Set on an 80-acre estate comprising magnificent woods, courtyards, walled gardens and parkland, the illustrious Tankardstown House was the venue of Niamh Walsh's wedding to John Coleman on the 16th of April 2023. Capture by ID Photography, their special day is filled with stunning details!

In the summer of 2021, the couple spent two weeks travelling around Ireland, along the West Coast of the Wild Atlantic Way. One of the stops was a couple of nights on Inis Oirr on the Aran Islands. This is a very special place for Niamh as she went there every summer as a kid with her parents and sister. "It has always been a special place for me and my family with so many happy childhood memories for me. It's become even more special since my dad passed away in 2019." A lover of going to watch a sunset when the pair were away, Niamh had absolutely no idea what John had planned for the sunset on their last night on Inis Oirr. When John got down on one knee at a particularly special location on the island (where her dad used to fish) and proposed, Niamh was so delighted she said yes before he even asked the question! To which John replied “I haven’t asked you yet” and they both laughed! It could not have been a more special and perfect moment. 

Despite being a pretty low-maintenance bride, Niamh did make the most of treating herself to a few pre-wedding facials. She got her tan and nails done in her regular beauty salon, Nazoo in Castleknock. "I had an amazing makeup artist, Mary Ellen Darby Bridal, and an equally amazing hairstylist, Joanne B Hairstylist. I did a trial with each of them and loved both of their work. They are both such lovely people and added to my morning getting ready." She shopped around for perfume but in the end, went with Chanel Chance. Having received a bottle as a gift when she was 21, Niamh has always loved the smell as she associated it with feeling good. So, it’s a scent she associates with feeling good and now every time she smells it reminds Niamh of how excited she was to marry John, spraying it just before walking down the aisle.

Niamh had a few ideas from magazines and online before she went dress shopping but in the end, the dress she bought wasn’t what she had expected to pick. "I didn’t think too much about it all before I started dress shopping and I was open to anything I felt good in." She went to two dress shops before the Bridal Outlet in Baldoyle where she got the dress. The minute Niamh tried it on, her two bridesmaids, Aífe and Eimear, and the sales assistant all said it showed on her face how much she loved it. "I went back with Aífe and Eimear to try in it the second time and as I was about to step out of the fitting room, the song we had picked for me to walk down the aisle to came on the radio! The bridal outlet, and alterations woman, Marie Moore, were amazing to deal with and I am so glad I got my dress from them."

Niamh's two bridesmaids were her sister Aífe and cousin Eimear. The trio went dress shopping but didn’t see anything they liked. Niamh knew the colour she wanted was sage green to keep with the theme colours of the wedding but the couple really just wanted Aífe and Eimear to feel comfortable in their dresses so let them choose the styles. Niamh found the WED2BE bridal shop online and saw that they did the same colour dresses in a variety of styles. She, Aífe and Eimear went to have a look and found two different styles that each bridesmaid looked and felt incredible in. 

The couple got married on site in Tankardstown in the Orangery. They met their celebrant, Emer Dillon, a few months before the wedding and she wrote the most gorgeous, personal script, which captured who Nimah and John are as a couple so beautifully. The ceremony was very personal, with a violin due from Cork, Violini, playing songs they picked that had meaning throughout. Niamh walked down the aisle to 'One Day Like This' by Elbow. They had reflections read by the family and two readings also read by the family. They also lit a remembrance candle for Niamh's dad. "The rituals we chose were a unity candle and sand pouring ceremony. John’s niece Robyn and nephew Conn were our flower girl and page boy and John's other 5 nieces and nephews all had roles in the ceremony. We walked back down the aisle after we got married to All You Need is Love by the Beatles."

The couple looked at seven venues with no luck before finding Tankardstown House. The minute they swept up the drive and spotted the iconic lion statues, they knew it was the one. "Our favourite things about Tankardstown House are it's elegant and effortlessly stunning, it has beautiful grounds for photos and the team there are so professional and accommodating." The couple's experiences of the house were second to none and that followed through to their wedding day. "Even though there are so many weddings held in Tankardstown, the team make you feel like yours is the only one."

For the drinks reception, the music was Joe Kenny Pianist who the couple had seen at an open evening in Tankardstown House. For the evening entertainment, they went to a few band showcases. Niamh and John chose The Bently Boys on the night they saw them play. "We loved their style of music and the flexibility to custom choose your band – we had the choice of a few lead singers, and the choice to add in instruments. We went for a five-piece band with saxophone." On the night of the wedding, the lead singer Chris was great at keeping the dancefloor full!

About the best decision, Niamh had to say, "There is honestly nothing we would change about the day. We had planned to have the speeches before the meal, which Tankardstown were great at accommodating, but on the day with the timing of everything we were running behind schedule so decided to change the speeches to after the meal, which worked out better as everyone in the room was more relaxed after the meal. John and I decided to be the only two to do speeches. We wanted our bridal party to relax and enjoy the day and not have to be thinking of doing a speech."

- Gráinne