Love At First Sight: Yarissa + James at Ballyseede Castle

What could be more romantic than a destination wedding at a castle?!

Both travel lovers, Yarissa and James settled on a destination wedding in Ireland after their dreamy sunrise engagement in the Dominican Republic. A true Disney enthusiast, the bride wanted to be a princess for a day. She certainly hit the mark with her radiant smile and classic ballgown as the pair celebrated their love at the stunning Ballyseede Castle. The lovebirds decided to make the day that much more meaningful by incorporating the Irish tradition of handfasting into their personalised ceremony with the talented Roving Rev, Em Ryan. The pair were then bound not just by their vows, but spiritually as well.

From the beginning of their relationship all the way to the big day, it sounds like Yarissa and James have truly lived a fairytale romance. Don’t miss out on all the enchanting details below…

The Beginning

“We met working together at an office supply store near our homes in the US.  It really was love at first sight.  We would find reasons to spend more time together, like switch shifts or work longer hours.  After 2.5 months we started dating, and the rest is history!  We moved in together after 4 years and bought a house after 5 years of dating.  We both love to travel, go to Disney World (Yarissa is a former Cast Member) and we love each other. ”

The Proposal

“Yarissa’s family took a trip to Dominican Republic for her mom’s 50th Birthday Celebration.  The morning after her birthday, July 21, we woke up to see the sunrise, all dressed in white (typical attire for celebrations in Dominican Republic).  The whole family was taking pictures at the beach in front of a cloudy sunrise.  Yarissa and her mom took a picture facing the ocean and when she turned around, she found James (Jimmy) down on one knee.  There were no words that could describe the joy and love she felt at that moment.  Seriously, Jimmy had to ask her again if she would marry him.  She caressed his face, they kissed, and she silently nodded, yes!  It was a beautiful morning!”

The Attire

“Yarissa’s ensemble, dress, jewellery and shoes, were all from David’s Bridal.  She entered the ceremony, with her mother at her side, in a princess ballgown and a tiara. The dress was an elegant ivory satin that will stand the test of time. James wore a stunning 3-piece royal blue suit with a pink tie & pocket square to match the bridesmaids dress. Together they looked regal.”

The Venue

“Our love of travel brought us to choose Ireland as our destination wedding location. Having gotten engaged in Dominican Republic, where Yarissa’s family is from, they decided to get married at a location from James’ family heritage.  Ballyseede Castle Hotel was the perfect destination!  Ballyseede responded quickly, important for a couple planning a destination wedding, and they visited the venue on a family trip back in 2016.  The food was amazing, the staff phenomenal, and it’s a castle!  A perfect location for a Fairytale Wedding!

What wasn’t impressive about Ballyseede Castle Hotel?  The flow of the wedding went marvellously, the staff was extremely attentive, the food was delicious, the venue was beautiful, the rooms were very comfortable and elegant, AND IT’S A CASTLE!”

The Celebrant

“Our celebrate, Em, The Roving Rev, was an absolute pleasure to work with.  She created a beautifully personalized ceremony for us and we are eternally grateful.  We incorporated handfasting into the ceremony and were very pleased with the addition of this beautiful Irish tradition.  We feel bound not just by our vows but spiritually.  We received many compliments from our guests on how magnificent and unique our ceremony was.”

The Photographer

“Our photographer, John Beasley, was wonderful to work with.  He helped coordinate our “must-have” pictures with our guests and encouraged us to mingle and eat, two things that US couples aren’t accustomed to doing at their weddings.  We never felt like we missed a moment.  We’ve already received a sample and are so grateful we found such a talented person!”

Trends & Themes

“We wanted a destination wedding and Yarissa, being the Disney lover that she is, wanted to be a princess for the day.  All aspects of the wedding day were very us with subtle hints of Disney, inspiration mostly from Beauty and the Beast.

Yarissa’s engagement ring is in the shape of a rose.  The ceremony had some elements of Beauty and the Beast, including a “Rose Ceremony” to thank our mothers for everything they have done for us, mentions were made, such as “Tale as Old As Time”, and even the groomsmen’s suits were a specific blue.  It resembles the Beast’s suit.

Other unique elements include: the ring box from Arribas Brothers, a store in Disney Springs, Orlando, FL, with a Mickey & Minnie etched design, the entrace songs were composed by Yoko Shimomura and Nobuo Uematsu, video game composers, the handfasting cord used for the ceremony has a rose dome charm and key with a hidden mickey charm on either end, and the maid of honor made multiple Disney references in her speech (which made the bride very teary-eyed).

Unless you were looking out for these references, everything was subtly incorporated to add magic to our wedding.”

Memorable Moments

“For James, it was seeing Yarissa walk down the aisle. Yarissa’s special moment was holding hands with her groom, looking into his eyes, ready to proclaim her vows.

The highlight of the evening was James’s cousin, Christine, rapping at the reception. Her not-so-sober alter ego, Tini, made an appearance and was a lot of fun to party and after-party with!”

Special Thoughts

“All of our vendors did an amazing job making our wedding day seamless, enjoyable and magical.  We’d really like to thank all our vendors.  Planning a destination wedding isn’t easy, but they all made it possible.”



Supplier Information

  • Venue:

    Ballyseede Castle Hotel
  • Photographer:

    John Beasley
  • DJ:

    Paudie Walsh
  • Bridal Shop/Designer:

    David's Bridal
  • Florist:

    Leona at Every Occasion Florist
  • Hair Stylist:

    Tricia O'Sullivan, Hair and Beauty
  • Bride's Makeup Artist:

    Paulette Monteza
  • Officient:

    Em, The Roving Rev
  • Wedding Cake :

    Theresa Foley at Heavenly Baked
  • Bridal Party Makeup :

    Marilyn McSweeney
  • Vidoegrapher :

    Aodhagán O'Riordan at One Love
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