When Andrew told me he and Ciara were getting married in Ireland, I jumped at the chance to photograph their wedding. I had been to Ireland once before and loved it, so a chance to go back was a no brainer for me. Getting there proved to be a bit of a hassle, but that’s another story. When we did arrive, we met up with everyone at the rehearsal at the Church in Kilcullen and then went for dinner afterwards at a small restaurant in town. Having had only 4 hours sleep in the previous 60 hours, Robyn and I called it an early night and rested up for the wedding.
On Thursday September 5th, I met with Andrew and his groomsmen at The Village at Lyons for a few pre-ceremony photos before going to Ciara’s parents house for some shots with the girls, and of course her family dog Nollaig. Living in Canada now, Ciara clearly misses her dog as you would expect, so we made sure to get some photos of her and Nollaig together, both in their dresses. Ciara’s dad took some people to the church and returned to get Ciara and her twin sister (and Maid of Honour) Aisling. They were all ready to go when they got word that the guys hadn’t arrived at the Church yet, so they delayed a little at the house giving me time to go ahead and get ready for their arrival. When I arrived, I saw Andrew and the groomsmen, so I assumed they had just gotten there as well. It turns out that the rings were forgotten at the Village at Lyons (30 minutes or so away) and the wedding coordinator was bringing them and that was the reason for the delay, the guys had been on time well before the ceremony as planned. Ciara wouldn’t find out until Andrew’s speech later in the night that rings nearly didn’t make it, at least it made for a good laugh.
The ceremony took place at the Church of the Sacred Heart and St. Brigid in Kilcullen, County Kildare, Ireland. The church was beautiful, something I don’t see very often photographing weddings in Canada. I love old buildings and this one is about the same age as Canada, so it’s definitely the oldest church I’ve shot in. The ceremony went well and a receiving line was formed at the entrance to the church. That’s when I saw they had a vintage car there to chauffeur them to the reception. Before the reception, we went back to Ciara’s house for some photos in her father’s beautiful gardens. Upon leaving, the driver of their car told me not to go the way he was going, that I’d be better off going the opposite way, and my GPS would re-calculate. I of course thought that a bit odd, but did what he said and went the other direction, all the while checking my rear-view mirror to see if they were behind me on the highway. I chalked it up to the driver not wanting to drive on the highway at 120 in that car, so he’d take the back roads, and he didn’t want me to follow and take forever as well. Well, I was wrong, and by a long shot. The reason he told me to go the other way, was because there was a surprise waiting for Ciara and Andrew from Ciara’s father and I couldn’t be there and make it for their grand entrance in time.
Ciara and Andrew arrived in style to their wedding reception to a loud cheer as their helicopter landed. Yes, a helicopter, how awesome is that??? The only ones who knew about the surprise were Ciara’s father and the driver (his friend). I must say, that’s the best entrance to any wedding I’ve ever been at. We took a couple photos with them in front of the chopper before heading inside for some pictures and of course some drinks, and what Irish wedding would be complete without the bride having a Guinness? That’s not to say it was the only beverage consumed, but let’s face it, when people around the world think of Ireland, they think of Guinness. We spent a little time with photos, going to the private residence on site briefly and around the courtyard. A quartet played music for guests during cocktail hour and sounded amazing from outside in the courtyard, so I presume they sounded even better inside.
Once dinner began, Dan, the Best Man, gave a little introduction which rolled into his speech. I know I laughed pretty hard at some of his comments, many relating to things quite Canadian, like hockey, so I’m sure a bit was lost on the Irish guests, just as some of the speeches from Aisling and Ciara’s father were lost on the Canadians. All in all, the speeches were good, and by good I mean funny :). After dinner, the band started up and so did the dancing. They were quite good, with a Mumford and Sons cover getting the biggest crowd on the floor. The DJ took over after midnight and we all cleared out quite a bit later than that.
For me, this wedding was a little different than usual. Having known Andrew for so long, and his brother Cory and his parents, I felt immediately welcome. I also knew all but one of Andrew’s groomsmen, and 2 of them were my 2 best friends in high school. We all live in different cities now, so it was great to catch up with them. I am so happy that Andrew and Ciara found each other, and have managed to do what so many can’t, and overcame distance to ultimately be together. Thank you for being great people whom I am glad to call friends.
Congratulations Andrew and Ciara!!!