Real LGBT Weddings

Samantha and Karen, the perfect fit!

Karen Byrne and Samantha Cummins
Karen Byrne and Samantha Cummins
October 21, 2016 - Bunratty Castle Hotel

Karen Byrne met Samantha Cummins in Quinn’s bar, Limerick in 2002. Their eyes locked from across a crowded bar! It was love at first sight. Karen’s first reaction was “I am going to marry her” and after a few years of friendship the couple eventually got together and subsequently tied the knot. They now live in Cappamore, Limerick with their three children Amy, 15, Joshua, 6, and Oscar, 4.  


Karen proposed to Samantha at the top of the Rockefeller Centre in New York but was met with a ‘no’ from Samantha. This quickly changed to ‘yes’ when she realised Karen was being serious. Shortly after the date was set for October 21, 2016 at the Bunratty Castle Hotel, Co Clare. They were joined by 180 guests for a humanist ceremony, officiated by Bridget Carlin, and celebrations at the hotel.


Karen wore a beautiful dress from The Little White Dress Bridal Salon, Limerick. Bridesmaid’s dresses were bought in Be Fabulous boutique. The bridesmen’s suits were from Club Dangan, Ennis while Esquire Formal Menswear provided suits for the pageboys, Joshua and Oscar. Ring O Roses provided floral arrangements for the day. “Pat was a pleasure to deal with, very polite, efficient and professional and made some beautiful wedding day flowers for all the bridal party and for the ceremony room on the day.”

Orla Kennedy O’Brien created the wedding cake and really captured Karen and Samantha’s characters in a creative and fun way. Mad Hatters band provided music for the evening and had everyone up off their seats all night long.

Ciara Meade sang at the end of the ceremony and again at the canapé and prosecco reception. She sang ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m yours)’ by Stevie Wonder as the couple signed the papers and ‘I’m a believer’ by The Monkees as the girls left the ceremony. She also sang ‘Ireland’s Call’ for Samantha and ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ for Karen. Ciara also took the time to learn a new song that she hadn’t heard before, ‘The Story’ by Sara Ramirez.

Their daughter’s best friend, Laura Flanagan, sang their entrance songs. She sang ‘The One’ by Kodaline for Karen and ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love With You’ by Elvis for Samantha. She also sang ‘How long will I love you’ by Ellie Goulding. “At fifteen years of age she sang like a professional with fifteen years’ experience. To have Laura, a long time addition to our family, sing at our wedding made our ceremony more personal to us.”

Bernard O’Brien of New Age Photography captured the day fantastically in both photos and a video for the couple. Lisa Shanahan and Carina Laur did the girls’ hair and makeup. They had a jigsaw theme because of their shared love of jigsaw puzzles and “we have always said we are the perfect fit for eachother do it seemed fitting”.


Karen and Samantha’s favourite memories of the day was spending time with their friends and family and experiencing all the different emotions of a wedding day with them. Their kids were also heavily involved in the wedding; they included a special sand ritual into their ceremony, “we had five jars of different colour sands, each jar of sand was to symbolise the essence of each individual and the attributes they bring to our family. Each of us poured our sand into a personalised vase, the swirling colours were to signify that we are all distinct and that it is our different personalities that add beautiful colour to the tapestry of the family.”


From start to finish Karen and Samantha wanted to inject some fun into their wedding day. The invitations they sent out were in the style of a court summons so they had people in a panic before they realised what it was. Then they decided to add a pop of colour, so they bought matching rainbow shoes and umbrellas for the day. They also had Orla Kennedy O’Brien make the top tier of their cake rainbow coloured on the inside. Their entrance song to the dining room was ‘Maniac 2000’, which got all of the guests in a great mood to party.

The girls had a jigsaw piece engraved on both of their wedding rings as well as their knife set by Matthew Stephens Jewellers. Some personal touches Karen and Samantha made to the day included using significant dates in their families’ history as their table plan. Each table began with a different year, beginning with their grandparents wedding dates and a photo of them on their wedding days. Each photo was held on a clip attached to a jigsaw piece. The brides made the clips themselves. They also tried to keep the kids involved as much as possible on the day. Samantha had a sign made up for Oscar to wear up the aisle ahead of her as a surprise for Karen. It read ‘Mammy are you ready? Here comes mommy’. “Karen told me afterwards that she loved it and Oscar was delighted getting a job.”

All three of their kids did a reading. Their daughter Amy was a bridesmaid, and the two boys even handled the rings which made the day even more personal for the couple. “Apparently in every Irish wedding someone drops something and someone falls, our youngest Oscar covered both by dropping the ring and falling off the stage but it was all taken in good fun and gave everyone something to laugh and smile about, including himself.”

Samantha and Karen jetted off on their honeymoon to Basel, Switzerland to take in a tennis tournament and then went to Lake Como in Italy to relax and unwind for a few days in the sun.”

What was your experience like at the Bunratty Castle Hotel? “Five star, and we would give 10 if possible. David Shelly, General Manager, is an absolute credit to the hotel. There was nothing we asked David that he did not do. He was on hand from start to finish and was fun and an absolute pleasure to deal with. We would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending Bunratty Castle Hotel to anyone for an event. His staff were amazing on the day and were praised around the room by many people. The chef, Donna, had her talents put to the test as we brought our son with a nut allergy, vegetarians, vegans and vegans with food allergies. The food was incredible and she could not have been more accommodating and helpful. We could not, if we tried, find fault with this venue, David, Donna and the staff at the hotel ensured we had the most memorable day imaginable.” 

Karen Byrne and Samantha Cummins
Karen Byrne and Samantha Cummins
Karen Byrne and Samantha Cummins
Karen Byrne and Samantha Cummins
Karen Byrne and Samantha Cummins
Karen Byrne and Samantha Cummins
Karen Byrne and Samantha Cummins
Karen Byrne and Samantha Cummins

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