No matter how many times we visit Gloster House for a real wedding, we can't help but fall in love with the romance of it all and today is no different. Dublin natives Clare and James chose the stunning venue for their fun-filled wedding and added their own touch of classic elegance to proceedings. They were even blessed with great weather so as to make the most of the gardens in the sunshine. Luckily for us, the whole day was captured by Niamh Smith from The Photography Hub and we're delighted to share sweet snippets of their gorgeous day.
When we talk about childhood sweethearts, it doesn't go much further back than Clare and James' love story. "We first met in playschool and spent eight years in the same class in primary school," Clare told us. "James asked me out when we were 17 and both of our families were holidaying closeby in Spain. He had diligently transported over a giant Cadbury's Easter egg to me, I mean, how could I say no?"
And it was easy for Clare to say yes to another question from James a few years later when he proposed. "James had designed the ring, collected it, and got permission from my family but his plans were ruined when two days later, he ruptured his patella tendon in training," Clare explained. "This resulted in him proposing a few weeks later than originally planned - in a full leg splint and still down on one knee which was very impressive! I plan and organise everything so it was amazing to be caught completely off guard. I was so surprised that I didn't manage to answer and had to be gently prompted by James so that he could get back up into a more comfortable position. We were then quickly joined in the house by both our families and my best friend for an impromptu Tuesday night celebration."
As the wedding planning started, there was one thing this pair were very keen to have on their big day. "We wanted to have fun," Clare explained. "We wanted to enjoy every moment of the day and spend as much time as possible with our friends and family."
And the backdrop for that celebration was the gorgeous Gloster House in Birr, County Offaly. "We knew almost instantly that it was where we wanted to get married," Clare gushed. "The house itself is fabulous and the owners are just so warm and kind. A day two party was very important to us and it had the most beautiful grounds to host what ended up being a fantastic BBQ and outdoor games party the next day."
Clare and James ending up creating a truly intimate celebration with their nearest and dearest - a day that felt like home. "James and I have known each other since we were very young," Clare told us. "Luckily, both of our families and friends all know each other really well which meant that everyone could mingle and interact really well. It was even more special being able to do so in a private venue for the whole weekend."
And they kept things homegrown when it came to some of their suppliers too. "We were so lucky to have one of my best friends as our videographer," Clare beamed. "She was there as I got ready and kept us laughing the whole way through our couple's photos. Our local parish priest also travelled down to Birr to celebrate our wedding which added such a personal touch to the ceremony as he had been present at both of our communions and confirmations so knew us both growing up."
Clare and James really created something incredibly personal and did so in the best of circumstances. "Personal, fun, relaxed and colourful - that was what we wanted and what we got," Clare said. "We were incredibly lucky with the weather for the whole weekend and spent a lot of time outside which just added to the relaxed vibe."
As for advice to others, Clare and James want to pass on a few pro tips after their experience. "We would say to start early and try to enjoy each aspect of the process," they told us. "Our aim was to plan as much as possible in advance and on the day to hand it all over to our lovely venue and enjoy every minute ourselves. We'd also recommend getting a videographer because we've watched our video countless times - and get proper photo albums! Our photographer made us the most beautiful photo album with two mini versions for our parents."
Thanks so much to today's couple Clare and James for sharing their special day with us and Niamh Smith from The Photography Hub for capturing the whole thing.