Karen and Liam’s laid-back Samhain wedding *

Photos by Eadaoin Curtin

Offbeat partners: Karen and Liam

Date and location of wedding: Boyne Hill House, Co. Meath, Ireland — 11/27/2019

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: The general gist was that we wanted to get married and make our little family official — our kids were 13 years old (Beineán) and 10 months old (Róisín) so plenty to keep us distracted from wedding planning, and the wedding is a lovely day for them both to look back on.

We were both keen to keep the wedding as simple as possible — weddings contribute so much to landfill- and so we avoided buying random stuff online, and instead bought locally and pre-loved as much as possible. The venue had already decorated the venue beautifully for Halloween, we sourced beeswax candles from a nearby supplier, and we kept flowers simple, to just a bouquet for myself and bridesmaid, wrist corsages for the mothers and simple buttonholes for the men.

Róisin’s flowergirl outfit was bought preloved, and my dress and cape-veil were bargain finds!


I have Alopecia Universalis, have had it since 2006, and being bald is a completely normal way of life for me now. I don’t think anyone expected me to wear a wig or head covering on the day, and it took me a while to decide how to dress my head (other than with a bit of tan, a pair of simple drop earrings and a smile!).
I decided on the simple headdress, and I got the maker to add long narrow ribbons down the back, finished with a tiny diamante. I had to pull it pretty tight to keep it on, but I felt it finished the outfit. I have always joked I am cursed with veils, as my Holy Communion veil blew off my head into the River Liffey, and I reckoned I couldn;t have a wedding veil as I’d no hair to clip it into (unless I glued it to my bare scalp!), but I stumbled upon this cape veil in a Bridal Store sale, and it was perfect! I love how a veil can really transform an otherwise simple dress.

Tell us about the ceremony:
I work as a Legal Wedding Celebrant here in Ireland, so it was important for me to step back and let our Celebrant lead the way for us. I really enjoyed being the Bride (for a change!), and our ceremony was beautiful.

We mostly wanted our children included, so we included them in the Unity Candle ceremony, and our 13-year-old son Beineán sang a beautiful song for us (Glen Hansard’s Song of Good Hope) during the ceremony.

Our nieces and nephews read a line each of an edited version of Bob Marley’s “Not Perfect”, and my mother wrote and a Marriage Reflection she’d written for us. I entered to Sigur Ros Hoppipolla, and we exited to Starship “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”, keep it cheesy!

We were so delighted to get the weather to hold the ceremony outdoors, and the venue provided blankets to our guests. We got married on Samhain weekend, so it was a lovely sense of that threshold time between seasons — and we were blown away that the weather was so kind to us! To get crisp sunshine and blue skies in Ireland in late November is a minor miracle, to say the least!

Tell us about the reception:
We had a Guinness and Prosecco reception (Guinness looks great in a prosecco glass!), followed by a Guard of Honour with Sparklers to bring us to the dining room when darkness fell (Halloween is a great time to get married!).

I loved our Halloween Cake, it was made by my friend Nicola Grant at Impact Cakes, and was inspired by the witchy woods at Halloween.

Our first dance was “Landslide,” sung by Liam’s sister Liza.

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
It goes so fast! Nominate someone to watch the time while you’re getting ready, so you can relax into the prep.

If you have a small baby, identify someone in advance to take them during your meal & speeches. Other than that, just enjoy!

Also, I have set up a non-denominational, not-for-profit organization to hold ceremonies (including legal wedding ceremonies) to serve people who have been ostracised, marginalized, or otherwise left behind by traditional faith paths on the basis of gender, race, sexual orientation, ability, nationality, parental/family status or any other reason. Folks can learn more at www.entheosireland.com,facebook.com/EntheosIreland or @entheosIreland






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