Dublin weddings always hold a special place in my heart, and I was really excited to capture this gorgeous Shelbourne Hotel wedding. Aoife and Tomás’s journey to tying the knot certainly wasn’t straightforward! As 2020 turned our lives upside down and put all our plans on hold, weddings were some of the hardest events to organize. When Aoife and Tomás realized that their plan to elope to Italy this year wasn’t an option anymore they quickly had to make new arrangements.
With government restrictions changing at a faster pace than any of us could keep up with, they ended up changing their date 3 times! In the end their intimate Shelbourne wedding in the heart of Dublin was everything they could have hoped, and more.
The Shelbourne Hotel: Dublin’s Most Iconic Wedding Venue
When Aoife and Tomás made the decision to relocate their wedding to Dublin they couldn’t think of a more iconic venue than the Shelbourne. With its rich history spanning over 200 years, the hotel has witnessed incredible events. It was in the centre of the conflict during the Easter Rising of 1916, and then in 1922 it played host to the historic meeting when Ireland’s first constitution was drafted. The Constitution Suite still contains the original table and chairs!
Now a stunning modern venue, the Shelbourne weddings are relaxed and elegant – just like Aoife and Tomás themselves. Of course a Covid wedding in the middle of the pandemic is a little different to a normal wedding day. The staff were super helpful and attentive to every detail, making sure that the couple had the absolute best and safest day possible.
We postponed our wedding three times in the hope of having a celebration with less restrictions. But the truth is, it only added more stress because we had no idea when the world would go back to something approaching normal.
We are delighted we went ahead with it and managed to have such an amazing day. It forced us to be creative and to focus on what was really important. And now that we’re married – we’re so happy.
Accommodation and Suites at the Shelbourne Hotel
One of the reasons the Shelbourne is so perfectly suites for a city wedding is the number of options available for any type of celebration. From a grand ballroom to the intimate Constitution Suite, there are options for any size of your wedding party. During Covid times it was especially handy as the restrictions on guest numbers kept changing every month!
The Great Room – 348 guests
This legendary ballroom at the Shelbourne hotel has its own separate entrance and a stunning view over St Stephen’s Green. With its vast size it’s perfect for the most lavish society wedding.
The Adam & Deirdre Suites – 84 guests
Soft pastel colours, historical decor and an exquisitely ornate ceiling make these adjacent suites perfect for a smaller, elegant celebration. Aoife and Tomás chose this space for their ceremony and dinner as it felt intimate enough for their 35 guests but still allowed for social distancing. The sunlight streaming into the windows during the ceremony and the view of St Stephen’s Green added a lovely special touch.
The St. Stephen’s Suite – 48 guests
Perfect for a small wedding celebration or drinks reception, this room features stunning wallpaper and an opulent shimmering chandelier. The floor to ceiling window offers a gorgeous view of the city.
The Constitution Suite – 24 guests
The most historic room at the Shelbourne, it witnessed the signing of Ireland’s first constitution. The room has a darker, antique feel to it with the original table and chairs, a sparkling crystal chandelier and historical portraits lining the walls.
Guest Accommodation at the Shelbourne
The Shelbourne is the largest 5-star hotel in Dublin with 265 guest bedrooms. The rooms all have contemporary features while also remaining exceptionally elegant and luxurious. Among the bedrooms there are 19 grand suites, perfect for your wedding morning preparations. The hotel also offers a special rate for your wedding guests.
The Shelbourne Hotel Wedding Ceremony
Aoife and Tomás had their humanist ceremony in the Adams and Deirdre Suites at the Shelbourne, two gorgeous adjacent suites that felt the perfect size for their intimate wedding party while also giving the opportunity for social distancing. During the drinks reception the amazing staff at the Shelbourne quickly turned the room around and transformed it into a gorgeous dining area full of light.
A humanist wedding allows to make the ceremony really personal, and I loved the rituals the couple included. My favourite (and something I haven’t seen before!) was the Wishing Stones. Aoife is an avid rock collector, so the couple asked their guests to pick a stone each and make a wish before dropping it back into the vase. It’s like a ring-warming ceremony but each guest gets to pick their favourite rock!
The Shelbourne Wedding Packages
And when we met the Cathy and the team – we knew it was the right venue for us. Cathy and the team were incredibly generous with their time and entirely devoted to putting together the best day possible for us.Aoife and Tomás
The amazing team at the Shelbourne hotel really believe that weddings are unique celebrations – so they deserve unique wedding packages. With that being said, there are a few options to get you started. The Shelbourne all-inclusive wedding packages start from €149 per guest and include your reception, dinner and luxurious extras, depending on your price point and how you envisage your wedding day.
Each wedding package comes with a glass of prosecco on arrival; tea, coffee and homemade scones, a four-course meal and evening food. There is a bagpiper and a red carpet to make your arrival extra special, complimentary menu tasting and a complimentary bridal suite on the wedding night. The Shelbourne hotel also has a dedicated florist (Aoife’s amazing flowers were done in-house) who can create stunning floral arrangements for the bridal party and to decorate your suite.
The menu is completely mouth-watering, and based on your package you can opt for a set menu or give your guests several options to choose from. The starters include Slane Whiskey Castletownbere Cured Salmon, Trilogy of Tomato with Bocconcini and Slow Braised Grannagh Ham & Forest Mushroom Terrine. There are three groups of main courses – from the Land, from the Sea and from the Earth (they have an amazing vegetarian selection!). And then you couldn’t say no to Shelbourne Assiette for dessert – chocolate caramel cup, lemon & raspberry macaroon, vanilla cheesecake strawberry & lime jelly. Hungry yet?
Wedding photos at the Shelbourne
With this iconic hotel overlooking St Stephen’s Green it would be silly not to take advantage of the location. So of course we ran over to the park straight after the ceremony for an intimate stroll through the autumnal park. St Stephen’s Green is gorgeous at any time of year and in any weather. But even if you need to seek cover on a rainy day, the Shelbourne has a lot of beautiful suites. We ended up using them for family photos. And of course we couldn’t miss the Constitution room to pay tribute to Irish history!
Venue & Flowers: The Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin
Dress: The White Room
Suit: Louis Copeland
Makeup: Suzanne Kavanagh
Ceremony & Reception Music: Kavanagh Ensemble
Videographer: Eoghan Lafferty, Wedding Movies
Celebrant: Susie Kennedy of the Humanist Association