Eibhlis Byrne wed Theodore Kallergis on the 18th May 2019. Photography by Dixie Martin Storyteller.
Venue: Morrison Hotel
The couple met by chance, Eiby was house sharing in Terenure when one night, Theo attended a dinner party thrown by one of her housemates. It took Theo another three months from their initial meet to finally work up the courage to ask Eiby out on a date. What is funny about this 'date' is that, at the time, Eiby didn't realise it was a date. Out walking on Dollymount strand one Thursday evening, Eiby received a call from Theo to see where she was. Fast forward half an hour and Theo turns up with a picnic blanket, food and a stylophone. Eiby had previously dared Theo to learn to play the song Rehab by Amy Winehouse on the stylophone, and like the good sport he is, he took up the challenge willingly. However, when he went to play, the battery was "coincidentally dead", and the rest is history, as they say.
The couple got engaged on the anniversary of their 1st date, 18th May. Picking the perfect moment to propose proved complicated than Theo had initially thought and the groom-to-be had found it difficult to choose the right time to propose. As a result, Theo had driven around with the ring in his car for a week or two beforehand. He finally ventured to pop the question while the couple were tidying up after their one-year-old son. In true toddler fashion, there were toys everywhere, so Theo left the ring amongst the chaos for Eiby to find. It took her quite a while to find it and, when she did, it took her even longer to figure out why their son would have a ring in his possession. Theo then popped the question, and Eiby said yes without hesitation.
When it came to choosing their wedding date, there was only one option for both Theo and Eiby. The 18th May already held significance for the couple and finding out that it would fall on a Saturday exactly two years after they got engaged, made it even easier to choose. The long lead-in to their wedding gave them plenty of time to plan everything, ensuring every aspect of the day would be exactly how they wanted. It is worth noting that to ensure the couple got the vendors they wanted; for example, the band, they needed to book well over a year in advance. For them, the long engagement was a plus as it meant they had a lot of the main elements planned and agreed upon early in the process, leaving them with more time for the smaller details.
The couple had their hearts set on hosting a city-centre wedding celebration; Theo is originally from Greece, and as such, much of the couples guestlist would be flying into Ireland for the first time to mark the couple's nuptials. Having both their ceremony and reception in such a central location was the perfect way to bring all their family and friends together right into the heart of the city that both Eiby and Theo live in and love.
'To cram in as much time as we could with everyone while celebrating our BIG DAY, we planned as short a walking distance as possible between the church and the reception venue.'
The maximise time spent with their guests the couple opted to shun the traditional 1- or 2-hour photo session, instead choosing a photographer that specialised in more relaxed, documentary-style photos. Theo has a Masters in Photography, so he took the lead on this choice. Dixie Martin Storyteller had shot their friends wedding the previous year, and Theo adored the non-posed style of their wedding album. There was never a question of who else they would hire. Indeed, they didn't even consider anyone else! The couples overall hope for the day was that their guests enjoy an opportunity to explore the city and discover why they love living here! They also hoped this excitement would be caught on film by their photographer.
In the beginning, the couple had planned for a ceremony at the Greek Orthodox Church on Arbour Hill, but as is often experienced by couples, their guest list grew and soon there was no longer enough space to hold all of those invited in that beautiful but small church. Luckily for them, the Romanian Orthodox Church at Leeson Park came to their aid and allowed them to hold their ceremony there. Everything was just perfect on the day, even though the bride had no idea what was to happen to her during the service, not being au fait with Greek Orthodox traditions.
One of the biggest challenges the couple experienced was choosing the right venue. Once they had settled on a city-centre location, they visited several hotels in the area. It turned out to be quite a mission, as most venues had a strong colour theme already present. Eiby had her heart set on finding a blank space that she could make her own.
The couple had a particular look they were going for, and Morrison Hotel was, believe it or not, one of a few wedding venues that boasted a large, bright and open event space with a neutral finish.
The full timber floor and white neutral paint on the wall provided Eiby with the blank canvas she was looking for to create the interior design she wanted for their reception, which Theo envisioned as a feast!.
Eiby tells us that Theo's ideal wedding as he described it to mostly blank faces of the wedding coordinators was that of a 'feast'.
"We want a FEAST, one like you see in the movies where the man carries his bride into the room over his shoulders, and there are excessive amounts of food and drink and music and laughter".
The Staff at the Morrison Hotel embraced the couples vision and the challenge of hosting a Greek/Irish wedding. Theo's Mother managed to meet with the Head Chef, Sushil Kumar, in person, and present him with her Greek meatball and Baklava recipes, which the chef was to prepare for the wedding. Their FEAST was one of the essential elements of their big day, and the flavours, attention to detail and presentation of their bespoke wedding menu were sensational!! From the day they had their tasting, they knew they were in safe hands with Sushil and left full of excitement for their guests to enjoy the fine cuisine!
At six months in, the couple had most aspects of their big day planned; this meant that they were essentially playing a waiting game until the New Year when they would send out their invitations. Once the invites went out, the real build-up began and last minutes planning took off.
The invitation proved hard to find as nothing Eiby saw in the shops was suitable. Frustrated and with a clear idea of what she wanted, she decided to handmake the couples bespoke origami invitations. Choosing the colour scheme based on the Greek and Irish colours, herself and her two friends, Jennie and Natalia, sat down and made 150 individual invites.
The couples rings were handmade by a local jeweller in Loutraki, Greece. Theo, Eiby and their son holiday there each year and so the rings hold a special meaning and connection for them and are a daily reminder of their Greek/Irish ties!
Let's face it; the bride's hair and makeup is a big deal for her on her wedding day. Eiby wanted someone with a chilled personality and the ability to do magic with a makeup kit - she wasn't asking for much. In the end, Eiby went with Wai-Har via a recommendation from a friend. Wai-Har was everything Eiby wanted, and she was thrilled with her finished look.
'I was so thrilled with my look on the day. I felt so beautiful!! From the hair and makeup trial to the on the day salon she set up at the Hotel my bridesmaids, and I were all thrilled with our hair and makeup look.'
Wai-Har had an incredible ability to adapt the hair and makeup styles to suit everyone in the bridal party. 'I can honestly say I didn't recognise myself when I looked in the mirror!!', says Eiby.
The only thing the couple would change about their magical day is to add another 12 hours into that day! The time flew by and they wished they had more time to talk to guests, more time to dance, more time to eat cake and drink ouzo, or Jameson if you're the bride and generally enjoy the surroundings of Morrison Hotel. Their only piece of advice for those planning their dream day, greet all your guests as they leave the church! A greek tradition, both Eiby and Theo credit this experience as one of the most memorable from the day.
We realised throughout the day that there really is little time for us, as bride and groom, to spend chatting at any great length to all 150 guests. This time we invested at the church allowed us to extend that all-important hug, kiss and thank you to each of their fantastic family and friends.