An 800-year-old French-style manor house set in the lush countryside of North Tipperary. Cloughjordan House is at heart a place of wholesome home-grown food, warm, welcoming rooms, gardens to explore and the location of Rachel Kelly and Brian Dwyer's wedding on the 7th of August 2023. Photographed by Claire Studio Brown, we're head over hells in love with every detail of this beautiful day!
The two met in February 2016 during UCC’s RAG week. Rachel was living in Dublin but was down for the weekend visiting her friend, Hannah, who was studying in Cork at the time. "Brian and I met in Rearden's bar where I’m sure many love stories have started! We instantly hit it off but with Brian living in West Cork and me being in Dublin I didn’t hold out much hope for a lasting romance!" However, the two exchanged numbers nonetheless and, over the next 6 months, saw the sights of every town off the M8 motorway! Thankfully Brian got a job in Dublin after that and the couple haven’t been apart since.
In 2022, Brian planned a surprise trip to New York for Rachel's 30th birthday. She doesn’t think anyone was surprised when he popped the question while they were there though! However, he still managed to surprise her at the moment. To keep any suspicions at bay, Brian planned for them both to go to the Natural History Museum that morning. Then at lunchtime, they went out on a rowing boat on the lake in Central Park where he proposed. "It was so surreal and not how I was expecting the day to go after spending the morning looking at dinosaur bones!"
"I didn’t have an extensive beauty journey, to be honest. We were in the process of buying a house in the lead-up to the wedding so buying skincare products, etc. was fairly low down on the list of priorities!" She did go for facials in Millies in the few months leading up to the wedding which was also just a lovely time out from mortgages and wedding planning. She also had more regular appointments than usual with her hairdresser, Rebecca Martin, who made sure the colour and condition of her hair were perfect for the big day! Rachel's wedding scent was Jo Malone Peony and Blush Suede.
Our bride went to 3 different wedding dress shops with her Mum and sisters which she found to be a really enjoyable experience. "We made sure to make a day of it and go for lunch or a cocktail after the appointments - any excuse!" When it came to picking the dress Rachel found it difficult to decide on one as she loved so many different styles. In the end, she decided on a Pronovias dress from the White Room as it had all of the elements of some of the other dresses that she had liked.
Brian knew from the start that he wanted to go with a tux for the wedding so his shopping process was fairly straightforward! The couple went to Tom Murphy’s in Cork and got Brian and his groomsmen’s suits sorted.
The ceremony was one of the parts of the wedding day that the two were most looking forward to and they loved every minute of it. Rachel and Brian got married in Borrisnafarney Church which is a small country church and it felt very intimate and personal to them both. "We were very lucky that our best man’s father-in-law, Rev. Trevor Lester, agreed to marry us." They've known him for years and he put them at ease and conducted a beautiful ceremony. They put a lot of thought into the music selected and it was wonderful to hear it being brought to life by a bunch of exceptionally talented musicians. Rachel's sister’s boyfriend and his brother, Ben and Ian Cully, played and the couple were blown away by them. "We are also so lucky that one of our best friends, Trish Mulraney, is another talented musician. Trish composed a piece of music especially for our wedding and performed it during the ceremony. It was beyond special and by far the highlight of the ceremony for us (apart from the part where we got married obviously!)."
For Brian and Rachel picking the venue was one of the easier decisions during the wedding planning process. As they walked through the gates of Cloughjordan House and saw the stretch tent and games on the lawn they turned to each other and said, “This is it!”. The only summer date the venue had available for 2023 was 7th August which was their 7th anniversary so they took this as a sign and booked the wedding there straight away. "We loved the relaxed atmosphere in Cloughjordan and we were so fortunate to have our drinks reception on the lawn which was so much fun. Some of our guests got very competitive with the lawn games and even continued them after the meal!"
"As soon as we got engaged we knew we wanted Ben Cully to play at our drinks reception and luckily he agreed! He played the keyboard and sang under the stretch tent in the garden which added to the atmosphere for the reception." It was Brian’s job to pick a band for later in the night and after much research online decided on the Mixtape. They kept the dancefloor full all night. The dancing continued the next day with a band called Hammer & Tongs who managed to get everyone singing and dancing the night away again! They had incredible energy and combined traditional Irish music with well-known pop and rock songs. The couple couldn’t recommend them more.
Regarding the best decision, Rachel had to say "One of the best decisions we made was choosing Cloughjordan House. They made the planning process so easy and everyone commented on how amazing the food and service was on the day. Speaking of food, another great decision was asking my aunt, Olive, to make our wedding cake. Not only did it taste delicious but she went above and beyond by recreating my veil and the flowers from my bouquet out of icing! It was an absolute masterpiece and an element of our wedding that was so special to us."