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A Fairytale Summer Wedding at an Irish Castle

By Shayna Seid | Photography by 

Benjamin Wheeler

Fashion stylist Aoidín Sarah Sammon and Christopher Charles Fincken met at a mutual friend’s 30th birthday party. “I know it sounds so cliché, but I was really taken aback when I first set eyes on her—so much so that I ignored her for the entire evening!” Chris says. He finally got a moment alone with her in the kitchen’s bar, but adorably and clumsily could only muster up the courage to ask her if she wanted a chocolate muffin that was sitting near them. “Little did I know that Aoidín was gluten and egg intolerant, so that treat went down a storm!!” he adds. 

They got to chatting, and he managed to get her number. The following weekend, he was traveling to Ireland from London and decided to call her; they ended up speaking for three hours, and he knew it was something special. After a little less than a year of dating, he proposed in the Maldives on Aoidín’s 30th birthday.

The first day they arrived to the small island nation, on February 24th, was her birthday, so the day was filled with special activities: private terrace breakfast, spa treatments, Japanese dinner. “Before the trip, I had said to Chris the only thing I wanted for my birthday was to be in a hammock and have Japanese for dinner,” Aoidín explains. In the evening, they boarded a boat that took them to a small island, where a hammock covered in balloons was waiting. 

Chris had cleared the island just for them to have dinner on a table carved into the sand, surrounded by lanterns on the beach. He also arranged for the chef from a local Japanese restaurant to make all of Aoidín’s favorite dishes. At sunset, he brought out a bottle of champagne from their trip to Reims the year before and handed her a box. Once she opened it, confetti flew everywhere, and inside were the words, “I have a question to ask.” She turned and he was down on one knee.

When Aoidín had dreamt of her wedding, it always started with her waking up in the home she grew up in, so they knew they would be hosting their summer celebration in her home country of Ireland. They booked the bride’s family’s parish church, St Coca’s Church in Kilcock, for the ceremony and Luttrellstown Castle in Dublin for the reception.

“As soon as we walked through the arched doors and into the beautiful gothic hall, we knew we had found that little bit of magic—our very own Irish castle exclusive for our guests to experience what an Irish wedding truly is!” the bride exclaims. To help plan and design everything, Aoidín initially accidentally contacted U.S.-based Alise Taggart on Instagram, whose husband is from Ireland coincidentally, but ended up seriously bonding with her. 

As a stylist and former womenswear designer, the dress was very important to the bride. She had always pictured herself in a Zuhair Murad gown, and as soon as she was engaged, she booked an appointment at The Wedding Club. At her first appointment, she bought the first dress she tried on. To complete the look, she added a Zuhair Murad veil and headpiece. Her “something old” was her Nana’s pendant, and her “something blue” was her Granny’s holy medal, which were both fastened to her bouquet.

For the groom’s look, Chris and Charlie Csely-Hayford created a bespoke black velvet dinner jacket with satin shawl lapels and red camo silk lining, a jacquard, double breasted waistcoat, and classic tuxedo pant. In the lining of the jacket, Charlie embroidered the couple’s initials and their wedding date, and on the shirt he created, he again embroidered their wedding date in white—a nearly invisible reminder of the day.

Bridesmaids complemented the bride in their blush Delaney, Blake, and Madelyn dresses from Jenny Yoo and Gianvito Rossi nude sandals. The maid of honor differentiated herself in a Maria Lucia Hohan gown from MATCHESFASHION, and the whole bridal party was gifted Newbridge Silverware bracelets. The best men were given engraved silver hip flasks, and the groomsmen received engraved Guinness glasses.

Once everyone was dressed to the nines, they headed to the church, where Father John Brickley officiated the service. Events in Bloom created gorgeous white, cream, and green floral installations throughout the space, which blended in perfectly with the white carpet that the bride and her father walked down the aisle on. After sharing a first kiss as husband and wife, everyone headed to the castle for the reception.

Champagne was served in the back garden, decorated with florals in shades of slate blue, dusty mauve, blush and Bordeaux tones. Then dinner commenced in two adjoining ballrooms, where 16 tabes were set with etched glass candle votives, antique brass candlestick holders, brass urns holding our floral centerpieces, gold rimmed charger plates, and monogrammed linen napkins, and menus created by Leeming Brothers

After the delicious meal, guests headed to the dance floor for music by a live band, followed by a DJ until 3:00 a.m. In a classic moment, the bride and groom had their first dance to “At Last” by Etta James.

For late-night bites, fish & chips cones, mini sliders, and veggie spring rolls were served. Once the formal reception ended, everyone gathered in the library for a singsong until 5:30 a.m. The next day, Aoidín’s parents hosted a tented party with live music, a pizza van, and plenty of reminiscing from the day before.