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Real Weddings: Keelin and Darren tie the knot overlooking Dingle Bay
Image / Style / Weddings

Padraig Healy Wedding Photography

Real Weddings: Keelin and Darren tie the knot overlooking Dingle Bay


by Shayna Sappington
27th Mar 2024

Budding from a J-1 romance in Maryland, Keelin and Darren were wed at the picturesque Dingle Skellig Hotel. They did much of the decor themselves, featuring boho touches of pampas grass and dried florals along with a home-engineered, illuminated backdrop.

THE COUPLE
Keelin, social media agency owner, and Darren, engineer.

THEY LIVE
in Milltown, Co Kerry.

THE VENUE
Dingle Skellig Hotel.

PHOTOGRAPHY
Padraig Healy Wedding Photography.

THEY MET
We met in 2013; we were both on our J-1 working as lifeguards in Ocean City, Maryland. Originally living four hours apart in Wicklow and Kerry, we eventually made the Kingdom our home where we live happily with our dog Buddy. What was meant to be a summer romance is still going strong ten years later!

THE PROPOSAL
Darren proposed during Covid. He got down on one knee on my local beach in Arklow, County Wicklow, with Buddy as his right-hand man.

THE DRESS AND THE SUIT
I bought the very first dress I tried on after spotting it on Instagram. From the moment I saw it, I knew it was the dress for me.

The dress is by Australian designer Madi Lane. It’s boho-inspired with detachable sleeves. I felt a strong connection to the dress and was delighted to give a nod to Australia, where Darren and I lived for two years.

Darren and his groomsmen opted for tuxes as did the other men in our immediate family – everyone looked so dashing!

THE CEREMONY
Our civil ceremony took place in the Dingle Skellig Hotel in their Slaidín venue, with floor-to-ceiling windows letting our guests enjoy the breathtaking views across Dingle Bay.

Our celebrant Billy Hutchinson officiated the ceremony, driving five hours from my hometown in Arklow. We included a sand ritual in our ceremony, mixing sand from each of our local beaches. I brought sand from the beach in Arklow where Darren proposed, while Darren brought sand from his local beach, Inch Beach in Kerry.

THE RECEPTION
Just like the dress, we picked the first venue we viewed. The Dingle Skellig Hotel ticked all our boxes. We are both very connected to the sea so getting married right on Dingle Bay, looking out over the ocean, was perfect for us. We included touches of Dingle where possible: a Dingle gin reception, local Dingle cuisine and also some Gaeilge readings and speeches, as Dingle is a Gaeltacht area.

THE ENTERTAINMENT
The only way to go in County Kerry is Truly Diverse! They live up to their name with a range of tunes that kept our dance floor full all night.

THE DECOR
We both opted to do the decor ourselves, a fun project to undertake together on those rainy Sunday evenings. Our decor was inspired by our time in Australia: boho by the beach. We harvested our own pampas grass and dried florals, arranging them in clay vases throughout our venue.

I designed the guest invites and wedding signage. Darren is also quite handy and built us giant light-up D and K letters, which were used as the backdrop to our first dance under the stars outside. My bouquet was made by the stunning La Luna Floral Studio (a project I wouldn’t trust my DIY skills with!).

THEIR TOP TIPS

  • DIY where possible, it’s a fun activity you can both do while spending some quality time together. It’s such a wonderful feeling to see your hard work pay off on the day.
  • Don’t feel bound by traditional wedding schedules – we did our speeches during our cocktail hour.

 

THEY WISH THEY HAD…
We wish we’d practised the wedding dance with my heels and wedding dress train. We got dance lessons for our first dance but it all went out the window when we realised we couldn’t manoeuvre the moves and the dress together. It all worked out in the end though, improvisation is key!

THEIR BEST MOMENTS

  • Our first dance was outside with our guests circling around us holding sparklers and candles; the backdrop of Dingle Bay was the cherry on top.
  • We bought big foam glow sticks and turned our DJ set into a rave, the dancefloor was full all night!
  • I did a first look with my dad, as the youngest and only daughter, it was an emotional time for him.

 

THE FIRST DANCE SONG
Pointless by Louis Capaldi.

THE CREW
Bride’s Dress: Madi Lane from O’Briens Bridal Wicklow. Bridesmaids’ Dresses: ShowPo Bridal. Flowers: La Luna Floral Studio. Cake: Cream Cakes Arklow. Make-Up: Aine Doherty. Hair: Laura Lou. Band: Truly Diverse. Ceremony Music: Ronan Browne Music.

See more photographs from Keelin and Darren’s wedding in the gallery below.

Photography by Padraig Healy Wedding Photography.

Want to see your Real Wedding on IMAGE.ie? Email [email protected] with the subject line ‘Real Wedding’.

This article was originally published in August 2023.

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