Wedding Dress Shopping – who to bring and who to leave at home

Choosing your wedding dress can be one of the most fun and also one of the most stressful occasions during your wedding planning process. It’s such a big decision that you’re more than likely not going to start looking on your own. Trying to decide who to bring with you to these appointments is a huge decision in itself – you want people who will give you their honest opinion but you also want to feel good. If you don’t take criticism well, bringing along a relative or friend who is a little too honest could ruin your whole day. So who should you ask to come along with you? Today we discuss the merits and pitfalls of he various members of your bridal entourage.

Wedding dress shopping tips True Romance Weddings

The Mother

Most brides, if they’re lucky enough to still have their mother in their life, will immediately choose their mother to come along with them to their bridal appointment. Depending on your relationship, this could be a great decision or a terrible one. There are all different types: the mum who adores her little girl and will say anything to make her happy, the mum who criticises every outfit you have ever worn and will be no different in a bridal boutique, the mum who offers no opinion at all, and the one controlling the budget – watch out for this one! If she’s paying for the dress, she may feel she has the biggest say in what you choose. If you feel that your mother will be more of hindrance than a help, it may be best to leave her at home when you go dress shopping. Ask for her help in another area of your wedding so that she doesn’t feel left out.

The Mother-in-law

This seems to be more of an American trend, but bringing your mother-in-law to your bridal appointment is starting to become more popular. Some brides are very close with their future mother-in-law and wouldn’t feel comfortable without her there, however for those not so lucky – if she causes you more anxiety than calm, don’t ask her to come with you.

Wedding dress shopping tips True Romance Weddings

The Sister(s)

Like your mother, your sisters could be a great help or a big disaster when it comes to dress shopping. Older sisters can be very helpful in guiding you in the right direction if they’re already married, while a younger sister can also offer a very honest opinion while remaining respectful and tactful towards their older sibling. Beware of the fashionista sister however, who may have a very strong opinion of what you should be wearing or may be more focused on what she would choose for herself.

The Drama Queen

This could be a relative, friend or bridesmaid who needs to make everything about themselves. They will talk about ‘me’ and ‘I’ but rarely ‘you’. They may complain about how long the appointment is taking, how many dresses your trying on and you could end up feeling rushed. Even if this person is part of your bridal party, they are not likely to be of any help to you while dress shopping, so don’t ask them along.

The Know-it-all

This person is either married, getting married or thinks they know more than you about weddings. Perhaps they’ve watched every episode of Don’t Tell The Bride and Say Yes To The Dress, and think they know how the bridal appointment should go. They could be liable to hijack your appointment and may very well annoy both you and the bridal boutique consultant.

Wedding dress shopping tips True Romance Weddings

The True Friend

You may have known them for your whole life, or maybe you’ve only worked together for a few months. This person is honest with you but also tactful and caring. They will know how to say no to something without making you feel bad, and will help guide you towards the right decision without pressuring you into it. They’ll tell you if your butt looks big but will balance it out with a compliment about your arms.This person could be a friend, a sister or brother, a cousin, a parent – regardless, this is definitely the person you want with you as you make one of the biggest purchases of your life.

Do you have any crazy stories about your wedding dress shopping experience? Tell us about it!

A Visit to Vintage Pearl Bridal

Last weekend I was thrilled to be invited to meet Michelle Burke at her new bridal boutique in Galway city, Vintage Pearl Bridal. I spent some time admiring gorgeous authentic vintage gowns as well as some incredible pre-loved dresses and vintage inspired fashion. Michelle took some time out of her busy day to tell me all about her new business and what inspired her to bring vintage bridal fashion to the lovely ladies of Galway and beyond.

This adorable boutique overlooking Dominick Street in Galway opened in November 2014. Michelle had a long career in fashion retail management, and being involved in planning her sister’s wedding a number of years ago as well as planning her own wedding in 2013 piqued her interest in weddings and bridal wear in particular. Her dream to have her own business was finally realised following months of planning and a lucky break when it came to finding the perfect location for the boutique. You simply have to see Michelle’s wedding with its vintage feel and DIY details featured on One Fab Day to fully understand how much this girl loves weddings.

Vintage Pearl Bridal Galway Michelle Burke

Walking through the door, you are met immediately by a soft light filtering through the sash windows, and a sense of calm. The boutique is home to a selection of incredibly unique, authentic vintage bridal gowns, as well as some new, vintage-inspired designs by Gino Cerruti, the fabulous, flirty fifties style tea dresses from House of Mooshki and a number of pre-loved wedding dresses that are in mint condition. Alongside these precious pieces are cute and quirky Rachel Simpson shoes as well as beautiful headpieces by milliner Emmy McCormick.

Vintage Pearl Bridal Galway Michelle Burke Rachel Simpson bridal shoes

Rachel Simpson shoes

I’m drawn immediately to the House of Mooshki dresses; having seen them before online I am a huge fan of their pretty polka dot overlays, nipped-in waistlines and the range of shades from white to blush. Michelle explains that she is one of only two stockists of Mooshki in Ireland, and she loves the customisable nature of these gowns. Mooshki can take the neckline of one, the overlay of another and whatever sleeve length a bride wants to create the perfect custom dress. The House of Mooshki dresses hang carefully on a fabulous reclaimed branch rail, lending to the very natural and comfortable environment of Vintage Pearl that so many boutiques struggle to achieve. Also stocked are a range of vintage-inspired gowns by Gino Cerruti available in sizes 8-20, with a very friendly price range to match for the bride on a budget.

Next, we look at the vintage pieces. Michelle sources these delicate gowns from Paris, the UK and the USA, as well as some that come from Irish homes. It’s wonderful to learn that many of the pieces she stocks can be altered to suit the modern bride. This could be as simple as taking up the sleeve or adjusting the neckline.The type of bride that comes looking for a vintage gown has quite a unique style, with a very specific ‘look’ for her wedding in mind. I wonder if many girls come looking for a vintage gown, only to find the style doesn’t suit them? “I think most brides just want something a little different. Many come looking for a vintage gown but our body shapes have evolved so much over the years, a style that suited women in the thirties or forties won’t necessarily suit the majority of modern day brides today. This is where a vintage inspired dress can work so well, a dress that’s inspired by a past era but made to suit a modern body shape. “, Michelle advises. From there Michelle has the advantage of having pre-loved gowns as well as vintage-inspired pieces with a more modern twist. One of the issues with the vintage pieces is that they tend to come in smaller sizes, however Michelle is working to counteract this by sourcing dresses in bigger sizes or that have some leeway in the waist line to allow them to be taken out.

The vintage gowns are not just for the big day out however, with many of them being ideally suited to a rehearsal dinner, or day-after celebrations. One fabulous piece from the 1980s is a slip dress with a lace top that is placed over it. Either piece could be worn on its own, meaning the bride could take her unique wedding gown and make it work for a special night out later on. Michelle fondly remembers one bride who tried on a vintage gown and could not stop smiling, twirling and dancing around the boutique, and its moments like this that she really loves.

Michelle’s selection of pre-loved dresses is immaculate. For those interested in vintage gowns, the term pre-loved is applicable whether the gown is 2 years or 50 years old. For someone on a tighter budget, buying a pre-loved dress is an incredible opportunity to own a stunning dress from a designer label, at a fraction of the original price. The rails here at Vintage Pearl Bridal are home to pieces by Maggie Sottero, Pronovias, Cymbeline and Jenny Packham (that one in particular I couldn’t stop staring at!)

Vintage Pearl Bridal Galway Michelle Burke Jenny Packham

Jenny Packham – swoon!

So for the bride who is seeking a really unique wedding gown, and a truly sweet and relaxing bridal experience, head to Vintage Pearl Bridal where the delightful Michelle will help you find your dream dress.

34 Dominick Street, Galway


Tel: 086 868 1499

Vintage Wedding Decor Inspiration with Dress Your Wedding Ltd

As someone still relatively new to the self-employed world, I have to say that the support I received from other small business owners and wedding suppliers was so important in giving me the confidence to keep pursuing my dream. In turn, I have met lots of lovely new wedding suppliers in the Galway area and it is so important to stick together. I met April from Dress Your Wedding Ltd not so long ago at a wedding fair and fell in love with her beautiful vintage and rustic wedding decorations. Her story struck a chord with me as she similarly worked in sales for many years before realising she needed to pursue a more creative career. I met with April recently to ask her a little bit about her business and to look at the gorgeous items that she has to rent out for weddings.

How did you come up with the idea for the business?

We got married in Spain in 2013 and even though we had a wedding planner organising all the suppliers for us, I thoroughly enjoyed organising all the fun stuff – the invites, how the wedding ceremony would look and how we would decorate the wedding reception. I had so many ideas from organising our wedding that the following year when my cousin was planning her wedding I had to get stuck in. We spent a couple of months collecting used jam jars and decorated them with pretty lace, ribbons & string. I had also started to gathered antique jugs, lanterns, tea light holders and candlesticks. With my mum’s help we decorated the very lovely Furbo Church with wild flowers, candles & hand made lace balloons.

After this I decided that I wanted to combine my skills in business & marketing with my love of all things vintage & beautiful to create my own business in the wedding industry. The idea was based on having a large range of items for hire, so that people don’t have to go out and buy lots of lanterns / candle holders / vases etc if they want to decorate their own wedding.

What’s your favourite part of running the business?

I absolutely love sourcing the products; I mean who doesn’t love the opportunity to buy lots of gorgeous things? But apart from that I love meeting people and chatting to them about their upcoming wedding and helping them with ideas for decorating their wedding venue. It’s so nice to be involved in such a happy joyous occasion in someone’s life.

What’s the hardest part?

The hardest part is probably promoting the business and becoming known in the industry – starting any business is hard in the beginning but I have gorgeous products and believe that once the right people know about my business it will grow from strength to strength.

Dress Your Wedding  Galway wedding decor

Who are your customers – who are the people most likely to come to you looking to rent the items?

This is a niche area – the customers most likely to want my products will be getting married in marquee’s, country houses or privately rented castles. That said, many couples getting married in main stream hotels want to have something to make their wedding stand out from the rest. Weddings in Ireland have been highly traditional up to now but I believe that this is changing. People are travelling more than ever and having many different experiences before settling down to tie the knot. Not to mention second marriages and same sex marriages. My business is very much modelled on the UK wedding market whereby weddings are much less traditional due to the diverse population. As well as hiring out all of my products I also offer a complete styling service which includes table centre pieces, general venue décor, afternoon tea style drinks reception including vintage china & cake stands. I can also decorate the ceremony with lanterns, candle holders, jars, jugs & vases.

What one tip would you give to brides and grooms-to-be?

Dare to be different. I believe that couples should absolutely go with their gut feeling on how they want their wedding to be – weddings can be very stressful events – working out the guest list and keep the mum’s & dad’s happy. Stick with what you want for yourselves as a couple and everything else will fall into place. And following that – be different, if you have a crazy idea – go for it, I love when people tell me their ideas for something totally different, and you can be sure that your guest’s will lovea change from the norm.

Dress Your Wedding G Hotel Galway wedding decor

You can find Dress Your Wedding Ltd’s full product range on their website - wishing April the very best of luck with her business venture, I have no doubt she will do great with such beautiful products.

Speak Up Part 2: Speech Writing Tips

A few weeks ago I wrote about overcoming fears of public speaking and how to be best prepared for standing up in front of a crowd at a wedding. Today I’m going to talk about the speech itself and some tips for how to get started, what to include and, more importantly, what NOT to include!

best man speech how to write a great wedding speech

The people most likely to give speeches at a wedding will be the best man, the groom, the fathers of the bride and groom (or groom and groom, or bride and bride) and sometimes the bride or maid of honour will also say a few words. If the family structure is a little different, or parents are no longer with us, the couple will usually nominate someone special from their family or a close friend to make a speech on their behalf.

I’m going to focus on the best man’s speech, as it is often the most memorable – sometimes for all the wrong reasons! It is really important to actually write down your speech, or keep a note of any ideas you have in advance of the big day. Trying to give an impromptu speech off the cuff is really difficult unless you are an absolute pro and can think quickly on your feet. Here are my top tips for writing the speech:

  • Start a couple of weeks before the wedding so that you have plenty of time to re-write and practice.
  • Print out an extra copy and give it to someone you trust or even the wedding co-ordinator, just in case yours gets mislaid during all the excitement.
  • If you don’t know many of the people attending the wedding, introduce yourself briefly and tell them a little about how you know the wedding couple.
  • Take some time to thank the rest of the bridal party, the family and make reference to the ceremony that has just taken place.
  • Talk about the couple – how well suited they are, any fond memories you have of them together. It may be a nice time to give a funny story about how they met or their engagement.
  • When you are speaking about the groom, try to keep it clean. You are speaking to a wide variety of guests and while some may find the stories about the stag party hilarious, others may find it completely inappropriate. My preference is to steer away from references to exes, as the couple won’t want to hear them on their big day.
  • Funny stories from childhood or school are a good place to look for inspiration – they will be the most likely to suit all audiences.
  • The speech should be warm and personal. If you’re not known for being a joker, don’t try too hard to be one as it will sound stiff and unnatural. There are lots of videos emerging online of extremely creative best man speeches, but don’t feel pressured to do the same unless you really have a lot of time on your hands and a really unique idea.
  • Finally, bear in mind that this will be most likely recorded, and kept forever! Think about your own wedding; if it’s something you wouldn’t want someone else to say about you, then leave it out!

Wedding speech writing guide how to write a great wedding toast

What tips do you have for speech-writing? Any horror stories from your own wedding? Share in the comments!

Gorgeous Wedding Accessories On A Budget

When you’re making out your wedding budget, you list the usual suspects – venue, photographer, flowers, dress, suits, etc etc. However, many brides forget to include the accessories in their budget and can end up spending a lot more than they planned on things like shoes, underwear, hair accessories, jewellery and bags. I’ve rounded up some of the prettiest accessories from the high-street and other budget friendly online outlets to give you some inspiration without breaking the bank! Everything listed here is under €50 and is currently available through their online sources (Feb 2015).

Hair Accessories





Other Accessories


Love in Loughrea – Weddings at Loughrea Hotel & Spa

I moved to Galway from Kerry a couple of years ago. Why? For love, of course! My partner is from very near the Clare/Galway border and we always said we wanted to settle down close to his parents. So when it came to choosing a place to live, Loughrea made a lot of sense – it’s close to the motorway, only 30 minutes from Galway city and is in a stunning setting by the lake. I was thrilled to meet with the great management and staff of the Loughrea Hotel last year and form a great partnership with them, being named one of their preferred suppliers for wedding planning and stationery as well as regularly participating in their wedding events as an exhibitor and guest speaker.

The hotel has undergone an incredible makeover in the last few months, and is now a super-stylish location for a wedding. The location is ideal with a catchment area of Galway, Clare, Roscommon and Westmeath, and the hotel itself has an amazing spa which I love treating myself to every so often. They added in a fantastic feature last summer – a rooftop garden! When the weather is good, it’s like sitting on a rooftop in the Mediterranean, sipping cocktails with soft music and a light breeze rustling through the leaves, and very thoughtful blankets to keep you warm when the sun goes down. This was a great addition for those planning a civil or humanist ceremony for their wedding, providing the amazing backdrop of Loughrea lake for you and your guests.

Loughrea Hotel & Spa rooftop garden wedding

The ballroom, the De Dannan suite, also underwent a makeover last year, and is now the perfect setting for your wedding reception with opulent purple, cream and gold accents and glittering chandeliers. It has a full bar and huge dance floor, and is also really versatile if you want to add extra decor items. Before you and your guests enter the ballroom, you will be met by the Piano Lounge which is ideal for your cocktail reception. Again, it has a bar facility, has access to the outdoor terrace and best of all – it’s private. Many hotels hold the drinks reception in the lobby – not ideal when there are non-wedding guests milling in and out.

Loughrea Hotel & Spa wedding de dannan suite ballroom

Loughrea Hotel & Spa wedding de dannan suite ballroom

The hotel has launched brand new wedding packages starting from only €44.00 per person – that’s all inclusive, which means you’ll get a sumptuous five course meal, wine, drinks reception with piano entertainment, decor, bridal suite and two free rooms and finger food for the afters! Being a regular visitor to the bar in the Loughrea Hotel, I can say with all certainty that the food is excellent (make sure you try the chicken wings!). They’ll also look after the little ones, with special kids menus and a room just off the Piano Lounge that can be used for kids’ entertainment or movies while you relax and enjoy your meal.

Loughrea Hotel & Spa wedding piano lounge cocktail reception

You can contact the Loughrea Hotel & Spa now on 091 880080 or visit – you can also check out their wedding packages here!

How to have a Fairytale Wedding

Most little girls dream of becoming a princess, and having the perfect fairytale wedding when they grow up. Disney movies such as Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella and Snow White have given us incredible inspiration, from the backdrops of stunning castles and forests, to sparkling shoes and twinkling tulle gowns. There has now been a replenishment of these gorgeous fairy tales in a more grown up form with the release of live action movies such as Snow White and the Hunstman, Enchanted, Into the Woods and the upcoming release of Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast. I’ve gathered some beautiful fairytale wedding inspiration from around the web, and I’m hoping to do a fairytale themed wedding photoshoot really soon!

Check out the sources for these gorgeous fairytale images and more inspiration via our Pinterest board!