Brandy Dallas, founder of local sustainable label Sans Faff, first met Michael Hession, a renewable energy entrepreneur through the modern means of finding love: an online dating app. But since their first date at an Italian restaurant on the eve of Valentine’s Day in 2016, every step together has felt like a cosmic affair. Dallas, recalls the evening—which she humorously notes she was late to—to be an intriguing reveal: “He had hints of an Irish accent, which spoke to my heritage as my family is actually of Irish descent as well. As soon as I heard him speak, he kind of immediately felt like home.” Another lunch near her workplace and a dozen roses later, the two turned into an inseparable pair.
Three years later, the pair had been on a trip to India—where Dallas had lived and worked for over eight years prior to moving to Singapore. In the midst of Dharamsala, the snow-capped mountain range of the Himalayas, Hession decided to turn the occasion that had already been so meaningful to begin with, into a proposal to remember—with the blessing and audience of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. And so in a broom cupboard of the dignified spiritual leader’s private residence, he proposed to Dallas with the first ring he had ever gifted her with: a Cartier love band.
As part of their engagement celebrations, the blissful pair headed to Ireland for a road trip—one that would lead them both to discover their dream wedding location: the Ballynahinch Castle. “We were on the Wild Atlantic Way, a stunning ocean drive along the Atlantic Ocean, when we realised that we had not booked any accommodations for the night. So Michael started searching online for locations and this beautiful hotel popped up. After we arrived, we ended up moving all our other reservations to stay the week there instead,” Dallas reminisces, on the magical moment when Ballynahinch found them.
Considering their shared heritage, it made perfect sense that Ireland was exactly where Dallas and Hession wanted to host their wedding. “Ireland is such an important part of both our stories and backgrounds. So we wanted to be able to share the very best of Ireland with our friends and family—and the expanse of Ballynahinch wasn’t simply just a view to live for, it was also a gem that they probably wouldn’t have visited unless they knew about it,” shares Dallas.
There was a regal yet age-old quality to the Ballynahinch Castle—and it communicated a mesmerising aura that might not have been easily achieved elsewhere. Yet for seven days prior to the wedding day, they saw an endless storm reign over the scenic scape. But on the evening just before, an amazing sunset led the pair into a cloudless weekend of blue skies and gorgeous views.
Just before they held their cocktail reception in the captivating landscape, the pair exchanged their formal vows in Christ Church located in Clifden, a seaside village just 15 minutes away from the hotel. It was every bit as authentic and meaningful to the bride and groom—who both felt thoroughly committed to the beautifully traditional ideal. A respect for tradition was something that seemed to centre their every decision; this was evident in how the after party unfolded—where the wedding weekend took a whimsical, almost mystic turn.
Elements of a traditional Irish affair were effortlessly weaved in: beautiful flame pots led the guests through walled gardens just outside—where a band of Irish dancers put on a stunning performance under the stars. And whilst coincidences were abound for the pair all through their wedding preparations, perhaps nothing could have prepared them for the realisation that their evening shared in the atmosphere of the September Harvest Moon, where the biggest moon of the year was celebrated. It was a stroke of magic, almost.
No wedding could be imagined without the bride and groom’s sartorial choices for the day—and both Dallas’s pre-loved wedding gown and Hession’s tuxedo details spoke to every bit of their personality and vision. For Dallas, a vintage Monique Lhuillier gown was her choice of bridal armour—Grace Kelly-inspired, timeless and exuding a somewhat regal glamour. She came across the dress via a timely listing on Still White, uploaded by a woman all the way in New York, where she already had plans to travel to the following week for a business trip. “As soon as I tried it on, I actually wanted to cry. It instantly felt right. And having the opportunity to extend the life of a garment—especially one that is typically a single-use product—made me so happy.” Likewise, Hession also carried a touch of vintage on his ceremonial tuxedo: it was a heritage Ralph Lauren bow-tie, gifted by one of their friends.
Whilst it might have been a simple, thoughtful gesture on part of their friend, it was a showcase of what clearly mattered to the two. From the considered way Dallas approached her trusted make-up artist, Zoe Koritsas, whomst she had always been working with all these years, to how the pair prepared an emotional playlist for their guests as they drove into their remote destination wedding, what became starkly evident was just how much they both treasured the people they loved—and wanted everyone to share in their heartfelt occasion.
And the remoteness of Ballynahinch made it the perfect place to witness this unfold: “We were all in such close proximity to each other that you couldn’t go too far without having a drink or conversation with someone you shared amazing memories with.” The final evening saw a stunning fireworks display, before the party continued long into the night. For Dallas, this served as a flawless end to the weekend: “Everything was just kept so fun—and we wanted to keep the momentum and energy going, surrounded by all our loved ones.”
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At the welcome party; Brandy Dallas, wearing a Roksanda cape midi dress and vintage Chanel earrings, whilst Michael Hession wears a vintage brioni velvet tux.
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The grounds of Ballynahinch Castle.
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Brandy Dallas in her vintage Monique Lhuillier gown.
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Brandy Dallas and mother of the bride, Brenda Kovacs.
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Michael Hession and Brandy Dallas with the bestmen, Cathaoir Corr and Conor Corr, behind them.
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An intricate up-do by Niamh Lee.
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Brandy Dallas with their son, Séagh Hession in a vintage Bentley.
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Gibran Baydoun and Michael Hession.
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Brandy Dallas and Michael Hession at Christ Church, Clifden.
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Brandy Dallas and Michael Hession photographed at Pine Island Connemara, County Galway.
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Yvette King and Frederica Bristow at the cocktail reception—organised from start to end by Olivia Buckley International.
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Brandy Dallas and Michael Hession cutting the cake by Cove Cake Design.
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From the left; Yvette King, Frederica Bristow, Brandy Dallas, Jonathan Collard, Josh Kovacs. The bride is wearing a custom gown by Maria Lucia Hohan.
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From the left; Conor Corr, Josh Kovacs, Michael Hession, Cathaoir Corr, Tom Owen.
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From the left; Georgina Scholtens-Day, Monica Millington, Lorraine Thomas, Brandy Dallas, Samantha Ainley, Frederica Bristow, Giulia Bedendo, Yvette King.
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Brandy Dallas and Michael Hession.