Penny & Neil onby
We recently celebrated our wedding at The Dunloe and we had a wonderful experience. Not only are the staff extremely professional, but they're also very flexible and easy to work with. We began our planning process with Jason Clifford, the general manager, and then worked closely with the new assistant manager Kayla Burrows. First things first, the venue is stunning. When we’re in the hotel, we’re looking at all the furniture and making future plans for our own home’s décor because it’s so well decorated. You can see people’s eyes widen as they enter the building. Each room has its own personality and you don’t get the feeling of fake luxury that many seemingly fancy hotels exude. This is the real thing. Back to the wedding… We admittedly had our guards up going in, assuming we would have to protect and fight for our desires, especially given how bespoke our wedding was. But our specific requests, no matter how strange they may have been (i.e., can we use a staggered stack of old books in lieu of a cake stand?) were met with warmth and flexibility. When a request couldn’t be met (alright, so maybe the stacked books were potentially flimsy and the cake would be at risk—thanks, Kayla!) The Dunloe would find an alternative solution that worked just as well or better. Do yourselves a favour and listen to their input because, at the end of the day, they have so much more experience with weddings than you probably do and, thus, a model for determining guest behaviors. Jason was waiting for us with champagne when we arrived at the venue and a vehicle delivered us to the castle ruins where we could take some photos before joining our guests in the reception room. We were lucky to have a beautiful day, and the Dunloe grounds made for some lovely photos of our wedding party and family. The reception room is my favourite — recently remodeled. It’s gorgeous. The furniture, the décor, the bar, the balcony and views — a perfect setting to share in tears and laughter with your most cherished people just after tying the knot. In greeting guests, I forgot to grab any canapes before they were done being served so a staff member ran down to the kitchen to make me a special plate. My husband and I began practicing our speeches separately once the guests headed into the dining room and before we were summoned. The same staff member offered me a pen, but I told him I wouldn’t need it. Thirty seconds later, I realized I had some changes to make. As I approached the bar, he had one hand wiping the counter and the other holding the pen out to me. These little touches are what made the day so special for us. They predicted everything! The food was wonderful (seafood salad is amazing as a starter!) and the service was impeccable — fast and responsive. No guest went hungry between the ceremony and dinner, and definitely not between the reception and dinner. The food was abundant and servers even offered our guests extra portions. Plus, they’d even offered some flexibility with menu options. Overall, they coordinated everything perfectly for us, including the song we would enter to, the timing of it, our path to our table — things we never would have thought of. They informed us when we hit certain amounts related to drinks, as promised—and always very discreetly. Although we’d coordinated our own ceremony and designed that venue ourselves, we couldn’t have imagined coordinating the rest of the celebration. The amount of work that must have went into it and the precision with which it was delivered will continue to impress us and make us smile when we think about our day. We highly recommend The Dunloe for your wedding day.