Simply Meant To Be: Susan + Dónal's Vintage Wedding

Lots of happy tears, love, and laughter filled the day at Sue and Donal’s vintage themed wedding.

From a chance meeting at just the right time to a surprise puppy proposal, Sue and Donal’s special day became a labour of love for family and friends culminating in the best day ever…


The Beginning

“It feels like myself and Sue had lived complete lifetimes before we met each other, but sometimes you don’t meet the right person until the right time. You might call it fate how we met, I believe a lot of things completely out of our control came together just to allow us to meet when we were both open to meeting someone new. We met at work; I had just returned from a long sabbatical of sorts and Sue had just returned to work after successfully battling an illness. We immediately hit it off, I was smitten that she’d even like me and perhaps she felt the same. We had our first date, about a week after we met, following a cheeky email exchange which caused Sue to miss her bus home. We had dinner at a restaurant in Dublin’s city centre and when I looked into her eyes, a bright, wonderful future winked right back at me. We’ve weathered many storms since that first date, we look after each other by using our individual strengths to combine and make a strong team that’s still afloat.”

The Proposal

“I had bought for Sue a beagle puppy and he wore a red love-heart shaped dog tag engraved with the question “Will you marry me?”, he sat on her bed in a basket surrounded by rose petals waiting for Sue to come home from work. On the stairs, there were rose petals leading to the bedroom. I waited in another room waiting for her to find the puppy. When Sue got home she immediately knew I must be there because of the petals on the stairs but I didn’t answer when she called my name. She climbed the stairs. The puppy, now called Opie, had managed to get out of his basket and was sitting amongst the rose petals on the bed, whining and looking at Sue as she came to the bedroom door opening. I could hear Sue ask “Is he for me?”, with a knot of emotion in her voice. She’d been talking about getting a puppy for ages because she loves dogs. Then as she came back into the hall, almost at the same time as she saw the dog tag; I was there on one knee with a proposal ring and I asked her to marry me. Luckily for me, she said yes and made me the happiest man ever. The next day I had arranged a trip to Dublin to shop for her actual engagement ring and we had lunch at the restaurant where we had our first date.”

The Venue

“We had been looking for a venue that had both a fantastic outside space and an equally impressive inside space because we hoped to have our ceremony outside but were also fully aware that this is Ireland and an outside ceremony isn’t always possible. We wanted to stay in Ireland so that all of Sue’s elderly grandparents could come. We had looked at a few venues around Ireland when one day Ballykisteen Hotel popped up on Sue’s facebook feed as a suggestion; we travelled down to take a look and to meet their wedding planner, Helen. Everything was perfect because they could cater for an outside or inside ceremony and were able to change from one to the other depending on the weather.”

“We were a little concerned a few months before our wedding because the hotel employed a new manager, Anne, and new wedding planner Marian. We got to meet the new manager during our food tasting meal and we got to meet the new wedding planner before finalising the remaining details. It was all seamless; the new staff were really friendly and even on our wedding day all our friends commented on how brilliant all the hotel staff were. So for us what impressed us most about Ballykisteen Hotel were the people and the personal effort everyone made to make our day feel really special. Our guests were not only wowed by the friendly staff and service but also the stunning ceremony room, and breathtaking views from the balcony of the reception room upstairs afterward. I think however that the food received the most positive comments from our guests, everyone was taken care of all day, from the first canapé down to the tasty crisp sandwiches in the residents’ bar in the early hours of the morning for the die-hard guests.”

The Photographer

“We met Olga on our second visit to Ballykisteen Hotel for one of their wedding open days. On the first wedding open day we booked the venue and luckily on the second we found Olga. She was married at the hotel too so we knew she’d know the venue very well. We got to speak to Olga a lot that day and she was just right for us, not pushy with a sales pitch, really fresh sample photos and very easy to talk to. That’s why we asked her to photograph our wedding that day and we loved that she was genuinely delighted to be asked. Our favourite thing about Olga was that she was honestly dedicated to doing a super job and made every effort to make us feel special to her without being imposing in any way. We were very impressed with how quickly she sent us some sample pictures. Then she made a gallery for us to view online. Then she presented us with a gorgeous wooden box containing printed and saved photos which we’ll treasure. Olga was really easy to work with and we enjoyed every minute.”


Special Moments

“The most special moments were seeing each other for the first time on the day and reading our own vows to each other. I believe we had quite a few of our guests in tears as we were in tears ourselves too.”

The Details

“Sue is truly a star when it comes to wedding planning and themes. Our wedding had a vintage theme and Sue designed and made all of our wedding save-the-date cards, invites, table menus, and table plans. So many friends and people from both our families also helped create the details and decor that made our day so special. Our wedding was unique because all of these people pitched in to help us and so many of the decorations and theme elements were handmade that it couldn’t be recreated by anyone else.”


Supplier Information

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