was a black-tie wedding, they should wear very formal gowns in the colour green. Everyone did such a beautiful job and the shades of green alongside the blooming foliage at Gloster House were beyond beautiful!

The ceremony was held in the beautiful White Chapel at Gloster House. Its towering pristine white walls and abundance of candles and greenery created a perfectly idyllic setting for Erin and David to say their vows. "My cousin, Rachel, officiated it, and she was hilarious and thoughtful. Not only is she one of my best friends, but she is a Pulitzer-winning journalist from the New York Times, so she knew exactly what to say to make the ceremony special." Hilariously, she forgot the entire ring exchange portion of the ceremony, so the couple had to add that in before finishing the ceremony off with the Jewish ritual of breaking the glass. "My favourite part of the ceremony was when David and I presented each of our new parents-in-law with a white rose and a handwritten note. It was a special and meaningful part of the ceremony that helped us show our appreciation to our in-laws for welcoming us so warmly into their family."

The pair didn’t even shop around, they had been set on Gloster House as their wedding venue since they first started dating in 2016! "Gloster House is owned and operated by the Alexander family; Tom and Mary, and their son, Nigel. Luckily for us, Mary is David’s Aunt (his mother’s older sister), and David grew up doing trips to Gloster and alternating Christmases between Gloster and his parent’s home in Dublin. Gloster felt like a home away from home for David, and between this and the idyllic beauty of it, we just knew that when we had a wedding, it would have to be there." This certainly helped to make the wedding feel casual and personal as both the bride and groom had been to Gloster many times already. "The best part of the wedding was having all of our families fly in from various places around the world to be there together, the joy the entire weekend was palpable."

When it came to choosing the entertainment for their wedding day, the couple had quite an easy answer, "We were lucky in that we weren’t the first in our friend group to get married in Ireland; part of our group of friends here in Brooklyn consists of five couples that are American women and Irish men. So far (including us), three couples have used the same entertainment because they are fantastic." Erin & David settled on the Bentley Boys 7-piece band who, at midnight, switched to a DJ set. They were the life of the party, with everyone on the dancefloor all night. "They made our night especially special when they learned the Jewish wedding ritual song “Hava Nagila” so we could be lifted in chairs during the Hora while our guests danced around us. It was so much fun to see everyone enjoying such a fun ritual and trying out something they hadn’t seen or heard of before. We are so thankful for the BB!"

Regarding the best decision, Erin had to say, "Since we planned this wedding from NYC, getting to Ireland a few days early to deal with last-minute issues and get acclimated to the different time zone was so important - having those few days to get prepared in person was a must. In that same vein, having our incredible wedding planners Gabi and Nessa (The Art and Romance and Nessa Loves Weddings) was a game changer - from the time differences to having to work with people who were difficult to contact from the States, having Gabi and Nessa there to help us with all things planning turned everything from stressful to enjoyable. They are truly the best and easiest duo to work with, have impeccable taste in styling, and helped me to enjoy the entire wedding planning process."

Regarding the worst decision, Erin had to say, "We had planned to take our portraits before the ceremony but due to a miscommunication with the transport service, our guests arrived an hour earlier than planned and we were unable to finish in time. Because of this, we lost out on a lot of photo opportunities with the wedding party and missed most of the wonderful string quartet (Munster String Quartet) that we had hired and were so looking forward to seeing."

- Gráinne