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Photographs courtesy of Cait Bourgault Photography 

It was a meeting through a mutual friend in college that began Mackenzie Degraff and Ryan Lambert’s love story. After years of creating special memories together, Ryan was ready to ask Mackenzie to be his wife when she returned to their home in Virginia after visiting family in Maine. Caught up in the newly engaged bubble, the pair began planning a wedding in The States but soon realised the cost and guest list were growing, and a decision to celebrate their relationship with an intimate wedding in Ireland was more to their taste. “We wanted to honeymoon there, and Ryan has ancestry from Ireland so it was meaningful to us”, Mackenzie shared.

Finding an enchanting venue for their 66 American guests to get a real sense of Ireland, whilst being in a practical location was top on the list of priorities for choosing the wedding venue. Ticking all the boxes, Ballymagarvey Village in Co. Meath proved to be the dream location.

“When we found Ballymagarvey we were sold before even visiting! The venue itself is beautiful without adding any frills already. The grounds are gorgeous, the reception room is stunning, and they had a beautiful indoor ceremony space, which we wanted in case of rain. The thing that really sold us was that they have 40 bedrooms onsite, which we knew could hold everyone, and we were able to rent the venue for two days. We really wanted our wedding to be a cosy celebration with our close friends and family and knew Ballymagarvey could deliver. After we did the food tasting we were even more thrilled because their food and service is fantastic!”, the bride shared.

Recommendations from the bride on planning an Irish wedding 

“I would highly recommend getting some type of wedding planner that knows Ireland and their vendors. Since we planned from The States and were not able to look at our venue or meet vendors before, it was important to have someone you could trust in the process! Additionally, make sure that planner knows your vision. We spent a lot of time looking at blogs from the different planners and felt confident in our choice and that our planner would completely understand our vision”, Mackenzie, who chose Waterlily Weddings, said.


Mackenzie and Ryan fell so in love with Ireland and the beautiful grounds at Ballmagarvey Village that the rest of their day fell perfectly into place, with the Emerald Isle exceeding their expectations on all fronts. 

“We loved the whole experience of our Irish wedding. We had a Celtic priest perform the ceremony and every minute of it was based on our relationship to each other, friends and family. We had a hand-fasting ceremony which was beautiful too and the weather was perfect for our day which helped out! We also enjoyed that we were able to have a two-day celebration, so we had more time to chat with all of our friends and family and they were able to get to know each other tool. I think it really felt like two families were becoming one”, Mackenzie fondly recalls.  

With their Irish wedding day solely focused on who they are as a couple, Mackenzie and Ryan had elements of their own personality threaded throughout the finer details of their wedding. “Instead of the traditional guest book we had an illustration created of us with the venue from the group that did our stationary and had guests sign the border of that. It is something we will cherish for years to come. Also, my favorite accessory was my shoes! They had silver six pence in them and had the “Something Old” quote on the bottom”, the beautiful bride said.

We loved the whole experience of our Irish wedding. We had a Celtic priest perform the ceremony and every minute of it was based on our relationship to each other, friends and family.


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