Looking for inspo on how to pull off an upscale event in a rustic setting? Say no more. Today’s real wedding couple have all the inspiration you need! Grainne and Mark’s glamorous affair at Dunmore House and Gardens in Co. Donegal is the definition of understated elegance. Black tie style oozed classic sophistication as subtle pops of burgundy tones and rustic details incorporated fresh modernity into the venue’s European charm. You’d never guess that this couple’s September celebration was actually Plan B! Sun & Beau Photography Stylishly photographed this elegant day and we’re dying to share it with you today. Get those fingers ready to go on a major Pinning spree!
Derry couple Gráinne and Mark met 15 years ago through mutual friends on a student night out and clicked instantly. Gráinne fills us in, “After a few dates, we were soon spending every day with each other and have been together ever since. After a few months of seeing each other, Mark took me to Spain for my birthday and we have continued our loved of holidaying and traveling. We have visited some amazing places over the years, lived in Australia for a while and build up the best memories with each other.”
The proposal happened while the couple were traveling in beautiful Santorini for Gráinne’s 30th birthday. The bride tells us, “We had just had the best first day exploring and taking in all the beautiful sites. We were finishing off the day in a cliff side restaurant watching the amazing sunset over the caldera, enjoying the best seafood platter and cocktails we ‘ve ever had. Mark intended to propose here but I’m glad he decided to wait until we got back to the privacy of our hotel. I was so shocked when he surprised me with the ring box. We had been together 10 years at This stage and everyone but me seemed to see the proposal coming. It was an instant yes and I loved the ring he had chosen by himself, even though it was a few sizes too big!”
Can we take a moment for Grainnes wedding style? That dress! She found this absolute show-stopper at Verona Bridal, a dreamy Zavanna Couture wedding gown which features shimmering thread detail, 3D floral embellishment and tulle bridal wings.
Gráinne completed her bridal look with embellished heels from Rainbow Club and a floral bridal crown by Megan Therese Couture.
Once engaged the couple got planning their special day in Italy, but due to covid restrictions, it was not meant to be. Gainne fills us in, “in January 2020 we had visited a venue in Italy and had paid a deposit to have our wedding there. Fast forward a few months into the pandemic and we felt it would be too stressful and uncertain to continue to plan for a wedding aboard so we are starting looking for venues at home.”
Their big day finally took place at Dunmore House and Gardens, a gorgeous period country house in Carrigans, Co Donegal. The couple fell in love with the venues charm and elegance which reminded them of their original venue in Italy. “After falling in love with the Italian venue, we knew we wanted something similar and once we saw the heritage barn that Dunmore House and Gardens we knew we had found the offered one. The idea of having the appeal in the stone barn reallyed to us and the marquee was perfect for dinner.The bridal party was also able to spend the morning getting ready in the beautiful period country home and guests were free to explore the beautiful gardens Dunmore had on site as well.Everyone at Dunmore was so helpful and Amelia was always there to answer my many questions and massively helped with the stress levels on the run up to the day.”
The ceremony was the highlight of the day for both Gráinne and Mark. “Tom Colton from Spiritual Ceremonies performed our ceremony and incorporated hand fasting, an ancient Celtic wedding ceremony ritual where the hands are tied together to symbolize the binding of two lives.”
“Also, Niamh, my niece, read a poem by Terah Cox, which describes taking on the world together and if you start to drift apart, to circle back by following the compass of your heart. Our ceremony was followed by capturing some beautiful shots from a confetti throw!”
With all the changes and restrictions the couples original priorities shifted and ultimately wanted to be “able to share our day with our closest friends and family. Until four weeks before our day and even then there was speculation this could change again. Thankfully the restrictions remained the same for our date and we were able to extend invites to everyone we had planned.”
Looking back on their day, the pair describe it as “rustic yet romantic.” Gráinne adds, “We didn’t initially start to plan the wedding with any specific theme in mind and we wanted to let the venue be the wow factor. We aimed for a relaxed vibe for our guests and for everyone to enjoy what the venue had to offer.”
The couples advice to other engaged couples planning their day is to plan your day, your way! “Regardless of what others or tradition might say, this is your day so do what makes you happy. Trust your instinct, have fun and make it the day you both want.”
Gráinne also adds, “After Sarah, our photographer captured our couple shots, she suggested we take some time alone as newly weds to reflect and appreciate each other before returning to our guests. We stayed in venue gardens for a while and would definitely recommend doing Something similar, the day goes by so fast so it was nice to share a few special moments just the two of us. Have a group chat where everyone can share some pictures, we didn’t have our phones on the day so it was great waking up and seeing our guests snaps the next morning. Also, trust your vendors!”
After the celebrations the couple headed off on honeymoon to Croatia, which they highly recommend. ” We started our holiday at Hotel Villa Harmony in Spilt, exploring during the day then relaxing in our balcony hot tub at night. We spent a day in Hvar, dining along the coast and visited another local island to spend a few hours soaking up the sun. We finished our trip at the Royal Blue hotel in Dubrovnik, watched some amazing sunsets from our balcony and hotel restaurant as well as exploring the old town and taking in the various sites that was used for Game of Thrones. we stayed at and Croatia as a honeymoon destination. It gave us the perfect mix for exploring all the beautiful sites as well relaxing in luxury when we wanted.”
Thank you to Gráinne & Mark for sharing their breathtaking wedding with us, and to Sarah of Sun & Beau for providing the beautiful imagery! There are even more photographs to swoon over in the gallery below.