- loveandgat­ @loveandgat­herings

Kate O’Dowd of Love & Gatherings shares her expertise in creating stylish and experienti­al weddings and gatherings.

I always look to achieve a balance of style and soul when I plan a wedding. I have no interest in persuading a couple to blow their budget on, say, flowers, at the expense of something like good food. Guests will feel that, and it creates the wrong vibe for a celebrator­y day. I like to produce a wedding that firstly makes guests feel valued and comfortabl­e, and secondly gives them something unexpected. That doesn’t have to be a bride arriving on an elephant’s back; just something to make them think, “Wow, I’m really glad I made the effort to come to this event.” Colour, print and textural motifs are back in vogue rather than the smoky, bleachedou­t inspiratio­n of recent years. It’s a vibe that’s been generated by British event designers such as Susie

Young and Matilda Goad. Golden minimalism works in America, and anywhere else that has a warm climate, but I always feel it makes Irish spaces, with our (let’s face it) mostly blueish light, look tinny and try-hard. What works best in Ireland is richness, heritage inspiratio­ns and quaint talking points – think Farrow & Ball shades, William Morris prints and candlestic­ks from charity shops. The best way to achieve an originally styled wedding is to trust in your event supplier rather than what you discover online.

This is probably your first time planning a wedding, so most of what you see on Pinterest, for example, will feel new to you. But we live weddings, and as creative people, we tire easily of trendy aesthetics. We’ve road-tested almost everything too, so if you give us the freedom to interpret your taste, without too much restrictio­n, you’ll get an event that’s incredibly fresh.

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