Real Weddings: Andy Walker and Brandy Stern

With families hailing from Canada and England, Hong Kong-based couple Adam and Brandy chose a historic theatre in Dublin for their big day.

Why Dublin?
Brandy Stern: Since we are from different countries, we wanted to get married somewhere neutral, so as not to favour one family over another. When we started factoring things in, Ireland seemed to make sense. But the venue is what really stole our hearts: The theatre offered an intimate space for the ceremony and a gorgeous banquet hall for the reception. Once we saw the venue, we started envisioning the wedding there!

What was special about it?
BS: We both teach theatre – and we actually met during a performance – so getting married in a theatre seemed to be the right balance of meaningful and cheesy. I found the Smock Alley Theatre, located in Temple Bar in Dublin, on a wedding blog and it looked beautiful. When we went to see the venue, the event manager had just finished staging a performance of the same play that brought us together, so that sealed the deal.


What did you struggle with most when planning?
BS: The bar…. Some family members thought we should have a free bar, while others worried guests would get too drunk. We opted for a €2 bar, and we paid the balance of the cost of each drink. It actually worked very well and kept the night just the right amount of lively. We supplied bubbles for the toast, wine for dinner, and some bubbles and cocktails after at the bar.

How did you share travel tips with guests?
BS: The closer it got to the date, the more we realised that we needed to be travel agents of sorts. We wrote up a five-page destination guide for our guests with hotels, schedules, an area guide, booking details, and some frequently asked questions. 

Did you schedule any group events?
BS: We arranged a few dinners, a brunch, and some outing ideas to help people make the most of the trip. We also decided to have a joint ‘sten’ night (stag and hen), which our best man and maid of honour planned. It was a pure wedding social – the boys went for a whisky distillery tour and dinner, and the girls a cocktail class and dinner. We then all met up at a pub together. It was a great ice breaker for the guests!

Any egregious errors?
BS: No huge mistakes, but there are a few things I wish we had done differently. The biggest muck up was probably choosing a wedding app over invitations. We thought we were being smart, but spam filters, not-so-tech-savvy guests, and some issues with the app meant that we also had to get paper Save the Dates made. In hindsight, I should have done the Save the Dates first, and then used a wedding website to share further details. 

What advice would you give to others who are considering a wedding abroad?
BS: If you want a big wedding, a destination wedding may not be a good option. Also, it may be worth finding someone like a wedding planner or coordinator at the destination to assist. We didn’t do this, and although everything ended up great, planning from a distance added a lot of extra stress.

Any tips for sourcing vendors?
BS: Try to find a local wedding blog or magazine to help you source reliable, quality vendors and services for the day. We used One Fab Day (www.onefabday.com) for our Dublin wedding, and it was a life saver!

What about photos?
BS: Scope out good locations for taking photos ahead of time. It’s nice to get photos that highlight the location beyond your venue – some of our favourites were taken on the streets of Dublin. 

Desserts: Queen of Tarts in Dublin, www.queenoftarts.ie

Venue and Catering: Smock Alley, smockalley.com

Makeup: Danielle Murphy, www.facebook.com/daniellemurphymakeup

Band: The Beat Boutique, www.thebeatboutique.ie

Wedding favours: Custom fortune cookies from Greenfire Product, www.etsy.com

Hair: Crow Street Collective, cscollective.ie

Dress: Watters, www.watters.com

Suits: HOLA Classic, www.facebook.com/HOLAclassic

Photographer: Darren LeBeuf, www.lebeufstudios.com

StationEry: Moo, www.moo.com/us   

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