After years of planning and prepping, childhood sweethearts Bonnie Ryan and her partner John officially tried the knot during a beautifully intimate registry office ceremony in Dublin. But it’s their summer wedding that they’re most excited for. In just a few short weeks, the pair are set to jet off with their nearest and dearest for a destination do, and it’s sure to be a week they’ll never forget.
Ahead of the nuptials, Bonnie joined us in Dublin’s Luttrellstown Castle to chat about the big day, her gorgeous dress, family excitement and how her late dad Gerry will be remembered during the ceremony.
Bonnie, you’re officially a married woman. Congratulations!
Yes, we finally kicked off our wedding celebrations with our registry office ceremony. It was an intimate day with our family to sign on the dotted line ahead of what we see as the actual wedding early this summer. We want to take people out of Dublin and just be together. The countdown is officially on!
How have you found the planning process, was it all fun or stressful at times?
I found it relatively enjoyable to be honest. I know it can be such a stressful thing and when you’re getting down to the wire, there can be some tricky things to arrange but I’ve had an extra year to plan and I think it really added to the ease of organising it. Thankfully we agreed on everything, as we’ve both got very similar tastes. John’s been a dream to plan a wedding with, it’s been really nice.
Your sister Lottie got married abroad a few years ago, has she been able to offer you any advice?
She’s been great for everything! Her wedding was so beautiful. I’m so lucky that I experienced that. Even the way she themed things, we’d both be quite similar in the sense we both wanted something timeless. She’s my maid of honour and she’s great for bouncing ideas off.
It will be so nice having Lottie and your other sister Babette by your side on the big day…
I honestly couldn’t have it any other way. They’re basically joined at my hip! We’re all so similar and we have the best time when we’re with each other. The day just wouldn’t feel right if they weren’t up there up beside me.
Will the rest of your family be heavily involved too? We bet your nephew Wolf be the cutest guest in attendance!
We’re not actually sure yet if little Wolf will be there or not because he’s still so small. Everyone else will be there though. My little brother is one of the groomsmen and my older brother will give a speech. My siblings are my best friends, I’m so lucky with them and we have the most fun together. They’re going to be heavily involved, as is John’s family. He’s got such a close family and I love that we’re both so similar in that way. I get on so well with his sisters and at this point, they’re like my sisters as well.
Tell us about the dress Bonnie – did you know straight away it was the one for you?
Before trying anything on, I was browsing Pinterest and one dress stood out so I found a place in Ireland that stocked it. It was the first dress I tried on, I went out to show my mom and Lottie and they immediately started crying… I knew it was the one. When I put it on, I felt really special and comfortable. I tried on about six others that day because I wanted to be 100 percent sure, but nothing felt the way my one did. We customised it a little bit and Paula in Tamem Michael has been a dream to work with. I’m so excited to wear it.
Talk to us about John’s outfit – what’s the vibe he’s going for?
He’s kept it super classic as well. He had a fitting in Louis Copeland a couple of weeks ago, so he’s getting something really beautiful there. My dad used to get all his suits custom made with them so we thought it would be nice for John to go there and get his dream suit too. If I get to wear the dress of my dreams, I want him to feel just as special too.
How does your mam feel, she must be so excited?
Oh my God, she is so excited! Her main concern though is that she hasn’t found her dress yet. Every single day she’ll send me pictures but I’m like mom, we need to get it together and nail something down! She’s so funny, she just can’t make up her mind. My mom is so cool and fashionable that I just know whatever she wears will be gorgeous on her. She’s so excited for the day and she’s been so helpful and involved.
We’re sure your dad would have been so proud too – will you incorporate him into the big day at all?
We will in some way, but to be honest – and I don’t want this to sound bad – I haven’t really thought about it too much just yet. I want it to be a really happy day and I don’t want to be thinking about how my dad isn’t here. I don’t want it to feel in any way somber because for me, he’s always around and I know there’s no possible way my dad isn’t going to see me walking down the aisle. I know that no matter what he’ll be part of my big day. Of course I want to have something to incorporate him into it, but I’ll leave it until a little bit closer to pick how we’ll do it.
Would you have any advice for others who have lost a loved one before their big day?
No matter how much time has passed, when it comes to a moment in your life that’s as big as this, you’re always going to have those moments were you’re thinking about them and really wishing they were there, but it’s important to know that they’re going see it in some shape or form. When we talk about my dad it’s always through happy memories and we’re constantly laughing and joking. For me anyway, I think it’s important to try incorporate them in and not just put it to the back of your mind. They’re special people and although it’s difficult that they’re not there, you should just remember that there’s no way they’d miss it.
What are you most looking forward to, Bonnie? Is there a particular moment you’re excited about?
I’m very excited to just walk down the aisle and see John for the first time. I think that’s going to be so special. We’ve been on such a journey together. We’ve been together since we were so young, he’s my best friend and he’s been there for me through everything in my life. I feel like we might just start laughing when we see each other. I work in weddings doing bridal makeup and the mornings are so much fun so I’m excited to have that experience with my girls, to drink champagne and have some music playing while we get glam.
I really enjoy doing my own makeup so I feel on the morning it’ll be almost therapeutic to do my own glam. It relaxes me. My hairdresser, Danielle Whelan from The Space, will doing everyone’s hair though and she’s fab. There’ll be lots of special moments throughout the day, but they’re the two I’m particularly looking forward to.
Finally, do you have any plans for a honeymoon? Will you be going wild on a gorgeous exotic trip?
Yes, we actually are! I’m so excited. We decided that we’re going to go away for a few weeks. We’ve a couple of places planned but we need to fully nail it down. We’re hoping to go to three or four different places and make each one really different – but why not, it’s our honeymoon and we’re hopefully only going to do it once in our life. I can’t wait!
Interview: Michelle Dardis
Photography: Lili Forberg
Make-up: Bonnie Ryan
Hair: Stephanie Nwambu using Moroccan Oil
Styling: Zeda The Architect
This shoot took place at Luttrellstown Castle Resort. The stunning opulent dining rooms offer a magical setting for celebrations and family gatherings from the most intimate to the larger scale weddings of up to 180 people. See luttrellstown.ie