Bridal Bible Featuring Jacqueline Crotty

1.Where did you buy your dress and how long before the wedding?

I always admired the Israeli designer Inbal Dror. The fabrics, the cut and the unusual designs she creates were everything I ever wanted in a wedding dress. They are not usually available in Ireland, but I was very lucky that she happened to have a trunk show in Dublin, so I was able to try on a selection of her designs.

I went to the trunk show hoping to try on one particular design, and when I did I was very disappointed to see it didn’t suit me. However, I tried another style, and as soon as I did I loved it! The style I chose was pure white silk, with antique lace detail and pearl and detailing. It had a super low back and long sleeves (which was a brave choice considering it would be 35 degrees the day of our wedding!) and an extra long train.

I purchased it over a year before my wedding date, and closer to the wedding I decided the length on the front might be a bit too long so I had the incredible Aoife Nolan of Aoifes Atelier in Cork work her magic on it! I was incredibly nervous of anyone touching my dress, but she was very reassuring and did a fantastic job.

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2.Who did your hair?

I was extremely lucky to have a hair stylist and makeup artist fly to Rome with me! I had the fantastic Cathriona Rohan on hand for the entire day to look after my hair, and it was just as well – the wedding day was very hot but also extremely windy, so we made the decision to put my hair up before the reception as I was struggling with the down style in the wind!

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3.Who did your makeup?

My makeup was by Lola Desmond – “Makeup by Lola“. She is a fabulous makeup artist and was also so much fun to be around on the day! The makeup stayed put all day despite the 35 degree heat! Two of my bridesmaids were much younger, and I thought she did an amazing job of their makeup while still keeping it age appropriate.

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4.Where did you buy your accessories?

I purchased my hair jewels from Azure, along with my earrings. The hair jewels were designed for me in such a way that I could remove them from the hairband and use them to pin into my upstyle afterwards too. I also wore a beautiful diamond heart shaped pendant by Neil Lane which John surprised me with on the morning of our wedding!

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5.Where did you get married and did you look at many venues before deciding on that particular one?

We decided to get married in Rome as that is where John proposed in Oct 2015, and it felt special to us.We researched possible venues online and had it narrowed down to our top 3 choices. We then decided to fly to Rome once before the wedding as a planning trip and so went over in April 2016. All three of our reception venue choices were exquisite, so it was very difficult to choose.

In the end, we chose a beautiful villa located in the centre of Rome, within Borghese Park, called Casina Valadier. To us, we felt it had everything we wanted – , a superb location in the city ,a terrace to dine on with breathtaking views across Rome, and a fountain garden for the drinks reception and dancing after the meal.

Our next mission was to find a church, which we had also narrowed down before arriving – Rome is full of the most beautiful churches you’ll ever see! On my first visit to Basilica di Santa Maria in Aracoeli, I knew this was the one! It was so incredibly beautiful, with such an opulent interior -hundreds of crystal chandeliers and a majestic gold ceiling.

6.How many bridesmaids did you have and where did you buy their dresses and accessories?

I had three beautiful bridesmaids, my good friend Alice Taylor and Johns nieces, Freya and Isabel Willats. I purchased their dresses in Caris Closet in Cork, I felt the colour (champagne) and the short length was just perfect for the summer sun in Rome! I gave them a gift of their accessories the morning of the wedding, simple champagne coloured stud earrings and gold bracelets from Pandora.

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7.What did you find the most challenging aspect of organising your wedding?

I am an organizer so I made the brave decision not to hire a wedding planner and I absolutely loved the challenge of planning our dream day. I organized everything from the religious and legal paperwork, right down to the favors on the tables!
We did one pre-wedding trip to finalize the venue and church, but other than that I organized everything via email and phone.

It was stressful at times, hoping that you are communicating your vision correctly! The key is just constant updates – for example I was so worried the florist wouldn’t understand my vision that I made up a detailed brochure myself, with clear photos and instructions!

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8.Brides always mention how difficult it is to find shoes; where did you get yours?

I really wanted designer shoes as a treat for the wedding day. I went shopping in Dublin for shoes but was disappointed that nothing jumped out at me. On my second trip I decided to be more open-minded ; my issue was that I really didn’t want to spend the designer price tag and not be able to wear them ever again. So finally on my next trip to Dublin I spotted a really beautiful soft pink sparkle pair of Christian Louboutin “So Kates”. They were perfect and probably one of my favourite features of my wedding outfit!

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9.Were there any individual touches that you added and that you particularly loved about your day?

The things I loved the most about our wedding were the smaller touches we added, such as our invites being hand sketched by my wonderful friend Tracy Desmond of Trace of Cakes. I asked her to sketch our love story on our invites, and also to come up with a logo which we then incorporated into our entire day, the menus, place settings, the favour tags and even the wedding cake.
I came up with the idea for our wedding favours after browsing pinterest and I wanted to incorporate some Italian tradition also. I chose to have five white sugared almonds, which are the traditional “confetti” in Italy, and each one represents a wish for the bride and groom – Health, Wealth, Happiness, Children and a long life. I attached a little tag with our logo explaining this tradition. We also had second favours – beautiful boxed rose petal flavoured macarons from Ladurée in Rome.
The “icing on the cake” for me were our flowers. I had made an unusual choice to go for a large bouquet of white orchids, and to have large centrepieces of white orchids and roses cascading with hanging crystals. I had a very specific vision which I communicated to the florist, and they delivered above and beyond what I expected – they were just perfect, and added extra touches such as having a single orchid bracelet for each lady at the tables.

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10.What piece of advice would you give to an upcoming bride?

The number one piece of advice I would give any bride is to try and relax and take it all in on the day – everyone says it but its so true, the day will pass you by so fast. I’m not sure if its nerves or excitement, but you’ll find you are in kind of a haze on the day, and won’t remember a lot! There’s lots that I don’t remember clearly about the day, but I’m so glad I made the conscious decision to stop at the top of the (124!!) steps I climbed to the church, and took that moment before I entered to just look back at the view, my wedding car and all the people who had gathered to see my Dad and I climb the steps.

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Anyone you’d like to give a special mention to:

We stayed at Hassler hotel in Rome which was a dream come true for me. Its such an iconic hotel with a vast history. Audrey Hepburn even lived there for months during the filming of Roman Holiday! The staff at the hotel were exceptional, they eased my fears about steaming my dress, even arranging for it to be done in my own room. When they realised that the room would be a bit cramped for me for wedding prep, they gave me an additional room next door just for my wedding dress!

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Photographer: Tomasz Kornas

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