Good morning. This week I’ve learned a few more important lessons on being a work from home mum, namely that when it’s the summer holidays anything can happen, as in work may not and the kids will! Come on Mr weather man, give us a treat in August!
The to-do list is still rather full but I’m moving on and today is the perfect day to share Liz and Tomas’ beach wedding from Emma Campbell at Jump The Broom.
Just like my own day (which I plan to blog about soon), Liz and Tomas wanted their day to be a reflection of themselves and with a modest budget and an anchor on what was important got exactly that, a relaxed and fun celebration on the beach in Donegal, with an amazing three week honeymoon in Bali and Malaysia after. Liz was a student studying in Belfast when she met Tomas, although she is originally from Milwaukee in Wisconsin. When the topic of Liz returning home to the States came up Tomas said he would go with her which confirmed to her that the relationship was headed in the right direction.
“We now live in Belfast but in 2011 I had flown home on the 19th December to be with my parents over Christmas, and had no idea he was coming. The evening of the 23rd he showed up at my parents’ house, and got down on one knee in the kitchen! It was a complete surprise and so incredibly sweet – they’d all been in on it for months!” said Liz.
When it came to planning Liz was sure on one thing, her wedding had to be on a beach and Tra Mor beach in Downings, County Donegal was the perfect setting.
“We picked things that were important to us, knowing we didn’t have a huge budget. I had always wanted to get married on a beach, so despite the precariousness of Irish weather, Tra Mor Beach was pretty much a given, as it’s played an important role in our relationship. We wanted to give my family and friends as much time to plan and save and try to get to the wedding as possible, so we went for a fairly long two and a half year engagement. Basically we wanted it to be a fun party – so we spent our time and money on things that would contribute to this, rather than lots of frilly details or formal things. We’re not very formal people!” explained Liz.
Without having her mum around Liz had to shop for her wedding gown without her which was hard.
“I did get to go shopping with mum twice in Milwaukee in the summer of 2012, and as I was going home again in the summer of 2013, I decided I would wait to try on dresses until then, so my Mom could be with me when I found the dress. Shortly before this, I decided to go one day with a friend to look at a dress I’d seen online – I was having a hard time finding something I liked, as what I wanted was apparently a bit unusual. I tried on this dress – which was called the Elizabeth dress, actually – and just knew immediately that was my dress. It was so exciting but also really sad, because my Mom wasn’t there and it meant we wouldn’t be looking for dresses together that summer, so it was a bittersweet moment. Luckily, however, my mom is a trained seamstress, so I took the dress home with me and she did all my alterations – she was still very much a part of my beautiful dress,” added Liz.
Liz and Tomas never stuck to a strict theme but planned an informal wedding day with the beach as the ideal backdrop, which offered Liz a great idea for her four bridesmaids.
“I wanted the bridesmaids dresses to be like a wave, starting with dark blue and getting lighter and lighter until I walked down the aisle. I also definitely wanted them to be long and flowy. Finding a dress style that came in four different blue colours that complimented each other and lightened like I wanted – well it wasn’t easy! Luckily I had the most amazing, patient and helpful bridesmaids, who tried on way more dresses than I even did for the wedding, and arranged all the ordering and alterations themselves. Total rockstars, and the effect was absolutely gorgeous and exactly what I wanted,” said Liz.
“Our day was perfect but not without a few last minute panics! I lost one of my contact lenses the day before the wedding and had a total meltdown as I hadn’t brought any spares! The husbands of my bridesmaids – all Americans enjoying driving on the wrong side of the road – actually ventured into Letterkenny to the optometrist for me to pick up spares. They got some free beer on the day, for sure! The other drama were our flowers, well they were hideous but thankfully Tomas’ very talented cousin, who is an interior designer saved the day and they turned out stunning,” explained Liz.
“Our entire day was one entire highlight, it was genuinely the best day of our lives. It didn’t rain although the clouds were threatening during the afternoon, it wasn’t too windy, it was beautiful, and the sun came out from behind the clouds right as we kissed after our vows. Like a movie. Having my incredible family and friends there that had made the long journey from America to be there – that meant so much and our amazing officiant, Derek Poole really made the ceremony what it was,” added Liz.
Figure out what means the most to you – you won’t be able to do or afford everything – and focus on that. Yes, people will always have opinions and advice, but if you’re confident and comfortable in what you want, you can take their best-intentioned interferences with a smile. We asked our guests not to use their phones or cameras during the ceremony, I wanted them to be present in the moment. And from talking to people afterwards, they told me that made a real difference in how emotional it was. I would highly recommend asking people to do this – they really do respect it when you ask.
Ceremony: Tra Mor Beach, Downings, Donegal.
Reception: Rosapenna Golf Pavilion, Downings, Donegal.
Wedding officiant: Derek Poole.
Wedding dress: Phase Eight.
Cake: Life is Sweet NI, Belfast.
Transport: Borrowed from the venue.
Dinner entertainment: Doiminic MacGiolla Bhríde and friends.
Evening entertainment: Dimebag DJs, Belfast.
Photography: Jump The Broom, Belfast.