Sunset Love & A Blue Moon Wish: Claire + Ken At Radisson Blu Limerick

Some souls are just meant to be…

You’ll find yourself falling in love with this couple from beginning to end. I know this is a long one, but trust me it’s worth a read! My favourite Real Weddings are the ones you can sense the genuine love the couple has for one another by just reading a few words about their day. Claire and Ken are definitely one of those special couples. From one of the sweetest proposal stories I’ve ever read (trust me you’ll be swooning!) to a gorgeous celebration, this couple will capture your heart from the get-go.

Don’t just take my word for it, have a look at Claire and Ken’s heartwarming story and sparkling wedding day at The Radisson Blu Limerick

The Beginning

“We were both members of the same gym, we had seen each other a few times and after a while managed to work up to regular hellos. As time progressed I felt comfortable enough to ask Ken how to use certain machines, to which he willingly obliged. Soon after that we added each other via social media and this is where real conversations arose from. It was not long before we realised we had so much more in common that exercise – our love of travel, food, books and so much more. Ken had recently graduated from College and had signed a contract to go teaching in Dubai. I myself had returned from Australia a few years previous, so travel was not on my horizon, so this story could have just as easily never been written. Thankfully our ‘Blue Moon Wish’ came true and when we connected for real we both knew that we had found ‘the one’ our connection was instantaneous, exciting and enriching, it blew us away. From our very first date shared over Green tea to now, it has been a journey of gratitude, warmth and love. Thankfully Ken decided to stay put here in Limerick. He chose to stay for his Dad who had been diagnosed with Dementia and it was that decision that allowed us to begin the story of our lives. To put “Our Blue Moon Wish” in context it was a piece of prose written by Amanda Torroni. Both Ken and I had read even before meeting and we both had it stored in our phones, so when we shared it with each other it was a beautiful moment, we just smiled and knew we were home!! It goes… “One day we will talk about how our blue moon wish came true. How, when the universe finally released the pins that held us so remote, we did not fall, suddenly & all at once, but rather drifted toward each other with the whimsical grace of dandelion clocks”’

The Proposal

“Ken doesn’t do things in small measures. After 8 months he surprised me with a trip to Thailand. It was a holiday we were both so looking forward to. We had only known each other for less than a year but it was the most fantastic year of our lives. We are both in our 30’s and knew what we wanted from life and for our futures. I had ZERO idea what Ken was planning. One week before the trip he called to see my parents (which I did not find out until after, obviously) He asked them both for my hand in marriage and that he was going to propose in Thailand. He says he left it this late to ask them as he thought it would be unfair to them to try contain that secret for any longer, as my Mam and I were so close and share almost everything. I am so happy he did as knowing me I would have figured there was something up. Although when I look back on it I do remember my Mam saying to me “Make sure you get your nails done before you go” and I found this odd! But it makes sense now as she knew I would be taking pictures with my engagement ring on and sending them to people! Anyway, we arrive in Thailand and I was still clueless at this point. Think I best let Ken tell the story from here…”

“For 3 months before arriving to our hotel in Thailand I had been in regular touch with the General Manager of the resort.  Karin was so helpful in putting my nerves at ease and planning all the little details that I would have probably forgotten about.  Fast forward to arrival date, initially, I had decided that I would propose the day after getting there (as there was no way I would have enjoyed the holiday being a bag of nerves) I secretly met Karin in the hotel the next day to hammer out the final arrangements.  My plan was to propose to Claire on the beach at sunset.  With the help of Karin I had a private Chef arranged to cook us dinner under a gazebo and table for two overlooking the beach. Upon meeting Karin the first thing she informs me is that I am going to have to cancel my plans. My heart sank! However, she quickly added, “ until the day after”. She informed me that there would be a lot of cloud cover that evening and we would not get to see the sunset properly. After months of planning with Karin, we had agreed that the sunset was the most important part of the proposal. Thankfully we were able to rearrange without any hassle to do the dinner the following day. All the while Claire had no idea that the dinner was even happening, not to mind the proposal. So the evening arrives and I suggest to Claire that we head down to the beach for a cocktail before heading into town, for what she thought was a dinner she had booked online. So there we were sitting down and Karin the GM was doing her rounds of the beach chatting to guests. As we approached we could see the private dining experience set up on the beach facing the ocean and my heart nearly flipped clean out of my chest – it was real, this was happening!!! I tried as best as I could to compose myself when Claire said “Oh wow look at that setup, someone must be having something special later” All I could think to respond was “Damn it why didn’t I think of something like that for us” Claire comforted me and said “don’t worry the restaurant I booked for later is fantastic, it will top that no probs” Phew my plan was still safe. So after sitting down Karin breezes by and says hello to us (expertly and not giving away that we were almost best buddies at this stage) Claire with her inquisitive nature asked Karin who was having the fancy dinner by the beach, without falter Karin replied “ that is for a special couple who will be arriving later when the beach is clear” Claire proceeded to tell her about the restaurant we were going to shortly, clueless still, that the table was for us, so I just sat in silence and nodded afraid that by joining in the conversation I would give something away. The beach began to empty and Claire asked twice “Will we go now”? I said we will have one more cocktail, more for courage than a distraction, and then we would head away. Like a saviour from nowhere appeared Karin. She tapped Claire on the shoulder and said “Claire, I believe there is a table over there on the beach with your name on it” Claire was totally baffled “replying “No it couldn’t be I have a table booked in a restaurant up town” I interjected at this stage and said to Claire “ I just wanted to organise a little surprise for you  so we could kick-start our holiday in style” Her eyes welled up with tears and she said “thank you, thank you,” and gave me a huge hug. No mention of a proposal or indication of one was on the cards at this point mind you! So we went through the meal chatting and soon after we watched the sunset, when we had the beach totally to ourselves I got down on one knee and proposed!”

“It was incredible I couldn’t believe he went to all this trouble for me! Thinking back on it now still gives me goosebumps. And little was I to know how important that Sunset was to be for our wedding. As it was setting it went the most beautiful burnt orange colour, I will never forget it so much that it became the theme of our wedding – burnt orange sunset.”

The Venue

“We chose the Radisson Blu in Limerick as my dad had previously retired from working there after 15 years. We wanted there to be a reason and a connection for most things to do with our wedding. When Ken and I went out to the Radisson we fell in love with space and the venue. Stacy the wedding coordinator was so helpful and informative and made us feel like this was the venue for us. They had a huge space for the reception and it was bright and open with interchangeable lights, one of them being burnt orange. Stacy was so personable and engaging and full of ideas, she actually recommended the Jazz band to us, which turned out brilliantly. The Radisson Limerick is also set in a beautiful private setting.”

Because the space was so big we were able to have our pre-reception in the bar area attached to the main room. We had booked the downtown Dixieland jazz band, which were a six-piece band for the pre-reception. They blended into the space comfortably, allowing room for guest to mingle, dance, eat and drink – it was fantastic and it set up the day just perfectly. The hotel could accommodate most requests because of its size and layout.  In the middle there was a champagne reception with a large Ferrero Rocher love heart supplied by Sunshine candy carts who also supplied us with a huge love sign and a post-box, they have such wonderful stuff and were brilliant with other ideas too. The wow factor was definitely the energy that the hotel created, whilst it is a sizeable modern hotel – on our day it made us feel like a really unique intimate venue, specially created for us.”

The Photographer

“Our wedding photographers were Brian and Sara Carroll of Mr Sputnik’s Marvellous Creations. Brian, being the supremely talented photographer and Sara being the supremely talented organiser. I had actually gone to school with Sara so the whole connection to the wedding theme was alive and well. These two together are just pure class. They put us both at ease from the very get-go. We had spoken to other photographers getting prices and explaining what we wanted but none of them seemed to click as well as Brain and Sara did. We wanted a very relaxed affair with minimal posed photos and more real-time relaxed shots.  They never once made us feel like we had to be a certain way or stand in a certain place. Our favourite thing was, that we wanted to take our shots in a certain outdoor location, however, when the time was due, little mother nature decided to let the rain pour. Ken and I were saying ah feck it what can we do we will leave it off as we are both pretty easy going. That is when Sara came to the rescue she very casually said “guys I hope you don’t mind but I checked the weather yesterday and saw it was raining so I took a gamble and arranged to have your photos taken in King John’s Castle.” She actually rang the castle and set it all up! We were blown away first of all by the gesture but secondly because the location for a finish was incredible!!! We loved it the experience and more importantly how the photos turned out. We will forever be indebted to them not just because they captured the spirit of our day but because they created memories that will live with us forever.  The finished Album was incredible. Brian is a graphic designer and the way he laid out our Album/Storybook of the day was far beyond what we expected- sublime!”

The Wedding Theme

“We didn’t follow any trends really. We just wanted a really classic and simple style. The theme was burnt orange courtesy of the Thai sun. Ken actually performed the marriage ceremony of his best friend Debbie and her husband Paddy in Spain in a humanist wedding the year previous to our big day. So Ken then chose to have Debbie as his best woman for our wedding which created a full circle and really made the day even more special. The Jazz band set up the day so well. I would highly recommend it to anyone. They got the mood going lifted straight away and there was dancing and laughing even before we arrived at the reception which is all we really wanted – people to be relaxed and have fun. We are also members of The St. John’s Cathedral Choir and they were gracious enough to sing at our wedding, it made the ceremony so magical and memorable. Ken and I spent most of our time looking up at them in the gallery singing and it transported us on a wonderful journey. They are a 4 part choir and the energy and vibrancy they created in the Cathedral supported by Bernie Kiely on the organ was mind-blowing. It will live with us forever. All the guests in the Church thought it was so special also.”

The Wedding Attire

“To complement the burnt orange theme Ken and the groomsmen wore black suits as they went really well together with the bridesmaid’s dresses which were burnt orange in colour. Ken had a vintage style cream waistcoat inside the black suit which set him apart from the groomsmen. Debbie the best woman wore the exact same dress as the bridesmaids in black and it all blended so well. My dress was by LianCarlo, an Ivory, Strapless Sweetheart gown with Alencon lace over Chantilly lace, worn with a satin diamante sash. I also wore an off the shoulder lace bolero for the church, which I chose at the last minute when Jennifer  in  The little White Dress suggested it might be nice. I was delighted that I tried it as I felt I had 2 different looks for the day. My Shoes were by Jenny Packham. I had my eye on for a while; I had to get them delivered over from London as I couldn’t find a pair Ireland! I wore a cathedral length veil and I had a pearl and diamante bridal comb in my hair that I had custom made by Emma Jane Allen of Treats and Trinkets in Spiddal whom also handcrafted memorial pins for Ken and his dad in honour of his Mam who had passed away.”

Special Moments

“I’m sure every Bride & Groom will find this a hard question to answer, as they were so many special and memorable moments it is hard to pick one, but if we had to we would say it was seeing the Wedding cake for the first time. The cake was done by Joanne in the Chic Cake Boutique. We had decided early (well Ken decided or Groomzilla as he affectionately became known) that it would be so special to try to recreate the lighthouse on the beach where Ken proposed to me in front of. There were one or two moments throughout the year where we thought Joanne must think we are out of our minds, however, she persevered and the end result blew us away. Not only did she make a lighthouse to represent our engagement, she genuinely recreated the exact same lighthouse in shape and structure, complete with the exact same Thai writing that was on the lighthouse on the beach in Khao Lak. Ken and I just stood there and were deeply humbled to be able to remember that special day on our wedding day, incredible!  Ken’s dancing was quite funny, he had been very nervous, as he would describe himself as a gyrating Elephant when it comes to dancing. He is normally so relaxed and challenges things head on so to see him nervous over a dance was good fun. He did, however, pull it off, which I’m secretly disappointed with. It would have been so much more enjoyable to have a gyrating elephant at the wedding, although from some of the dancing he did later on in the night – he made up for it in spades.”



Supplier Information

  • Venue:

    Radisson Blue Hotel & Spa, Limerick
  • Photographer:

    Brian and Sara Carroll of Mr Sputnik’s Marvellous Creations
  • Jazz Band:

    Downtown Dixieland Jazz Band
  • Bridal Shop/Designer:

    Jennifer Bourke from The Little White Dress
  • Florist:

    Patricia Irwin, Ring O Roses
  • Hair Stylist:

    Ciara Downes from Park Avenue Hair & Makeup
  • Makeup Artist:

    Jenny Alymer
  • Reception Band :

    Paul Fahy and band
  • Cake :

    Joanne Fraher from The Chic Cake Boutique
  • Videographer :

    Filmme – Anita & Colm Heffernan
  • Candy Cart:

    Sunshine Candy Carts – Kevin & Jen Buckley
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