The Special Couple: Cathriona + Malcolm
Wedding Date: 27th August 2019
THE FIRST SIGHT
Malcolm and I met in Nelson Bay by complete chance! A few years ago my best friend Maria, from Ireland, came to visit me for Christmas. Just after New Years, we decided to go to Nelsons Bay for a couple of days away. My now-husband had been there with a group of friends for New Years. Initially, they were all leaving on 2nd January, but he and one other friend decided last minute to stay for one extra night. Maria and I had been out at a local Club and decided to have our drinks in the outside area when a very attractive, exotic-looking man came over talking to me. It turned out he was also from Sydney and contacted me every day since. The rest, as they say, was history!
We brought our daughter Lily-Rose to Ireland for the first time when she was turning one. Malcolm's parents had never been to Ireland, so they joined us to meet all my family. On 15th August we decided to have a family day and visit Irelands iconic Bunratty Castle. Malcolm had Lily-Rose strapped to the front of him in the baby carrier. The castle has lots of different floors with very steep and narrow staircases. There is a really narrow staircase from the banquet hall that leads up to the only lookout tower at the very top of the castle, so only a few people can go up at one time. When we reached the top, it was just me, my partner and Lily-Rose up there. As I was looking out at the most amazing vast views of the Irish countryside, my partner said, "Babe, Lily-Rose has something here for you". When I turned around, he was on one knee, Lily-Rose still strapped to the front of him, holding up her hand with the most incredible diamond ring on two of her fingers, asking me to marry him. I was so emotional having my daughter as part of our engagement and seeing the ring on her finger I forgot to answer him. Malcolm had to ask me a second time, but of course, my answer was "YES"!
THE INSPIRATION & VENUE
There wasn't a specific theme. When I was younger, I saw the most beautiful place in the world in a magazine and said I'm going to get married there, this was under the arches at Villa del Balbianello on Lake Como. I never in a million years thought I would find not only my soulmate and the most amazing father but also someone who would move mountains to make all my dreams come through. With my family and friends coming from Ireland and Malcolm's coming from Australia, Italy worked out great for all our amazing guests who travelled and made our day so special; we are forever grateful. With the Villa being located on the tip of a small wooded peninsula in the centre of Lake Como, it can only be accessed by water. It was a very surreal moment to arrive at my wedding by boat! With the breathless views of the beautiful terraced gardens and the beauty of the mountains in the background, we decided to keep the bridal party colours bright but subtle, opting for flowy lemon yellow dresses for the bridesmaids and light grey suits for the boys. We kept the flowers at the ceremony of plain white colour, opting for my favourite flowers Lilys and Roses.
THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE BRIDAL LOOK
I am quite a traditional person, so I love that white lace dress and long veil look. The colour choice was always going to be white. However, for my pale Irish skin, opting for more of an ivory tone suited me better. Being petite size, I wanted to have a very fitted dress that didn't overpower me or weighed too heavy for a summer wedding in Italy. The ceremony was by the water, so I wanted to keep my look soft and natural. I opted to have my hair down in loose curls and full coverage with natural tones to soften the look.
THE DRESS & THE SAYING "YES" TO THE DRESS MOMENT
We had just nine months to organise an overseas wedding. By the time I started to look for my dress, I was already late, so I either had to find the perfect dress or get one made. After trying on 20 different dresses and because I had a specific image in my head, it was looking like I would have to go straight to a designer and get it custom made. However, arriving at Eternal Bridal for a last-minute appointment changed everything. I tried on two dresses that had I wanted, but I still thought I needed to get them changed. I was describing what I wanted when the Eternal Bridal Sydney store manager came over to me and said to me, "I have a Galia Lahav dress upstairs by chance, and I think it is what you are looking for." Honestly, when I saw the dress on the hanger, I was taken back at the beauty of the lace and immediately had that feeling, "oh my god I think this is it".
I cannot explain the overwhelming feeling that came over me when I saw myself in my GALA by Galia Lahav wedding dress; all I know is that I never wanted to take it off! It had the most exquisite detail of lace, delectate yet stunning. It was figure-flattering but yet so comfortable. I never thought I would find a dress with four layers of detailed lace, but it still felt so light and free. It was perfect for a 32 degree wedding day in Italy. I fell in love with it a thousand times over. Because of the dress details, we decided to go with a long veil that was longer than the train. We kept the veil very transparent so we could see the details of the lace through it.
THE BEST THING ABOUT OUR DAY
There were so many highlights for our wedding day; from having my dream come true by getting married at Villa del Balbianello, to arriving at the ceremony in a Venetian limo speed boat, to all our close family and friends gathering from around the world to watch us say "I do", to then arriving at our lakeside cocktail reception dinner with all our guest by boat to my then-husband surprising me by organising huge sparklers to light up the sky during the cutting of our wedding cake. But I must say the one moment that got me choked up, that will stay with me for life, was when I was walking up the aisle. The moment my partner turned around and was holding our daughter in his arms (by complete chance because she was tired and had just walked up the aisle to him and didn't want to go to anyone else), it was just meant to be.
Don't stress about the small stuff, and focus on making your day unique to you both (in our case it's the three of us with our Lily-Rose). I think I spent so much time in the early days wondering what others expected when in reality, all they want is to be there to share our special day.
CATHRIONA'S ETERNAL BRIDAL EXPERIENCE
I loved every second I had at Eternal Bridal. They were so attentive and listened to what I wanted. They were not just trying to sell me a dress; they cared that it was perfect for me. They were so patient and took onboard on points I didn't like about the other dress I had tried. I cannot recommend them enough, and thank you to the team Eternal Bridal Sydney Boutique!
Cathriona wore Tefiti from GALA by Galia Lahav. See more gowns from GALA by Galia Lahav Collection here.
Videographer: Alessandro Pardi
Florals: Il Florista Snc
Ceremony Venue: Villa del Balbianello, Lake Como