Bicycle Theme Country Manor Wedding in Ireland (19)

Today’s real wedding comes to us from Reesha of Prêt à Papier based in Dubai, UAE! Here’s Reesha to tell us more:

When Valerie McCabe came to me to design their wedding stationery, I knew it was going to be one of the most unique requests I have received in my career as a wedding stationer. Irish Valerie McCabe was to marry Scottish Phil Hobbs and they were going to be hosting a celebration reception in an old manor house in a spectacular part of Ireland. But there was much to celebrate! It was going to be 3 occasions in 1 – Their wedding, Phil’s 50th and early retirement. So their invitations and wedding stationery needed to convey these 3 themes in a creative and light hearted way, but with a touch of class. It was of course going to be a mature wedding that would reflect the collective life experiences and humour of their guests.

 See more after the cut!


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They called it their Banais Mor (Gaelic for “big celebration”). As their home is in Ireland, they held their Banais Mor on the West Coast at a small country manor hotel overlooking the Atlantic Coast, Gregans Castle. The ceremony was a Celtic blessing, led by Val’s sister, Rita Dowling. Without all the formalities of a legal wedding, they were able to design a very personal ceremony including their nieces and nephews, throwing sand from Dubai and jumping the broom (a traditional Irish symbol of marriage).

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Valerie had a very definite idea about the look and feel of the wedding, but was still searching for a theme to tie the 3 concepts together. She was set on using muted tones of cream, taupe, rust, salmon. Valerie was to wear a stunning mermaid lace and embellished dress by Ronald Joyce and the junior bridesmaids wore beautiful taupe dresses and faux fur by Jenny Packham. She wanted the stationery to be built around those colours and have a vintage, yet very casual feel to intimately included relatives and a handpicked selection of the couple’s very close friends. They loved the simplicity chalkboard and had arranged for a few whimsical surprises like a vintage High Nelly  ice cream cart and bikes for the guests at the wedding.

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Using these inspirations, I worked closely with the couple to come up with their special “tandem”wedding suite. And here is their Prêt à Papier wedding story, as told by Val and Phil.

“As we both enjoy cycling we went with a bicycle theme (the bicycle also has some Irish symbolism too, as the High Nelly bike was ridden around Dublin by Ireland’s most famous 20th century political leader Michael Collins) and this became a motif that was woven into the various elements. The invitation featured a tandem bike that was symbolic of togetherness, retirement and life experiences. On the day they had two vintage bicycles on display that followed the print design and their cake topper custom designed in their image riding a tandem bicycle. We are both fond of animals, so we named each of the dinner tables after the pets of those attending. Reesha created a real life image of each pet interacting with the bicycle. We loved how she had each pet doing something interesting, including knocking over the flowers, chasing the cans or ripping the cans off, etc. This was a real hit! …an unusual conversational piece with our guest and made something functional, like table numbers, into something very personal (so much so that people took the table name cards home!).We also came up with the idea of using individual flags on matchsticks to assign people to tables; with people having a fun task to find their “match”. We also had Reesha help us create a Quiz Card with humorous and momentous events from the couple’s life together, with personalised  pencils – this was also a big hit as guests had a laugh trading answers.”

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A big part of their stationery was actually a 3-day ticket to the celebrations. It was essentially a detailed agenda of the weekend’s activities, ceremony-timing, transportation information and dinner and dancing plans. It also followed the tandem bike theme, a bicycle trail with milestone markers depicting the agenda items. It was so much fun to create the custom icons for each event marker. I love how they followed the stationery’s theme in the tiny details of their occasions. They had elements of chalkboard messages throughout the wedding party inspired by their welcome sign, guests took candid pictures with hand written messages on chalkboards for the couple.  One thing that stood out from all the stationery was how personal and intimate every detail was. The flower girl dropped confetti that was actually paw print shapes, to remember all the pets they’ve ever loved! We also designed a wonderful memento for an Order of service, that highlighted the intimate ceremony with special recitals and songs for the couple by their nieces and nephews.

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Congratulations Val & Phil and thank you Reesha for sharing! For more about Prêt à Papier, please visit their WeddingLovely Vendor Guide profile or head straight to their website.

What do you think of today’s real wedding? Let us know in the comments below!

Wedding dress: Tracy Bridal
Photographer:  Jenny Martin
Vintage bikes and ice cream cart: High Nelly Vintage Bikes
Celtic Wedding Celebrant:  Rita Dowling
The junior brides maids dresses: Jenny Packham
Stationery and welcome sign: Prêt-à-Papier
Reception location and catering:  Gregans Castle


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  • pretapapierdesign.com

    It was wonderful how the tandem bike tied with so many complex ideas and brought the whole wedding together. We enjoyed working with Val and Phil to create this absolutely customised set for their trifold celebration.

    • weddinglovely

      How wonderful!

      • Thanks for featuring this lovely wedding