A Whimsical Wedding in Ireland
February 16, 2017 | Honeymoon Trends
A Whimsical Wedding in Ireland by Elina Bolokhova On September 16, 2016, college sweethearts Filip and Elina tied the knot in the rustic Irish countryside after eleven years together. Filled with games, playful accents, a wandering menagerie, tea party nibbles, and (naturally) some rain, the day felt like a step back in time. The […]
A Whimsical Wedding in Ireland
by Elina Bolokhova
On September 16, 2016, college sweethearts Filip and Elina tied the knot in the rustic Irish countryside after eleven years together. Filled with games, playful accents, a wandering menagerie, tea party nibbles, and (naturally) some rain, the day felt like a step back in time.
Filip and I met during freshman orientation week at Hampshire College. I was fresh out of the woods following a three-day camping trip. Fil and his future Best Man were waiting behind me in line to the dining commons. They tried to ask me a question and, hungry and in want of a shower, I gave them a curt reply and turned right back around to the front of the line. It seemed like an inauspicious start.
But Fil and I continued to see one another around campus and gradually, we found ourselves gravitating toward one another. We would spend hours taking long walks around the stunning Western Massachusetts landscape, just talking. Sometime into our second semester, Fil and I started officially dating. Soon after our sophomore year, I took a medical leave of absence and moved back to Brooklyn, and Fil left school to come with me. We wound up being inseparable in New York City.
On January 28th, 2014, we were on our way to spend the Chinese New Year in Hong Kong. In the car and later at the airport, Fil kept nervously checking his backpack. At one point, as we were boarding the plane, I jokingly asked, “What’s in there, an engagement ring?” His nervous grin gave me pause.
But in the ensuing 12-hour plane ride, I put that small incident out of my head. We finally arrived at the apartment where we were staying around midnight. When I walked into the living room to ask Fil how to work the shower, I found him by the window looking out at the glittering, night-lit cityscape of Hong Kong. He got down on one knee and reached into his pocket. He had a box with a black diamond solitaire ring that was designed by our friend. I teared up when it dawned on me what he was intending to do. After a beautiful speech that I can’t remember due to the sheer shock I felt,
I somehow managed to say “yes”.
Ceremony and Reception
The day started with all the bridesmaids meeting in the wedding suite to drink prosecco and have their makeup and hair done. The bridesmaids wore black chiffon gowns and carried gilded baby’s breath bouquets. The groomsmen had black suits, mint bowties and boutonnieres made from succulents and gold-dripped duck feathers. Everyone was told to bring rainboots, as it had sun showered earlier in the day. The ceremony took place in a rustic barn, where neatly-arranged piles of chopped oak and bogwood had been decorated with twinkle lights and greenery for the occasion. It felt like fairyland at twilight. Our Irish band played the Game of Thrones theme song.
My dad escorted me down the old, uneven cobblestones while the band played the title song from Beauty and the Beast. Fil teared up when he saw me. I proceeded to cry – as I would through most of the ceremony – and my maid of honor discreetly passed me a tissue. We did a “ring warming” ceremony where our rings were passed around to each guest, so that they could bless them with a wish for our future life.
We had purchased two lace crowns from Etsy to simulate a Russian Christian Orthodox crowning ceremony. It was a small nod to my heritage and a way to make my Russian guests feel at home. The crown, coupled with my cathedral-length veil against the wood, stone and verdant background makes the wedding photos look like they were plucked out of a book of fairy tales. After saying our self-written vows, we exited the barn to Noah and the Whale’s cheerful “5 Years Time,” pausing on the green to release two biodegradable, white dove balloons in honor of our pet dove, Lady Byron.
The flower-crown station set up by my florist looked like something pulled straight out of Pinterest: My florist had printed out large, step-by-step visual instructions and nestled them between vases of flowers. Surprisingly, it was the older crowd that gravitated to that particular activity. A bean bag toss was stationed in the spacious yard nearby. A magician roamed the crowd, entertaining them with card tricks and other up-close magic as they nibbled on tea sandwiches and mini scones and drank sparkling wine dressed with artisan sugar cubes and muddled fruit.
Roundwood isn’t exactly a working farm, but it is home to two dogs, four cats, two guinea pigs, two donkeys, and a smattering of chickens and geese. Most of the animals wandered freely among our guests, fulfilling my wish for a real petting zoo. Fil and I even managed to sneak some time with one of the cats for the photoshoot.
Dinner was set up in the library. Three long tables were decorated with succulent plants as table runners, fairy tale silhouette cut-outs and other accents in gold. White Christmas lights were woven into the runners, illuminating the leaves from within. Our menus were folded into origami fortune tellers, with trivia about our relationship under the flaps. A striped black and white envelope, filled with custom “I spy” and mad libs games was placed on each seat. We feasted on sticky sesame beef and candied cashew nut and toffee ice-cream. Speeches were made, more tears were shed. After, we adjourned to the main house to dance to Irish party songs and sample the three gluten-free cakes we managed to safely transport from Brooklyn.
As the night wound down, Fil and I danced to Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years” as everyone snacked on french fries and sipped Nutella and Bailey’s milkshakes. Later, a photo booth was set up alongside a guest book. Photo props included cardboard cutouts of our pets’ faces that I had personally made right before flying out to Ireland. It was a small way to have our five animals share in our special day, since we couldn’t take them overseas. Beside the photo booth was a temporary tattoo station, complete with made-to-order tats of our faces.
The following day our guests enjoyed brunch and mixed drinks at the morning mimosa bar. Sated and refreshed, they boarded a bus for a two-hour picnic and sightsee at Glendalough in County Wicklow to round out the wedding weekend. Then we said goodbye, and they ferried back to Dublin to board flights or vacation at their leisure. Next up: Saving for a honeymoon that rivals the wedding.
To book your Ireland destination wedding, contact your Ensemble® DestinationVows Specialist today.