This magnificent castle wedding on Ireland’s southwest coast was inspired by rich jewel tones, moody accents and carefree country vibes! Madi and Tom, our real wedding couple, travelled from Wisconsin in the US with 48 of their nearest and dearest to embark on their new chapter as husband and wife. Leaving behind their precious doggies, they ensured they weren’t forgetten and just wait until you see how they were included. Photographer Emily Doran captured all the divine details, and we can’t wait to give you a dose of dreamy wedding inspiration!
Madi and Tom’s love story began one summer while Madi was spending time with her grandparents at their family cabin, and she was working at a local establishment. Tom was living in the same town and owned a local supper club. Needless to say, when he spotted Madi, there were instant sparks! They spent those summer days on the lake together with his dog Layla, and what was supposed to be a summer fling turned into six years of love. “Even being apart for the first two years, we managed to see each other often. I was studying at the Ohio State University and spent a semester abroad in Florence, Italy. The miles apart just cemented our love of travel and adventure, and has brought us all over the world. We have now travelled to 15 countries together,” shares Madi.
Madi upgraded her french manicure with a moody twist. The perfect match for her decadent black patent Christian Louboutin bridal heels!
The proposal came next at the scenic Cisco Chain in Land O’Lakes, Wisconsin, where the couple is from. Madi recalls the beautiful moment when she said yes: “He surprised me with a float plane ride with friends and he was waiting on a raft surrounded by beautiful flowers and candles along with our two dogs, Layla and Ghost. The engagement was celebrated with an amazing meal with family and friends at our Supper Club, The Bear Trap Inn!”
The morning of the spring wedding day was filled with emotional moments between Madi, her husband-to-be and her father. Madi and Tom embraced a first touch, similar to the first look, whilst gifting each other sentimental gifts and handwritten notes. Below, Emily caught a sweet moment between the bride and her father!
The wedding ceremony took place on-site on the beautiful grounds of Ballyseede Castle. Having the option to be inside or outside was an important factor for Madi and Tom when choosing the wedding venue. “We were thrilled with the location of the venue at Ballyseede, as it put our guests close to all of the sights.” Originally Madi’s number one priority was having the wedding outside, but on the day of the wedding, the sky opened with hailstones! “Ultimately Tom decided to have the wedding indoors as he felt it made the wedding more moody and intimate and he was right. We wanted our own twist on the setting and our wardrobe, so we incorporated a lot of black which is unusual for a wedding,” she says.
The couple tied the knot – literally – with a handfasting ritual for their ceremony. This is a symbolic unity ritual in which a couple stand face to face as their hands are tied together. As your hands are bound, you can recite words that express your commitment to one another. “We’re glad we wrote our own vows, even though it was intimidating, it made our ceremony special and intimate. Having live music brought a sense of wonder and excitement to our wedding,” they say.
Moody romance was the tone for this Irish castle wedding day! The bridesmaids wore sleek black dresses in mix-and-match styles. To infuse colour, Madi chose a pop of magenta pink to complement the warm tones of her burgundy bouquet. The gentlemen also donned classic black suits, with wildflower buttonholes and emerald green pocket squares.
We have to mention there were two very, and we mean very, important guests who were unable to attend – Layla and Ghost, Madi and Tom’s dogs. However, the couple popped on their creative hats and ensured they could still be a part of the day. They explain: “We were desperate to have our dogs there, but unfortunately travelling with our dogs across the pond for such a short amount of time was unrealistic, but we still wanted them there in spirit. Madi’s mom pinned charms with pictures of the dogs on her bouquet and created hilarious masks featuring Layla and Ghost to surprise Tom and Madi, which was one of the highlights of the day according to Tom. Wait till you see the results…
Prepare for some monochrome magic. Madi’s Badgley Mischka gown was completed with a showstopping oversized trailing black bow, which hugged her figure perfectly. She paired her look with a subtle undone upstyle and her something new were pearl earrings from Tiffany’s, gifted by Tom that morning.
Tom and Madi really treasured the quiet moment they had together, and loved having a more intimate guestlist. They describe the castle wedding vibe as romantic, magical, unique, dark, moody, carefree, elegant and full of jewel tones! Naturally, the couple made the most of their time on the Emerald Isle and embraced the most idyllic wedding portraits around the castle grounds and beyond.
So what made the Wisconsin lovebirds choose Ballyseede Castle for their dream wedding venue? “Being a castle that offered itself as a venue, with a hotel on site was one main reason! They were very accommodating from the beginning and they weren’t stuffy – oh and they had animals on the property! Cost overall was very affordable from drinks, dinner, and accommodations too!” they say. The moody aesthetic continued into the reception decor with black table runners, table numbers and candelabras dressed with florals.
Check out that wedding cake! A three-tiered beauty with a touch of gold foil certainly turned heads.
We had to ask Madi and Tom for advice, especially as they planned their wedding from abroad! They say: “Don’t take too many people’s opinions into consideration, go with your gut! Don’t spend your money on all of the fine details, pick what really matters to you both. Spend money on the photographer, it is well worth it. Something will go wrong, and that’s okay. Our officiant mispronounced Madi’s maiden name, which made the ceremony lighthearted as we couldn’t stop laughing. Tom dropped the ring box. And our cake did not match our original vision, but who cares!” they laugh.
Ah a sparkler tunnel, a photographic wedding must! To continue, the wonderful celebrations, the newlyweds jetted off on the honeymoon of a lifetime to South Africa. They visited Cape Town, Franschhoek, Stellenbosch, Kruger National Park and Johannesburg. “We loved our trip to South Africa, and we strongly recommend the Delaire Graff Estate in Stellenbosch, it is out-of-this-world luxury! And also Ulusaba, Sir Richard Branson’s private game reserve in Kruger, was the highlight of our trip. We enjoyed diving with seals in Cape Town as well as enjoying all of the fresh seafood,” they say.
A very special thank you to Emily Doran for showcasing such beautiful images of Madi and Tom’s Irish castle wedding with One Fab Day!
If you enjoyed this beautiful castle wedding, why not indulge in more inspiring Real Weddings here!