Dream Come True
For as long as I can remember Ireland was on my bucket list. I don’t know why I was always so drawn to it but I knew I wanted to go one day. When my husband decided to drop his retirement papers and retire from the Army after 20.5 years we started talking about a trip. Something to celebrate his career and a big family vacation before settling in Texas.
As we talked we decided on Ireland and possibly Scotland. We brought our kids into the conversation and asked them what was on their bucket list. For our son is was all about Harry Potter. This included the walking tour in Edinburgh Scotland and the Warner Brothers Harry Potter Tour in London. Our daughter wanted to see the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
As I started to do research on the potential trip and pricing I was drawn more and more to fulfilling our bucket list. I am not a huge fan of flying and so with already planning a 9ish hour flight to Ireland I figured why not go see what we could so that I didn’t have to do that flight to many times in the future. Also with the change of careers for my husband and running my real estate business from afar we knew this was our best chance to go while we could comfortably afford it.
One of the most amazing memories that we have from our trip was our Vow Renewal in Ireland. My husband and I had always talked about renewing our vows. Most of the time when we talked about it; it involved a beach. That’s what you always see online. Everyone seems to renew their vows on a beach so that is what we thought we would do.
Once we confirmed that we were doing our trip I brought up the idea of renewing our vows in Ireland. I mean how neat and magical would that be? Then I took it a step further while looking for venues. Castles! Who wouldn’t want to renew their vows in a castle. After deciding that was what we wanted to do the planning began.
I am a big planner, I mean our entire trip had a printed itinerary with things to do, time lines, maps and more. (I will write about that in a later post)
When my husband and I got married in 2002 we had a very traditional church wedding. It turned out wonderful and I loved every minute of it. We had all of our family and friends there to witness the beginning of our lives together.
The Whole Family
With the planning of the vow renewal I got very excited that our children would be involved. We also decided to go full out. Wedding dress, suits, bridesmaid gown, hair, makeup,flowers, photography and ceremony. The whole thing.
The planning itself allowed us to make memories with our family. My daughter went with me to find a wedding dress and I loved shopping with her for her bridesmaid dress. She even gets to wear the dress at her 8th grade formal. My son and husband picked out their suits and in true fashion for their personalities wore their converse. I loved it.
With Ireland being several hours ahead and me having no contacts I started googling. I first started by looking for a wedding planner to help. With the time difference and trying to confirm vendors I figured that would be the easiest. I made contacts with some amazing ladies but decided that the cost we would spend paying them we could spend on activities on our trip. So this brought everything back into my lap.
With needing to find a venue, hair, makeup, flowers and someone to do the ceremony I wasn’t quite sure where to start. I am a big fan of googling and now that I use instagram more, I started searching by hashtags.
For this task I started with Instagram. By the end of planning I had found every person I needed on Instagram based on hashtags. What a great testament to how important hashtags are if you are running a business page on instagram.
I started with simple things like #ireland, #vowrenewal, #irelandphotography, #irelandmakeup and a few others. From these I was able to find other hashtags in the post that I could continue to search with.
As I started looking through photos and contacting people I quickly found out that the photographer was most important to me but could also become my most expensive. I probably reached out to 6-7 photographers for information and pricing.
What I love is the very first picture I found and fell in love with is who I was able to get to do the photographs. This photographer was amazing and after starting a conversation with her she was available on our desired day and in our price range.
This made me jump for joy. Oh did I mention I planned this in 6 weeks? Dress, fittings, flights, vendors, and the rest of the trip all in 6 weeks. It was crazy but so thankful how it all worked out.
While still looking for hair and makeup I started looking for an Ireland wedding venue. I checked out all of the standard castles that come up first when looking to have a wedding in a castle in Ireland. These were all beautiful and breathtaking but also very expensive. These venues were more for formal weddings then a small vow renewal.
I had to find something that was on the day we wanted and in a location that worked within the entire trip. We were in Ireland from Sunday to Sunday and I needed a location for the Saturday before we left.
So many things worked in our favor. With the desire to do the vow renewal we were lucky enough to have it on a day that meant so much to us. The ceremony was on November 17th which was 17 years to the day that we met. It was so amazing that it worked out that way.
I ended up finding an amazing castle on instagram through hashtags that was owned by a family. They lived in one part of the castle. During certain seasons they would host tours and then allow stays at certain times as well. Once I connected with the owner I knew this was the place we wanted to stay and have the ceremony. The owner also put me in touch with someone he recommended to perform the ceremony.
Huntington Castle was tucked away in a small town about 1.5 hrs from Dublin. The location is still a working farm and had been owned by the family since it was built in 1625. The settings for pictures were from a fairytale.
Staying in a castle was such a neat experience. We were able to play games in the tapestry room, take walks and relax. (The kids survived with no wifi or tv’s haha)
The day of the ceremony went exactly how I wanted. The photographer showed up right as makeup and hair were starting. Doing this fun girly part with my daughter was exciting. My son and husband were able to tour some of the castle grounds with the owner which they loved.
We were able to record the ceremony on our Go Pro and have breathtaking photos to keep forever. Our kids smiling and laughing, dressed up and having fun made my heart so happy.
If you are ever considering renewing your vows I highly recommend a castle in Ireland. It was magical and not the typical vow renewal you would think of but it fit our family perfectly.
The funny thing is we didn’t tell anyone what we were doing. (Well my mom and best friend knew) I was so worried about what people would think or say that we didn’t post or share for a while. We didn’t even tell people we were going on the trip overseas.
While we were in Ireland we changed our mind and shared our trip with family and friends and when we received the photos from the ceremony we shared the vow renewal. Being worried about the potential judgement almost stopped us from sharing our amazing memories with those we love.
I have been working on letting go of what others think or what I think they may say. Building memories with my family and not worry about anything else is important. This is still a work in progress but getting better. I hope you are living your life to the fullest, making memories and not worrying about what anyone else thinks.
Now back to the fun stuff! If you are ever planning a trip to Ireland and thinking of doing a vow renewal I highly recommend everyone that was involved in ours. Make sure to check out their instagram pages and show them some love.
Photographs by Emma Russell Photography
Makeup by Danielle Curran Makeup
Hair by Catriona Mc Loughlin Higgins
Ceremony by Anu Celebrancy
In the next few weeks I will be working on a post about our full trip and planning that so keep an eye out.
If you want a notification on new post and some freebies make sure to subscribe.