Donna & John

DIY Winter Woodland: Donna & John At Glenlo Abbey

A rustic Christmas wedding with twinkling fairy lights, romantic willow arches and a hearty family effort towards little DIY touches. This Celtic woodland inspired affair is simply magical…

Donna & JohnDonna & JohnDonna & JohnDonna & John

Donna and John put their degrees in Mechanical Engineering to good use when it came to building their own decor for their fairytale wedding on 28th December 2015.

Love blossomed for the pair when they met at University of Limerick while studying and a proposal while on a roadtrip from California to Washington State was the perfect celebration of their five year anniversary. “The weather was amazing and we stopped at Crater Lake in Oregan which is this beautiful deep blue lake, high up in the mountains. John got down on one knee… I was stunned, I remember pulling him up to his feet, hugging him, then realizing that he hadn’t put the ring on yet, so I made him go back down on one knee and put the ring on my finger!!”

Donna & JohnDonna & John

Mixing vintage and rustic, their woodland theme included lots of natural elements from handmade burlap roses in Donna’s bridal bouquet to jam jar favours made by her mum and a cake baked by her sister-in-law Emily.

DIY extraordinaires, they brought the outside in by cutting down trees, building stands covered in lighting and a three arch piece covered in willow. “The idea of the arches was that we would each go through our individual arch and come back through the large arch together as a married couple.”

Their ceremony was very much rooted in celtic traditions, featuring Handfasting and Blessing of the Four Elements. “I was also lucky that a lot of John’s friends are fluent Irish speakers so we asked a few of them to say readings in Irish. The Handfasting made our union feel so real.”

Donna & JohnDonna & JohnDonna & JohnDonna & JohnDonna & JohnDonna & JohnDonna & John

“I fell in love with the grounds at Glenlo Abbey when my future mother-in-law took John and I there for lunch one day. Between the train, the abbey and the antique décor – it was exactly the kind of venue I was looking for. It has a lovely homely feel – the hotel was decorated beautifully for Christmas and the open fires gave an overall warm and impressive impression.”

Donna & JohnDonna & JohnDonna & JohnDonna & JohnGlenlo AbbeyGlenlo Abbey

“Our photographer Will O’Reilly was fantastic! We knew we made the right choice when we did an engagement shoot with him and he totally put us at ease (we are not natural posers!). I picked Will because of his eye for detail – he sees all of the little details that make up a wedding and portrays them beautifully. My family and I put a lot of work into the decorations and favours and I wanted a photographer that could show that. Will did not disappoint! One thing John and I both remarked on when we saw the photos afterwards is that we didn’t even notice when he was there taking photos! He captured really natural shots of us and our guests during the ceremony and reception.”

Glenlo AbbeyGlenlo AbbeyGlenlo AbbeyDonna & JohnDonna & John

Huge thanks to Donna and John for sharing their special day with us and to their photographer Will O’Reilly. You can see more of his work at

Wedding Supplier Credits:

Ciara Moore

Ciara Moore is the Blog Editor & Social Media Manager at WeddingDates HQ. Anything you want to know about weddings and what is on trend - she's your woman!

WeddingDates Contributors
Submit a Real Wedding

Are you a bride, groom or photographer who wants to share a unique wedding with our readers?

Learn More