Mother of the Bride & Groom Style Tips

We recently spoke to Lynn Jo Chaney, a lifestyle blogger who formerly worked in a department store advising lots of lovely ladies on the best style for weddings. Lynn Jo gave us some great insight into choosing an outfit for the mother of the bride or groom.

When should you start shopping? 
Personally I am the kind of person who would shop for an outfit months in advance but you don’t necessarily need to be as super prepared as me. I would say don’t leave it to the last minute. Give yourself at least a month, two if you’re willing. To me this is enough time to allow for everything on top of actually looking for an outfit. People forget the work that would go in on top of actually finding the outfit you like. You may want to come back to try the outfit on with different people or different underwear. The size you need or colour you want may need to be ordered. You may want the outfit in a different colour which may not be in stock for a few weeks. There may be new ranges coming in you wish to look at. You may also need to make some alterations; while many people find the perfect outfit, it’s not uncommon for it to need a little tweak here or there. This amount of time also allows for anything which may go wrong!
Gill Harvey at Vanity Fair mother of the bride mother of the groom ireland

Gill Harvey @ Vanity Fair, Newbridge

Are mothers dieting to fit into the perfect out?
There is a mix here. Some mothers come into the store and have dieted and lost some or a lot of weight. I found in most cases these were slightly larger women and often they told me it was because they normally have such trouble with trying on clothes that they lost weight to make the experience a bit easier or for their own confidence. Often, it was because the other mother was very glamourous. However, mothers losing weight was definitely rare when compared to the number of women I would have dressed. Most women at the age where their child is getting married have grown to accept their bodies and know what suits them and work with it. A lot would come in knowing exactly what they wanted as it suited their shape, something they have worked with for a long time. Also most knew how to camouflage or hide their insecurities and if not we were on hand to provide advice, whether it be a wrap to cover bumpy arms or a belt to cinch in that waist.
Cabotine at McElhinneys mother of the bride mother of the groom ireland

Cabotine @ McElhinneys, Ballybofey

What type of underwear and shoes are best to bring when trying on outfits?
We were blessed that our department store had a lingerie section where the staff were more than willing to come to our ladies and recommend underwear for their outfits. But so often did women try on dresses and turn around and say “sure I’m wearing crap underwear”. Wear your good underwear, not necessarily what you’ll wear the day of but something similiar, with a good silhouette and lift. If you think you will wear Spanx on the day, wear them trying on. You don’t want to have to come back to the shop for the sake of trying an outfit on with the right pants. You may as well get the full effect first time. Sometimes the right underwear is the difference between loving or loathing an outfit. Same goes for shoes. Wear the type of shoes you would most likely wear to the wedding. They may not be the exact pair but once they have the height you would go for wear them. This again can be the difference between taking or leaving a dress. We had a shoe shop in store which was handy to give someone an idea of shoes but often they didn’t have what the customer would naturally wear and they found it hard to get an idea.
Annburys Boutique, Tralee 
Are there any fashion DON’Ts?
Do not wear the same colour as the bride. It is her day and she is meant to stand out. I know the saying is don’t wear white, but don’t wear the colour the bride is getting married in, especially if you are in the wedding party and will be in the photos. I find personally you should try to compliment the colour scheme of the bridal party. Also don’t wear something inappropriate for the occasion. Mainly though, don’t settle on your outfit. Go for something you are happy, confident and comfortable in, not just because it is a typical outfit. It’s a big day for you too and you should enjoy it without worrying about how you look.
Veromia at The Real Woman mother of the bride mother of the groom ireland

Veromia @ The Real Woman, Wicklow

Thanks so much to Lynn  Jo for sharing these great shopping tips with us! Make sure you check out her blog here.

10 Unusual First Dance Songs

First dance wedding songs unusual weddings ireland

Every year, there is a particular subset of popular first dance songs – 2015 has been the year of Ed Sheeran, John Legend and Ellie Goulding. There are always the classics that will appear now and again, such as Etta James’ ‘At Last’, Elvis Presley’s ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’, ‘Everything’ by Michael Buble and ‘Crazy Love’ by Van Morrison. If you’re looking to shake things up with a really unique first dance, but still want to keep the vibes of love, here are some of our favourites.

Wild Horses – The Rolling Stones / The Sundays (fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer will know this version)

Days Like This – Van Morrison

Bittersweet Symphony – The Verve

Champagne Supernova – Oasis

Everywhere – Fleetwood Mac

Come Away With Me – Norah Jones

You’re My Best Friend – Queen

Just Like Heaven – The Cure

Romeo & Juliet – Dire Straits

Rocky Took a Lover – Bellx1

All videos are from Youtube

Magnificent Monochrome Wedding Ideas

Choosing a colour scheme for your wedding can be one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make. Do you have a favourite colour? Will it work for the season that your wedding falls in? Is it too loud or garish? Lime green may not exactly suit a low-key, vintage wedding, likewise pale pink won’t be the most suitable for a carnival-style wedding. Monochrome could be the way to go. Generally, monochrome means black and white or varying shades of one colour; for the purposes of this blog post we’re going to talk about the elegance of a black and white palette. This great combination, while it may sound a little safe, can lend a real feeling of glamour to your wedding, no matter what the season. It’s also the go-to colour combo for a black tie wedding. Here are some of our favourite ideas for creating the perfect monochrome wedding palette!


This is probably the easiest place to start with your monochrome colour palette. Brides can add a black sash, shoes and jewellery to their big white dress; the guys will look dashing in either a black tuxedo with white shirt and even bowtie, or for the more daring groom a cream tux with black accents will look amazing. Bridesmaids will appreciate a flattering black gown, and if you are letting the girls choose their own dresses, black will give them lots of options. For the bride who wants to turn tradition on its head, a black gown a lá 90210 star Shanae Grimes will be a real statement, and you could have your bridesmaids kitted out in white.


Black and white wedding decor will make a striking impact on your guests. No need to overdo it; subtle details such as white chair covers with black sashes or black chiavari chairs, black and white striped ribbon on the cake, black napkins, black vases filled with white blooms…the options are endless!


With lots of choices for white or neutral colour flowers, black will be where you might meet a roadblock! But don’t worry, there are other ways to incorporate black into your bouquet and your ceremony and reception flowers. Black silk, feathers and pearls can be tied in with white blooms, along with black satin stem wraps or even black and white striped ribbons. Anemones also have a beautiful black centre and are a great option for a monochrome look.


Your wedding stationery is the first glimpse at your wedding style that your guests will see. Monochrome invitations will look elegant and stylish, and will actually work even if you’re not planning on carrying the monochrome theme through your wedding. You can carry the look through to your ceremony programmes, menu cards, table numbers and table plans, and even follow up with a thank you card for your guests that features a black and white photo of you and your new husband or wife.

Do you plan to have a monochrome wedding colour scheme? Tell us all about it!

Romantic Wedding Hair

With the popularity of more relaxed, natural weddings, comes a need for romantic, soft hair. From gentle waves to loose up-dos adorned with flowers, here is a selection of our favourite romantic wedding hair looks.

You can find all of these styles and more on our Pinterest Board!

For super-soft, romantic tresses, here are some tips to make sure your hair is in perfect condition in time for your wedding:

1. Don’t wash your hair every day

Oils and additives in your shampoo, conditioner and hair products can damage your hair over time. Give your locks a chance to recover and wash every second day. Wash your hair the night before you get it styled, as it won’t be too silky and will be much more co-operative for your hair stylist!

2. Take it easy on the straightener!

Heat products such as straightening irons, curling tongs and even hairdryers can damage your hair, especially if you’re using them every day. Let your hair in its natural state for a couple of days in between use to allow it to recover from heat damage – you may even find your hair starts to grow faster once you do!

3. Find the right shampoo for you

Ask your hair dresser for advice on the best hair products for you. Whether you have fine, thin hair, unruly curls or a thick wavy mop like me, it’s important that you’re using the correct products. If you’re worried that your stylist will push their expensive salon products on you, explain your budget to them or ask a good chemist.

4. Trim regularly

If you want your hair to be in tip-top condition, and wish it would grow faster, regular trims are for you. Stylists recommend a visit every 6-8 weeks.

5. Watch your diet

A poor diet can affect your outer beauty as well as inner, so if you want glowing skin, flowing hair and strong nails, look at where you might be missing out on certain vitamins and nutrients in your diet. Calcium, vitamin E and Omega-3 are a good place to start, but always ask your pharmacist or nutritionist for advice first before you start taking supplements. Try to get them naturally in your diet firstly.

Wedding Speech Advice with Emma Coogan – Expression Coach

I wrote a few months back about overcoming nerves for speech making at a wedding; I’m not an expert but rather was simply drawing from years of experience in acting and public speaking. I was delighted to get in contact with Emma Coogan, an expression coach who runs the Emma Coogan School of Speech & Drama. Emma has kindly given us some of her top tips for making a wedding speech and how to express yourself in a way that will engage the audience while putting you at ease!

As an Expression Coach I work with clients all the time as they prepare to make a wedding speech.For starters, I like to focus on 6 main points. To help clients remember them I use the acronym SPOUSE.

Slow down: Slowing down allows you to speak clearly, to stay calm, to finish words and it allows you to add change and colour to your voice. When we speak, we are a little ahead of our listener, so slowing down allows them to keep up with our words. When we get nervous, we always speed up the rate of our speech, so when practicing, slow it down even more, to allow for that extra speed!

Pause: Pause is even more important than Slowing Down. Pausing allows you to take a breath, (or just a breather!), it allows the audience to absorb what you have said and it can be used to create effect. For example, you can use a pause to allow a particularly poignant moment to sink in, or you can use it to create suspense, for example on the punch line of a joke. Too often I’ve heard hilarious stories fall flat, not because the story wasn’t funny, but because the speaker did not “set up” the punch line, to allow the audience to anticipate it and to take in the joke. Make Pause your best man, I mean friend.

Wedding speech advice emma coogan speech and drama

Image via WeddingsOnline

Open Your Mouth: It sounds obvious, but many people simply don’t open their mouth when speaking and their words are literally being eaten! Bare in mind that nerves will cause tension in the body. One area that is especially affected by tension is the jaw. A tense jaw is a non-opening jaw. Alleviate this tension by spending a little time before yawning and massaging the hinges of the jaw.

Unite your words and your audience: You are sharing your thoughts, stories and feelings. By creating a connection with them, both you and your audience will benefit and you will both feel it. Do this physically by looking up and engaging your listeners. Ideally use eye contact as you look around the room, but if this is too much, just scan the room, but do look up. Mentally, move out of your own head and away from your nerves by thinking “I have some great stories to share and I want you to enjoy them.” This takes the emphasis off you and onto the stories you have to share.

Wedding speech advice emma coogan speech and drama

Image via Jose Villa

Spice It Up: Variety is the spice of life and a voice without variety is a boring voice. A simple way to add change to your voice is by changing the pitch (the height and depth) of your voice. Start off by raising your pitch for every new paragraph, or point that you make. This keeps your audience interested.

Enjoy Your Speech: Remember that you are surrounded by a supportive audience. As you stand up to speak, take a good, big exhalation (a sigh) and smile. Stay in the moment and consider the overall sentiment of your words and speech and it will be over in a flash. Maybe you’ll be relieved, maybe you’ll want to do it all over again, but either way you’ll have given it your best effort.

Thank you Emma for sharing this invaluable advice – I’m sure many of our readers will find it incredibly useful. You can also find Emma on facebook , twitter , YouTube and tumblr!

An Irish-American Affair: guest post from Guests to Garters

I’ve been under the weather this week; at five months pregnant, being struck down with an ear infection is not ideal! Aside from having to cope with a lot of pain (practice for the big day, I guess!) it has meant my energy levels are lower than ever and rest is so important. It has meant, however, that my beloved blog has been neglected. Luckily for me, the lovely Regina from Guests to Garters agreed to step in and be my guest blogger this week! Regina, who also lives in Galway, got married last year to an American guy. I asked her about the biggest issues they faced when planning a transatlantic wedding. I’ll be back to normal next week hopefully, but in the meantime you can enjoy Regina’s post and please do pay a visit to her Facebook page. — Caitriona xx

True Romance Weddings has written blog posts in the past on getting married in Ireland and the legalities of it (really useful knowledge to have by the way) but today I’m going to chat a bit about your wedding guests.

My husband is American while I grew up in the bog and the problems of planning a wedding here in Ireland when we were in separate countries were many, but the main concern for us was our overseas guests.  There were some major concerns for us with those guests, namely: elderly relatives travelling during winter, couples bringing the kids (adult only wedding) and accommodation for everyone.  Let’s dive in.


So let’s start at the invites.  If there are overseas guests that you know for a fact won’t be able to make it to your wedding, for one reason or another, it can be very tempting to save on postage by not sending them an invite.  This is usually fine if it’s a friend who you can explain the situation to but for family members, especially older ones, this is the height of bad form when it comes to weddings.  There is an etiquette to wedding invites that, while slowly falling out of favour due to the internet and ease of communication, should really be adhered to for your older family members.  Aunts, uncles and close cousins should get an invite even if you know that they won’t be attending.

This was a big thing for us as all of my husband’s family is in the states and many of my relatives are also there.  We were told early on that his grandparents wouldn’t be able to travel over for our January wedding (weather was fine here but Chicago was a blizzard).  Considering that I was making all the invites from scratch it was a bit tempting not to send any but we did and those invites still have pride of place on their shelves so the gesture will definitely help your relationship with your in-laws.

travel themed wedding invitation overseas guests

Guests with young kids

The next thing for us was our “no kids” rule.  We wanted to give our friends and relatives a day off from being parents and this was fine for those who lived in Ireland.  But cousins coming from the states with small children were a worry.  I spent ages emailing my cousin trying to figure out an appropriate babysitter for their three year old son for our wedding, problem was anyone they knew here that they’d trust to babysit would be at the wedding.

So I suggest that if this is a problem for you set aside a portion of your budget for a wedding babysitter.  This is a relatively new service that’s popped up in the last few years but there are many out there to offer it now.  Just make sure the person(s) you hire are Garda vetted and have the correct insurance.  Also it’s a good idea to get references and have an approximate number of the kids that will be there on the day so that they know if they’ll need to get help (make sure you know who that help will be as well).

kids at wedding babysitters childminders


The biggest issue with overseas guests can be accommodation.  If they’re just hopping over from England for a long weekend it’s no big deal but with guests coming from the US or further it can be a bit hectic.  A long weekend from America to Ireland is a little crazy to me, but I suffer from pretty bad jetlag (my parents-in-law did this for our wedding; we were all mightily impressed with their ability to bogie down and ignore their jetlag).

There’s a couple of ways to handle this and showing that you’ve put thought into it will be appreciated and make them feel special.  Just remember that you are not their babysitter so you don’t have to organise all of their accommodation needs while they’re here.  The easiest, and most common thing, is to include a list of B&B’s and hotels around the area where your wedding is going to take place.  This works great for any guests who have to travel to your big day.

A more personal approach might be to look up what’s happening in the country around the time of your wedding; festivals, concerts, plays or parades that your guests might find interesting.  Encourage them to make it a holiday and include the basics of what’s on offer while they’re here so that if they want they can avail of that too.

If you really want to go the extra mile try customising these lists to each person you send an invite to.  If they’re a film buff and you’re getting married late June/early July why not include some info on the Galway Film Fleadh (July 8th – 13th).  Or maybe they are a jazz lover and you’re getting married in autumn, include some details about that years Cork Jazz Festival (late October).

weekend itinerary for wedding guests wedding blog

So there are just three of the main concerns with overseas wedding guests.  Hope it helps if you’re in the same boat I was in and trying to figure it out.  Pop over to Guests to Garters Facebook page to see some more wedding tips and inspiration.

A New Ireland – Guide to Getting Married

The people of Ireland nervously went to the polls on Friday the 22nd of May. That was the day that they would decide the future for same-sex couples who want to have the choice to get married. After months of heated campaigning from both sides, rumours were rife that it was too close to call; that the ‘no’ vote would win out because so many people were undeclared during polls. Saturday morning came, and the first thing I did upon waking was to check Twitter. ‘Early signs indicate a Yes to marriage equality’ was the first headline to catch my eye. As the day progressed, county after county declared a winning yes vote, and by early evening, we finally received the official announcement. A resounding YES to marriage equality had been given by the Irish people, with 1.2 million votes in favour of the referendum, ousting the con by almost half a million votes. It was the largest turnout in Irish voter history for a referendum, and a testament to the tireless campaigns over the past few months for people to get out and use their vote, and to use it for good.

There were quite a few proposals on Saturday night among the revelry, and so today I want to talk about the legal side of getting married in Ireland. This applies to both opposite- and same-sex couples, so don’t feel left out! This guide should give you a good insight into the process of applying for a marriage licence, and how to go about registering.

Whether you choose to have a religious, civil or secular ceremony, you will firstly need to notify your local Registration Office of your intention to marry. This must be done at least 3 months before your wedding date. If you intend to have a civil ceremony, this will be performed by a registered solemnizer from the HSE and you can make this arrangement at the same time as registering your intention to marry; however bear in mind that there are limited time slots available, a limited number of solemnizers that can perform the ceremony and it is only available Monday-Friday during office hours. Therefore if you are hoping to have a Friday afternoon ceremony in high-season (April-October), you will need to give much more notice than three months to get your preferred time slot and date.

Types of wedding ceremonies, how to get married in Ireland wedding blog

In order to register your marriage, you and your partner must be of consenting age (over 18, although exceptions can be made by applying to and successfully making a case at the Circuit Family Court or the High Court) and free to marry each other, i.e. not already married to someone else. You must produce proof of identity in the form of a valid passport and birth certificate. If one or both of you was born outside of Ireland, you must produce your birth certificate from your country of birth (this must feature the seal of that embassy). If you or your partner are divorced, you must provide official proof of this; likewise if you are widowed you must produce the death certificate of your former spouse and original marriage certificate. A €200 registration fee is also required. At this point you will also be required to advise the office of your intended date of marriage, what type of ceremony you intend to have, the names and dates of birth of two witnesses and the contact details for the ceremony provider, e.g. priest or humanist solemnizer.

Types of wedding ceremonies, how to get married in Ireland wedding blog

If you have chosen to go with a religious, i.e. church, or secular or humanist ceremony, you must make arrangements with the ceremony providers in your own time. This may incur additional fees. If you have chosen either of these routes, you may be booking your wedding date a year or two in advance – you do not have to register with the HSE until at least three months beforehand in this case, although it is worth getting this out of the way as you will be busy with other wedding plans at this point.

Types of wedding ceremonies, how to get married in Ireland wedding blog same sex marriage

Should you be living abroad and intending to get married in Ireland, it is possible to notify the HSE by post of your intention to marry. You will need to provide copies of the above mentioned documents, the registration fee, and you must also arrange to meet with the HSE in person at least 5 days before your wedding to produce necessary documentation. Postal notification may also be given when you are not living in the intended jurisdiction of the HSE where you are getting married; i.e. if you live in Dublin but plan to marry in Tipperary.

Once you have provided all documentation and the registrar is satisfied that you have no impediment to marriage, you will be issued with a marriage registration form (MRF). This form should be given to the person who performs your marriage ceremony in advance. If for any reason your wedding does not take place on the date stated on the MRF, e.g. due to illness or bereavement or other extenuating circumstances, the ceremony must take place within 6 months of that date, otherwise a new MRF will be required.