Our Green Wedding

I thought what better way to introduce ‘us’ than share our special wedding day(s)! I wanted to share it with the world 2 years ago and now it feels like a great place and time to spread our love from the Phoenix and beyond. In August 2012 I am very lucky to be able to say I got to marry my soul mate. We’ve been together for 16 years now and each day feels like we start anew. Like many relationships we have had tough times and blissful times but if I was to say what has kept us so in love over the year, it comes down to honesty, a willingness to forgive, and laughter, just so much laughter.

The ‘proposal’ was bending some gender norms and unique and a surprise for both of us! I have never been interested in a traditional wedding fare. In fact I always said I would never get married.   I had never dreamed up a wedding at any point in my life.  That probably comes from growing up with three brothers and being more into wrestling, theatre and teenage mutant hero turtles as a kid! But if I had dreamed up the perfect wedding, I think it would have gone exactly like it did. 🙂 0230

I was midway through a Masters in drama and performance in Ucd when one day in February, a beautiful spring sun shone on all the pink blossoms and everything seemed to lie in peace and harmony blooming on campus. The day whispered lovingly as I walked along chatting to a Texan-Spanish girl, Kashi, about whether we might go to the play Purple in the Project that night. She said that she had something important to do. When I asked her what, she said she was going to get a train to Galway and propose to her beau on leap year. It had never occurred to me that this date really meant anything. And suddenly I said I am going to do that tonight too. She looked a bit taken aback but she made me promise I would and would not chicken out. We both walked to the train later and I pinky swore on the platform of the train station that that evening that I would propose. 0526

I barely made it home by midnight with the different things I was doing that night at home but my father drove me half way to Dublin where David collected me and we drove home to stoneyBatter, me quite silent. He dropped me where I had parked my bike in Smithfield and I was sweating and nervous by the time I had raced home. (just beating him and he was driving!) It came to the crunch and I cried. We sat on the sofa staring at each other wondering what had happened but we were elated. The next day Dave told everyone and we knew immediately that we would get married at his home in Coolahullen in Wicklow. He didnt want to wait so we said that summer 2 weeks after I handed in my thesis! The excitement! and the slight panic. Little did I know the energies of the universe would support us so strongly and that family and friends willed us on and celebrated in our love.


I feel like the dress for the first day was a present. When I went in to pick up some glass candle holders I had found in Hospice charity shop one afternoon the women in there asked me what I planned to use them for. I said for our wedding ceremony in the countryside, we wanted tea lights all over the steps and the around the garden. They said well we have a beautiful wedding dress for you!! They took it out from a cubby hole at the back of the shop and swooned over me like a set of hens, cooing and cacawing and making very strong noises of approval. Funnily David walked by, on manor street, during this ‘ceremony’ of ours and they jumped around me when I laughed and said and there’s a man I intend to marry. They were a protective bunch and would barely take the 40 quid off me for the dress.


The first day was intimate and cosy with just ten of us present as we did the legal part of the ceremony. We went to the forest and the fields and revelled in our signing of the marriage deeds. It was official. That was that. Phew! We hopped in the caravan and drove to Wexford for our first night as a proper married couple. It wasnt long before we were eager to get back to David’s parents house and start putting up the marquee and getting everything ready for the blessing and party! This week really made our hearts sing. We worked, we fretted, we gathered all the helpers we could find. David’s aunt Edel cut our table cloths and made our napkins. My beautiful friend Val had grown flowers for us all summer.0389

The food was all sourced locally and was fresh and organic. Wild-side catering took care of that and Queens of Neon rocked our socks off looking after all the guests. We planted a tree at the front of David’s parents house. We picked it from the nursery the day before. It was called Joe’s tree which we thought was perfect. We were surrounded by our favourite people in the world when we planted our love forever in the earth. Two white butterflies danced around us my friend later remarked. She thought it could only mean something good.

Our good friend Eamonn agreed to play the guitar and sing before the blessing as walked hand in hand down the garden to our ceremony and we loved it. David’s Dad Joe had commissioned his friend, a carpenter to make the white circular frame that we stood under for the ceremony with my yoga teacher. Our most talented friend Ceevs and David designed the invites. That was a fun part. We went on a boat trip to France to stock up on the wine in May. I somehow managed to squeeze in that holiday while working and completing the Masters, it was one of the best holidays ever. We camped and stayed in a beautiful yurt and planned our beautiful wedding.

David’s uncle arranged for a well of wishes for our guests to write little notes in for us. We loved reading these when we got back from our honeymoon in India. We keep them in a wooden treasured box so that we will always be reminded of the special thoughts everyone had for us. 


We werent really sure everyone was going to fit in the tent and honestly we knew the max was 100 but that 110 at least were going to arrive for dinner! We didnt bother with a seating plan knowing most of the people we invited would be happy to squeeze in anywhere and would find their perfect spot. It worked out perfectly. It was a magic number.


There is no doubt that the week of preparation tested us and yet it was the best time with family,  soul family, relations and friends. The connection and belief we had in one another was strengthened and we felt we could take on anything. We set everything up from Wednesday to Friday and then we tried to let go. An extremely dear, courageous and heart goddess teacher of mine was lined up to pronounce us man and wife in front of all our loved ones. We could not wait.  Tears were shed, higher frequencies were reached, love dust was sprinkled on everyone’s heart.  We were blessed. The rain stayed off as Veronica spread joy about the whole county. It was a sacred circle. It planted our vows right there in David’s family’s home. We vibrated high with Ming when she sang ‘La Vie en Rose‘. As we planted our tree I was completely entranced in magic. David and I could not stop smiling. 





We were delighted with the food, lots and lots of veggie deliciousness from wild side. Parsnip and beetroot crisps, Shot of pea and coriander soup pancetta crisp, Maki Sushi, pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce. Home grown organic tomatoes with olive oil, sea salt and basil-A dressed mixed seasonal organic green salad with herbs and flowers-Roasted beetroot in balsamic vinegar, honey and marjoram-Sun blushed tomato, olives, feta cheese, red onion and cucumber Puy lentil salad with mild chili, herbs, spinach and lemon-Fresh beetroot, apple and carrot salad with soy sauce, toasted pumpkin seeds and sesame oil.-Hot new potatoes in herb butter-Mixed roasted root vegetables with thyme, balsamic vinegar and honey and Paella were among the canapes and dinner. We were delighted. We set up an ice-cream stall for dessert and this went down a treat. 🙂

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During our summer of excitement we knew we would have to decide on the music… Dress came easy, venue was a no brainer. And music seemed to call us from nowhere. We were walking hand in hand down temple bar one evening on our way home when we heard the flute and some traditional Irish tune. I leapt in the air and jumped all the way down to where the sound was coming from and there we found Mutefish, completely fully engaged in their sound with a huge crowd dancing wildly around. David and I looked at each other and gleamed. We sat in the cafe for a few hours across the road our hearts leaping together in tune. We went straight up to them when they were finished. ‘We dont do weddings’ they said. I said well this is going to be different!! A glitter in his eye Daithi said Yes ok then! We will do it. WOOP!


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Tips for your wedding:

If you are getting married all I can say is choose a venue that is really meaningful to you. It was extra special to be in David’s parents garden and to be surrounded by green and fields and the beauty of nature. No imprints just love for the earth.

When it comes to food if you can go organic and local go for it. If we had enough room we would have done buffet style but ended up a bit squeezed and it was easier for the queens to float in between us. I think food is very important and if I was doing it again I would love a raw vegan dessert.

As for dress, I think a pre loved outfit is the best! If you can find it. Memories in temple bar do second hand dresses and they have a stunning collection, that was where I found the second day backless dress which I instantly fell in love with. Again if you can be comfortable and light that is super important.

The guest list is a tricky one. I think stick to people you know will reach the vibration you wish to tune into. Dont feel like you have to invite everyone you’ve ever known. The people that count will be there on the day. If you can do a separate small gathering with your closest family separately I definitely advise doing this.

Stress and timing and weather! Yes these things arise. Call in all the friends you know you will support you. They are usually more eager to help than you think. Everyone wanted our day to work out and it was thanks to all the wonderful people that were present that it turned into such a magical day. 




Photography: the amazing Katie Farrell;

High Priestess: the beautiful Veronica Larrsson

Bridesmaids: Michelle, Sarah and Catriona

Make up and Hair: the very talented Catriona Holt and Sinead

Outfits: Hospice and Memories, Temple Bar

Flowers: the wonderful Valerie Golden

Music: The Wanderers and Mutefish and Eamonn Kearns

Best Men: Mark Holt and Barry Gatenby

Food: Wildside, Ballymaloe

and Queens of Neon.

Invites: superstar Ceevs McMahon


  1. Michelle

    Lovely post! Brings back great memories x

  2. Orla

    i love this post and the idea of your green wedding – it looks truly special in every way! Orla (friend of Michelle’s) x

    • avondaleretreat

      Orla thanks so much. I hear you are planning a wonderful wedding in the forest. Congratulations! To be amongst the trees, standing on earth, surrounded by loved ones sprinkling blessings will be an amazing experience. Enjoy the preparations, all part of the love.

    • avondaleretreat

      Thanks Michelle. We’re lucky the photos capture much of the joy. Super grateful that you and Vinny were present.

  3. Ellen

    Hi Helen, surfed in here after bumping into you yesterday, so glad you had such a magical day! Great advice, and I hope my day goes as well as yours did in its own way 🙂
    – Ellen Brickley

    • avondaleretreat

      Thanks so much for stopping by Ellen! I know your wedding will be amazing and exactly as you want it to go. Enjoy every minute of the day, it goes too fast. Have a wonderful time in Rome. 🙂

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