How they met
Spilt drinks led to lasting love for Grace and Patrick, who met on a night out in 2008. “My friend had a few too many and accidentally bumped into Patrick, who was carrying drinks back from the bar,” Grace explains. “I went over to apologise on her behalf, and was really impressed by how gentlemanly he was about the situation. We all got chatting and danced the night away.”
Despite her friends speculating about a proposal when Patrick whisked Grace away to Venice for a romantic weekend, Grace was sure it wasn’t on the cards. “We’d spent the day sightseeing and been out for a lovely meal, then Patrick suggested going on a gondola – but they’d all packed up for the night!” Grace recalls. “I didn’t realise, but he was gutted as he’d planned to propose on the water. On our way back to the hotel, Patrick stopped me on a quiet spot on a bride over one of the canals and got down on one knee. I was in total shock!”
The bride’s outfit
Inspired by the Duchess of Cambridge’s full-skirted Chantily lace wedding gown, Grace began researching dresses online and found a similar style in Suzanne Neville’s Nostalgia collection. “I fell in love with her ‘Leading Lady’ dress, but decided to take my time and try lots of other styles too,” Grace explains.
“I went back for a second appointment, and was lucky enough to have a fitting with Suzanne herself. She had her new collection with her, and as soon as I tried on her ‘Stunning’ gown, I knew I’d found ‘the one’.” The designer suggested altering the dress to include a dropped waistline and a vintage-style sash, and helped Grace choose a Chantilly lace-edged veil. “Suzanne gave me a copy of her sketch of the customised dress, which I’ve had framed – it’s something to treasure,” adds Grace.
The groom’s outfit
The groomsmen hired mid-grey suits from Groom in Manchester. Patrick wore his with an ivory cravat, waistcoat and pocket handkerchief, while the groomsmen wore navy accessories. “He looked tall, dark and handsome – just perfect,” smiles Grace.
Unable to choose between her sister and closest friends, Grace invited all six to be bridesmaids, along with Patrick’s nieces as flowergirls. The adult maids wore navy blue gowns from Coast, accessorised with silver Art-Deco style hair combs. The little flowergirls looked adorable in John Lewis lace-trimmed dresses and sweet ivory sandals from Monsoon.
Grace and Patrick chose a full Catholic wedding ceremony, including Holy Communion. “The church looked stunning, and I could see everyone I loved there, with Patrick at the front. It was overwhelming,” recalls Grace. Patrick’s sister and the three flowergirls took turns reading out lines of the bidding prayer. “It was personalised for us, and it was a lovely moment seeing all the girls reading together,” adds Grace.
Grace carried a bouquet featuring Amnesia roses, cream roses, gypsophila and pittosporum leaves, bound with ivory satin, lace and pearls. The bridesmaids held smaller posies, while the flowergirls carried satin baskets filled with petals, and the littlest held a fairy wand trimmed with roses and butterflies.
In honour of their engagement Grace and Patrick chose a Venetian theme for their wedding reception, with a pretty colour palette of navy blue and blush pink. The couple also took inspiration from their Irish roots and served Irish vegetable soup with traditional soda bread, followed by roast beef and a trio of mini desserts. “We couldn’t decide between lemon cheesecake, raspberry pavlova and chocolate marquise, so we had a bit of everything!” laughs Grace.
Grace and Patrick’s theme came to life with Venetian lace table runners and chair sashes, tables named after the city’s landmarks, and Venetian masks. “I decorated wine bottles with lace or the table name holders and framed some photos of Venice and placed them on the gift table,” Grace adds.
The couple chose a spectacular six-tier wedding cake design from Elaine’s Creative Cakes, layered with fresh flowers and decorated with beaded icing, pearls and lace.
The Italian-themed favours included miniature bottles of limoncello, bags of amoretti biscuits and Venetian mask.
The first dance
“We chose One Day Like This by Elbow, as we’d always joked that it would be a great first dance song,” Grace explains. “Our band set up behind a reveal curtain and when they started playing, the curtain parted so everyone could see our dance. It was a lovely moment.”
The couple’s evening reception was a musical extravaganza, including a ceilidh band, solo guitarist, DJ and the band Groovy Revolution. “We’d heard them playing in a bar on our first date, and I thought then that they’d be a great wedding band,” Grace says. The guests also enjoyed an ice cream cart, magician, photobooth and an Irish dance performance by flowergirl Layla.
The newlyweds spent three relaxing weeks exploring Singapore and Bali.