Set in 14 acres of mature landscaped gardens overlooking the Irish Sea Tinakilly House offers peace and tranquillity yet is only 45 minutes from Dublin. Steeped in history and oozing charm and sophistication, the country house offered the perfect venue for Stephanie Byrne's wedding to Briain Thornton on the 27th of May 2023. Captured by TwoSouls, this wedding day is elegant, cool and utterly dreamy!
The two met in 2017 at the Longitude Music Festival in Marley Park. They were enjoying the sunshine at the Heineken tent when Stephanie & Briain randomly caught each other's eyes and started talking. They were strangers but hit it off and had to be dragged away by their friends! The two lost each other for the remainder of the night but made sure to exchange numbers before parting ways. Thankfully Briain texted Stephanie the next morning to arrange to meet up again and the rest is history!
Briain proposed on a holiday to Lagos, Portugal. Stephanie usually plans all the holiday activities so it came as a huge surprise when Briain said he had booked a boat trip. She assumed it was a tour boat to see the coastal scenery but when they arrived it was a small yacht just for the two of them. The couple sailed along the coastline and stopped at a private beach/cave area. "It didn’t occur to me that he was proposing and I was munching into a bag of crisps taking in the views when Briain got down on one knee. I said yes immediately before Briain could finish his speech!" The soon-to-be newlyweds then spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying some drinks, paddle boarding and jumping off the boat celebrating, before heading back to the marina and sharing the good news with family and friends.
Stephanie did a lot of prep in the lead-up to the wedding as every bride wants to look their best on the big day. She started getting regular facials with the amazing Amy in MySkincare on Cows Lane and started reformer Pilates a few times a week at Bodyfirm Studios. She actually fell in love with Pilates and has kept it up post-wedding! "I didn’t have a signature scent for the day, I just used my normal Chanel Chance perfume. However, I did want to create a special scent in the dining room so I filled the tables with my favourite vanilla-scented candles. It made the room feel really familiar and like home which was a nice detail on the day."
Stephanie tried on so many wedding dresses in nearly every bridal shop in Dublin but nothing compared to the Georgia Young Couture Dress she tried on at ‘The One’ by Sinead Corcoran in Rathmines. "I knew that I wanted a classic style but with something different and unique to bring out my personal style. My dress was exactly that." It was light and comfortable but also had a statement edge with its raw silk and tied skirt. Stephanie loved it and no other dress even came close. There’s a common trend at the moment to have a second dress for the dancing segment of the night. Stephanie loved that idea but didn’t want to change her dress, she worked closely with Sinead to incorporate small changes to alter the dress so that she could change up the look for the evening. They pinned the train of the dress and the front section turning the traditional gown into a fun shorter dress to dance the night away! Stephanie also added some mesh diamanté elbow gloves from Zara to add new accessories.
Briain had a custom-made suit with Louis Copeland on Caple Street. The couple had a black-tie wedding so he went for a traditional black tuxedo. "The attention to detail from Louis Copeland was amazing, they fitted the suit perfectly to him and added special details like his initials and our wedding date to the inside of his jacket. They were brilliant and made Briain look very handsome on the day!"
Stephanie had four bridesmaids, her two older sisters, Karin and Samantha, her best friend, Molly, who flew in from New York for the big day and her sister in law to be, Eimile, who flew home for Australia. We also have to mention her three gorgeous nieces who were the flower girls, who stole the show! "I let all my bridesmaids choose their own dresses and accessories. I wanted them all to feel their best and be comfortable so getting a dress in their own style was the best way to achieve this. All I asked was that they be black and they nailed it. They all looked amazing and each had their own style shine through." For the flower girls, Stephanie wanted them to match so chose raw silk dresses from Next. She added black bows to their hair to match the bridesmaids and their mums!
The couple opted for a Humanist Ceremony, which was led by Billy Hutchinson. Stephanie really wanted the ceremony to be personal to us and Billy did a brilliant job expressing that. Stephanie and Briain both love music and incorporated some of their favourite songs into the ceremony, they even had one of their friends recite the lyrics to Damien Dempsey's ‘All Mighty Love’ as one of the readings. They also had their nieces and nephews recite a poem about love, which was a highlight seeing them all up in front of all the friends and family together. "The best part of the ceremony for both of us was at the end when we were pronounced husband and wife, we let off confetti cannons that filled the air. It was such a special moment basking in the joy of just being married and surrounded by our nearest and dearest. "
Stephanie and Briain visited a lot of venues all around Leinster but once they saw Tinakilly the pair knew that it was the one. They didn’t want to be too far from Dublin as most of their guests were travelling from there so wanted somewhere accessible but also far enough to feel like a ‘destination’ wedding. "Tinakilly ticked every box for us, it has amazing gardens and outdoor spaces as well as gorgeous traditional interiors. We felt that Tinakilly could cater for all weather events which is critical in planning an Irish wedding. Regardless of whether we were inside or outside, both areas for the ceremony and reception were equally as nice. Thankfully, though we got one of the nicest days of the year and were able to have both an outdoor ceremony and drinks reception in the wonderful gardens." The two also loved the pavilion room in Tinakilly, the room is filled with natural light and has two full walls of windows that look out into the forest and over the sea. The setting and views sold them completely. You have the best of both worlds with the views whilst at the same time being comfortable indoors.
The Trips played at the ceremony, drinks reception and evening entertainment. They kept the music flowing all night and everyone on the dance floor. They had previously played at Stephanie's sister's wedding a few years back and were the obvious choice. They were interactive with the crowd and accommodating to the couple, learning their first dance song ‘Shiny Happy People’ by REM for the first dance, which was amazing. Neil the lead singer also does an acoustic version of ‘Fools Rush In’ to close the night which is so intimate and special. Tinakilly pavilion room is also equipped with a grand piano, so made the best use of that, with Paul Fagan Pianomaster playing throughout dinner and on guest arrival into the dinner room.
Regarding the best decision, Stephanie said, "The best decision I made was doing the flowers and décor with my parents and sisters. I absolutely love flowers and my mom is a trained florist so it was so special working with her picking all the flowers to fit in with the venue and style we were going for. We went for seasonal classic flowers such as roses, ranunculus and orchids and they turned out just as I had imagined. We spent the week of the wedding preparing all of the flowers and organising the décor. It was so nice to have that time with my family creating special memories that I will never forget. Myself and Briain also opted out of the ‘don’t see the bride on the wedding day’ tradition and woke up together the morning of the wedding. We were both so excited and buzzing for the day, I’m so glad I got to share that with him. We also had breakfast on our own in the dining room and exchanged gifts that morning. It was so nice having quality time together before the madness kicked off. I think the fact we were together the morning of made us so relaxed and at ease. Neither of us were nervous, we just couldn’t wait to get married and enjoy the day we had spent so long planning!"
Regarding the worst decision, Stephanie said, "I don’t think I have any bad decisions, the day went exactly as we had planned. We enjoyed every second of celebrating with our friends and family. One thing I will say is that I regret not eating more! Tinakilly has the most amazing food and I was too preoccupied with everything on the day I didn’t take in the delicious food! Luckily we had day 2 in the venue as well so I could savour the BBQ that day!"