Monday, December 16, 2013

Joanne & Fergus

Joanne & Fergus, Farnham Estate & Spa, 14th December 2013

Awful weather, fabulous wedding! Blog Collage-Joanne & Fergus

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Ruth & Fintan - Knockranny House Hotel

Ruth's house was buzzing when I arrived in Westport on the morning of the wedding, hair and make up in full swing, with Katie making sure everything was being done properly. The morning was bright and sunny, making the most of the view over Clew Bay from the house. Back at Ballintubber, Fintan was calm and collected, though there may have been a few nerves beneath that cool exterior. We dodged the heavy showers that swept in off the Atlantic down at the harbour before taking a quick pitstop at Matt Molloy's, which is the kind of place you can pop into for 15 minutes and emerge from several hours later if you're not careful. But everybody behaved themselves and we arrived to a warm welcome in Knockranny House Hotel in plenty of time for dinner. Leon Costello was alongside me on video and as always, it was a pleasure.

Blog Collage-Ruth & Fintan

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Eithna & Paul - The Bush Hotel

Jamestown is my home village, and after 40 years of birthdays, celebrations, christenings and funerals, I finally got to photograph a wedding there. Eithna & Paul are both locals, so I knew many of the guests on the day. Sadly, Eithna's Dad, John Joe had recently passed away unexpectedly, though he was definitely there in spirit. After the ceremony and a quick pint in the Arch Bar, we headed for Carrick and The Bush Hotel, where a very familiar face had turned up to offer his best wishes to the Happy Couple. Blog Collage- Eithna & Paul

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Kara & Myles - Solis Lough Eske

I've been up on the High Road at Rosses Point a few times before and it always seems to have a little micro-climate of its own - usually mistier and windier than anywhere else around. It was kind to Kara and Myles though - we got a few dry minutes, which is just as well, because by the time we reached Lough Eske in Donegal, the rain had settled in for the evening. They were well-married as the ceremony was conducted by Bishop Brendan Kelly, who is Myles' uncle. Kara was gorgeous in a beautiful dress by Irish designer, Patrick Casey, while Myles' braces were very dapper indeed. Bridesmaid Hilary was outnumbered by Groomsmen Tutts & Alan, but was more than a match for them on the day.

Blog Collage-Kara & Myles

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Claire & Shane - Cromleach Lodge Hotel

Claire & Shane are into their photography, so we had a marathon session on their wedding day, taking in bridges, harbours, abbeys, farmyards, fields, walks with dogs, fun with the bridal party and some shots around Cromleach Lodge. It was great for me - too often you're rushing to catch up on time, but I think they may be looking at a double-album after all that - there's lots of good stuff waiting for them when they get back from honeymoon!

Blog Collage-Claire & Shane

Monday, August 19, 2013

Farewell Henry

The studio feels very empty this week.

Almost six years ago, I wrote this post. It got quite a bit of reaction and got shared on a good few animal rescue/welfare sites. Since then, Henry appointed himself as head of the household, organising important matters like walk time, dinner time, diet, and work hours. As he got older, he spent a lot of time under my desk as I worked. Most of you who came to the studio received a special Henry welcome, and he always seemed to work his way into at least one or two of peoples' pre-wedding shots.

He fell ill last week and was gone from us in a few days. We'll miss you big fella - thanks for the memories.

Blog Collage-Henry

Mairead & John - Lough Rynn

Sligo met Galway in Leitrim for Mairead & John's wedding at Lough Rynn. A great day had by all with Rebecca almost, but not quite, stealing the show from Mairead! The only one missing was Misha the husky, but it might all have been just a little too much excitement for her. Blog Collage-Mairead & John

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Sharon & Michael - The Clarion Hotel, Sligo

London comes to Sligo - a big 2nd generation Irish wedding - complete with creamy pints in Henry's of Cootehall! Blog Collage-Sharon & Mick

Alison & Michael - McWilliam Park Hotel

Happy Birthday Alison! Great day out in Kilmovee, Duffy's, Urlar Abbey & The McWilliam Park - and Mayo didn't just beat Donegal, they hammered them - I'd say ye were happy heading on Honeymoon...

Blog Collage-Alison & Michael

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Edel & David - Knockranny House Hotel

I met Edel & David at his sister Maria's wedding last year. I had some banter with David on the day about marrying Edel, but little did I know that they were already engaged and just hadn't announced it, as they didn't want to take any of the spotlight from Maria & Mike on their big day. So when they turned up in the studio a couple of weeks later I was delighted.

I'd been looking forward to their Knockranny House wedding ever since, but my day didn't start too brilliantly after I dropped off the edge of a gap outside Edel's house into a ditch, as I was turning to face the Church for a quick getaway later. Edel's Dad, John, had promised her mother that he'd leave the tractor idle and do no farming on the day of the wedding, but he abandoned the speech he was putting the finishing touches to and donned his overalls to tow me out. No damage done, and after that everything went like a dream.

Blog Collage-Edel & David

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Maria & David - Cromleach Lodge

From the seaside to the mountain, Enniscrone to Cromleach Lodge via the Windy Gap and Lough Talt on a sunny summer day, what could be more beautiful, especially with a stunning bride and handsome groom to photograph? Maria & David Blog Collage

Emma & Ciaran - The Landmark Hotel

The heatwave continued for Emma & Ciaran's wedding in The Landmark Hotel. We stopped at Ciaran's family's beautifully restored cottage for photos after the ceremony in Drumshanbo. Not many couples can claim to have been chased around a garden by a donkey on their wedding day, but after Poncho got loose, he headed straight for them - he might have fancied a nibble of the bouquet.... Emma & Ciaran Blog Collage

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Kathleen & Donal - Lough Rynn

Sometimes, on a cold windy winter's day when the light is fading fast and you can't get outside and things are running late and nobody can find Uncle Mick for the family photo and the chef is throwing a wobbly because the soufflés are sinking and somebody has stood on the bride's dress and torn it and your flashgun has shorted out from the rain that's been pouring all day and there's still a dozen groups to be photographed and you realise you've left your tripod in the Church 25 miles away, then you wonder why the hell you ever decided to photograph weddings.

Then there are days like last Saturday in Lough Rynn, when you realise what a pleasure and a privilege it is to do this for a living. A fantastic day, a handsome couple, happy to devote a little bit of time to their photographs, and the beautiful grounds of Lough Rynn Estate to wander around. Having Cathal Farrelly alongside me on video was an added bonus.

The wedding itself took place in Granard, where the Church sits overlooking the town. The lighting is challenging, a deep orange, reminiscent of sodium streetlights, with some more natural light filtering in around the alter. Kathleen was much-admired in an elegant high-neck dress and dramatic headpiece, while all six feet seven of Donal looked very dapper indeed. He opens champagne like a Formula 1 driver - I'm not sure how much was left for them to sip on the way to Lough Rynn.

Kathleen & Donal Blog Collage

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Michelle & Chris - The Ardilaun Hotel

Hot hot hot.... the soaring summer temperatures were at their peak on Friday for Michelle & Chris's Galway wedding. Everyone was using their mass booklets as fans in an attempt to keep cool in the Church. I felt for Chris and the lads in their ties and three-piece suits, no doubt they'd have given anything to get into a t-shirt and shorts. Meanwhile, Michelle and her bridesmaids were wearing beautiful dresses made by Michelle's mother Mary, who as well as being a designer, is a former Rose of Tralee. Michelle's dress had a spectacular train that just had to be photographed from the gallery as she walked up the aisle.

As we were in town, we decided to take a stroll up Quay Street & Shop Street, which were thronged with tourists and locals alike enjoying the Sunshine. Michelle walked into one pub as a Murphy and out of another as a King. Very appropriate, though who knows, she might decide to go double barrelled - Murphy-King has a certain ring to it. Chris met an old girlfriend of his on the way back - there still seemed to be a bit of a spark there from Helga, but Michelle has well and truly stolen Chris's heart now.

Michelle & Chris Blog Collage

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Orla & Daniel - Broadhaven Bay Hotel

Orla told me she'd like me to do a Blog post, as long as I didn't write too much about her, so I'll let the pictures do most of the talking. Suffice to say, there was more than a touch of inter-county rivalry and references to the Sam Maguire as this Mayo girl married her Donegal beau. The last time I was over in Belmullet, we were battling a storm sweeping in off the Atlantic, so it was great to be able to hit the beach in sunshine last week. We must have looked as though we were filming an ad for Land Rover, with three Discoverys barrelling along the beach. Mine was definitely the poor relation though. Ger Haughey, my sometimes second shooter, was on video duty as part of his new venture with Discreet Wedding Films, and I'm glad to report he lived up to the name beautifully.

Orla & Daniel Blog Collage

Ann & John - Landmark Hotel

This was an all-Longford affair, and my second Grattan's wedding in the past year. John takes his football seriously, as was evidenced by his playing in a big match less than 48 hours before the big day. The Child of Prague looks after the weather, but I'm not sure which saint or statue Ann had to pray to in order to make sure he came through injury-free. Whatever it was, it worked, as not only did John come through with flying colours, Grattans picked up their first win of the campaign too.

The ceremony was conducted by the still wonderfully-named Fr Pierre Pepper, who tells me his apellation comes from his Wexford-French ancestry. After a stroll along the canal in Ballymahon we headed for Carrick and The Landmark Hotel, where as usual Trish & Emma were on hand with a warm welcome. Just before dinner, we popped up to The Black Mint Bar, where Ann got all demure on the daybeds. Everyone's allowed to be a little camera-shy sometimes!

Ann & John Blog Collage

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Eimear & Mickey - Lough Rynn Castle

My third wedding in a row at Lough Rynn was a little bit different, with the coming together of two cultures - West Cork, and what was the old East Germany - now of course just Germany. Mickey hails from the town of Gorlitz on the Polish border, while Eimear is from Macroom. They met quite a few years back when Eimear went to Gorlitz to improve her German. Her initial homesickness dissipated quickly once she met Mickey, and before too long he arrived in Ireland, where he's stayed ever since.

I've done plenty of weddings in Bornacoola Church, so was taken aback to discover that a pretty section of birch woodland had appeared around the entrance that was never there before. Not only that, but two 20-foot high Hornbeam trees were growing either side of the alter. It was the work of Ciaran & Keilin of Leitrim Flowers, and it looked fantastic. I don't know if the idea for the trees emanated from Macroom or Gorlitz, but there were plenty of cross-cultural touches to this wedding, including the welcoming of the bride & groom with traditional foodstuffs of bread, salt & oats, the couple demonstrating they can work successfully together by sawing a log, which they did with Mickey's Grandfather's old saw, and a ritual downing of schnapps after the meal. There was also a special fireshow after dinner which set the rest of the night up beautifully.

A few things will stick in the mind from this wedding - Dad Dennis's tears, the way the rain started every time we so much as thought about going outside, Dad Gerhard's poignant speech, and best man Eoin's understated dry-witted speech, where he took the Mickey out of everyone, especially Mickey himself, in a way that offended nobody, but had the audience rolling in the aisles.

Eimear & Mickey Blog Collage

Monday, June 24, 2013

Louise & Michael - Lough Rynn

I knew Louise & Michael's wedding was going to be good craic, and that was before I'd even met the bridal party, who were even madder and wilder than I'd been told. Best man Mark was giddy giddy, all out, and by the end of the day I'm sure he definitely did need a lie down. He's a great man for the catchphrase, which has left one of Michael's mates forever known as Kitty.

This was the second time Louise & Micheal have married. The first time, they swept the prizes at the Ballinamore Festival with their take on My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. This time round, they had a very classy affair, with Lough Rynn hosting the reception. Magpie, Louise's horse came home for the wedding, while Buttons the terrier appointed himself as photographer's assistant for the morning. There was a surprise appearance from the Aughnasheelin Girls Football team, complete with bubbles, and the weather stayed fine until seconds after the last outdoor photo was taken.

One Wedding, the Proverb says, begets another - Dave from Emo, I'm waiting for your call! Louise & Domo - enjoy Zanzibar!

Louise & Domo Blog Collage

Monday, June 17, 2013

Rosemarie & John - Lough Rynn

A lot of people who come from further afield to get married at Lough Rynn have their ceremony in Aughavas. I guess partly that's the Brian & Amy effect. Rosemarie & John chose the equally attractive alternative of St Patrick's Church in Mohill, which stands on the hill overlooking the town. The interior was beautifully decorated by florist, Clare Lawless. Little details were a feature of this wedding, with tasteful vintage items appearing everywhere, from the table plan to the bicycle outside the Church. Rosemarie got ready in Dara Madden's Brooklawn Lodge, which is itself a vintage building (1790) with many of it's original features intact. There's a great quality of light in an old house like that, which is quite different from modern large-windowed buildings.

A day ahead of Fathers' Day, Rosemarie's Dad, Jimmy, left the entire congregation with a lump in the throat with his emotional end-of-ceremony reflection, but after that it was all smiles, not least when The Singing Waiter burst into song over dinner. Best man David conducted the crowd, waving his napkin over his head to the strains of "That's Amoré" and within moments the room was a sea of napkins. A joyful moment on a great day.

Rosemarie & John Blog Collage

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Paula & Raymond - Kilronan Castle

Paula and Raymond were just little children when Paula's big sister Breege married Raymond's big brother Michael. Some nineteen years later, baby sister and brother married each other on a beautiful summer's day in Kilronan Castle. It's a phenomenon I can relate to, as my baby brother married my wife's little sister, after making eyes at each other when they met at our wedding a few years earlier.

As both Paula & Raymond come from large families, it was inevitable that there'd be a big bridal party, and six bridesmaids and six groomsmen was a new record for me. Mind you, it took all six of Paula's bridesmaids for the dress fitting. It was worth it, as she looked stunning when all of the laces, buttons, loops and fasteners were done and dusted. Raymond looked pretty natty too, in his bespoke Louis Copeland suit, which was even monogrammed, and had the date of the wedding sewn into the lining of the collar. It was set off beautifully by the Mont Blanc cufflinks Paula sent him on the morning of the wedding.

After the ceremony in Keadue, many of the guests spilled out of the Dungeon Bar onto the sunny patio as they were being entertained by some cool jazz sounds from The Bentley Boys. Before going down to dinner, we took a stroll through the grounds. After the grand entrance, the lights went down, the music went up and the waiting staff marched military-like to the tables armed with bottles of champagne. There's nothing like the sound of dozens of champagne corks popping in unison to get a party going. As Fr Eamon said to me afterwards, "I've been around a long time, but I've never seen the likes of this - it's some show!" Leon Costello was alongside me on video capturing it all - great to work with Leon again. Then we had an emotional set of speeches that had many in the audience wiping away a little tear, before it was back to party mode.

Paula & Raymond Blog Collage

Claire & Michael - The Landmark Hotel

It was a case of follow me up from, rather than to, Carlow, as Michael's family and friends took the unfamiliar trip to Gortlettragh to see him marry his sweetheart Claire. It was my second time there in a few weeks, and it's always a pleasure. With her hair piled high and in a gorgeous high halter-neck dress, Claire fantastic as she walked up the aisle - the bridesmaids agreed she resembled a Greek Goddess - it can only have been Aphrodite. Micheal is a Fund Manager, and no matter how well the FTSE100 performs this year, there's no doubt his best investment was made on May 31st.

After the ceremony, the guests emerged to the welcome sight of an ice-cream van dispensing 99s all round. As we were on the verge of the best heatwave to hit this part of the country for years, they went down a bomb. We had a brief stop off by the canal in Jamestown for some photos and a glass of bubbly before heading on to The Landmark Hotel, where things really got going. I met a couple of the guests a day or two later who said they left the resident's bar at silly o'clock and were going back home to New York for a rest. Meanwhile, Claire & Michael are taking some well-deserved time out in Croatia.

Claire & Michael Blog Collage

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Lizzie & Steve - Lough Rynn

As regular readers of the Blog will know, I'm a fan of peoples' dogs taking part in their weddings. Unlike in Britain or the US, our faithful friends don't often get much of a look-in here. That certainly wasn't the case with Honey, who as well as participating fully in the hair & make-up preparations, also took a front-row seat at the ceremony. She fitted in perfectly with the dash and glamour of the wedding day - she's a cosmopolitan Manhattan Lady, currently residing in London. Lizzie is a cosmopolitan Monaghan Lady, who looked stunning in a non-traditional bodice & skirt finished in Parisian lace, by a famous designer whose name escapes me right now. Steve is an exotic mix of Australia and Ireland - be warned - if you take him on at Aussie Rules Footy, you may require his services as an orthopedic surgeon.

With four Smyth sisters in attendance, it was lively in the house at Lough Rynn. I always enjoy a bit of banter with the bridal party, and it didn't take long for me to realise I'd met my match in Amy, who had an answer for everything, and came back with more. No doubt working as an engineer in the macho mining industry in Perth has sharpened her slagging skills. She even demonstrated how miners stand for photos, before reverting to a more Xposé girl pose. Luckily, I had another man to engage with. Walshie denied being a newcomer following in the footsteps of nouveau mods like Bradley Wiggins and Leighton Baines - he's been a dedicated follower of mod fashion since Paul Weller hit the scene in the 80s apparently. As (former) Off The Ball Presenter and Irish Times Columnist Ken Early was also in attendance, it meant we had two extraordinary men's barnets to admire and envy.

It was a fine day for a stroll in the walled gardens at Lough Rynn, the summer colours emerging again after the long winter. Also colourful and extremely detailed, was the three-tier cake made by Lizzie's sister Claire, which it was rumoured Steve was going to cut with a scalpel rather than the traditional silver knife. Before a honeymoon proper, the happy couple were heading for a Paris for a few days before Lizzie had to jet off to Chicago for work and then back to Killaraght to check out her photos. The social whirl, eh?

Lizzie & Steve Blog Collage

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Edel & Barry - Kilronan Castle

A good few years back, one of the first weddings I ever photographed was in Gortletteragh, so every time I go back there and see the big bell in the Churchyard, I get a little bit nostalgic. The wedding bells were ringing for Edel and Barry on Saturday, but again, the weather was unkind. Even with umbrellas, it was too miserable to go outside until late in the evening, when the monsoon moderated to drizzle and we managed a little walk around the grounds of Kilronan Castle.

The rain wasn't going to dampen the spirits at this wedding though. Edel was giddy with excitement when I arrived, and thrilled with the surprise bouquet and necklace which had come from Barry. The countdown was on - the heart-shaped blackboard getting chalked down with each passing hour. Bridesmaid Lisa is known for her dramatic hair colours, and had promised a new one for the big day. It was a closely-guarded secret until she came downstairs sporting a deep red/plum shade, that looked great. Edel herself is a striking blonde, and a set of decorative boxes in her room might offer a clue as to her inspiration. She was certainly looking as glamorous as Marilyn on Saturday.

Pageboys Adam & Noah added lots of fun to the day, until it all became too much and they fell asleep in the arms of Grandad Eamon and Uncle Adrian. After the ceremony, we stopped at the fine house Barry has built for himself & Edel before heading on to Kilronan where the champagne was flowing. Night Fever & DJ Ken were playing after dinner, and from the report I got, it was one hell of a do, with Edel leading the singing, dancing and general merriment. Eamon from Big Apple was on video, and he told me it was such a good night it was well into the small hours of the morning before he got home. Edel & Barry will need a spell on the beacn in Cancun to recover and be ready for Vegas & Chicago...

Blog Collage-Edel & Barry

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Catherine & Gary

Anyone who doesn't know Catherine will be amazed to learn that she generally doesn't like herself in photographs. She told me this after her, Gary & little Heath came down to the studio for their pre-wedding shoot a few weeks back. I couldn't believe it, as not only is she gorgeous, but the camera loves her too. Some people just look good on camera, and to my eye, Catherine is one of them. If she doesn't like some of these, I think I'll go looking for a different job...

After spending a little preparation time with Catherine & her bridesmaids, I took a spin down to the local across the road from the Church, where Gary and The Groomsmen were having a quick one. I don't often find myself in the pub before noon, so I was surprised to find the place was buzzing - it was busier than many pubs on a Saturday night. Some of the locals were a little camera-shy, so I made my excuses and left after taking a few shots of Gary and the lads.

The ceremony was conducted by Fr Padraig Costello, who I remember well, having photographed his niece Sinead's wedding last year. The Church looked great and everything went very nicely indeed. I always have a keen ear for the music, and I don't think I've ever heard James Blunt's "You're Beautiful" played at a wedding before. I always thought it was about a fella on the tube in London eyeing up another bloke's girlfriend, but with a couple of little changes to the lyrics, the church musicians Blush turned it into something more like a traditional love song.

Afterwards, we went down to the river Moy, where Catherine's Dad had worked as a ghillie for years. It was very picturesque, but very cold, with a wicked breeze whipping off the water, so we moved on to the 13th century Abbey in Straide where the sun was shining. From there, it was straight back to The McWilliam Park Hotel where Alan provided a warm welcome and the party got going.

Catherine's dramatic dress came from Kadee Bridal, while Gary and the boys were dressed by Eddie Murphy. Hair & Make up were Mona Lisa and Sandra from Mac in Galway. Cannaboe made the cake, while Late Nite Radio rocked the joint til the wee small hours. I was talking to the band the next day and they said it was a wild, crazy and great night.

Blog Collage-Catherine & Gary

Tanya & Tommie

Tanya & Tommie's wedding was a real hometown one - Boyle to The Landmark in Carrick via Knockarush. I started at Tommie's house, where Minnie & Cooper, the prize Pomeranians, all dressed up in their wedding bows, seemed to think that they were the stars of the show. No such rivalry at Tanya's, where the bride was firmly in the spotlight and looking fantastic, ably supported by her bridesmaids, including supersub Michelle, drafted in late after Tanya's sister Shauna was unable to travel from Australia.

The weather forecast proved accurate, and the rain tumbled down all day. Luckily, we were prepared, and had a couple of fallbacks planned. First up was a pint in Kate Lavin's, which is always appealing. Tanya was pressed into action to pull a pint for Tommie. He seemed to find it amusing, and while Tanya didn't have the same expertise with the pumps as landlady Marie, he still drank it happily. Then we popped into King House for a few minutes. I'd been puzzled as to who Tanya reminded me of, and it was only when we entered the diningroom in the house that it struck me. The actress Elizabeth McGovern, who plays Lady Grantham in Downton Abbey. Obviously, Tanya is about 30 years younger but if you look at this picture from 1980 here, there's definitely a likeness. Speaking of showbiz likenesses, I've had a few Groomsmen pull the Blue Steel look from Zoolander, but never as well as this trio of bride, dad and brother before.

Tommie is more a music than a movie man. Though he looks like too nice and cleancut a young chap to be a drummer in a grunge metal band, appearances can be deceptive. Tommie pounds the skins for highly-rated young band "As The Miller Burns". Rumours of a hometown gig as part of the 2013 Boyle Arts Festival have been circulating for a while, but I hear an underground guerilla gig in Denis Dodd's Back Lounge is more likely. Whatever route they take to the top, it'll have to wait until Tommie returns from honeymooning in Mexico and New York.

Once again, Niall from Complete Weddings was alongside me. Flowers came from Chantelle at Pure, hair by Laila Valentino, make-up from Patricia in Glow, while Gerard from Aiden Ray supplied the boys very dapper suits.

Blog Collage-Tanya & Tommie

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Catherine & Damien, Knockranny House, Westport

It was the beach or bust for Catherine & Damien - they love to walk the dunes along Bertra Strand, so it's a special place for them. It's a pretty special place to photograph in too, with spectacular sea views across to the islands in one direction and the Reek of Croagh Patrick towering over us on the other side. Hail, rain or snow, we were going to the seaside for the afternoon. As it turned out, we didn't have to battle with the elements at all, as the sun shone on Murrisk. The boys were even able to break out their snorkeling gear. With these mad lads, I wouldn't have been surprised to see one of them striking out for Achill, suit and all.

Everything was nice and chilled at Catherine's house, the only real worry was where Auntie Kathleen would park her car. She's famous for causing gridlock wherever she goes, and Pat has had to restrict her parking around the house after a number of incidents. No such problems for the boys, who were having a quick one pre-wedding in McEvilly's. A Mini Cooper doesn't take up much space, and has to have been the coolest wedding car I've seen in a very long time. This 1960s original actually belongs to Damien's Dad, Oliver, who I'm told was up til 3am on Friday night polishing the chrome.

Some grooms take a bit of a back seat when it comes to wedding planning and organisation, but while Catherine may have be the boss (we're still not sure, the cufflinks are open to interpretation), Damien wasn't idle. He was putting his woodwork skills to good use whittling table signs, ring boxes, buttonholes, table plans and signage that looked great around Knockranny House. For the second day in a row, the bride's dress came from Pamela in Dinagh Modes. The boy's suits came from Eddie Murphy and wedding flowers were by Ruth. As I write this, Catherine & Damien are somewhere on the Inca trail, and will be touring Cuba and Mexico before landing back in Mayo in a few weeks time, which sounds like quite a trip. I'm sure there'll be a few stories to be told in Mcevilly's after an adventure like that..

Catherine & Damien Blog Collage

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Christina & Declan, The Landmark Hotel.

The course of true love varies widely, from love at first sight to late realisation, from whirlwind romance to protracted courtship, from instant passion to growing desire..... Over the past year or two I've had a couple who got married 22 years after their first date at a school disco, and another who met in January and married in November.

Declan is a man who is prepared to take the long view. He knew from an early stage that Christina was the woman for him, and set out to persuade her of that fact. Christina wasn't prepared to be swept of her feet; Declan would have to work for her hand in marriage. He's also a shrewd tactician, and employed a number of different strategies in wooing Christina. Some of the highlights include buying a bull from her father, turning up on her doorstep after an elaborate car chase which may have involved the Gardai, and something to do with Donkeys, that I didn't quite understand. Whatever, he did, it worked, and on Friday their guests travelled the four roads to Glenamaddy to attend their wedding.

After a lovely ceremony under the Harry Clarke Stained Glass Windows in St Patrick's, the bridal party retired to Jim Pete's Pub for a quick pint. It's the type of intimate, old-fashioned pub it would be very easy to pop into for one and end up staying for several hours, but the discipline held, and we were on the road to Carrick in good time. We were met with the usual warm Landmark welcome from Trish & Emma, who then proceeded to tidy up the boys and make sure they were looking their best.

A fine set of speeches before dinner set the scene for the evening that followed, with Declan's Dad Denis getting them off to a hilarious start as he told us tales of Declan. I met one of the guests later in the weekend who informed me she didn't leave the Late Bar until an ungodly hour that no civilised person would be up til. Sounded like a good night!

C&D Blog Collage

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Laura & JP, Castlecourt Hotel, Westport

The first time I met Laura was at her salon in Knock, when I was photographing Yvonne & Matt's wedding back in October 2010, a day that always sticks in my mind, as straight after the wedding I had to hightail it to The Late Late Show, to promote a calendar I'd photographed. Last week, it was Laura herself who was in the hotseat as she prepared to walk up the aisle to marry JP.

I've met grooms on the morning of their weddings in various states of dress (& undress), but this was the first time I'd met one out herding cattle. A bunch of calves had called over from the neighbouring farm to wish JP good luck and try out his lawn. They were swiftly returned. JP is no stranger to big occasions himself, having played with and managed hurling and football teams at all levels for club & county, and he made sure the Ballyhaunis colours were flying proudly as the lads headed over to Knock. It seemed every hurler in Mayo was going to this wedding.

The Church of St John the Baptist in Knock is a busy venue, and a wedding always attracts a lot of attention from the many visitors to the town. However, the rousing round of applause from a delegation of pilgrims from Philadelphia when we popped into the Apparition Chapel next door was unexpected. I think it might have been a bit too much like being in the spotlight on the catwalk for Laura & JP, but they took a little bow anyway.

On the way to Westport we stopped at Turlough House. It had rained solidly all afternoon, but the clouds parted long enough for us to get a few photographs. We were no sooner back in the cars when the heavens opened again. Miracles obviously do happen for natives of Knock. The Castlecourt was buzzing, and Laura & JP made a grand entrance to dinner to an even bigger hurrah than they'd got from the Americans earlier.

Laura & JP Blog

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Imelda & John

The sun was shining brightly as I arrived in Brideswell on the morning of Imelda & John's wedding, and it stayed like that all day. The ice-cream van was out at the Hodson Bay Hotel, and the fine weather lifted everyones' already buoyant spirits on the day. There was even more than the usual hustle and bustle of bridal preparation in Imelda's home, as many of the wedding guests had been invited to call by before the ceremony. Champagne corks popped all morning - a great soundtrack to work by, even if I wasn't able to sample the bubbly.

At the Church, John was cool, calm and collected, leaving it to his brother and groomsman Ollie to get giddy with excitement. There was a dramatic delay though, just before Imelda and her Dad Gerry came up the aisle. The doors swung closed behind the bridesmaids and the church filled with nervous laughter from the guests. It certainly had John on the edge of his seat. Within a minute or so, the doors opened and here came the bride.... There were no less than three celebrants, with Deacon Willie Gacquin, a former teacher of John's, conducting his first wedding ceremony. There are lovely gardens behind the church in Curraghboy, where we took a few photographs before taking the short drive to The Hodson Bay.

The lawns outside the Hotel were thronged with guests spilling out of the drinks reception, and after the bell was sounded, there was time for Imelda & John to take a romantic stroll along the pier before enjoying a quick pre-dinner drink with their bridal party. I took the back way home past a roadside windfarm as the sun set and the sheep grazed in the stonewalled fields of South Roscommon, a nice relaxing end to the day. Meanwhile, the party was getting going in the Hodson Bay with the first of the two bands, All Folk'd Up and The Lols tuning up.

Imelda & John Blog Collage

Monday, April 8, 2013

Sarah & Nathan - Lough Rynn

I'm pretty sure Sarah decided to book me before she'd even looked at any of my sample albums, because when she and Nathan first came to the studio, they were met at the gate by the three dogs, a mish-mash of chickens, ducks and turkeys, and a selection of cats & horses not far behind. Sarah loves her animals - she was reared with dogs and birds - her Mum Mary is one of Ireland's leading dog groomers, and is very proud of Picasso, her talking Macaw. Sarah & Nathan's black cat, Jones, is such a pampered pet that he even made it onto the wedding cake with them.

As everyone was getting ready in Lough Rynn, I was able to meet the boys before they headed off to the church. Once Tony the Groomsman had finished getting his hair just right, we headed down to the bar, where Nathan had a quick bottle of his Sponsor's product. Back with the girls, Jim Hatton was applying finishing touches to the hair and dispensing vital advice on veil & dress management before we all got ready to leave.

The Bermuda Triangle is famous, but there is a lesser-known danger zone between Mohill & Aughavas, that can lure the unfamiliar traveller off-course and leave them stranded and lost. This is what happened to Sarah's bridesmaids. We were all surprised to see Sarah arriving at the Church first, having set off 10 minutes behind them. SOSs were issued, calls were made, search parties sent out, but no trace was to be found. Eventually, news filtered through of a possible sighting of three glamourous girls in blue, 10 miles away in Drumlish, Co. Longford. The rescue services were scrambled, and before too long we were all reunited and ready to walk up the aisle.

The Walled Gardens at Lough Rynn are always a great backdrop for photos, and in the warm Spring sunshine they were perfect. There was a little reshuffling in the order of the bridal party, as Stephen got protective over his new wife Laura-Kate. With 4 groomsmen to 3 bridesmaids, he wasn't willing to leave her in the hands of Tony & Colm. And with Tony's reputation for sweeping the ladies off their feet, who could blame him?

As Pamela led Sarah & Nathan into the rugby-themed reception room, the atmosphere was as lively as a Heineken Cup Final. Though his beloved Leinster didn't make it this year, this match with Sarah must have made up for it for Nathan. I'm sure he'll be delighted for Munster yesterday too, as he soaks up the Mexican sunshine....

Sarah & Nathan Blog

Sandra & Gary - Glasson Golf & Country Club

Castlepollard in Westmeath was the destination on Easter Monday for Sandra & Gary's wedding. My first stop was at Sandra's house, where there was great excitement, not least from her Mum's prize-winning golden retrievers Deise & Gizmo, who were very keen to escape from their room to join the party. I took a few minutes out from the bridal preparations to pop down the road to the village of Fore, and Gary's Auntie Ita's Pub, The Seven Wonders. I'd never been to Fore before, so I was surprised to discover that like the Ancient World, Fore too has Seven Wonders. They are - The Monastery In The Bog - The Mill Without a Race - The Water that Flows Uphill - The Tree That Will Not Burn - The Water That Will Not Boil - The Hermit In The Stone - The Stone Raised By St Fechin's Prayers. St Fechin seems to be in the thick of most of the wonders, so it might occur to you that maybe he was a very good publicist. If you'd like to find out more though, all the details are here

Sandra looked fantastic in a beautiful cowl-neck dress with lace detailing from the final collection by famous Spanish designer Manuel Mota. While everyone else admired her as she walked up the aisle, Gary kept his eyes firmly fixed forward. Some people say it's bad luck for the groom to look around at his bride before she arrives at the top of the aisle, and Gary definitely wasn't taking any chances.

The one thing we were all wondering about when we got to the Glasson Golf & Country Club was how it could be so cold in Ireland in April. The wind whipping off Lough Rea went through you like a knife, so everyone repaired to the drinks reception for some warmth and comfort. There was lots of that to be found at the chocolate counter, where the Easter Eggs were going like hot cakes. Just as the sign promised, the Easter Bunny showed up outside, to make sure everything was going to plan before he hopped off again.

Just before dinner we braved the wind and made a quick dash outside. Eamon from Big Apple was alongside me on video, and unlike the bridal party and me, he came prepared, with a woolly hat and a heavy coat. Then it was up to the function room for dinner and to get the party started. Entourage were providing the sounds. I'm sure the breeze drifting off the Mediterranean onto the shore in Sicily this week is a little warmer than Monday's from Lough Rea.

Blog Collage-Sandra & GaryBlog

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Sinead & Kieran - The Ardilaun Hotel

Not since the hurlers won the county title 35 years ago, or since Sinead's brother Paddy rode Imperial Commander to victory in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, has Ardrahan seen such celebrations as it did last week when Sinead married Kieran. At one point, it looked as though the entire village might go up in flames as the bonfires blazed to salute Sinead on her journey to the church in Spiddal. All was well though, and the party continued into the night at The Ardilaun Hotel in Galway City.

Sinead was just having the finishing touches applied to her make-up when I arrived, and after that she put herself entirely into the hands of her friend, and owner of Thistles Bridal Couture in Tuam, Owen Togher. He was Sinead's personal dresser/fashion adviser/florist/calmer-downer and wedding planner all rolled into one on the day, and he was there again at the church door to make sure she looked perfect as she walked up the aisle. Kieran too, had his own valet in Groomsman Eamon, who fitted his cufflinks, straightened his collar and got his groom shipshape.

The church in Spiddal was beautifully lit with candles, and the floral displays were gorgeous. It lent a great atmosphere to the ceremony conducted by Fr Barry Horan. The only drawback was for me - there was very little light - in fact I can say it was the darkest chruch I've ever worked in. I hate using a flashgun during the ceremony, so this meant pushing my equipment and technique to the limit. For any photo-nerds out there, that was shooting at 5000iso handheld at 1/30sec at f1.8 & 2.8 - something that wouldn't have been possible until recent technological advances. Thank you Nikon.

After the ceremony, we stopped on a very windy Silver Strand with the Bridal Party, and then nipped across the road to Barne Woods for some nice romantic shots of the happy couple. I've mentioned here a few times that the average Irishman isn't always great with public displays of romance, but Kieran was only too happy to get cuddly with his beautiful bride.

I had Ger with me again, and he put together a slideshow of images from the day that caused a few tears to be shed, not least by Sinead. That's always the reaction you like to see, as a wedding day should be full of emotion. A fine set of speeches rounded the day off for me as The Wondertones were setting up. John Murphy was alongside me on video which was a pleasure as always. I was delighted to get a call from Sinead to say thanks for everything from the airport before they headed off to South Africa - it's always nice to get positive feedback, and I can honestly say it was an absolute pleasure.

Sinead & Kieran Collage Blog

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Carmel & Joe - Mill Park Hotel

What do you do if on the morning of your wedding you wake up to a hurricane outside, and the news that most of the northern half of the country is under snow? And your reception is in Donegal? And you're being driven the hour-long drive to the hotel in a vintage Ford Anglia with no heating? Well, if you're Carmel & Joe, you take it all in your stride and enjoy the day regardless of the weather. It may as well have been 30 degrees for all the difference it made to their fun and appreciation of the day. We even stopped and went for a stroll along the banks of Lough Mcnean in Garrison. We all agreed that, with the possible exception of Antarctica, it was the coldest place on the planet that day, but you wouldn't tell from the photos, as everyone visualised summer sunshine.

Of course, they breed them hardy around Ballinaglera & Dowra. It's beautiful, mountainy country and no doubt you get used to wind & rain. I've done quite a few weddings there now and have always enjoyed them. Last year at Carmel's sister Catiriona's wedding, we were able to take sunny hots down by the lake at their home place. That wasn't an option this time round unfortunately. While I photographed the girls' preparations, Ger was with the boys as they got ready and headed for the Church. Fr Sean Mawn conducted the ceremony with his usual good humour and grace, and then it was into the Anglia and off to Donegal. As Joe said when thanking Tommy in his speech, "slow & steady wins the race"!

Once we got to the Mill Park, Ger got busy putting the after-dinner slideshow together, while we took shelter in the bridal suite, where there were roses strewn dramatically across the bed. Joe was tempted to take one between his teeth and solemnly declare his love for Carmel, and maybe if I wasn't there he would have. He did make it clear in his speech a little later just how much she means to him. The meal ended with a lively song and dance routine from some of the hotel staff, which was a nice warm-up for the entertainment to come from Brian McDermott & his Band.

Blog Collage-Carmel & Joe F

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Mairead & Niall - The Landmark Hotel

Mairead booked me to photograph her wedding more than two years ago, and I'd been looking forward to it ever since. I knew she'd make a beautiful bride, but I didn't realise she'd also have no less than five gorgeous bridesmaids. At times on Saturday it felt like a beauty pageant, and when it came to our little "America's Next Top Model" part of the day, they all worked the camera like professionals, not to mention Junior bridesmaid Amy. Nobody was going to outshine Mairead on her big day though. Hard to believe looking at the photos, that this glamourous gang form the spine of the Dromahair Ladies Football team, one of the top sides in Connacht.

Even with a big bridal party and all those people to get ready, Mairead's house was an oasis of calm. The only one getting a little hot under the collar was Baxter the terrier, who just wanted to be part of the action. Kelly & Victoria did a great job of keeping everyone moving along efficiently and the bridesmaids' beehive hairdos gave them the look of a Sixties girl group. Down at the Church, the boys were doing fine too. The last time I was in Dromahair Church there was several inches of snow on the ground. This time there was snow on the mountain tops, but at least the roads were clear and all the guests could make it.

After the ceremony, we abandoned a planned stop along the way as the weather wasn't kind to us, but after arriving at The Landmark, we got a break and made a dash for The Shannon. It was like herding mice, finding all 12 members of the bridal party amongst the 200+ guests and getting them out the door. Everytime we looked around, another one had gone missing, but we got there. Mairead & Niall were a big hit with the Hen Party group getting off Moon River, best man Sean generously inviting them to the wedding later that evening. He may have had an ulterior motive...

Niall from Complete Weddings was alongside me on video again - at this rate we'll be like an old married couple ourselves soon. Mairead's lovely halter-neck dress came from Simone's in Sligo, her cousin Victoria Warnock created the hairdos, Kelly O'Dowd and Celtic Chaos provided the music. Mairead & Niall were jetting off for some well-earned sunshine after the wedding, and with the week we've just had, I'm sure they'll be very glad they didn't honeymoon at home.

Blog Collage-Mairead & Niall

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Philippa & John - Park Hotel, Kiltimagh

Nobody who knows Philippa would describe her as shy & retiring, so it was entirely appropriate that her wedding dress would be bold and dramatic. It was made by Jane Cowood, who isn't so much a dressmaker as a costumiér and whose creations regularly grace the stages of London's West End. The dress consisted of five separate pieces - in gold, with gold & aubergine lace, once assembled, it looked as though it would be perfectly at home in the Versailles court of Louis XVI.

I'm more used to seeing Philippa in jodphurs at the Lough Gara Stables. We've been in a few horsey scrapes together. Before she met John, Philippa had two other loves in her life - her horse Jessie, and Minnie, her little Yorkie, and they were both on hand to be part of her big day, though neither of them made the church. There were plenty of people - this was a big wedding, with lots of familiar faces. In fact, two of the guests had been at Elaine & Stewart's wedding the day before, which can't have been good for their livers.

After the ceremony in Keash, it was off to The Park Hotel in Kiltimagh for the reception. We had a stop at Glore Mill Arts Centre for some photos, but the bitter wind meant we were running the risk of pneumonia, so it was quick. Only best man Michael lingered over his shots, determined to perfect his Blue Steel pose. It was tempting to swap the champagne reception for a hot whiskey, but by the time dinner came around the crowd was well warmed up. The speeches added to the craic and with Late Nite Radio in top form, the dancefloor was full til the early hours. Though I put the camera down for the night, I do have a series of pictures from outside the Resident's Bar that I think I could make some money from - the subjects would probably pay handsomely to have the files deleted. Maybe I'll make a separate blog post out of them...

Blog Collage Philippa & John

Elaine & Stewart - The Landmark Hotel

I started a recent post with the line "it never rains, but it pours" - at 4am on the morning of Elaine's wedding, it was pouring though not raining, as the water tank in the attic burst, sending water cascading through the ceiling into the room where her and the bridesmaids' dresses were hanging. Not the ideal preparation for the big day, but thankfully the dresses were rescued unscathed. The watery theme continued however, as rain fell pretty consistently throughout the day.

Nothing was going to dampen Elaine's spirit though, she's a livewire, and the morning preparations were punctuated by regular outbreaks of song. Elaine is a regular performer with the Boyle Musical Society. I wondered if that was how she'd met Stewart. Carrick & Boyle are more known for their rivalry than their love affairs, but these two actually met in the Landmark Hotel nightclub when Stewart's killer chat-up line was enough to convince Elaine he was the man for her. So it was appropriate that their wedding reception was held in The Landmark to bring things round full circle.

Before that, the ceremony was enhanced by the Carrick Choir. This was my third time in the past year to have the pleasure of hearing them in full voice. The choir only performs at weddings for family members. If they performed more widely, I've no doubt they'd be booked every weekend. Our planned ramble through the town to the hotel was rained off, but the clouds parted long enough for me to take a stroll on the boardwalk with Elaine & Stewart before dinner. For the fourth wedding in a row, Niall Magahy was alongside me on video, Grainne from Enhance was on beauty & make-up, Emer from Grafters did hair, the colourful flowers were by Norma Duignan and Brian McDermott provided the music. I have to give a special mention to Sophie, who surely has a bright future as a model - the camera loves her as much as she loves it!

Blog Collage-Elaine & Stewart

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Linda & Micéal - Kilronan Castle

During the speeches I sometimes hear Grooms talking about how they lost their heart to their bride. Micéal went one better - as well as giving his heart to Linda, just a fortnight before the wedding, he sacrificed a different organ - his appendix. Not necessarily the ideal preparation for the big day and not as romantic as having his heart stolen away, but at least he was back on his feet and fighting fit for the wedding.

So I was back up the mountains in Ballinaglera, a beautiful part of the country, with sweeping views over Lough Allen. I'd photographed Linda's brother Declan's wedding last year, and was delighted to hear that he and Catriona are now preparing themselves for the patter of tiny feet. Maybe the little one will be serving as flower girl or pageboy for Francis's wedding in years to come. He was getting on so well with bridesmaid Mairead that it could be sooner than we think...

This was a big local wedding, with Linda & Micéal growing up only a couple of miles down the road from each other, so the Church was packed to the rafters. It was looking great and Fr Sean Mawn, reunited with his Parker pen that I'd slipped in my pocket last year, conducted a lovely intimate ceremony. Afterwards it was time for champagne and a stop at Lough Allen's banks before crossing the Roscommon border and arriving at Kilronan Castle. There was an important photocall for both the men's and women's Ballinaglera football teams. The ladies proudly sported their jerseays for their shot, but the lads were worried they'd mess up their hair and make up, so stayed in their suits. Michael Frayne captured everything on video, Concord provided the music, and best man Hugh, head chef in Carrick's Bush Hotel, deserves a special mention for not only delivering a fine speech, but also making a fabulous job on the cake. By now Linda & Micéal should be lounging on a beach in Mexico before they head for the bright light to take on the casinos in Vegas.

Linda & Micéal Blog Collage

Sarah & Seamus

Seamus was a worried man when he and Sarah came to see me a couple of weeks before their wedding. "I've ruined every photo I've ever been in", he said, "I can't smile", he said, "I always look weird" he said. Even as a man whose profession involves the study of Theology and Philosophy, it seemed he was having trouble resolving this internal conflict. So Sarah & I sat him down, calmed him down, and got down to work with a pre-wedding photoshoot, something I encourage all my couples to do. By the time we'd finished, Seamus seemed happier, and after seeing the results, began to realise that everything was going to be ok on the day.

Of course, there were no such worries from Sarah, who is a natural in front of the camera, and was looking radiant when I arrived to her home on the morning of the wedding. The only little anxiety in the house was from Mum Hilary, who was determined that everyone would be arriving to the Cathedral on time. Usually, it falls to the photographer to take responsibility for the schedule, so it was good to have someone else minding the minutes - I may take her to all my weddings. Sligo Cathedral is quite dark, but it is lovely and ornate, with plenty of space to move around in discreetly, so I always enjoy working there. It was given added touches with some beautiful decorations from Feehily Florists, who always do a fantastic job down to the finest details.

After the ceremony, we set off for Donegal. Due to the conditions, we abandoned a planned stop on the beach at Streedagh and headed straight for Lough Eske, stopping for a few minutes at the gate lodge by the lakeshore. There was a great buzz going in the hotel, with guests being entertained by jazzy pianist Liam Gannon and gathering round the sweet cart and cake stand. The red velvet buns were to die for. Before we knew it, it was time for dinner, and after Sarah & Seamus's grand entrance the party got going. Niall was alongside me on video for the day - Dejá Groove provided the music. There had been a lovely musical interlude earlier in the day too, from the girls of the Ursaline Schools' Choir who performed while Sarah & Seamus signed the register.

Blog Collage-Sarah & Seamus

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentina & Declan - Broadhaven Bay

They say it never rains but it pours, and on Valentina & Declan's big day it didn't just pour - the rain whipped in sideways with such ferocity that umbrellas were useless. Still, when you set your big day for January, you're prepared for the worst, so it didn't dampen the spirits in the least. Valentina's house was buzzing with excitement and preparations. Bridesmaid Noelle was taking it all in her stride though - she even had a little nap after she was finished with the hairdresser.

In contrast, Declan was pacing the floor, and might have been looking just a little bit nervous when I arrived at the Church. He was in good hands with his Groomsmen though, who kept the craic going all day. "Bull" in particular played a blinder, and took all the slagging in good spirits. After the ceremony, we decided to take on the weather, and stopped off at a nearby country house. With it's long avenue, there was a touch of Downton Abbey about the place. Thouugh we made a brave attempt, the rain beat us and we couldn't even manage a single shot of the bridal party together outside, apart from the chaotic one below.

By the time we reached Belmullet, the wind was roaring in off the Atlantic, so we were very grateful for the warmth and hospitality provided by David Tyrrell, who busily escorted many of the guests in from the storm outside. Niall from Complete Weddings was alongside me - we were both soaked and so was our gear. I had to switch cameras after water effected the flash contacts - luckily I carry four to every wedding, so always have back-up for the back-up.

The Bridal Suite is always the last refuge for the photographer when the weather goes badly wrong, and the one in the Broadhaven Bay is perfect for the job, with lots of space for an eight-member bridal party, photographer, videographer and lights. The it was down to dinner, which kicked off with a very nice set of speeches, including one from the star of the show, Valentina herself.

Valentina & Declan Blog Collage

Friday, February 8, 2013

Jennifer & Andy - Kilronan Castle

The last day of the year was one of the biggest ones of 2012 for Ballaghadereen. The town emptied out and headed for Kilronan Castle for the wedding of one of its favourite sons to one of its favourite daughters, as long-term sweeethearts Jennifer & Andy tied the knot. If the groom looks familiar to you, it's because he's the Mayo County Captain, and though the team went all the way to the All-Ireland Final without him, after he ruptured his cruciate ligament in the Quarter Final, many experts believe Sam Maguire would have crossed the Shannon and returned to Mayo if he hadn't been injured.

Sometimes, calling to the groom's house on the morning of a wedding, you might encounter a couple of sore heads, or a groomsman having a little stiffner for the day ahead. Not so with these lads. They'd just come back from a vigourous 90-minute workout at the local gym. Meanwhile, Jennifers house was buzzing with activity, and Milly the Puggle was in the thick of it. Once David finally got his hair just right and vacated the bathroom, the bridesmaids got a chance to get themselves ready. Jennifer looked fantastic in a spectacular dress adorned with swan feathers and cathedral-length veil. The lads smartened up nicely too in their black tie gear.

Marguerite, Jenni's Mum, is a florist, and she'd done a beautiful job of decorating the Cathedral. She even took time to put the finishing touches to Andy's buttonhole in the porch on her way in. After the ceremony, we had a quick stop in the grounds of Abbey House in Boyle, dodging between the showers. Amanda & Catheriona were a fine pair of feisty bridesmaids, so there was plenty of banter flying around as they showed off their "America's Next Top Model" moves. Back at the Castle, the Mayo Squad assembled for a team photo with the happy couple. Straight after the wedding, the team was heading for Miami for some pre-season R&R, which they obviously enjoyed thoroughly, judging by their first defeat in 20 years at the hands of Leitrim when they got back. Jennifer & Andy didn't make the trip to Miami, they flew off to sunny Mexico instead. Alan Kelly was alongside me on video for the day, while Bumblebee Honey got the dancing going well past midnight and into 2013.

Jennifer & Andy Blog