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Holiday Engagement Party in Ireland

I’ve always wanted to visit is Ireland, and this delicious dinner shot by Laura Murray Photography is just one of the many reasons why. Celebrating love and laughter, friends gathered over a Signora E Mare menu to share a meal at Ballyvolane HouseStyle Serendipity coordinated all the beauty (like that lush runner by Ann Marie O Leary), and I for one will be dreaming of sitting down to this dinner for years to come.

From Laura Murray PhotographyCelebration is an important ritual and one that can take many different forms; a handwritten card to say congratulations, a weekend getaway to celebrate an anniversary, or a simple glass of champagne used to toast a happy event, but my favorite way to celebrate is to gather together with friends over a meal.

Nothing is as satisfying as a close gathering of friends to celebrate a momentous occasion. It is the good stuff of life. It is what nourishes both our bodies and our minds.

This particular celebration, the celebration of a wedding engagement, was hosted at the Ballyvolane House, a historic Irish country house in Cork County. Driving down a sweeping country lane that weaves and curves through fields and around ancient oak trees, you can’t but get the sense that something special is just around the corner. Ballyvolane House with its noble stone facade seems as much a part of the landscape as all of the greenery around it.

The Ballyvolane House has an aesthetic that blends style and comfort – there is ample space inside their Drawing room for intimate conversation and the grand table in the dining room for larger groups. All of this makes the house an idyllic location for celebration.

Ciara O’Halloran with Style Serendipity is the skilled stylist who coordinated the event. It was the sense of nature interwoven with the elegant 18th century architecture that she wanted to capture in the design of the celebration. She took the cozy dining room and transformed it into a candlelit abode. She set the perfect scene for the guests to gather ‘round, drink, eat, converse, laugh, and be merry.

The beautiful floral elements were architected by designer Ann Marie with A New Leaf Floral. Freshly foraged moss from the woodland floor was interwoven with Irish heather and bees wax candles to bring the outdoors in, while the roaring fire and sumptuous feast created with all local ingredients grown in the walled-garden at Ballyvolane House and sourced from local artisan producers ensured that the soft rain falling outside only added to the magical atmosphere.
Katie Decker with Signora e Mare crafted organic menus and place settings that complimented the ambiance of the evening. Her hand drawn calligraphy was a touch of whimsy that finished off the styled décor.

Ballyvolane impressed all when they cooked up the most magical meal. All the food they serve in house is grown locally, much of which is grown on their own property.

Guests arrived to a glass of Ballyvolane’s famous Elderflower liquor (recipe below) or Hedgerow Martinis. Ballyvolane uses Elderflower Cordial to make their Elderflower Bellinis, Elderflower Fizz, and panna cotta. Their staff spends two weeks picking wild elderflowers from the hedgerows all around northeast Cork. The decadent meal consisted of half the garden soup, Yorkshire pudding, roasted sirloin of McGrath’s beef, winter greens, and roasted potatoes. They finished with a final course of fresh lemon posset and homemade brown bread ice cream. Delish!

Elderflower Cordial


  • 74 elderflower heads
  • 9 litres of water
  • 4.5 kg granulated caster sugar
  • 170 g citric acid 
  • 6 lemons, zest & juice

ONE | Boil water, sugar and citric acid to dissolve, remove from heat.

TWO | Add lemon zest, lemon juice and flowers.

THREE | Transfer to bucket or tub and leave in fridge covered for 2 to 3 days to infuse.

FOUR | Stir daily.

FIVE | Strain the liquid mixture and either store in  fridge or freezer for longer term. Will keep for up to a year.

SIX | Enjoy.

Photography: Laura Murray Photography | Floral Design: Ann Marie O Leary | Menus And Paper Goods: Signora E Mare | Styling + Coordination: Style Serendipity | Venue: Ballyvolane House

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Intimate Castle Wedding in Northern Ireland

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to marry with an Irish fairytale wedding this, SMPers, is the answer. Beginning with a boat ride along the Lough Erne, guests trekked to the ceremony at an ancient stone chapel followed by a celebration at Crom Castle. The creative gurus behind Pearl & Godiva orchestrated every gorgeous moment and Peaches & Mint captured behind the lens. More here!


From Pearl & GodivaMany couples dream of an intimate wedding, sharing these magical moments with just their nearest and dearest, on a day which reflects their own personal style from start to finish. We were so honoured to make this a reality for Grace and Paul, which took place in the spell-bounding environs of the Crom Castle on Lough Erne in Northern Ireland.

Crom Castle is an enchanting historic castle which sits beside Lough Erne, the perfect backdrop for an exquisite wedding. This waterside kingdom was a huge inspiration for the day, given that guests took a boat ride along Lough Erne to join the couple celebrate their their wedding ceremony in the ancient stone chapel.

Inspired by the words of Henry David Thoreau, we began creating a day completely unique to such a loving couple.

“If you have built castles in the sky
Let not your dreams go to waste;
Just build the foundations under them.”
~ Henry David Thoreau.

Following months of preparation, on a glorious June morning we made our way to Crom Castle to create a timeless and elegant wedding for Grace and Paul. To see our design come to life was dreamlike, from the bespoke stationery, hand-crafted linens, to the luscious florals, tumbling out of every nook, adorning all surfaces. Together with Magva Design & Letterpress we drew inspiration from the wooden boats that sail by the castle. Painterly blooms by Floral Earth crept across hand dyed tablecloths, with florals barely contained in their over-sized urns, teaming beautifully with glinting gold flatware and gold rimmed glassware.

Grace and Paul’s love was captured in the low light of dusk, as mist raised from the lake and cloaked the landscape with cool wispy light.

Photography: Peaches & Mint | Cake : Lily Cupcake | Decor : Pearl & Godiva | Florals For Pearl & Godiva : Floral Earth | Planning, Production, Art Direction & Styling: Pearl & Godiva | Stationery For Pearl & Godiva : Magva Design & Letterpress | Venue: Crom Castle

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Irish Spring Wedding at Doonbeg Lodge

With rolling green hills as its backdrop, this wedding is the definition of natural beauty. Ireland has been on my list of places to visit for awhile but after soaking up these sights by Elisha Clarke, I’m bumping it up to take the lead spot on that wanderlust list. But until that day comes, let’s get lost in every one of these pretty photos right this way.

From The Bride… Steve and I got married in May 2014 at Doonbeg Lodge on Ireland’s West Coast. We had an intimate ceremony with about 70 family members and close friends. Ireland’s always been a special place for me as my grandmother was born there and I spent a semester studying abroad outside of Dublin in college. We got engaged in the Fall of 2012 in our home in Boston’s South End. Despite dating for 7 years, he still managed to surprise me. Luckily for me, Steve was game for a destination wedding and we spent our spring break from business school visiting venues all over Ireland. I always wanted to get married in an Irish Castle, but after a week of touring around the country, we fell in love with Doonbeg Lodge. The resort was magnificent, with beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean, an extraordinarily friendly staff, and delicious food featuring local ingredients. Although we’d never been there before, we instantly felt at home and knew it was a place we’d look forward to returning to in years to come. My friends thought I was crazy trying to plan a wedding from across the ocean while trying to finish my MBA and land a new job, but I always enjoy a challenge. I spent months devouring bridal magazines and wedding blogs, and researching Irish wedding vendors. We wanted the wedding to be relaxed, elegant, and fun, while showcasing Ireland’s natural beauty. I let the dramatic landscape inform the color palette, with a lot of warm neutrals like ivory, champagne, and blush pink, with a pop of deep, emerald green in the bridesmaid dresses and rich coral pink in the blooms. It was really important to me that the flowers echoed the wild beauty of the Atlantic Coast and I was thrilled to work with Claire Ryan from the Informal Florist. I cried when she delivered my flowers on the wedding day. With vibrant peonies, pink garden roses, and lush greens, they looked like they were freshly picked from a local garden and really captured the relaxed elegant vibe we were going for. Dara Molloy, a Celtic monk residing on the nearby Aran Islands, officiated our wedding in the courtyard. He performed many traditional blessings and a traditional handfasting ceremony. After cocktails by the sea, we enjoyed a delicious meal in the marquee, dancing the night away under the stars with our amazing band. Luckily for us, the rain waited until after our outdoor ceremony and cleared just before sunset so a gorgeous rainbow could appear. From the music and flowers, to the venue, food, and decor, our uber talented photographer captured it all. We were thrilled to celebrate with our family and friends in such a special place, and would do it all over again with the same wonderful vendors if we could.

Photography: Elisha Clarke Photography | Wedding Coordinator: Sylvia Wallnutt | Floral Design: The Informal Florist | Wedding Dress: Paloma Blanca | Cake: Cloudberry Bakery | Bride's Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids' Dresses: J Crew | Band: The Bentley Boys | Groom's Attire: Banana Republic | Hair And Makeup Artist: UpStyle Junkie | Officiant : Dara Molloy | Venue: Doonbeg Lodge

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