Real Weddings: Aoife and Brendan tied the knot at a Tudor-style house in Co Carlow
18th Sep 2022
Aoife and Brendan pulled out all the stops for their big day, transforming the beautiful Borris House into something akin to a lavish scene from Downton Abbey. Their wedding day also included made-to-measure attire, a famous family musician and day two in their favourite local.
Aoife Conway, property developer, and Brendan Mitchell, regional director.
in Blackrock, Co Dublin.
Borris House, Co Carlow.
Studio Brown Photography.
In the same engineering class at university 15 years ago. We were friends first, then hit it off during a romantic Rag Week together! We continued our studies, moving to Edinburgh together to do a master’s degree. After we graduated, Brendan got a job in Dublin and I in London, and we went our separate ways for seven years (known as our ‘sabbatical’).
However, we stayed in touch over the years, and finally, in 2019, we decided to give things another go and started long distance across the Irish Sea. Then in the summer of 2020, at the height of Covid, I packed in my job in London and relocated back to Dublin. Brendan proposed that Christmas.
Brendan had decided to propose in December 2020 but his original plans of a romantic getaway were foiled by lockdowns and closures. In the end, Brendan joined me for Christmas with my family in my hometown of Kildavin, Co Carlow.
He asked me to go for a walk on Mount Leinster on December 23 (with the dogs in the lashing rain!). He was hoping for a break in the clouds to pop the question, and he went down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Happily, I said yes, though I was shocked to be asked on the side of a mountain, during a storm. It was the best start to an amazing Christmas spent celebrating with family.
THE DRESS AND THE SUIT
I had something specific in mind and went to various boutiques. Unsuccessful in the search, I decided to design my own. I spoke to a few dressmakers and eventually, through a recommendation, I had the most wonderful first call with Emma Beaumont Design in Cheshire, UK.
This began a series of short trips across to Manchester for fittings with Emma. It really was an amazing experience, from seeing your idea sketched onto paper during the first video call to handpicking the fabrics and then watching it all come to life.
It was such a fun and flexible process too, the dress could be tweaked and changed to suit each visit and Emma’s gifted input. The final fitting was just a few days before the wedding and was so special and Aer Lingus kindly offered to hang my dress on the way home.
Brendan decided to go for a made-to-measure black tie suit. We also visited a few suit makers eventually deciding on Bond Brothers in Bray. From start to finish, Cian was extremely helpful and his attention to detail was second to none.
Thankfully, we never had to reschedule our big day and as I’m from Carlow I always thought Borris House was a stunning venue. As soon as we went to see it, we knew it was perfect. We also loved the fact they only do one wedding a week, so you get to hire the grounds exclusively for the weekend.
This made it so intimate and special for us. We decided to do everything on-site and were lucky enough with one of the hottest days of the year to be able to have the ceremony outside in front of the beautiful stone church, surrounded by the stunning views of Mount Leinster and the Blackstairs Mountains.
The reception took place in the main ballroom at Borris House which is the most fabulous room featuring exposed stone walls, vaulted beamed ceilings and French doors opening onto the beautifully landscaped gardens.
We are blessed to have great musical talent in the family. Brendan’s uncle Tommy Fleming kindly offered to sing during our ceremony, and he brought along Leinster String Quartet who played during the reception drinks.
Tommy sang The Parting Glass as I walked down the aisle, Hallelujah during the ceremony with a wonderful surprise verse in Irish, and A Million Dreams as we walked out a married couple. The music was just stunning. Spring Break helped us party into the night; they are the most incredible fun band and had everyone on the dance floor from the very first song with nonstop eighties hits!
We wanted to go with something very classic, elegant, and timeless to complement the grandeur and history of Borris House (Downton Abbey vibes!). We picked a mix of green and white flowers with lots of foliage and texture as well as tapered candles and candelabras to create some height and warmth in the large space.
It’s a bit nerve-wracking because, although you have chatted about the look and feel of the day with the venue and various suppliers, you don’t see any of it until you’re right in the middle of it. It exceeded all our expectations though and everyone involved really pulled out all the stops on the day to make it look so beautiful.
THEIR TOP TIPS
We didn’t have a wedding planner for the overall wedding but enlisted the expertise of Aoife Caffrey from Blue Blossom Creative to be the on the day wedding coordinator. Aoife got in touch about a month out and meticulously went through our vision, and took over communications with all the suppliers.
She organised arrival times and set up, and she was the point of contact on the day along with Sharon from Borris House. This was amazing as we were left to enjoy our day to the fullest without sweating the small stuff.
THEY WISH THEY HAD
Stressed less about the guest list and limited numbers. Just make decisions and get on with it. Nobody is that bothered, and I think Covid has changed the large Irish wedding mentality that you need to invite half the country!
THEIR BEST MOMENTS
The entire day was a dream but if we were to pick out some of the most memorable moments, they would be… the outdoor ceremony, the band and the sing-song until 5am. Day two in the local pub Joyce’s in Borris was just incredible too. We had a band from Wicklow called Feedback who kept the atmosphere going all night.
THE FIRST DANCE SONG
Hold My Girl by George Ezra.
Bride’s Dress: Emma Beaumont Design. Bride’s Shoes: Freya Rose. Groom & Groomsmen’s Suits: Bond Brothers. Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Folkster. Florist: Frog Prince Wedding. Cake: Cove Cake Design. Food: Blackstairs Catering. Wedding Stationery: The Ivory Feather. Hair: Jennifer Hennessey. Make-Up Artist: Noeleen Cunningham. Ceremony Music: Tommy Fleming. Ceremony & Reception Music: Leinster String Quartet. Band: Spring Break. Celebrant: Johnny Thompson. Stretch Tent & Festoon Lighting: Bild Structures. Wedding Rings: Delphi Antiques and Rocks Jewellers. Videographer: Odicci Films.
See more photographs from Aoife and Brendan’s wedding in the gallery below.
Photography by Studio Brown Photography.