Ideas & Inspiration/Advice

Our Editor Claire’s Laid-Back Barn Wedding in Ireland

Barn Wedding in Ireland by Navyblur Photography 42

So it’s my first day back at my laptop after our Christmas break, and I have to say, it’s a surreal one.

While it’s partly strange having to sit in a proper chair and distance myself from the chocolates and cheese, it’s more bizarre because I’ve been thinking about how I’d put together this blog post for a pretty long time.

After writing up hundreds of real wedding blog posts over the last three years, the day has finally come to share my own. (I feel a bit sick!).

My lovely husband Marko and I got married in front of 90 of our closest family and friends, last summer in Ireland. The sun shone over Killruddery House as we said our vows with an outdoor ceremony, before we spent the afternoon drinking cocktails, playing games, enjoying some stellar speeches over fabulous food, and dancing to the wee hours in our rustic barn venue.

The awesome Xander & Christine of Navyblur were by our sides to capture it all, (along with John McKeown who made our film, which you can watch here) and I’m just so excited to share their gorgeous work, and some of the details behind our day.

So, here goes…

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The Inspiration

So anyone who kept up with my Real Bride Diary last year will know all about the inspiration behind our day.

I won’t wax on about it all again, but the short version is that Marko & I chose to get married at home in Ireland, but we wanted a day that felt as relaxed and communal as a sunny destination wedding.

Luckily the weather played ball, our vendors were incredible, and our venue, The Grain Store at Killruddery worked out perfectly for what we had in mind.

We put a lot of focus on two things, our guests’ experience, and keeping things authentic. Every single choice we made had those two things in mind; Would it add to the informality? Would it be fun for our guests? Will it get people talking? Is it ‘us’?

One comment that we’ve had a couple of times since our wedding, was that the guests felt really loved and looked after. And that makes us endlessly happy, because really that’s what it was all about for us – otherwise we would have eloped.

With choices like no bridal party, no first dance, no top table, crowd-sourced desserts and open mic speeches, we hope we created a party that felt more like a coming-together of old friends, than a formal event.

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Barn Wedding in Ireland by Navyblur Photography 75

The Ceremony

Marko and I got ready on our own together, and that really was the best thing for settling my nerves ahead of the ceremony.

We had a short(ish), standing ceremony outdoors in a little corner of the farmyard at the Grain Store, it hadn’t been used for a wedding before, but it was perfect for creating an intimate feel, and with some foliage garland and painter’s drop cloth for the backdrop, it looked beautiful.

It had been raining just a couple of hours before, but we made the call to still have it outside and thankfully, the sun shone. We also had ice-cream on arrival, which worked so much better with the hot weather!

Our ceremony was officiated by our friend Dan (who did the most wonderful job) with music and readings from our good friends. Our niece was the flower girl/balloon carrier (she cried all the way up the aisle, it was pretty cute!) and our nephew carried the rings like a pro, on a pillow I’d DIY’d from one of my Nana’s embroideries.

One of our readings was from the film ‘Up’. A couple of years ago, when Marko and I had to live apart for a few months, he’d given me Ellie’s grape soda badge from the movie, which said, “You and me, we’re in a club now”. So we gave our guests the same badge to put on during the ceremony.

Cheesy? Perhaps. But I don’t care, we’re all in a club now!


Barn Wedding in Ireland by Navyblur Photography 79
Barn Wedding in Ireland by Navyblur Photography 76

The Reception

We had a bluegrass band and games in the courtyard for cocktail hour, while we dashed off to take some photos. Then we went into the barn for dinner, which was a (delicious!) buffet BBQ.

I had originally wanted foliage garlands for the tables, but herb pots were way more affordable, created a beautiful scent, and doubled up as take-home favours. We combined them with mix and match napkins from IKEA, craft paper table runners, lots (and lots) of candles, and gorgeous brushed gold cutlery from House of Hannah.

We named each table after a place we’ve lived together, (my very talented dad did all the signage), we stamped brown tags with the guests’ names and included a Polaroid photo of each person in their place setting.

We also had a ‘Here in Spirit’ sign, as an acknowledgement of family who had recently passed away.

We were nervous about how our open mic speeches would go, but everyone kept things brief, which meant they were probably even more emotional, funny, and thoughtful. There were a few impromptu ones too, which really enhanced the casual vibes. Our friends Celina and Fla MC’d, not only were they a cracking double act, but they moved things along smoothly too.

After dinner, the photobooth opened up, the pizza truck arrived, and then our epic, 12-person 90s cover band, Attention Bébé, had us all in a conga line around the room. It was mega.

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Barn Wedding in Ireland by Navyblur Photography 81

On Reflection

Do you know what nobody tells you? (Okay, everybody tells you). Getting married is so much fun.

We had the most spectacular day, we loved every minute, and I was so pleased with how it all went that there wasn’t even a comedown afterwards. I was just chuffed to have the memories and feel so loved.

Navyblur put us at ease from the very start, and they listened to us when we said we didn’t want to spend too long on the pictures – they got every possible family combination in under five minutes flat! The staff in Killruddery were just amazing on the day. Oh and the flowers – The Informal Florist created my dream bouquet, I welled up when I saw it. (Did you see my DIY buttonholes – I’m pretty proud of them!)

I felt so comfortable in my dress, and I loved how despite spending so long worrying about how I’d look, how my skin would be, if my earrings or shoes were right, on the day, none of that mattered. I felt awesome but more than that, I was just so deliriously happy.

Weddings can so often be over-priced, over-hyped, and over-whelming. My biggest piece of wedding advice is not to give in to that.

Yes it feels extravagant to devote an entire day to you and your other half, but it’s also the most special feeling. Sitting down to dinner with everyone you love most in the world, giving your loved ones a fun day out and having people travel just to share in your excitement.

Having a wedding is the loveliest thing. I’d fully recommend it.

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Barn Wedding in Ireland by Navyblur Photography 96
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Barn Wedding in Ireland by Navyblur Photography 61
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