Powerscourt and the fanciest wedding I will probably ever attend.

Wedding vehicle.

When I started to really get into the planning of this whole venture I discovered that one of my nearest and dearest friends had been asked to be the maid of honor in a wedding in Ireland. My friend, K, accepted. This was all a bit coincidental and awesome. Since I was planning to be in Ireland at the time, we decided that we would travel for a week together after the wedding had finished. It became a great rallying and excitement point during the planning process for both of us. I was excited to travel with K again and get out on the open road of Ireland with a buddy. It is always great to see people on the road after you have been alone for a number of weeks.

Our tentative plan was to meet up on Sunday after the wedding and then take off on our wander. I was not a guest at the wedding nor did I know the couple who was getting married. I would be staying in Dublin for four days while she was doing the wedding thing . The wedding was in County Wicklow at the Powerscourt Estate. It was, in a word, fancy. Through a turn of events including a change of accommodation, I ended up picking up K at the airport, canceling my Dublin plans, and driving her and myself down to Powerscourt (about an hour drive from Dublin). I took a room in the local town Enniskerry, which looked like it was straight out of a Rick Steve’s of Ireland book, very cutesy. That day, I met the bride and groom, who were just lovely, American bride, Irish groom. They seemed exceptionally calm for the big event that was coming. Throughout the day I met the rest of the bridesmaids, had a great lunch with K and tried to help her ward off jet lag with walks. I also met more people in passing in the lobby while with K than I can count. All I can remember is that they were all so nice to me, this stranger who was randomly with the maid of honor, hanging around in travelers clothes. Throughout the course of the weekend I would talk to all of them a little bit more in depth, and remember all of their names and who they were related to.

Powerscourt Hotel 

A word on Powerscourt, it’s an estate in County Wicklow, Ireland, that includes more than 50 acres of hills, trees, gardens, a huge waterfall and an exclusive golf club. The manor house has its own set of gardens and trails. The house itself has a few shops and bits and bobs in it . The place where the weddings are held are in the same house but completely separate from that part and cannot  be seen with a tourist ticket during the day. The Powerscourt estate also includes the Powerscourt Hotel, (formerly the Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt, it changed hands right after we visited) where some of the pre-wedding events were held and a significant portion of the guests were staying, including the bridesmaids who convinced me to stay with them.  Luckily for this girl, with a  backpack and travelers clothes, with three of us staying in a room it brought the cost down from extravagant overspend to the splurge level. This was also at the wedding rate which was a significant discount to their normal rate.  Staying at a place like this on this kind of trip was a wild surprise that just seemed to fall into place. The bridesmaids had adjoining rooms so they just left the door open, making for one big suite like room and a whole lot of fun and chatting. I digress, so the property is really beautiful. If you are going to have an all out wedding than this is a great place to do it.

Powerscourt waterfall.
Classic Irish weather. 
When the subject of this wedding and trip first came up, K had joked that I should be come in the place of a date to the wedding. I laughed and said no no, I don’t know the couple and brushed it off. I had no intention of even being in the vicinity when this wedding was to go off, never mind attend it. I was adamant that I would not stay with the bridesmaids in the hotel or attend the wedding. Well I am sure you can guess where this is headed, I ended up doing both after MUCH convincing. I did not want to be a wedding crasher. I did not want to be in the way. I did not want to be an unwelcome extra. I’ve been in enough weddings to know how stressful the guest list  can be, and any additions or subtractions at the last minute can be a thorn in the couple’s side. But in the end the night before the wedding there was a slow tidal wave of invites from family members that culminated when the bride herself invited me, at which point I could no longer brush it off or say no. It was incredibly nice and generous of her to invite me, this girl she had just met. We later found out that we know someone in common besides K which pretty much blew the doors of six degrees of separation and I ended up knowing one of the guests at the wedding. The synchronicity of it was hilarious, small world always getting smaller. It reminded me how unexpected pleasures can occur when you open yourself up, let down your walls and accept the kindness of strangers.

My last minute wedding invite led to some last minute dress shopping and a lot of borrowing from the other girls. They basically each added something to the final product, jewelry, shoes and my favorite, a fascinator! They were all incredibly generous and kind with me, a complete stranger and I am very grateful to all of them. It was truly an experience to be remembered. 

Not bad for a cobbled together outfit. Love that fascinator!
The wedding itself was gorgeous. The bride and groom were fabulous, the ceremony was filled with love and the reception filled with speeches, encouragement and well wishes…and notations on how perpetually late the couple is. After a filling feast, there was the cake cutting, a photo booth complete with props, Irish step dancers and a pretty great band. The dining room was transformed into a dance floor fit for a princess (literally, Princess Grace of Monaco danced there). The floor had lights in it, and a dazzling pink/purple hued light shone around the room. It was practically out of a magazine or could have been in a magazine. The Irish step dance crew, 2 girls and guy, got the groom and groomsmen to create a step dance of their own which was immortalized  in a Facebook video for all to enjoy over and over at will. We danced, we laughed and above all we enjoyed until our hearts content.

For not knowing anyone except K at this wedding before the weekend, it was a whole lot of fun. I was thrilled to be invited and to see this couple pledge their lives to each other. I have never been so welcomed by such a large group of strangers with such open arms. I felt so welcome and blessed.

Best Wishes to the happy couple!


Powerscourt insider tip – If you stay at the Powerscourt Hotel (formerly Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt), ask at the front desk about the private Riverwalk trail. It is a trail that is only open to guests of the hotel and requires a code to open the gated entrance.

The Powerscourt Waterfall is just a short drive away, but keep your wits about you, the road gets narrow in some spots. It's the highest waterfall in Ireland and it’s worth the 5 Euro to get in, especially if you are feeling pensive.

If you are in County Wicklow, be sure to stop by one of my favorite places, Glendalough!