Situated on 567 acres of lush private parkland sits the elegant, discreet and luxurious Luttrellstown Castle. This breathtaking castle is rich with history, dating as far back as 1436, during the reign of King Henry VI! It's no wonder that Leigha Milks, a pediatric dentist and Larry Nguyen, an oral surgeon travelled from the United States to say I Do on the 23rd of August 2023. Captured by Claire Studio Brown, this wedding day is elegant, romantic and the perfect example of what an Irish destination wedding can hold!
The story began nearly seven years ago in the pre-clinic of dental school. As bench-mates in their first-year dental anatomy waxing lab, Leigha noticed Larry hanging around just a little bit more often, leaving some extra wax scraps behind at her station. Since Larry was known as the “jokester” in class, Leigha figured she would confront him to get to the bottom of the mess. From that time on they became friends spending time watching movies, taking nature walks, and, of course, eating ice cream together. However, Larry truly found the way to his bride-to-be's heart with the daily coffee deliveries and countless meals made.
The two were engaged on June 8th, 2022 during a wine tasting tour with several of their close friends. Larry worked behind the scenes to get Leigha's father’s blessing and secretly planned the proposal with the help of her pediatric dental co-residents. They had planned a weekend stay in Charlottesville, VA with that same group of co-residents at a quaint B&B following their graduation from pediatric residency. On the Saturday of the stay, the group were doing a day full of tastings at various wineries known in the area. The first stop was at a majestic winery called Stone Mountain Vineyards set in the hills of Virginia. Since it was early in the day, they had the whole place to ourselves. Larry had asked Leigha to help find a table outside on the back porch. "With just Larry, myself, and the beautiful backdrop, he got down on one knee and asked if I would marry him. Our friends were there to capture the amazing moment, and then we were able to celebrate the big event throughout the rest of the day!"
Leigha's beauty journey was simple and did not change much from her normal daily routines. She had my hair balayaged like normal before the trip to Ireland and planned to use similar make-up products that she uses every day ( IT cosmetics). Even her skincare routine was as simple as you can get with basic Dove soap and Cetaphil moisturizer! "The biggest part of the journey was finding the right make-up artist and hair stylist since we were so far away in the States and could not do in-person trials." Leigha relied a lot on recommendations from the venue, past reviews, Instagram posts, and video chats with the artists. She was searching for a “simple chic” look and found that with Ellie Murphy and Lorraine Browne! Her signature scent for the wedding day was Joe Malone London’s Mimosa and Cardamom Cologne.
Leigha picked out her wedding dress with the help of her mom and grandma. They visited a small bridal store called Heart to Heart Bride in Rochester, NY. This was the first and worked out to be the only stop on the hunt for the dress! She originally had a video chat with the stylist of the store to narrow down my search; looking for something simple with a fun back. "After trying on several different styles, I instantly knew when I tried on my dress by Madi Lane that it was the one. It not only fit so well but also had the low cut, lace detail back with a bow and elegant train." After confirming the dress, Leigha had two minor adjustments/ fittings done and the dress was ready! She had to pack the dress in a travel dress bag and bring it on board the international flight to ensure it made it safe and sound to the final destination!
Leigha had two, co-maids of honour, her childhood best friend, Maura Cotter, and a close friend from dental school, Julia Marrandino, who watched Leigha's relationship with Larry grow from the start. She also had two bridesmaids, including Larry’s younger sister, Jessica Nguyen, and another close friend, whom Leigha met during high school, Erin Clough. Choosing a dress was a little bit difficult. Our bride originally was going to have a mix-and-match style with blue or green colours but had a hard time coordinating all the different styles. So with the help of all the girls, chose a colour as well as a simple yet flattering style. "I was hoping to have the girls get a dress that they could wear again in the future too! They were all amazing help and very open to my ideas."
The pair had a beautiful outdoor ceremony with Luttrellstown Castle as the backdrop. It was a classic Irish rainy morning but, thankfully, cleared up just in time for the ceremony. With closest family and friends present. Leigha walked into the ceremony to the live string trio of Bow Musique, and Annmarie Colton via spiritual ceremonies was the minister. We did traditional vows, an Irish blessing, and even tied the knot with ribbons to signify the marriage. "Our favourite part was walking back down the aisle as a married couple all in smiles as our friends and family threw the biodegradable rose petals in celebration. There was so much love and joy in the moment."
Larry and Leigha picked Luttrellstown Castle as their venue actually with the help of her dad! As a young girl, Leigha was able to take trips with her family to Ireland. So, it had become a dream of hers to one day get married there. Once engaged, her dad suggested their couple travel to Ireland for the wedding and knew Leigha always loved the beautiful scenery and castles the most. So the two started making calls and doing video chats with several castle-type venues. Although they were unable to tour venues in person, Larry, Leigha's dad, and Leigha all agreed that Luttrellstown was the perfect fit. It had beautiful gardens, a completely private space, and was even conveniently located near Dublin. "We fell in love with the beauty of the castle including the outside gardens and the inside decor. Also, it was so nice to have the whole venue to ourselves and our guests. It helped maintain the intimate feeling we were hoping for."
The couple had the Midnight Revellers as the live band for the reception followed by a DJ they provided. The two were searching for live music to keep our guests dancing late into the night. Larry and Leigha enjoy folk music genres and felt the Midnight Revellers encapsulated their style. They also wanted to have classic Irish music available to the guests. Leigha has a history of doing Irish dancing and had fun with all of her guests dancing to a traditional Jig and Reel!
About the best decision, Leigha said, "Our best decision was choosing Luttrellstown Castle resort and keeping our wedding intimate in size. The venue felt so magical and having a small amount of guests, approximately 60 in total, allowed us to spend more time with everyone who travelled from all over to celebrate. Since we could reserve the castle for two nights, we even had a “murder mystery” event the night before the wedding to have all our guests get to know each other and have fun!"
About the worst decision, Leigha said, "Our worst decision was not having a wedding planner. Since we were busy on the day of the wedding, it would have been beneficial to have someone take charge of the schedule to keep everything organized and reduce stress on ourselves. Overall, it was the most amazing day!"