The real deal: modern brides tell the story of their big day

Secretly tying the knot and having your dog as your best man, Alanna Gallagher hears real wedding stories



Three cheers for a slick city do
Karen Doyle met Alan Munnelly in Renards, had a civil ceremony in City Hall, raised a glass to their big day in Doheny & Nesbitt’s and had a restaurant reception in Residence.
Photograph: John Ryan

Karen Doyle had done the big castle wedding before. Second time around she and Alan Munnelly, whom she met in Renards nightclub, wanted the focus to be on them and on their wine, food and hospi- tality. While the two had grown up in Castleknock, they didn’t know each other until they spent “about six hours talking” on that first night in Renards. Five years later, Munnelly proposed by writing “Will you marry me?” in the sand on Bertra Strand, outside Westport, Co Mayo.

To compensate for the fact that they wanted a small, intimate wedding they decided to throw a big engagement party. That same week, Doyle discovered she was pregnant.

She was five months pregnant when she said “I do”. The 1950s waisted dress she wanted to wear had to be adjusted by Denise Assas Couture to an empire line to flatter her bump. Her friend Damian Byrne, Arnotts head of creative, made her headdress and, bump or no bump, she managed to spend the day elevated atop a pair of five and a half inch-heel Jimmy Choo shoes.

Both wanted to have their wedding in Dublin so that they could showcase the city to their friends. On the night before, Doyle stayed in the Merrion Hotel and drove to City Hall where their 33-guest party was waiting. Afterwards, they had a coach to transport them to Doheny and Nesbitt’s pub for some drinks.

From there they walked around the corner to Residence, a private club on St Stephen’s Green, stopping off in the Green to take some photos.

They had pre-dinner drinks in the garden and dined upstairs afterwards at Restaurant 41. After dinner, the party retired to the piano bar where the resident pianist accompanied a bit of a sing song.

“Getting married the second time around, you know what you want,” says Doyle. “It’s more about you as a couple. It’s also more affordable. You don’t want to spend crazy money again.”