Standing majestically in an oasis of calm, The Maryborough Hotel captures a seamless blend of the contemporary and the traditional, ensuring an ideal combination of old-fashioned values with modern sophistication. This beautifully tranquil hotel was the venue for Trang Nguyen's wedding to Gavin O’Driscoll on the 24th of September 2023. Photographed by ID Photography, this wedding day is delicate, sweet and beautifully emotional.

The couple had an incredibly unusual and special love story. The pair met for the first time in April 2019, Gavin was at the time a Buddhist Monk as he had undertaken a 5 year monastic programme in Plum Village France. Gavin had come to London with a group of monastics to offer a series of mindfulness events and Trang was a volunteer helping to organise the events. The two connected over their shared interests in spirituality, self-development and psychology. They kept in touch and their relationship started sometime after Gavin had left Plum Village.

Following the vein of their unusual love story, Trang and Gavin decided to organise the wedding before getting officially engaged! Initially, they had spoken about getting married at the end of summer 2024, but in spring 2023 changed their minds and decided to have the wedding one year before (Leaving only four months to plan the whole thing). "One of the main reasons was our planned sabbatical to Latin America and we preferred to get married before the trip so that we don’t have to feel the pressure to come back to Ireland by a certain date to start organising the wedding. Another reason was that we would like to start a family once we come back from our travels." Despite their rapidly approaching deadline, Trang still wanted that romantic proposal moment so asked Gavin to plan something special. Only 20 days before the wedding the couple got officially engaged on Inch Beach in West Cork. 

Being the type of woman who likes to look after herself, the beauty journey for the wedding was very important for Trang. "I feel very lucky that I found a makeup artist who would be able to do make-up which made me look and feel pretty but not drastically different to how I usually look." Trang found Laura Devides online who specialises in natural glam, and travelled all the way from Cork to Dublin for a make-up trial! One month before the wedding, she started to do trials for facials, eyebrow threading, manicures, and pedicures to find the team of beauticians that she would be happy with for the big day. Trang's hair was done by her cousin Nini, who is a hairstylist. "He was super kind and patient with me as we did so many hair trials ahead of the wedding. I felt so lucky to have him!"

Having dreamt of getting married since she was a little girl, and being a fashion lover, Trang had spent a long time thinking of her dream dress. But, by the time she started looking for a wedding dress, there were only 3 months left till the wedding, so she didn’t have much time available for searching! "All the shops I called said they wouldn’t have time to order any new dresses for me and that I would have to go with an off-the-rack dress, at which point I got quite stressed." She went dress shopping with her mother-in-law and found the perfect dress in the ‘Say I Do’ boutique shop in Middleton, only the second shop she went to. "As soon as I saw it on the hanger, I was like ‘wow! Now that’s something different.’.  When I had the dress on me, I felt something special and it was a real statement kind of dress for me. I felt so beautiful and feminine in it, I just absolutely loved it and knew that was the one!" Once Trang knew she wanted to buy that particular dress, she asked the shop owner about the brand and was told it was a Pronovias dress. "At that moment, I couldn’t believe it nearly, as it was always my dream to wear a Pronovias dress for my wedding! It was meant to be as the shop owner didn’t know this info before she proposed this dress."

Gavin’s experience was very quick and easy. "We went together with my male cousin to Saville’s in Cork and Gavin found his whole attire there: from the tuxedo to his shirt, shoes, bow and cufflinks. That was very fortunate for Gavin as he doesn’t like shopping!"

The couple had a humanist spiritual ceremony in the Maryborough Hotel. "We felt that this type of ceremony would best reflect us as people and also from a spiritual perspective as we wanted to have a spiritual wedding but not religious." Their celebrant, Brenda O’Grady, is an interfaith Minister, and included ancient Celtic rituals (hand-fasting, unity candle, a circle of protection) with a Buddhist chant. "A lot of our guests shared that they felt incredibly emotional during our wedding as it was so heartfelt, beautiful and loving, with so much meaning." As part of the humanist ceremony, the pair could also pick readings and poems which resonated with them, this gave it an even more personal touch. "Honestly, we couldn’t have imagined having a better way to get married than in the way we have done!" There wasn't a dry eye in the house by the time Trang and Gavin said 'I do'!

For the wedding venue, the pair chose the Maryborough Hotel. "Gavin and I lived in many countries all over Europe in the past so had friends coming from different countries and didn’t want to create more hassle for them by asking them to find their way to a countryside wedding venue." The two were blown away by the Orangery room with its elements of nature both inside and outside the room.  As the room is a conservatory-style room, full of glass windows the guests could take in all of the greenery from the hotel garden. The room also felt very intimate and the right atmosphere for the wedding ceremony and reception dinner, as they had a rather small wedding with only 80 guests. 

Gavin and Trang wanted to have a string quartet for the ceremony so hired the Vltava String Quartet! Then for the wedding reception party, they chose the Blacktye band as the couple watched a few of their performance videos and thought they had the perfect vibe, and finally had DJ and Sax to dance the night away. "I love the saxophone and it was so fun to have a sax player to accompany the DJ. We had such a fun night!"

Trang had to say about the best decision, "I think the best we did was that we made a lot of choices according to what was important to us and what felt right for us, instead of going with what most people do. For example, we chose to not have a receiving line after the ceremony ended and instead, we went back to our room for 15 minutes just to soak in the moment of being married and to have some alone time before entertaining guests. Also, having a sweetheart table with just the 2 of us, instead of a full top table with parents and bridal party (which we didn’t have) offered us more time to just enjoy each other’s company amidst the wedding day which is so full on."

About the worst decision, Trang had to say, "We can’t think of a bad decision, of course, there were minor things which didn’t go according to plan throughout the day, but in the end, they didn’t really matter as we were just so happy to savour our big day!"

- Gráinne