Aircraft leasing tax consultant, Jennifer Buckley, married Conall Hoey, a hospital rehab sports therapist, at a beautiful Spring wedding at Rathsallagh Country House in early 2023.
Photographer: Wild Fern Photography
We met for the first time during the summer of 2012 in Berkeley, just outside of San Francisco, California. We were travelling separately with friends on a J1 student summer visa, as many Irish college students were at the time! After an exciting summer in the US, we went our separate ways back to college life in Ireland.
Fast forward to Christmas 2017 and we met again under the lights of the big Christmas Tree at the top of Grafton Street in Dublin. Conall was just visiting home from New Zealand before his trip to Australia and I was working and living in Dublin at the time. The reunion was brief and it wasn't until six months later in July 2018 when Conall moved back home from Australia that we went on our first date for a walk along the cliffs of Howth, followed by fish and chips. From there things moved quickly and we moved to Dubai where we live together today with Mia the rescue dog and of course my horses!
In July 2022 we were due to travel from Dubai to Kenya to go on safari. The day before our flight our visas had still not come through on time, we had no option but to postpone our trip (and the surprise hot air balloon that Conall had planned for the proposal) and go on a last minute staycation in Ras Al Khaimah in the UAE. Conall proposed at sunset on the beach and given the complete last-minute change to plans I was genuinely caught by surprise! Although Conall had already given my Dad the traditional call (which Mum probably figured out when Dad put a bottle of bubbles in the fridge) but otherwise they were all ‘surprised’ and thrilled when we called with the news!
The Beauty Journey
About 6 months before the wedding, I started monthly laser facials and three months before I started hydro facials both at Skin Laundry. Living in Dubai I was lucky to have the sun on my side for some natural tan. We were lucky to have Christine Donaldson doing on make-up and Melanie from Marchhair to fix us up on the day too! I wore Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, which is a scent my mum first bought me years ago, and I have worn it since.
In October, I flew home to go wedding dress shopping with my mum and my bridesmaids as being abroad and missing so many things, I really wanted to have this experience all together. I looked online at different designers and booked three dress appointments in Cork shops that held designers I liked. The process in all three shops was very different but so much fun! I found my dress in the first shop, Memories Bridal Boutique, but I did all three appointments to make sure. It was great having my mum and bridesmaids there to enjoy the experience and get their input.
The Groom’s Suit
Conall knew straight away that he wanted to wear a black tux, he booked himself and the groomsmen an appointment in Tony McDonnells in Dundalk while we were home over Christmas for a fitting. Both fathers were also kitted out and the lads all looked great!
My sister Alison and long-time friends Grainne Coyle and Roisin Kearney were my bridesmaids. We went for a deep navy colour for their dresses. I suggested the girls head into Folkster in Dublin (and Kilkenny for my sister) in their own time to try and find the style that they felt most comfortable in, this way they could hopefully get more wear out of the dress too. Being away, I couldn’t come along but they kept me updated on Whatsapp. The girls each went with a different style and I ordered them from Folkster and had them delivered directly to each of them. The girls were so easy and it was very straightforward, they looked amazing too!
Our ceremony was held in Rathsallagh Country House at 3pm and our celebrant John Fitzgerald from the Spiritualist Union of Ireland was perfect. We had some zoom calls with him before hand to go over the process and finalise the different parts of the service. Both my sister and Conall’s sister did a reading too. We kept the ceremony to 30 minutes and our ceremony and drinks reception singer Shamie Heaney had everyone cheering with different Frank Sinatra and Elvis renditions – we went with an upbeat and celebratory atmosphere for the ceremony to kick off the day!
Rathsallagh Country House was everything we didn’t know we wanted for the weekend! We were hoping to have the one venue for the ceremony, celebrations and also the Day 2 and as much accommodation at the venue or very near by as we could for our guests. It is such a beautiful and well-kept country estate – it was perfect. The staff were honestly faultless and really guided us through the whole process with helpful tips and reminders, never hesitating to call and talk things through thing despite the fact that we were abroad. As it was private we had all the space to ourselves for the whole weekend. We had a 175 on the wedding day and 110 on Day 2 for the BBQ / pig on the spit which was provided by a local farmer and slow cooked on the day (again organised by Rathsallagh).
Good music and good food (with some drinks) were important to us. Rathsallagh definitely catered for this, the wedding meal, the breakfast and the Day 2 BBQ were fresh, locally sourced and just delicious. There was so much flexibility with the space, the weather was great for April too, so the staff automatically opened up the doors and moved the drinks reception to inside/outside and had all the tables etc ready to go after the ceremony. The staff also co-ordinated with Finesse to re-use all the flowers and decor from the ceremony for the meal and then again for Day 2 just to ensure we made full use of everything. The weather was even better on the Sunday, so we had music and drinks outside all day eventually going inside at about 10pm. Again, the staff just facilitated everything like it was our property. The experience was excellent, and everything ran so smoothly, I couldn’t recommend them more.
Shamie Heaney sang at Conall’s cousins wedding a few years ago and was a no brainer for us, his Michael Bublé voice and Rat Pack covers were exactly what we wanted for the ceremony and drinks reception. He looked great too!
I had heard The Mixtape play before so was delighted when they confirmed they were available for the evening. They were excellent on the night and the dancefloor was never empty. The saxophone player was such a memorable bonus!
We served the delicious salted caramel cake by Elisha Bakes at 2.30pm the next day and passed this round with tea and coffee (given the great weather there were many bottles of cider out at this stage already). To get everyone going again we had the brilliant Ceili Cottage from 3pm- 5pm. They were fantastic and kept everyone entertained with traditional Irish music.
After the BBQ, The Druids played from about 7.30 - 9.30pm – we were all up on our feet, dancing to the classic Irish pub music. We finished with a sing song inside in the residence bar.
The music – absolutely. It was absolutely worth it, we wanted an upbeat celebration and we definitely feel that we had that. Oh, and also the venue!
That we didn’t keep the photographer/videographer for longer or have one for Day 2 (they were booked until about 30mins after the first dance) we got some great photos but the dancefloor saw many dance-off’s, ties on heads, and uncles sliding across the floor as the night went on! My cousin’s filming isn’t quite the same standard!