Laura and David O’Brien said I do in a romantic outdoor ceremony followed by a stunning reception at Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links in the Spring of 2023!

Photographer: Aurora Photographic Agency

The Meeting & Proposal

We were both on a Facebook group for Tag Rugby Subs in Dublin and as fate had it, we both joined a team where we knew no one back in November 2018 and the rest is history. 

I booked a weekend break at Cabra Castle on 19th February 2022. It was snowing, and the grounds looked like something out of a fairy tale. David struggled to get me out for a walk, as it was snowing, but after some convincing, we came back to the room, snow boots in hand, when I opened the door the room was filled with rose petals, flowers, chocolates, champagne! David completely got me by surprise, I turned around and he was on one knee. The staff spoiled us at dinner and made fantastic memories to help us celebrate our engagement with, lots of bubbly and good food. Plus we got some beautiful engagement photos in the snow with the castle which he couldn’t have planned for but worked perfectly.

The Beauty Journey

As I travel a lot for work, I knew I needed some discipline so I got a personal trainer (Shauna Rahaman) at Flyfit Swords 6 months before my wedding date to work on a weight loss journey. I achieved my goal in 5 months and made new habits that will last a lifetime. Incredibly, I enjoyed going to the gym to see Shauna, she made training fun and dieting realistic, replacing bad habits with low-calorie options. A month before the wedding I go Mesotherapy at Kerry Hanaphy Swords which gave my skin a beautiful glow. Two weeks before the big day I had my hen in Albufeira Portugal which gave me a sun-kissed tan for the wedding. I got some eye masks to de-puff my eyes for the morning of my wedding, which was a God send. My fragrance had to be a classic, Chanel Chance. It’s romantic and leaves a lasting impression. My guests commented that I smelled amazing. On the Wedding morning, Nicola Plummer and Denise Bray worked magic to make the wedding party ladies shine, the hair and makeup lasted all day, everyone looked stunning and both ladies made us all feel at ease,  they brought a very calm and friendly ambience. Nicola even buttoned up my wedding dress in 5 minutes which I had dedicated 30 minutes to do for my bridesmaids!

The Dress

I thought I wanted a mermaid-style dress, and that’s exactly what I got. I went to four bridal stores in one day, all in Dublin, with my four bridesmaids. They took pictures of all the dresses I tried on, and what I thought was number 3 on the day was a clear winner when I looked back on the pictures. The designer was Martina Liana, the details on the dress were stunning, and the trail was everything I dreamed of and more, I instantly fell in love and purchased it two days later at La Bella Sposa Swords. The staff were fantastic; they never pressured me and picked my dream dress. The in-house alterations were done by Tereza who worked effortlessly to make it fit like a glove.

The Groom’s Suit 

We visited four Suit Stores in Dublin and felt the staff at Protocol Swords listened and recommended exactly what David was looking for, a dapper Benetti Petrol Blue suit with Anthony Grey waistcoat. We purchased six suits in total and the staff were incredible, calling the groomsmen the week of the wedding to come in and do last minute fittings, so we had one less thing to worry about. 

The Bridesmaids

My four best friends; Máire and Riona were childhood friends, April I met when I was 19 working in Galway city and I met Anna when I was in college in Dublin, we were roommates for four years.  These ladies were so supportive the whole way through the planning process, they planned the best hen party filled with activities and were my rock on my wedding day. Even more importantly they were on the dance floor all night and kept the party going. Their dresses were from Asos, a beautiful blush pink to match the undertone of my wedding dress and the colour scheme of the flowers. I got some their belt accessories to bring some more bling to the dresses and they all looked like a vision.

The Ceremony

We had our outdoor ceremony overlooking Ireland’s eye at Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links. Laura Lewins created a meadow of champagne and blush florals, with a beautiful flower arch framing the alter. Reverend Brenda O’Grady performed a memorial service, filled with laughs and involved all our guests in a special blessing. Our music by the very talented Stella Bass was breath-taking, she played Lyra’s cover of “I only want to be with you” for the wedding party walking down the aisle, every word was a reflection of how I felt and it made the moment  of “we’re getting married”  in that time real. Our favourite part of the ceremony was tying the knot, physically! It was followed by a large cheer from our guests and marked the end of the ceremony, now it was time to celebrate!

The Venue

We live only 10min away from the venue and walk on the beach beside it most weekends. When we got engaged it was our first choice to see, as we spend a lot of our time here. At the wedding fair we were certain this was the place we wanted to get married, the ceremony was outside gave a dreamy backdrop the what we envisioned our wedding to be,  the drinks reception in the Secret Garden with the Shebeen Bar was such a unique touch (in fact we done our first look here) and the dinner room was glorious, beautiful chandeliers, sparking dance floor and fairy light backdrop. The wedding coordinator was welcoming and personable, it was someone we instantly knew we wanted to have create our special day. We also met the Reservations Manager Yan who was able to work with us on many different aspects of the wedding, and made us feel 100% listened to. Another very important part of the decision making was the food. The Chef Tom is often on RTE, we have ate here many times so knew the quality was exceptional. My farther says he judges a restaurant by their scones and this one is always a place we visit when he’s in Dublin.  The staff exceeded our expectations both days of the wedding (day 2 BBQ), we were well looked after and feel everyone went above and beyond to make the weekend perfect. 

The Entertainment

For entertainment we had Stella Bass sing her Jazz set at the drinks reception, as she has previously headlined the Cork Jazz Festival we knew she was very talented and would bring a great atmosphere, which she absolutely delivered on. We also hired Garden Games from Prestige Events Hire as the drinks reception was in the Secret Garden, it brought a competitive edge out of people, I even heard there was some money bet! We hired the Love Shack Singing Waiters to bring life back into the room after dinner, I seen a singing chef when I watched don’t tell the bride 10 years ago and noted it as something I would do for my wedding, it got everyone up and moving. The band was a last minute decision, my cousin is a musician and I called about four weeks before the wedding to ask if he had any suggestions as I didn’t want the typical “wedding band”. He told us to check out “Big Digger” so David and I went to see them that weekend in Stillorgan. We were blow away, they were incredible talented and we booked them the next day; it was a huge pay off as they had the dance floor full all night, even my aunties who are never up at weddings dancing. Following this talented group we had Pro DJs to change the vibe of the evening and get the party moving. Guests commented they didn’t even know the music had changed over, as the DJ transitioned it so smoothly.  He played hit after hit so there was never a chance for  anyone to sit down.

Best Decision

Best decision was the Singing Waiters we hired “Love Shack Waiters”. They were an absolute hit with everyone, I thought they would sing, but they done so much more. Just after dinner, when people would usually be starting to feel a slump, they had us all twirling our napkins in the air singing that’s Amore, then everyone up doing  a conga line, followed by a Mr and Mrs Gameshow. It was a huge hit! Also we rented a Selfie Mirror of Acorn Party Hire and there was queues at it all night. We were given a photo book of the images that the guests signed and went through it before we feel asleep that night; it was a special touch to have extra memories on the day. 

 Worst Decision

The worst decision was not bringing flats to the beach; thankfully the wedding coordinator was nice enough to come with us on the photoshoot and held my shoes.