A cherished heritage of Irish hospitality, Adare Manor has a rich history dating back to the 1720s. Ornately furnished, with 840 acres of pristine parkland, and recently voted the number 1 resort in Europe; this stunning location is the perfect venue for a wedding as lavish as Shannen McCann and Anthony Donaldson's on Friday the 4th of August 2023. Captured by Rashida Keenan, you will fall head over heels in love with their special day!
Anthony and Shannen are both from the same town. Of course, being from a small area everyone knows each other. They were in each other's company on quite a few occasions as friends but as time went on and phone numbers were exchanged one thing led to another and eventually Anthony bit the bullet and asked her out. The pair went on their first date in the summer of 2014 and the rest is history!
Shannen & Anthony were on a two-week holiday spent on a cruise of the Bahamas and Orlando. After getting Anthony's suitcase confiscated on boarding the ship as Shannen decided to pack a travel iron, Anthony had enough anxiety and covert behaviour. Only three days into the trip on a small private island Coco Cay, after a few hours of sitting under a beach umbrella in the torrential rain, Anthony went back to the cruise ship for a "walk". Upon returning, he asked a passer-by to take a nice picture of the two of them by the ocean. With not even the slightest idea in my head, he had it set on video. "As I stood posing, he bent down on one knee slipped a little blue Tiffany's box out of his pocket and popped the question. I literally couldn't speak to the point he had to ask, "Is it a yes then?" I've never been one for surprises so I will never forget that feeling of shock. I was just as shocked by his chosen ring - a beautiful soleste oval with a double halo and yellow diamond in the centre. I could not have ever imagined that the proposal would be so perfect!"
Shannen has blemish-prone skin and was dreading having a breakout and scarring on her wedding day. She had a strict beauty regime put in place by Ailin and Lauren consisting of DMK facials every two weeks along with some microneedling in Clio. "Although I may have had one or two blemishes on the day of the wedding, my makeup artist Fiona Murphy did an amazing job in making me feel flawless." She had her hair balayaged a few months before the wedding and then refreshed two weeks before the wedding date in 1501, Dundalk. She wore Jo Malone Sakura Cherry Blossom. Her sister and mother came to Dublin for a dress fitting and the group went to Brown Thomas to pick a scent. Shannen wanted something new that she had never worn before that would always remind her of her wedding day every time she smelled it.
Shannen bought her Suzanne Neville "Amber" Dress in Sharon Hoey, Dublin. She first saw this dress on Instagram well before the engagement and completely fell in love. Thinking no more about it, when the time came, she knew she needed to try it on. Once Shannen realized that Sharon Hoey Bridal in Merrion Square, was a stockist of Suzanne Neville, she made an appointment. "I tried on a few dresses and while my head was turned by one or two others, both my mam and sister agreed that "Amber" was made for me so my decision was made and I had found the one! I had previously seen the dress worn on social media so I wanted to put my mark on it." Shannen had Sharon Hoey create a large overskirt that gave the dress a ballgown look for the ceremony along with a long veil. She then removed both before the meal giving her a more fitted style dress along with a hairband. "I never wanted to have two dresses, but I felt I had two different looks on the day. Although, I did leave it tight for time, dress shopping a mere 9 months before the big day. Everything went very smoothly and thankfully the dress was completely ready the week of the wedding!"
They got the groom, best man, page boy and fathers' suits in O'Cathalain Menswear, Culloville. To keep intact with the style of the wedding dress and the venue, the couple knew that black tuxedos were the most timeless and elegant look for the men.
Shanne's younger sister, Tara was her only bridesmaid. She is her only sibling and they two are very close, so it was never a decision she had to think of. Tara is very stylish, obtaining a degree in fashion she had an exact vision of what she wanted. After deciding and agreeing on the perfect style and colour, they got her dress drawn up and custom-made by Una Rodden, Belfast. The pair thought black was the most flattering and timeless colour. Only having one bridesmaid made the choice much simpler.
The ceremony was held in Holy Trinity Abbey Church, Adare. The parish priest was unable to officiate the wedding so instead retired priest Canon Tony O'Keefe officiated. "He was amazing and made us feel so at ease from the rehearsal the night before to the day of." The ceremony singer, Stella Bass created the most beautiful ambience as Shannen walked up the aisle to 'Until I Found You'. "My favourite part of the whole ceremony was standing at the bottom of the aisle when the doors opened before my dad and I stood before walking up the aisle. It was the most surreal feeling - one of both excitement and joy while also sadness and nervousness. The church was decorated beyond my wildest imagination. I do not have words to describe the work that Ceibhionn and her team from Inscape Flowers can do." Shannen and her dad had to weave through the floral arrangements on the way up the aisle they were so extravagant. She had never seen a church decorated so superbly. There were tourists packed outside the church as they entered and exited taking pictures!
Before being engaged, Anthony and Shannen had previously spent a night at Adare Manor and had been blown away. So after they got engaged the two looked at a few venues and spent the night at them to get the feeling of what it would be like but after much consideration nothing could compare to the ballroom they had seen in Adare Manor. Anthony booked the weekend for Shannen's birthday in February 2020. To her surprise, he had invited her parents and sister along for a night while also organising a meeting with the wedding coordinator at the time, Julie. After this, there was no going back as nobody could envision the wedding reception anywhere other than Adare Manor. "From the pristine grounds and gardens to the ballroom and most notably the impeccable service that you get from the staff in Adare Major, there is not a single negative comment that I could make. Our wedding coordinator Alex was an absolute pleasure to deal with in the run-up to the wedding. Any questions or queries I had were dealt with immediately and she was more than accommodating with any issues than incurred in the process. Alex was there both the day before and the day of the wedding on hand to help with anything that we needed or wanted done. We were also provided with a private butler for the weekend, Philip. He could honestly not do enough for us or the entire wedding party during our stay. Philip made the day a lot easier and kept everything running smoothly." The couple opted for an afternoon tea as their post-wedding celebration in Adare Manor. They waited and served the wedding cake along with finger food and tea or coffee. It allowed their guests to return and have the opportunity to take in the beauty of the hotel and grounds before travelling home. Afterwards, some of their closest family and friends travelled on to Killarney and partied the night away in J.M Reidy's.
As they planned the wedding during COVID, Shannen wanted to make sure and find the perfect Ceremony Singer-Stella Bass. She found Stella online and knew almost immediately that her voice would be perfect for the wedding ceremony as well as performing at their pre-drinks reception in Adare Manor. The grand piano was placed inside the pre-reception area and Stella was able to keep the guests entertained until being called for the meal. The band, Bridal Wave were nothing beyond amazing. "I have done quite a lot of looking online before coming across Fergal and the band. We didn't want to go for the usual ones that have performed at many a wedding we had attended but we still wanted a lively band that would keep the dancefloor full as our families love to dance!" Along with performing they also provided a DJ that would take over when they finished playing. They kept the dancefloor full all night playing music to suit everyone from country to 80's and 90's. The couple couldn't count the compliments that they received about the band, the atmosphere on the night was electric.
About the best decision, Shannen said, "The venue, church and our choice of vendors. I could not choose a favourite. Each one of these worked perfectly for us and made our day so relaxed. We had the fairytale wedding that I had always dreamed of."
About the worst decision, Shannen said, "Not giving ourselves enough time on the day to get around everyone and thank them for spending our special day with us."