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Real Irish Wedding: Elinor Cunningham & Leo Smith

2nd August 2012. The Church of the immaculate conception with a reception at Coolbawn Quay.


Elinor Cunningham and Leo Smith

Real Irish Wedding: 2nd August 2012, at Coolbawn Quay, Tipperary

Inviting a girl to a county final hurling match after meeting her on a night out isn’t traditionally regarded as a sure-fire way to woo her but it seemed to work for Leo. Elinor agreed. It was a date. And the rest, of course, is history.

The proposal

“It was Christmas 2010 and Leo told me to pack my bags, keeping the destination secret right up until boarding…we were off to Paris!” begins Elinor. “I thought that the proposal was never going to happen as after trip to Eiffel Tower and all the other romantic spots, still no sign of a ring! Then on the last evening of the trip, Leo got down on one knee in the packed underground metro and asked me to marry him with the most beautiful engagement ring. Everyone on the platform started to cheer and I started to cry!”

Real irish Wedding Coolbawn Quay Tipperary

Reception venue

“We chose Coolbawn Quay because it is such a unique wedding venue. It is a hidden gem right on our doorstep on the shores of Lough Derg,” explains Elinor. “We stayed one night after we got engaged and fell madly in love with the place and booked our wedding date at breakfast the next morning! It is a private estate built in the style of a traditional Irish village and we loved the fact that the whole village is exclusively yours for the weekend. We had our wedding in their Marquee which has stunning views out over the private marina and we were blessed with sun on the day.”

Wedding planning

The couple spent two days hanging bunting, rummaging through old photos and making signs. Elinor confides that Leo and his groomsman Shane were not too impressed with having to make up and hang boxes upon boxes of paper pom poms the night before the wedding!

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Wedding dress

Elinor found her beautiful Cymbeline wedding dress in Kathy de Stafford’s in Nenagh. “It was the first shop I went to and the first dress I tried on! My fashionista mum was with me and I knew by her face that I didn’t have to try anything else,” she smiles.

The groom

Leo wore a slimline navy French designed suit with a crisp white shirt and an ivory tie from Coreless in Galway.

The bridesmaids

The bridesmaids wore salmon pink jewel encrusted Fran and Jane dresses and nude shoes from Ladies Day Boutique in Portumna.

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Wedding flowers

Created by Elizabeth Rose in Nenagh, the wedding flowers were a mixture of sweet avalanche, nude roses pink hydrangea and pink and white stock. Elinor’s three daughters were flower girls and carried mini versions of her bouquet tied in lace.

Wedding cake

“We got a very talented lady called Martina Byrnes to make the cake, she bakes for the local cafe and her cakes are to die for,” Elinor reveals. “I didn’t want the traditional wedding cake, so she made us a three tier chocolate sponge with strawberries and fresh cream filling. Also a big plate of her famous Viennese fingers – needless to say there was not a crumb left at the end of the night!”

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Favourite moment

Elinor: “There are so many. The morning getting ready in the house with all my nearest and dearest around me, music playing and Champagne flowing, I remember saying to the girls that if I could just freeze the moment and bottle it!

Leo: “Having my three precious daughters walking up the aisle in front of me while my Sister in law Ruth sang “To Make You Feel My Love” so beautifully and of course, seeing Leo waiting up there for me!”

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Top idea

For our stationery Dusty Boy Designs created a vintage bunting look to tie in with how we were decorating the marquee. I also found a beautiful vintage bunting cake topper in Etsy.com to match.

Photography by David McClelland

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