Thursday, March 29, 2012

Fiona & Seamus

This wedding certainly went off with a bang, as Donal & Gary from Rocket Pyrotechnics  put on a dazzling fireworks display on the lawns of Kilronan Castle after dinner on Saturday night. Though I was their neighbour for years, and even hand-fired a display with them once, I'd never photographed fireworks before. That's a technical challenge in itself, but I also wanted to picture Fiona & Seamus and the Castle in that context, so it meant compromising on the fireworks and using a remote-controlled speedlight.

Before the display though, there was the main event. And with Fr Brian Conlon in charge, the ceremony was always going to be a good show too. Fr Brian enters into the spirit of a wedding, mingling with the guests and keeping the tone celebratory. He was very taken with the bridesmaids' cobalt-blue dresses, and conducted the ceremony from his position in the pews, allowing Fiona & Seamus to take centre-stage. The Church was bedecked with 500 daffodils which Seamus and his family put together, while the bouquets were from Chantelle in Pure Flowers.

Then we had a procession of vintage cars out to Lough Key where we did a few pictures of the bridal party. Groomsman Keith was very enthusiastic for one particular shot, which almost got him in trouble with bridesmaid Therese, but all was well... I had Eamon from Big Apple alongside me again for the fourth time in seven wedding - we're beginning to feel like an old married couple ourselves!

The Elastic Band entertained everyone in the evening, the dancing kicking off with a nice piece of choreography from Fiona & Seamus for their first dance. Seamus' Dad Jack is a famous dancer, and I'm sure he was proud to see Seamus's smooth moves across the floor.

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Paula & Patrick

There was a pretty cool & colourful retro theme to Paula & Patrick's wedding last Friday. Even the invitation had a vintage Americana look to it, while Paula herself was very striking with her vivid red lipstick, 20's hairdo, silver bow and beautiful Kathy De Stafford gown. It's just a pity then that the 15.05 Dublin to Sligo Express wasn't a big old black steam train instead of a sleek modern version. I still like the shot though, and the fact that the driver blew his whistle to acknowledge the newly married couple.

A quick stop in Paula's local in Ardagh was called for before we headed on to Kilronan Castle - her and chief bridesmaid Rosie seemed quite at home there - I'm sure they've had a few good nights in Lyons's. Patrick was happy to stand back and admire them until drinks were served.

The mood was good back at the reception in Kilronan, and as the guests were seated, we took advantage of a lovely evening to play with parasols and take a stroll around the grounds before dinner. Rosie wanted to know if she was the best bridesmaid I'd worked with - you were right up there Rosie! Paula & Patrick have travelled all over, and in the search for someplace neither of them have been to before, they're honeymooning in Nicaragua and Costa Rica. With the world becoming a global village I'm sure they'll be able to see this somewhere in Laguna de Perlas.

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Clodagh & Ger

Sunday took me to West Mayo - Bangor Erris - for Clodagh & Ger's Wedding. It was another big inter-county match up, with Ger and his supporters travelling from the Kingdom of Kerry. Mayo have a few bad memories of meeting Kerry in Croke Park over the years, but the two sides seemed much better matched on this particular Sunday. The drive to Mulranny Park Hotel took us through some spectacular landscape, before we stopped briefly at the beach, only to find the tide was in, and there wasn't a grain of sand in sight. Still, a quick walk down the shore, we found a causeway that provided all we needed. Then it was back to Mulranny Park, where Alison took care of everyone before dinner & dancing to Pink Champagne. DSC_1304

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sinead & Enda, 16th March

I had two weddings over the weekend, with a common theme - Mayo girls enjoying a bit of inter-county rivalry with their husbands from other counties. Over the years, Mayo have mainly enjoyed the upper hand over neighbours Sligo, but Sinead & Enda seemed very well matched on Friday.

It's always good to arrive and find Ann Young in charge of make-up - you just know that everything will run smoothly, on time, and that everyone will be looking fantastic when she's finished. Good make-up can really help for photographs. Ann reckoned Sinead looks like Adele, though I'd argue that she's much prettier than the Cockney chanteuse.

There's a trend that started in the States a couple of years ago for photographers to bring their couples to scrapyards or grafitti-covered buildings and picture them against a gritty background. For a laugh, we gave a little nod to this by nipping out to Sinead's Dad JT's quarry and using the old low-loader as a prop. I'm not sure the trend will catch on here....

We definitely had all four seasons in one day, as our walk down to the shore of Clare Lake swung between driving rain and glorious sunshine several times in a matter of minutes. Once again, I had the pleasure of Eamon from Big Apple alongside me on video, who helped juggle the umbrellas in the deluge. Then it was back to The McWilliam Park Hotel for drinks and dinner before a night of dancing to Brian McDermott & his Band.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sonia & Paul

We were Sligo-bound on Friday for  Sonia & Paul's big day in St Joeseph's and then The Clarion Hotel. Sonia's house is literally 200 yards from the Church as the crow flies. I was able to pop over and back several times in the build-up to the ceremony. Ger  was with me as second-shooter, and he put together a lovely slideshow for the guests to enjoy over dinner. As well as tears from the aunties at the emotional bits, it's always funny to hear the laughter from different tables around the room, as one of their number appears on the big screen.

The hoped-for clearance in the weather didn't happen, but  it didn't dampen anyones' spirits as we popped the umbrellas up and took a stroll on the headland at Rosses Point. Even on a sunny Summers' day, it can be wild enough up there, so it was an adventurous bridal party who braved the elements. We were in and out of the cars in 5 minutes, but to quote my friend and fellow photographer Mark Capilitan, "5 minutes outside is worth an hour inside". Very true.

Eamon filmed events in his usual discreet and witty style, adding to the craic on the day, and Dej√° Groove  got the crowd on the dancefloor - it was good to meet guitarist Keith again - I photographed his wedding a couple of years ago.

Finally, there was one special guest absent on Friday - Sonia & Paul's beautiful Golden Retriever, Mavis, She came to Killaraght a couple of weeks ago, but had gone to the doggy hotel by the wedding day. She was represented on the wedding cake alright, but the icing model doesn't do her justice, so I've included one from the pre-wedding shoot.

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