Gavin and I met in 2006 on a night out on the August Bank Holiday weekend. We ended up sitting beside eachother in the pub while we were out with mutual friends, we got chatting and have been together ever since! We got engaged exactly two years later when Gavin drove us to Loughshinny, Co Dublin where I grew up and proposed while we were walking along the beach. It was perfect.
I wasted no time in getting stuck into the wedding plans!
Gavin is from Leitrim, but since we both live in Portarlington we decided to stay local for the wedding plans, and decided to have our reception in Tullamore as it would not be too far for Gavin's family to travel to. From the moment we walked into the Bridge House we were made feel welcome, the reception area has a real wow factor with the beautiful staircase and I had a gut feeling that it would be the perfect location for us. We were met by their friendly wedding co-ordinator who sat down with us and answered all our questions, nothing was too much trouble.
After two years of planning and excitement, dresses and colours, suits and bands....and what seemed like endless waiting and saving.. the day finally arrived!
I woke up at around 7am and for a few seconds waiting for the brain to kick in it was like...hmm... I know there's something really cool happening today...no it's not Christmas...... I'm getting married! It had finally arrived! The excitement I felt was brilliant. Hopped up, checked face - no major wartage or boils - bonus! Ran to window - not only was it not raining but it was looking like it was going to be a beautiful day I couldn't believe it after the rain the day before. Everyone was getting up at this stage and I remember thinking, right 7am, loads of time before Christine (hair) arrives! Went down for some breakfast, was too excited to eat much so had a slice of toast and a cuppa, everyone up and chatting at this time and my sister was playing weddingy music on you tube like going to the chapel, next thing I knew it was 9.20 and Christine rang me looking for directions to the house.. and from here on in it was all systems go! Lorna (makeup) arrived soon after and the house was transformed into a salon, the kitchen was for makeup and the sitting room was for hair so we all rotated between them with champagne flowing - this was definitely one of my favourite bits of the day it was so much fun. Then Dave the photographer arrived, and I felt like an awful eejit at first not knowing what to do when he started taking pictures but he's so nice and put everyone at ease and after a while I forgot he was there. Somewhere in the middle of it all the florist arrived with the bouquets which we loved! Poor Dad didn't know where to put himself so made himself useful by going out and got a load of breakfast rolls which were all devoured and then it was time to get into the dresses. That's when the nerves really kicked in and at this point I was wishing we all lived in a big sky plus box and I could press Pause for a while!!
Once we were all beautified, Noel arrived in the wedding car which was part of our hotel package in the Bridge House, and being the pro that he was chatted away to distract us from the nerves. The girls were all collected next and off to the church along with Mam until all that was left was me and Dad. A few of the neighbours were out wishing us well it was so lovely. Noel helped me into the car (bum first, duck the head and swivel!). Who knew wearing a wedding dress was so complicated! Oh and good luck going to the bathroom - that's particularly fun!!
Driving up to the church was surreal - growing up in the town and seeing so many other brides on their way to the church and suddenly it was me in the white car! By the time we got to the church (around 1.15pm) everyone was inside and the two girls who had decorated the church (from Michael Costello) were outside and helped straighten us up and organised us and calmed us down - was still nervous at this stage! The music started and the girls each walked up and suddenly there we were, me and Dad. He gave me a little squeeze to let me know he was there and off we walked up the aisle... all I remember were smiling faces looking at me from every direction... and then I saw Gavin and suddenly all the nerves were gone! He had a tear in his eye (although he still denies it!!) and it was the happiest moment, he took my hand and it was like it was just the two of us.
The ceremony was beautiful and the music was amazing.. Kinvara Trio.. I cannot wait to see the video and hear them again. It went so so fast but it was just perfect. The priest took us up to the altar to say our vows so that we were facing our family and friends and it was lovely, it felt like everyone was included I really loved it.
And then we were married! It was such a beautiful ceremony and the singers were absolutely brilliant - at one point during the flower duet they hit the notes so perfectly it gave me goosebumps.
I think it's safe to say we sailed back down the aisle and chatted with everyone outside afterwards- the weather was amazing it was like a perfect summer's day we were absolutely blessed.
Off then to Emo House and Gardens for the photos which were great craic.. Dave McClelland is fantastic. Poor Noel ended up carrying my train for me when the bridesmaids were all off having a great chat! He was brilliant. Then back to the Bridge House in Tullamore and honestly, there aren't enough words to describe how fantastic they are! We arrived to a red carpet and champagne and strawberries and everyone was gathered at the top of the stairs to greet us and again all I remember are smiling faces everywhere it was just amazing. In we go and Ann the co-ordinator took us to see the room done up and it was just..wow! Loved it! Louise from Grace Covers did the chairs for us and the hotel had beautiful candelabra/flowers centrepieces and they had the lights in purple to match the theme it was just amazing. The meal was fantastic, exactly like it was at the tasting we did we couldn't have been happier with it and the guests are still talking about how nice it was. We had the speeches first, they were great, some of them made us all cry! I got up and said a few words but to be honest I don't even remember what I said it's still a bit of a blur it just goes so fast! Cannot wait for the video!
Once the meal was finished and they had brought in the sparklers and flambéd the baked alaska (amazing!) Shane Black arrived to do some magic and illusions - like Keith Barry sort of stuff - to say he went down a storm is an understatement he was absolutely brilliant! It filled in the 'waiting' perfectly and people didn't have to leave the room when the band were setting up so the atmosphere didn't die out on us and Shane kept everyone brilliantly entertained he really was excellent. How on earth he does those tricks I'll never know! I could write a whole other report just on his tricks he really is brilliant, everyone absolutely loved him they're still talking about it. Shane stayed with the guests for about 90 min until the band started, moved around between groups but eventually a crowd gathered around him and he didn't need to move around.
Time for our first dance which was sooo nice, it was like there was nobody else in the room. We danced to At Last by Etta James, the words are perfect. Then me and dad had our father/daughter dance to Unforgettable by Nat King Cole, this was also one of my favourite parts of the day.
Spring Break were the band and again they were brilliant! Now I know I'm biased and all but they were worth every penny. The dancefloor was never empty and not only are they a good band but they're a really good show! Everyone seemed to love them which was great. They are an 80s tribute band so dress in 80s stuff, so to tie in with this we had jars with 80s sweets on the tables and we named the tables after 80s films/tv shows/songs. Another thing we got was a speech bubble chalkboard which I got my new sister in law to bring around to the guests armed with a camera, it worked out great and I'm going to make my own little album with the pictures!
The band played for a good 2 hours anyway and I don't think I stopped dancing once! Next was the DJ who was also great and kept the dancing going to the early hours. Eventually there was just a handful of us left in the residents bar and I couldn't stop looking at my new husband.. it still feels so new to be saying that! It really was the happiest day of our lives - in fact the whole month was amazing.
We were so blessed that everything went like clockwork and absolutely nothing went wrong. However some tips I have would be: Get a videographer! We had Velvetine Studios - such a nice couple, Maurice and Elaine, barely even knew they were there they were so unobtrusive, the day just goes so fast and you forget loads of bits of it so the video will definitely be something to treasure. When you are lighting your candles use both hands! My hand was shaking so much it nearly blew the flame out!! And mainly - relax and enjoy it because it really is the best day EVER!
Regards and many thanks again.