Lucky in Love: Anna + Martin at Ashdown Park Hotel

A New Year’s Eve romance turned into a St. Patrick’s weekend wedding day!

Anna and Martin’s meet-cute may sound familiar – they met in a bar! Although the two had lived close by all their lives, it wasn’t until New Year’s Eve 2008 that they would set eyes on each other and begin their love story. A decade later, the pair tied the knot at the luxurious Ashdown Park Hotel in Gorey, Wexford on St. Patricks Day weekend. From the moment the Anna and Martin visited the 4-star hotel, it was love! With a luxurious setting and the warmest, most genuine team to help from beginning to end, the lucky couple brought their vision of a truly Irish wedding to life.

With lots of love, luck and lovely details, you won’t want to miss this heartwarming wedding day captured by Brian O’ Neill Memory Photography and wedding video by Martin Forde L Weddings.

The Beginning

“Like most typical Irish couples, we met in a bar. It was New Year’s Eve 2008 in our local nightclub Black Toms. Despite only living 20 minutes apart and having been to the same events previously, we never managed to meet until that night. Unfortunately, by the time we met the bar was closing, which led to us having to arrange a drink for another night-our first date. Neither of us suspected at the time that we’d be married a decade later.”

The Proposal

“We got engaged in April 2015. We were on a long weekend in Kilkenny. It was an uncharacteristically sunny day and we were sitting by the river having a drink. The Irish grand national was on the TV inside the door, and Martin decided to put a bet on in a nearby bookies. When the 20-1 winner, Thunder and Roses brought home the prize, Martin decided a new addition to the jewellery collection was in order with an impromptu proposal. Everyone was delighted.”

The Wedding Attire

“Anna’s dress was Sable from the Victoria Jane collection by Ronald Joyce. I had seen a picture of it while browsing but had put it out of my mind in favour of lace dresses which I always imagined wearing but actually didn’t suit me as well. I then recognized the dress in a bridal boutique and knew even before I put it on that it was the dress. The satin was very light and comfortable despite the dress being fitted at the waist and I loved the cowl front which continued in the statement back.  Shoulder embellishment was added to the dress to match the diamante in the detailing. Matching embellished shoes were sourced online with a low heel. I wore a complementary diamante headpiece and a lace cathedral veil with satin edging. My mother added minute diamante decals to the veil to further compliment the dress. I borrowed my sister in laws fur cover up to keep warm during the photo session on the day.”

“The bridesmaid dresses were also from Pamela Scott with silver cardigans from Only used as a cover-up and silver shoes from Dunnes Stores and matching silver clutch bags from River Island. The mother of the bride’s outfit was from Jacquest Vert in Shaws. The flower girls had ivory dresses, shoes and stoles from Roco Clothing.”

“The suits were from 6th Sense. The shop in Newbridge were so good at helping source sizes that we went back and bought the grooms shoes and shirt from the store too. Martin wanted a statement waistcoat which he found in Detail Carlow. The blue ties tied the outfit together and stood out in the photos. To finish the look we sourced Irish themed cuff links in harp, horseshoe and shamrock designs. We gifted the men hip flasks and mini bottles of Irish whiskey for courage. Martin also had a pocket watch and tie clip as well as a secret engraved clover hanging inside his jacket. The page boys wore complimentary navy and green tartan suits and brown shoes from Rocco Clothing. We sourced matching tartan umbrellas which fortunately were not necessary.”

The Venue

“We adored Ashdown Park from the moment we visited. The venue is extremely popular for weddings, in fact, they had three on the weekend of ours. In spite of this, we never once felt our wedding was not important to the hotel, the coordinators worked extremely hard to ensure everything was exactly how we’d like it. They were always available, and we felt we could contact them at any time without issue. The staff throughout the hotel were very personal, from the reception, the barman, waiters, the manager and especially the coordinators. It made the whole wedding planning process very easy as we knew there was an experienced and competent team organising this big aspect of our special day.”

The Venue Wow Factor

“We feel there was a huge amount of detail put into our wedding. The staff were so helpful from setting up decor to noting our requests for the day. Nothing was too much trouble. It was so wonderful to see everything come together on the day. The staff helpfully sorted accommodation for family members travelling to our wedding. One of our bridesmaids was also pregnant, staff were conscious and accommodating to her needs without us ever mentioning it. The welcome we received was wonderful and it was so nice to see all our friends and family enjoying the canapes and drinks at the arrival’s reception. The hotel loaned us some décor including a wishing well for our cards and the beautiful centrepieces. The food was delicious, our guests were raving about the pork belly starter for days after. The hotel also were accommodating in organising our day after plans in their lounge. Our room in the bridal suite was so beautiful, we wished we could have enjoyed it for longer.”

The Photographer

“We loved the relaxed style of Brian O’ Neill from Memory Photography, he kept everyone in good humour during the photo session. He had a good eye for photo opportunities and captured beautifully the little details of the day. Brian was very easy to work with, he was approachable and had a very quick turnaround for the images. We were so pleased to be able to see our images when we returned from honeymoon.”

Trends & Themes

“Once we picked our date, the Friday of the Saint Patrick’s long weekend, we coincidentally found the stimulus for our Irish wedding theme too which we incorporated throughout the day. This started with the invites and envelope seals designed by Elisa by Design and Just Stickers and evolved from there. We sourced clover jewellery and cufflinks for the wedding party and diamanté clover decals for the bottom of the bridal shoes. An old sixpence borrowed from Anna’s Grandmother was also pinned beneath the lace of the shoe to follow the Irish tradition of old, new, borrowed, and blue (The garter was the blue). We also had a clover cake topper designed by Elsa Bakes. Our wedding colour was green, which featured in the bridesmaid dresses, the mother of the bride’s outfit and even our dog Tyson donned a green dickie bow for the occasion. Our guests enjoyed custom-made cocktails aptly named “Lucky in Love” while listening to harpist Molly Tobin and Irish dancers performed after dinner.  We had gold coin favours, Paddy Power speech betting slips, Tayto sandwich packs and a photo booth which included Paddy’s day props. We had a beautiful clover guestbook poster designed by SPR Creative Beauty. Guests also left well wishes on Celtic blessing stones. Our table plan was also painted on a map of Ireland by our friend, author and artist, Sean O’ Suilleabhain. The tables were named after the counties of Ireland, personalized further with each counties coat of arms and a story about our links to each county.”

“Martin handmade two beautiful hanging frames to display photos of us and our families on the day. Martin also chose our entrance song “The Sunday Game” theme tune as he’s a big GAA fan. We had our first dance choreographed by Love Dancing Dance Studio to You’re the Best thing by Ray Lamontagne. Martin’s present to me from Lovebooksonline was a beautiful unique idea.”

Memorable Moments

“Thankfully we were very fortunate everything went according to plan on the day. We were a bit worried in the weeks leading up to the day with the arrival of the freak snowstorm in early March but thankfully it had all but passed and the sun shone on the day itself, maybe helped by our child of Prague.”

“We loved every minute of the day from the excitement of getting ready to the last song on the dancefloor. If we’d to pick one special part, the ceremony was really lovely. It took place in Anna’s church and was officiated by Fr. Terance McGovern. The church was decorated beautifully by The Flower Pot Florist.  Milk churns and buckets filled with wild spring flowers and a personalized Irish sign welcomed our guests. Our nieces and nephews, the pageboys and flower girls led the procession carrying personalized signs. The music was provided by Anna’s friend Michelle Griffin accompanied by best man Daniel Byrne on guitar. The songs were all by Irish artists with two songs being performed as Gaeilge. The prayers were carefully chosen with the day in mind and recited by family members, with a beautiful Irish blessing ending the ceremony. As well as exchanging rings designed by John Swan Jewellers, we also had Celtic hand fastening blessing and Irish wedding flags waved us off in our vintage car kindly provided by family friend Andy.”

Special Thoughts

“We’re so thankful to everyone that helped us with our wedding and we’re delighted with the way the day went. We were so pleased with all our suppliers and especially our venue Ashdown Park Hotel. We’d recommend them to any couple. Everyone says it but you don’t know how fast the day goes until it’s over. You really must take time to savour every moment and take lots of pictures!”

Supplier Information

  • Venue:

    Ashdown Park Hotel
  • Photographer:

    Brian O’ Neill Memory Photography
  • Band:

    Wicker House 
  • Bridal Shop/Designer:

    Sable from Victoria Jane by Ronald Joyce
  • Florist:

    The Flower Pot
  • Hair Stylist:

    Evolution Salon
  • Makeup Artist:

    Lisa O’ Sullivan Make-up
  • Videographer :

    Martin Forde L Weddings
  • Stationery :

    Elisa by Design and Just Stickers
  • DJ:

    Wexford Party DJ James Ward
  • Wedding Cake :

    Elsa Bakes
  • Irish Dancers:

    Breda O’ Connor School of Irish Dance
  • Harpist:

    Molly Tobin
  • Music :

    Michelle Griffin (Vocals) & Daniel Byrne (Guitar)
Social Team

The Social Team lives for Weddings.

WeddingDates Contributors
Submit a Real Wedding

Are you a bride, groom or photographer who wants to share a unique wedding with our readers?

Learn More