It was truly a labor of love from both the families who travelled from Philadelphia to Ireland in late October for this very special day of the bride and groom. One special element of this wedding was that the dresses of the wedding were Victorian dressesAdding a royal touch to their wedding, they had hired horses to get lift to the church. Their start of a brilliant partnership in life was full of love and emotions between the families. 

A breathtaking venue – Hilton Park House

This simple and yet grand wedding was a huge hit especially due to the location like Hilton park. Hilton park is a unique wedding venue having formal gardens, pleasure grounds, stunning views provide with a Bohemian atmosphere. Hilton park provides a magical setting for a wedding with a mile long avenue only adding to a Bohemian touch.

      “Pawel was absolutely amazing! Not only is he extremely helpful and supportive, he is incredibly talented, as well. Our photos are breathtaking and we will treasure them for the rest of our lives. We would love to use Pawel again and would highly recommend him to anyone looking for heirloom quality photos to treasure for years to come.”

Erica – Anne

How did you meet originally and get together? 

We met when we were in high school. I went to an all-girls Catholic school and Steven went to an all-boys Catholic school. I am an actor and a singer and I did the spring musical at his school every year. We had a mutual friend who also involved in the shows who strongly felt that we would be a good match. We met at the auditions for his school’s musical in 2009. After a few months of texting and flirting during rehearsals, we finally went on our first in July of 2010. We’ve been pretty much inseparable ever since. We went to Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pennsylvania together and graduated in 2014. After graduation, we moved into our house in New Hope, Pennsylvania and, in 2015, we adopted the sweetest little Bichon Frise named Brie.

How did the proposal go, if there was one?

Steven proposed when we were on vacation in the shore town of Cape May, New Jersey. Cape May is one of the country’s oldest vacation resort destination and is filled with beautiful Victorian Era architecture. He chose Cape May because he knows how much I adore the aesthetic of the Victorian era (the clothes, the architecture, the art, etc.) The day started with Steven waking me up with breakfast in bed. He made me a breakfast my grandmother used to make for me when I was a little girl called “surprise eggs” (also called toad-in-the-hole or egg-in-a-hole). My grandmother was my best friend and she passed away in 2011. When he woke me up and presented me with my breakfast, he said he’d made it so I’d know that my Grandmom was with me and was a part of that day. After breakfast, he told me I should get up and get dressed because he had a few surprises for me. We drove into town and went to lunch a one of my favorite restaurants, The Lobster House. I love seafood—oysters, lobster, and crab are some of my absolute favorite foods. When we pulled in to the parking lot, Steven told me he wanted to make sure I had all of my favorite things that day. After leaving lunch, we walked around Cape May’s main street before hopping on a Trolley tour of the Victorian architecture and history of the town. The Tour ended at Cape May’s historical museum the Emlen Physick Estate. We took a walking tour of the house which still has original furnishings, clothing, etc. After that finished, we meandered around the Estate’s grounds. It was on the front lawn of the mansion in the September sunshine that Steven got down on one knee and proposed.

Could you sum up your wedding in a couple of sentences – how would you describe the look and feel of the day, the vibe?

We wanted to recreate what it would feel like to be married as well-to-do person in the mid-Victorian period. We wanted to immerse our guests in the beauty of the period and, hopefully, have them forget what year they were in!

What was important to you about your wedding – what were your priorities from the very beginning?

It was important that our clothing and surroundings be as faithful to the Victorian Era as possible. I did a lot of research and worked very closely with both my seamstress and Steven’s tailor to create exactly the looks we wanted. Many of the materials and textiles we used were actual antiques from the period (my veil and bridal crown were both antiques from the 1800s as was the lace and ribbons on my gown, our wedding rings, Steven’s top hat, the Irish militia buttons on his day waistcoat, and many more items. Steven also carried my great-grandfather’s pocket watch). Everything that wasn’t an antique was lovingly created to be as close to extant pieces from the 19th century as possible. Incredible food and music were also extremely important to us and we knew we were in the best hands with Joanna and Fred Madden and the staff at Hilton Park.

My bridal ensemble was created by Kelly Cochran Davis of Waisted Efforts and Steven’s ensemble was made by Jamie Grace-Duff.

What made your venue “the one”?

When we first started planning our wedding, getting married in Ireland was an unattainable dream. We initially looked at places in and around the Philadelphia and Cape May areas. Going through the process and touring different venues, no one place ticked all our boxes. I think it was me who said “Let’s just run away to Ireland and get married.” Surprisingly, both of our families said “Let’s do it!” It didn’t take us long to come across Hilton Park. The moment we saw it, we knew. The personal touches of the family that still runs the estate and all of the original details they lovingly preserved over decades sealed the deal. Joanna was amazing to deal with from the beginning. She made sure everything was absolutely perfect and kept me at ease from the first day we spoke all the way through our entire stay. Fred is a truly talented chef and absolutely everything was incredible from beginning to end. We actually miss Hilton Park and our whole family is planning a return trip soon!

What made the day really special and personal to you? 

Co. Monaghan just so happens to be right between where my family is from (Co. Cavan) and where Steven’s family is from (Co. Armagh). It meant so much to us to be married in such a beautiful place that has ancestral ties. Other elements that were important for me to include were pieces of my grandmother. My Grandmom, Cecelia Logan,  and I were extremely close but she passed away in 2011 at the age of 95. I always imagined she would be there on my wedding day so I wanted to make sure I honored her and made her a part of the day even if she couldn’t physically be there. I had portraits of her and my grandfather on the heels of my shoes so they could be there to walk me down the aisle. The buttons from my grandmother’s wedding gown were utilized in my gown and I even wore the simple gold and diamond cross she wore on her wedding day. Steven carried my great-grandfather’s pocket watch. One of my favourite things we included was the horse-drawn carriage. It really made the ride to and from the church so special and immersed us even more in the aesthetics of the period. Steven and I are both musicians so, of course, music is very important to us. It meant the world to us that my father performed the Ave Maria during our wedding Mass. My godfather also surprised us back at Hilton Park during the cocktail hour with a performance of my parents’ wedding song. The musicians who played for our wedding (Sacred Sounds and Oriel Traditional Irish Music) were incredible.

What advice would you give to other couples planning their day?

I would say to ultimately, do what will make the two of you happy. Everyone will have strong opinions about your wedding but what really matters is what the two of you want. Try not to get too hung up on what other people think. :)

Where did you go/are you planning on going on honeymoon? Would you recommend it?

We honeymooned in Italy! Steven’s other half is Italian and we were able to visit his family in the small mountain town from which his grandparents hailed. We spent the first few days in Rome and then traveled to Torre Dei Nolfi in Abruzzo. The food was INCREDIBLE!