Special Needs Assistant with the Department of Education, Lorna Costigan married Electrical Engineer Mike Murphy in a romantic and modern wedding at The Village Barn in Tyrrellspass in early winter of 2022.

Photography: Kyrstin Healy Weddings

The Meeting

It is not the most romantic, but it is the modern-day online dating success story. I was in Ennis for the Fleadh Ceoil music festival in 2017, and I showed up on Mike’s dating App. He messaged me and sounded so lovely and genuine. After chatting for a few weeks, he drove up to Offaly from Clare for our first date! We got on like a house on fire and so started a long-distance relationship for 3 years. Luckily Mike’s work took him up to Leinster in those days, so we got to see each other more regularly than the normal long-distance relationships. We built a house in Clare in August 2020 and rescued Lottie (our rescue greyhound) in early 2021. Later that year, in December 2021, Mike proposed to me, followed by our wedding a mere 10 months later on 28/10/2022. It has been a whirlwind 6 years, and we can’t wait to see what the next chapter has in store for us.

The Proposal

The proposal was very special and intimate. Mike proposed at home and enlisted the help of our dog Lottie. He had the living room filled with candles and flowers, and when I walked in, he had a beautiful piece written and pinned to Lottie’s Christmas jumper. As I read it and turned around, he was down on one knee beside the Christmas tree with a beautiful promise ring. It was a massive shock for me, and I was so thankful that we were in the comfort of our own home, as there were a lot of happy tears and ugly crying. It was a very thoughtful and personal proposal which I will always cherish.

The Beauty Journey

I chose Anne Marie Browne to do my hair, we decided to go with a Hollywood wave which she did a beautiful job on. I chose Tara Henry for makeup, who is just such a lovely girl and so talented at what she does. Both girls were the dream team to work together with and were a pleasure to work in the run-up to the wedding and also to have in the house on the morning of the wedding.

My perfume for the big day was Joe Malone Poppy and Barley. I wore Joe Malone Sea salt and wood sage body cream underneath this as  I loved the combination of these two scents together. I had done the Joe Malone experience prior to the wedding which I found helpful as the staff are so knowledgeable in helping you to choose  the scent that will work for you. This is a free service in Brown Thomas, and it was such a lovely experience. We also gifted our bridesmaids Joe Malone perfume, so it was a house filled with a beautiful Joe Malone scent that morning. Mike's wedding scent was Invictus creed, which is to die for, and it had me running up the aisle towards him.

The Dress

As we decided to get married quite quickly after we got engaged time was unfortunately not on my side in terms of dress shopping. I went with my bridal party and my mum to two different bridal stores. I knew I would like something with long sleeves and quite simple and elegant to fit in with our autumnal theme.

I fortunately was able to find what I was looking for quite quickly. I found my dress in Truly Bridal in Naas County Kildare. It is from the designer Pronovias. I got a cowl made to clip onto the back which I wore up until the first dance. I removed the cowl, and it revealed the low back on the dress, and it gave a different look for the evening/ night. I found my dress really comfortable, and I feel like it is the type of dress that will stand the test of time. I also bought my veil in Truly Bridal, and I found all of the staff really lovely to deal with from start to finish.

The Grooms Suit

Mike and his groomsmen all wore a  three- piece tux. He had  looked around a few different menswear shops and found what he was looking for in Esquire Menswear in Limerick city. All 3 tuxes were from the designer Benetti Menswear. Mike's jacket, shoes and shirt were slightly different to the groomsmen, and he wore a black velvet dicky bow also by Benetti. I wanted him to wear a black velvet tux jacket to tie in with the velvet theme of the  bridesmaid dresses, but this was a stretch too far for Mike. Mike chose his two brothers Sean and Denis as  his groomsmen and  all three boys looked very dapper indeed on the big day.

The Bridesmaids

My bridesmaids  were my two lovely sisters. My sisters are my best friend friends, and I couldn't think of a better people to stand by me on our big day. Both myself and Mike we're privileged to have our siblings stand by our sides on our wedding day.

The bridesmaid dresses were custom made by a company called the Linen Atelier company. I saw the  Cara emerald, green velvet dress on their website. You can buy directly or have them custom made to exact measurements.  The dresses  were chosen with the autumnal theme in mind. I wanted something rich and luxurious with long sleeves that would be complementary to both bridesmaids  and that they would be comfortable in.  I feel the  green velvet really complemented the rest of the bridal party and tied into the overall  autumnal aesthetic of the wedding.

The Ceremony

We absolutely loved our ceremony, it was a small intimate wedding and the purpose-built quirky church on the grounds of our venue is perfectly designed for a these type of ceremonies. We had no nerves as we were surrounded by just very close family and friends. Both Mike and I agree our favorite moments were seeing each other at the altar and we were both quite emotional.

Our vows were also a standout moment for us both as we wrote them  ourselves and they were very personal to us. We found the whole ceremony really lovely and super relaxed. I was lucky enough to be sang up the aisle by one of my closest friends Caroline Fawcett which is such a lovely memorable moment to have from your wedding day. We had so many laughs and happy tears it truly was very special to us both.

The Venue

As I am originally from Co. Offlay and Mike is from  Co. Clare, we were eager to pick a venue that was accessible for all our guests as we had people coming from all corners of Ireland and people flying in from abroad to join us for the day.

We also knew we really wanted something slightly different and a little quirky what a relaxed vibe to it. We really liked the idea of a converted barn, and we also wanted our venue to provide somewhere that we could get married onsite.

We researched converted barn wedding venues around the Midlands and The Village Barn in  Tyrrellspass in  County Westmeath was one of those. We went to view it  and booked it that day. It was a real hidden gem really quirky and so full of charm and it had its own  purpose church on site which really sold it for us.

It's made-up of a  lovely rustic courtyard and a  beautiful walled garden. It consists of  two converted barns and a little church nestled at the bottom of the garden. The glass barn with  exposed  stonewalls was a beautiful place to have our canopies and drinks reception and later for the dinner and dancing we moved into the main barn. We loved the decor of the vintage chandeliers the mismatched  tables and chairs and the rustic charm the venue offered. We were after a chilled out relaxed and non-formal vibe. We feel the village barn really offered this whilst still running the whole day super efficiently and professionally. It’s a family run business and all the staff were amazing  to deal with before during and after the wedding day.

The Entertainment

We both love music and are fond of a good party. We again wanted a chilled-out vibe with our music and nothing too formal. We had seen Jason Fahey a one-man band with his guitar play at a party before and he had an outstanding voice and so he was an obvious choice for us for our ceremony music.

As we got married on site and we were eager to keep the music going throughout the day Jason moved from the church up to the barn and sang at our drinks reception and also entertained us after dinner until the band set up and we're ready to start. Jason is the loveliest guy you could meet; nothing is too much trouble, and everyone commented on his excellent voice. He had us up on our feet and raring to go from very early on.

Our main band were called The Waxies which  were great fun and had great interaction with the crowd. They had everyone up on their feet. We hired A saxophone player to play with them during the DJ set to finish off the night. There  were plenty of sore feet all round from a long day and night on the dance floor.

 Best Decision

I think one of our best decisions was to create our own ceremony  and to write our own personal vows. I feel we were able to make our ceremony very personal to us by doing this along with our lovely celebrant Lorraine McCarthy.

We were really glad we had a great photographer and videographer who  captured some lovely natural candid shots . Both  Mike and I were not very comfortable posing for photographs and did not want to be away from our guests for a long time. Both were able to capture some lovely relaxed footage throughout the day as we mingled with our guests. I think in years to come having video footage of our friends and family all around us will be really something to be cherished.

Worst decision

The day went really well, and we were lucky with our suppliers and we didn’t stress in the lead up to the day. However, looking back I wouldn't put the time and effort into the about small details that are never noticed on the day. The day passes so quickly and  your so over the moon that you really don't notice these details so soak up every second and enjoy the  planning process . We really did have the best day from start to finish surrounded by all the people we hold dear.