Have you been dreaming about saying your vows in a real medieval castle? Barberstown Castle in Straffan, Co. Kildare boasts 700 years of history, and it might just be the venue you’ve been looking for. I know it was for Sydney and Chris! After their New York wedding venue fell through they decided to run away to Ireland instead! And what better place to tie the knot than a real Irish castle? Their Barberstown Castle wedding made for a stunning and romantic destination wedding.
Accommodation and Getting Ready at Barberstown Castle
Unlike other old castles wh,ich sometimes have to abandon modern conveniences for the sake of preserving the original medieval atmosphere Barberstown Castle is also a luxury 4-star hotel. You and your guests wake up in beautiful and comfortable rooms with four-poster beds. The hotel has 55 bedrooms accommodating over 100 guests.
Sydney and Chris stayed on site the night before their wedding which made the wedding morning lovely and relaxing. The staff at Barberstwon are also absolute stars, and they were always around to accommodate any request. When there was a mix-up with Sydney’s dress sent over for steaming, the coordinator personally jumped in the car and drove to the nearest town to have the dress fixed in time for the ceremony!
First Look and Wedding Photos at Barberstown Castle
After a relaxed morning Sydney got into her regal wedding dress and spent time with the most important women in her family. Chris was impatient to meet his bride, so we organized an intimate first look in the gardens. I was so touched by how emotional and blissful they both were! Having a first look also allows you to start the day earlier and enjoy more time with your guests post-ceremony. There are so many benefits to doing it!
Together, we explored the nooks and crannies of Barberstown Castle. Autumn created some stunning colours, and the foliage adorning the old walls makes for a perfect backdrop. There are gorgeous views onto the castle from the drive-way, as well as intimate inner courtyard for couple portraits.
Barberstown Castle Wedding Ceremony
The wedding ceremony and reception both take place in the castle itself, the historic part of the venue. Any ceremony option at Barberstown Castle comes with an extra charge of €450. If you are dreaming of an outdoor ceremony you can tie the knot in the private evergreen gardens or under the ancient ash tree. However, my favourite option is the gorgeous conservatory with its rustic brick wall, a medieval tapestry and the abundance of light.
It being October, Sydney and Chris opted for the conservatory option and exchanged their vows indoors. They had quite an intimate wedding (by Irish standards) with 50 friends and family. But it only made for a more intimate and emotional day. Sydney and Chris included some beautiful rituals – ring-warming and traditional Irish handfasting. But it was the personalized vows they read to each other that brought everyone to tears. Thankfully Sydney’s something old was her grandmother’s handkerchief that came in handy!
Wedding Reception at Barberstown Castle
The conservatory leads directly into the impressive medieval banqueting hall, seating up to 250 guests. Barberstown Castle offers several wedding packages with tailored options available. The minimum number of guests is 50 for mid-week weddings and 110 over weekends and bank holidays.
If the weather is good the drinks reception is held on the lawns under the ash tree, or in the old medieval rooms on a colder day. As you enter the vast banqueting hall and see the antique chandeliers it feels like you’ve travelled in time as well as space. In reality, you are just 30 minutes away from Dublin city centre! It’s really handy if you’ve chosen Barberstown Castle as your destination wedding venue – your guests will have no problem getting there. Following heartfelt speeches, Sydney and Chris went on to cut their wedding cake. And is there another way to do it in a real Irish castle than with a real sword?
Following the American tradition, Sydney and Chris did their first dance before dinner. I love the idea of dancing before a heavy meal! The dance came with a surprise. Sydney’s grandparents were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary the next day. They had no idea what their granddaughter had organized for them! Suddenly the dancefloor was empty and the DJ put on “Happy Together” by the Turtles – their first dance of 50 years ago! Their faces say it all. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room as Sydney’s grandparents danced cheek to cheek.