coloured jars


If there’s one thing us Irish are famous for it’s that we love a good party and with the 4th of July just around the corner we’re praising all things American and giving you some inspiration for your very own red, white and blue themed soiree!

Whether you have relatives across the pond or you just love Footloose we can all join in on the festivities this Friday and kick off the weekend with an almighty American bang.  Here’s some inspiration for your very own 4th of July bash:

Grab some red liquorice and bundle them together. Tie with a blue bow and you have the perfect red, white and blue themed treat for your guests!

4th july treats


These strawberries are a flawless touch for an all American party!

If you don’t have a steady hand or just don’t have the time simply dip half the strawberry into white chocolate for a very effective red and white pop of colour!

strawberries touchdown


Other food ideas include –

Oreos dipped in white chocolate



Cupcakes – Get icing or pop a cheery on top!

There’s no need to break the bank for your party. Take some old jars you may have in your press or even empty bottles and pick up some acrylic paint in your local crafts shop. Whether you want to paint them in stars and stripes or to keep it simple with solid colours of red, white and blue they’ll be great for candles or straw holders for your table.

painted jars


Balloons are a great way to add a sense of occasion to your party. Pick up a pack of balloons, dig out the patriotic colours and get huffin’ and puffin’

4th july balloons


We all know the 4th of July is famous for fireworks and although we can’t have fireworks without a license here why not run into your nearby Euro shop and get some sparklers. Great for a photo op and a laugh but we do advise you to handle with care as a trip to A&E is NOT our ideal party!



With the good weather still with us (just!), why not opt for a picnic. Pick up some inexpensive picnic cutlery in any good food store – go for some red or white cups, cutlery or blue napkins. Perfect for keeping your theme going and also no wash up!

picnic 4th july


Our top tip: Make sure to keep the festivities going all weekend long!

If you’re around Limerick this weekend there are great events to go to. It’s kicking off in style on Friday with a big launch party at the Locke Bar with live music, entertainment and special beer and burger deals.

On Saturday the main event is an American Style Family Picnic with buckets of free entertainment, American music, sports, food, art and games. Ideal for families and the young at heart. There will also be a big Dog Show in aid of Limerick Animal Welfare taking place.

For those who like to have fun on wheels there will be an American Roller derby at Rollerjam in Ballysimon and later there will be more fun and food at Limerick Greyhound stadium.

Finally, on Sunday there will be the All American Raceday at Limerick Racecourse with special kids zone full of entertainment as well even more barbecuing!

For more info check out http://4thjulylimerick.com/events/

Finally for all those getting married on this special day we hope you have an amazing day and that you enjoy every minute!

wedding couple 4th july


Have a great 4th of July weekend!

– By Caroline Whitsell

Fabulous Wedding Favour Ideas

Wedding Inspiration

Wedding favours are a great way to show off your personality and have some fun with your wedding day. The usual suspects of chocolates or bubbles have been put aside in favour (gotta love the puns) of some quirkier options.

Here are some wedding favour ideas that make me smile and hopefully your guests will love them too!

Fabulous Wedding Favour Ideas

Fabulous Wedding Favour Ideas

Bottle Openers

It’s one of those things that you never have when you need it, so why not gift one to your guests. Bottle openers come in all shapes and sizes and can tie into pretty much any.

Fabulous Wedding Favour Ideas

USB Flash Drive With Your Wedding Photos

Who said wedding favours have to be given out at the wedding. I love this idea of putting some of your professional wedding photos on to a USB drive and giving them to your guests afterwards. When you think about it most of your guests will never get to see the fabulous professional photograph taken of you or themselves. So why not share them!

Fabulous Wedding Favour Ideas

Tic Tacs And Sweeties

These are a great idea for a winter wedding, they will look like boxes of snow or you can get a fun box to add them into. It’s a lovely inexpensive favour and all your guests will have great smelling breath to boot!

Fabulous Wedding Favour Ideas

Microwave Popcorn

Love it! Such an unusual wedding favour and a great way to bring a pop of colour into your table décor.

Fabulous Wedding Favour Ideas

Name Frames

A great DIY project that will definitely have your guests smiling. The idea is every guests name will be put into a frame along with the meaning and other interesting facts about their name. You can then set them out at each place setting to double as your place names.

The possibilities are endless and a quick search on the internet will give you ideas that match your personality and style. For more ideas and inspiration my Pinterest page!

Images via:


Little Things Favours



Little Things Favours



**Read the article here: http://blog.weddingdates.ie/fabulous-wedding-favours/

How Do I Bring Our Personalities Into Our Wedding? Wedding Music!

Wedding Inspiration

One great way to do this is through the music you choose to play throughout your wedding day. A lot of people like to stick with more traditional or classic wedding songs particularly before & during the wedding ceremony but if you are a bit of a rock couple you might be wondering how you can “marry” the two styles together.

Youtube is a great tool for couples to use when exploring wedding music. As well as getting original versions of songs you can sometimes find a great acoustic version of your favourite song that would be more suitable for your ceremony such as acoustic versions of Til Kingdom Come by Coldplay or Everlong by the Foo Fighters. Make sure you listen to the lyrics as well as the melody though as you don’t want to have someone talking about breaking up or a green plastic watering can during your ceremony!!

The prelude to your wedding ceremony can be a great opportunity to inject your personality and really set the tone for your wedding. I would recommend having about 30 minutes of music ready to play while your guests are arriving at the ceremony venue. Your friends in particular will love to hear the songs that bring back memories of when you were teenagers!

When thinking of your walk up the aisle do you want it to be slow and poignant or more upbeat and celebratory. Will you go for instrumental or a song with meaningful lyrics? Whether you enjoy rock’n’roll, pop, country or R&B there are plenty of songs out there that are every bit as meaningful for you to use.

Word of caution, before you commit to any songs for your wedding ceremony make sure you consult with your priest, solemniser or venue any regarding musical restrictions. It is always a good idea to talk to them prior to your wedding to explain your choices and give them a listen to the songs if they have not heard your version before.

Here are a sample of some alternative songs for your wedding :

  • January Rain, David Gray
  • Here Comes Your Man, Pixies
  • How can I tell you, Cat Stevens
  • I Love N.Y.E., Badly Drawn Boy
  • I’m In Love with a Girl, Big Star
  • You Are the Best Thing, Ray Lamontagne
  • Longing to Belong, Eddie Vedder
  • She, Elvis Costelloe
  • Hear and Now Luther Vandross
  • Everytime I close my eyes – Babyface
  • with arms wide open – Creed

If you have some unusual song choices, please leave a comment and share them with us.

{Image via FanPop}

**Read the article here: http://blog.weddingdates.ie/so-how-do-i-bring-our-personalities-into-our-wedding-wedding-music/

How To Create A Wedding Budget

Wedding Tips

You’ve just got engaged; everyone is so happy for you both but now comes the scary bit –  The wedding budget!!!

Most people find this subject hard to talk about but it is definitely an important discussion you should be having very early in your engagement & before your family & friends run away with their own ideas of grandeur & ceremony. Money is up there as one of the main causes of stress during a wedding but it doesn’t have to be that way if you just make sure you plan ahead & use a little common sense.

I would highly recommend putting your wedding budget in print. Seeing it in black & white helps you to keep track of what you’re spending & will help you to prioritise the different elements of your wedding. Google to the rescue! There are plenty of Wedding Budget calculators available online that are free to use like this one from the National Consumer Agency or a worksheet from Pink Wedding Days.

The first step is to figure out who is contributing to your wedding. A lot of couples are either footing the entire bill themselves or paying towards part of their wedding budget. Talk to your parents to see if they wish to help with your budget or pay for a specific element like the photographer or the honeymoon. Everyone’s situation is different so do what works for you & your family.

Start a savings plan. Divide your budget by the total number of months until your wedding plus 3 to 6 months after your wedding date. This is how much you will need to save a month to pay for your wedding without spending a large portion of your married life in debt. Open a dedicated wedding account, this will help you keep track of how much you are saving & spending. Remember when saving, small changes can make a big difference. Spending €25 a week on eating out for lunch works out at €1,300 in a year so now might be the time to buy yourself a lunchbox & flask, cartoon characters on the front are optional!

The next things you need to do is research. Get estimated costs for your dress, suit, invitations etc. If your estimated costs are greater than your budget then you will need to start playing around with figures. See what aspects are more important than others. Compromise is essential during this step.

Last but not least get a big money jar & start putting your coins into it. You will be surprised at how much you will be able to save this way. Make this the fund for your honeymoon spending money (a thing a lot of people forget to factor in!).

And don’t forget your wedding day is not about how much you spend but spending what you have wisely!

**Read the article here: http://blog.weddingdates.ie/how-to-create-a-wedding-budget/

Alternative Wedding Invitations

Wedding Inspiration

When it’s time to start picking your wedding invitations it can be very easy to get lost in a sea of ribbons, engraving, calligraphy, paper type, texture and more. Where do you start? The theme & colour scheme you have picked for your wedding will guide you as to the style and type of wedding invitation you will go with.

The invitation is the first glimpse your guests get of what to expect at your wedding. If are having an informal beach wedding, then your invitation should communicate this to your guests at first glance. So think about the message you want to send out. Use your invitations to tell your guests about you as a couple. Here are some ideas for alternative wedding invitations. If you both love music then this custom photo vinyl record wedding invitation is a fantastic idea and makes a great keepsake for your guests.

For something completely different the Wedding Tea Towel is another great invitation that can be combined as an invitation & wedding favour. The Wedding Tea Towel company have a great selection of designs & you can use them as “Save the Date”  or wedding invitations.

For a fun element why not use wedding caricatures for your wedding invitations. Take it one step further and create a magnetic glossy fridge magnet invitation. Fridge magnets are also a great option for “Save the Date”.  Mind you some people may not want their guests to think of them every time they open the fridge!

For those having a beach themed wedding this is a lovely way to invite your guests to the wedding. I recently received one from a close friend whose wedding is taking place in Croatia and it was a real treat to receive it. You can almost feel the sun on your face and the sand between your feet when you open it!

If you are a couple who loves to travel or if you are having your wedding abroad then the passport wedding invitation is for you.  Here you can add a photo id, travel stamps and there is plenty of room for all the information you need your guests to know such as accommodation & flight details, directions to the venue and the itinerary for the days before and after the wedding.

What better way to tell your guests about your love for the environment or that you are having an eco-friendly wedding than by choosing 100% recycled wedding invitation card.

A beautiful and very unique invitation idea for the photographers out there!

I just love this wedding invitation. It is so personal! There is a lot of work in these invitations but I think they are worth it.

No matter what invitation you choose make sure you check what the postage would be before you purchase and that you have factored it into your wedding budget. Size, shape & weight play a big part in how much the postage will cost. You can find An Post’s wedding stamp 2013 on their website.

Image sources:

**Read the article here: http://blog.weddingdates.ie/alternative-wedding-invitations-2/

Choosing Your Wedding Venue

Wedding Tips

Choosing the venue for your reception is one of the biggest decisions you will make for your wedding day. It is where you & your guests will spend the majority of the day & you want to make sure that it is the perfect match for the style, size & type of wedding you are having. So first things first, make a list of your requirements. Mark down the things that are most important to you. Is the date more important than the venue location, is having a particular photographer more important than the wedding date?


The Internet is a great place to do your preliminary research. Most venues will have a website containing wedding packages, venue information & photographs. It is a great way to find out if it fits your needs & you can often rule out some venues straight away if they can’t cater for the size of your guest list.


Have a rough idea of how many guests you intend to have before you make a shortlist of suitable venues. Only look at places that can cater for your numbers. If you think you will have 300 guests then don’t look at venues that can only cater for 200 people. Remember it is possible for a venue to be too big as well as too small. If you are having a small wedding then you may want to choose a venue that creates an intimate atmosphere & not one that is too vast.

Location is another important factor when choosing your venue. Do you want to have your ceremony & reception in the same venue?  Has the venue previously held a civil ceremony or civil partnership on site? Ask the venue to explain the details of when, where & how both the ceremony & reception will take place. If you are having the ceremony & reception in different locations then try to keep the driving distance to no more than 1 hour.

Remember your budget! Approximately 50% of your budget goes towards your wedding reception so if you have a budget of €40pp then don’t torment yourself by looking at 5* venues that charge €70pp. Stretch your budget by checking with venues for midweek deals or special offers. What may have been outside your budget before could be affordable midweek or off season.

Photographs are the storyboard of your wedding day so it is important to find out if the venue can provide you with a picturesque backdrop both indoors & outdoors. If there are no suitable outdoor areas at the venue check to see if there a park or historical building nearby?

Ask the venue about their policy for music, fireworks etc & if there are any other venue restrictions. Some venues have a strict finish time to comply with noise regulations but finishing at 12.30am may not be your idea of the perfect party!

Ask the venue about their policy for music, fireworks etc & if there are any other venue restrictions. Some venues have a strict finish time to comply with noise regulations but finishing at 12.30am may not be your idea of the perfect party!

**Read the article here: http://blog.weddingdates.ie/choosing-your-wedding-venue/

Weddings – So Who Do You Need To Invite?

Wedding Inspiration, Wedding Tips

So who do you invite to your wedding?

The first thing you both need to do is have a discussion about the number of guests you would be comfortable having at your wedding. This can be an interesting chat as one of you may think 100 is perfect while the other imagines all their cousins, work colleagues, distant relatives at the wedding & be happy with a wedding of 200 people plus.

The number of guests you have will dictate your budget, venue and nearly all other aspects of your wedding. Remember the number of guests you have means each element is multiplied by that number – so 50, 100 or 250 meals, chair covers, favours, place names etc

Write down the names of everyone you can think of inviting & if your parents are contributing, everyone they would like to invite. It can be a good idea to give each set of parents a pre-determined number of invites and let them decided from here who they wish to invite. Yes it can look scary when you see all the names in black & white but this way you are less likely to forget someone. Next divide the list into 4 groups – must come (immediate family & best friends), definitely invited, wish list/evening only and not invited. This may sound harsh but it will help you get a clear picture of who you can invite based on numbers or budget. If you are having difficulty deciding on certain guests then a good question to ask yourself is “will they be a part of my life in the future”.

The “Plus One” question!  This will always be a harder task if your numbers are restricted but a good rule of thumb is don’t invite a guest plus one unless they are engaged, living together or is in a long term relationship. If you are inviting someone as part of a group of work colleagues then you don’t need to invite their partner. If you are having a wedding abroad however, you may want to consider allowing your single friends to bring a plus one as it can be much harder for them to be on their own when you & your family are busy organising last minute details & rehearsal dinners in a foreign country. Be prepared that if your judgement call on the plus one is off then neither may come.

And what about children? This is a very personal decision but one you will need to make very clear to your family & friends from the start. If you only want children in the bridal party or no children at all then let people know why you’ve made your decision. This can often defuse any tension about the situation. For out of town guests you can let them know that there are no children at the wedding but give them a list of babysitter’s that would be available to mind their children during the day/night of the wedding.

A very wise move is to add a few extra places to your initial guest list & also review your guest list every 6 months or so. From your engagement to the time you send out the invitations can be 12-18 months and your sister’s new partner might be part of the family by your wedding date!

If you have any questions or guest list dilemmas please let me know & I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction.

{Images from Oh So Beautiful Paper , Siesser Photography and Ashley Brooke Designs}

**Read the article here: http://blog.weddingdates.ie/weddings-so-who-do-you-need-to-invite/

Autumn Wedding Colour Trends 2013


This autumn’s Pantone colours are a wonderful array of rich shades ranging from a soft Linden Green to a bold & powerful Acai.If you have chosen one of these wonderful wedding colours for your wedding this autumn then you may still be wondering how to bring them successfully into your day. Here is some inspiration you:


Make a bold statement with Emerald chair covers! Make sure you respect the venue you have chosen for your reception. If you have chosen a country house with beautiful period pieces don’t hide them with props & décor let the venue speak for itself. Also bear in mind the colour of the walls & furniture, choose colours that compliment them not clash with them.


This classic & strong wedding colour will bring a more regal note to any wedding & can be used across all aspects of the wedding from invitations to bridesmaid dresses & Mykonos blue shoes can even be used as the brides something blue


Why not bring your wedding colour into your wedding transport!


Acai is a beautifully rich shade of dark purple & can be used as a single colour theme or as a combination with a lovely dark grey such as Turbulence or in a more regal combination with Emerald. So will you be subtle or bold with the colour for your wedding dress?


Now here is a fiery and powerful colour for Autumn. Samba red is ideal for an expressive and dramatic look. Remember red is the colour of passion! Try bringing this colour into smaller details such as rose petal on your aisle or reception table decor, a signature red cocktail, or for most wedding’s in Ireland, try a red umbrella for your photographs.


Many of pantone’s autumn colours complement each other very well such as Emerald & Vivacious, Acai & Turbulence. Here is a lovely combination of Koi & deep lichen green being used beautifully in a wedding invitation.


What about a pop of pink for your wedding cake. Pantone’s deep fuchsia shade Vivacious will add an elegant and enchanting tone to your wedding.


Turbulence is a dark mercurial grey colour. You need to be careful with this colour as it can have a tendency to look dull if used incorrectly but can look very elegant when done right. You can bring touches of you wedding colour through the wedding invitations, a lovely bow on your wedding cake or in the table linen you chose. Many people still go with the white linen their venue provides but don’t overlook this opportunity to add a pop of colour to your reception.


What a fabulous colour for your Autumn Wedding, a rich brown. Try pairing it with gold’s & ivory’s to bring the out the warmth in this beautiful colour.

Images from:



Mykonos Blue

Linden Green



Koi and Deep Green


**Read the article here: http://blog.weddingdates.ie/autumn-weddingcolour-trends-2013/

What’s The Best Wedding Season?

Wedding Tips

A question that can stress even the most calm of minds, especially in Ireland! Summer is still the most popular time for people to get married but as you will undoubtedly know it tends to rain a lot in Ireland during the summer months. As a result many people are moving away from the traditional time of June to August for their weddings.

In Ireland it seems the only times you are guaranteed sunshine is when people have exams in April/May and when children go back to school in September. For that reason these months tend to book up fairly quickly.

Choosing a date that is outside of your typical wedding season such as the spring time or late autumn can mean that you will get better deals from your chosen venue. So if you are flexible always ask about off season or midweek special offers to stretch your budget.

Autumn can be a colder season to get married but it does provide the most amazing backdrop for your photographs. At no other time in the year do you get the array of colours in the landscape around you from burnt orange & ochre to rich reds.

Winter weddings are another popular choice especially for those who may be living abroad but still want to have their wedding in Ireland. It is a time when families come together from all over the world. Bear in mind that Christmas time can be expensive for those travelling from abroad or they may have to deal with adverse weather depending on where they are travelling from and through. Apart from that winter weddings can be filled with wonderful things such as mulled wine, log fires, and cosy wraps or shrugs for the bridal party!

So its communion and confirmation season, what does that have to do with my wedding you ask. Well there are 2 things to consider when deciding your wedding date around this time.  The first is check if any of your family & friends have children of that age. If you want them at your wedding you may have to choose a wedding date outside of this season or accept that certain people may not make your wedding day. The second thing is if you are having your wedding in a hotel on the day of a communion there may be lots of mini brides running around in white dresses!

The wedding budget is another question to consider. How much do you want to spend on your wedding? How much time will you need to save? In general the more time you have the more money you will save & have to spend on your big day. So this will determine whether you get married 12, 18 or 24 months from when you get engaged.

We are a nation of sports mad people and this is something you should take into consideration when choosing your date. Whether it’s rugby, golf, football, hurling, boxing it is a good idea to check the sporting calendar. If you are not a sports fan then this sounds like the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever heard but trust me the last thing you want is half your wedding guests disappearing into the hotel bar to watch the Heineken Cup final or worse heading to France for next year’s final! So ignore this advice at your peril.

The best piece of advice I can give, is before you book your date double check that nothing clashes with your wedding and that there are no big sporting events or festivals being held in the vicinity of your wedding, otherwise things like accommodation can become a real nightmare.

Secrets To The Perfect Wedding Cake

Wedding Inspiration

he tradition of the wedding cake has a long and varied history. One of the first traditions began in Ancient Rome where bread was broken over the bride’s head to bring good fortune to the couple. Following that cakes were stacked as high as possible for the bride and groom to kiss over; if they successfully kissed over the stack they were guaranteed a prosperous life together. I like that one!

Traditionally wedding cakes were fruit cakes & white icing, to symbolise virginity and purity, but these days you can choose your wedding cake based on flavour, shape or even go for individual cakes and cupcakes.

The first thing to look at it the number of guests you have. This will determine the size and number of tiers for your wedding cake. In general a 3 tier cake will cater for 50-100 guests. The below guide will give you a good indication on what you will require for your numbers.

Next you will need to meet with a wedding cake designer. Tell them about you & your interests including the theme, colours and style of your wedding, this will help them guide you towards a cake design that reflects your personality & style. Another good tool to use with your cake designer is Pinterest. Put some images together of cakes you like, it may be the bow from one cake or the colour of another but all these will help you design a stunning wedding cake.

Don’t be afraid to experiment! There are so many different designs, colours and details out there to choose from and adding these touches is what can make your wedding cake truly special and unique. Options include sugared flowers, lace piped detail or even hand painted art. Use the internet to find cakes and details that inspire you but do remember that the more details a cake has the more time it will take to make & the more expensive it will be.

**Read the articles here: http://blog.weddingdates.ie/secrets-to-the-perfect-wedding-cake/