Elaine and Kevin’s wedding report at the end of this feature is ruddy well brilliant. I love it when a couple reflect on their day together afterwards, it makes me feel as if I know them.
They decided to marry on the 17th July 2015 in a church ceremony (spot the selfie with Father Paddy Rushe) followed by a reception at The Millhouse in Ireland. Elaine and Kevin got super crafty alongside their loved ones, there were home-made cakes and oodles of pastel décor which included pom poms and garlands. Gorgeous.
Thanks so very much to the utterly brilliant Honey and the Moon Photography for providing the photographs.
THE PROPOSAL | [Kevin] On a sleepy Saturday morning back in the autumn of 2012, we went for a sunrise walk through Hampstead Heath in north London. I had brought a packed breakfast and we picnicked at a nice spot on Parliament Hill, which has fantastic views of both the city and Elaine’s lovely old top floor apartment in Kentish Town (although it was cloudy so we missed the sunrise). After breakfast, I brought out dessert in the form of two chocolate mini Smarties eggs, one of which contained a dummy engagement ring – fortunately, I gave Elaine the right one! We officially became engaged the following December, buying a ring from one of the fifty thousand jewellers in Hatton Garden and sharing the good news with our families that Christmas.
THE VISION | We wanted the wedding Mass to be held in Elaine’s home parish, our family and close friends to be there, something which was relaxed, a little (but not too much) wedding DIY, and a great live band!
THE PLANNING PROCESS | As we were both living in London at the time but getting married in our native Ireland, most of the planning was done online, with a few intensive Irish visits dedicated to looking at wedding venues, dealing with the legalities of getting married, and attending our menu tasting – it wasn’t all hard work.
The planning process was complicated by the fact that we ended up moving from London to Belfast the weekend before the wedding. Finishing up in our jobs on the Friday, packing up our flat on the Saturday, renting a van and driving to Ireland on the Sunday, then getting married the following Friday was complete lunacy in retrospect, but we survived it all!
THE VENUE | The wedding ceremony took place in the beautiful St Mary’s Church, Knockbridge, County Louth and the reception was held in The Millhouse which is in Slane, County Meath. This venue has a large Georgian house which was used for the welcome drinks and canapés, and in which some of the guests (including ourselves) stayed that night. It also has an attached pavilion which was where the meal, speeches and dancing took place. This room was basically a blank canvas upon which Elaine could let her artistic side go wild – we had lots of fairy lights, home made garlands and hanging pom-poms. The place had a really quirky vibe, fantastic food, and a beautiful setting on the banks of the River Boyne.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | [Elaine] My wedding dress was by Lou Lou, and my lace and flower headband were made by Nicola Wellard at Silver Sixpence in her Shoe. My shoes were Mimi vintage style T-bar peep toe shoes by Rachel Simpson.
FINDING THE DRESS | [Elaine] I tried on a lot more dresses than the average bride-to-be: in total I visited fifteen bridal shops. One of my bridesmaids Narinder came to at least seven of them with me so she deserves a special mention! I struggled to find what I was looking for within my budget. The dress I got in the end was not what I had in mind originally, but I grew to love it (a bit like Kevin)! It was from Adore Bridal in Chelmsford, Essex. I originally got the dress in full length, and then had it altered to mid-length. It was very fun to wear and easy to move around in, and most importantly, great for twirling around on the dance-floor! It also allowed me to show off my shoes which, unlike to the dress, I knew I wanted the minute I spotted them at a wedding show in London.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | [Kevin] Our royal blue suits were hired from The Black Tie Showroom in Derry. The staff there were very friendly and patient and the suits were of a high quality, so I would happily recommend them to anyone. A decision to match our socks to Elaine’s pastel colour theme was swiftly reverted on the morning of the wedding when we realised just how hilarious they looked on us! Fortunately, I had planned for such an eventuality and had packed an emergency stash of plain-but-nice blue socks.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We had a Catholic wedding ceremony and our family and friends did the readings, Prayers of the Faithful, and a wedding reflection. Rachel Reid provided us with some beautiful harp music and vocals, performing a great selection of traditional Irish hymns and contemporary religious and secular pieces. Special mention must also go to our celebrant, Father Paddy Rushe, who was simply fantastic. Once we had signed the wedding register, he even took a selfie with the bridal party!
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | [Elaine] My three bridesmaids were my best friends Patricia, Judith and Narinder. The dresses were lace prom dresses from Kaliko in pastel green. I really love this colour and they all looked amazing. Their sparkly shoes were from Debenhams.
THE FLOWERS | [Elaine] The florist was Siobhán at Darling Buds. I think she understood what I was looking for more than I did, and appropriately called the look whimsical! The flowers were made up of Sweet Avalanche roses, Astilbe, Veronica, Lisianthus, Astrantia, Centaurea, eucalyptus and rosemary. She also supplied flowers for the venue, and my Mum, my Aunt and I made up lots of flower arrangements in jars the day before the wedding.
THE CAKE | [Elaine] My mum made a fruitcake, my bridesmaid Patricia made a carrot cake, and my brother’s girlfriend Ann made a biscuit cake. I iced them all and the decoration was simple with coloured ribbons. I hadn’t iced a cake before the wedding, and so the run-up involved lots of practice, including a full trial run of the wedding cake; needless to say, we fed a lot of people cake!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | We both wanted a candid style of photography which would capture the day as it happened naturally, from the morning preparations through to the night time dance moves. We came across Karolyn and Jess at Honey and the Moon Photography, and absolutely loved their style. We were delighted with the photos, and felt that they documented the entire day and its myriad of emotions so personally and wonderfully.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | [Elaine] I liked the idea of being creative with the details and décor, and got a lot of help from family and friends. My parents and my brother’s girlfriend Ann collected glass yoghurt pots for candle holders and jam jars for vases and decorated them for me. The coloured heart and circle chains were made using coloured card, shape punches, and fishing line with help from my friends Narinder and Laura. We made 100m of chains which covered the floor of our flat completely for a few days! My Dad painted a picture of the church in which we were getting married which was printed on the front of the Mass leaflets, my Mum discovered she had a hidden talent for fluffing tissue paper pom-poms, and I made the invitations, menu cards, table numbers and seating plan. As a guest book, we had a wishing tree with tags on which guests could leave messages. Favours included love hearts, and pastel paper shapes with flower seeds for planting.[Kevin] After an(other) extensive online hunt, we decided on the Galway-based Converse All-Stars as our wedding band. We absolutely loved their sample play list – so many wedding bands play the same old standards (which can be fun) but they played the kind of music we would actually listen to ourselves. It did feel a little risky at first, and a number of concerns were voiced in advance – my parents, for example, do love a bit of a jive! – but the dance floor was absolutely packed all night long, and by the time their DJ had started, so many people, young and old alike, came to tell me how they were just about the best wedding band they had ever seen. They were also kind enough to let me and my old band mates (Fran, Anthony and my brother Brian, a.k.a. The Radio Cure) up to play a tune or two for old times’ sake which was very kind of them, rusty as we sounded.
THE HONEYMOON | [Elaine] We took advantage of the fact that Kevin (who is a teacher) was on his summer holidays and I was in between jobs at the time by going away for five weeks. We travelled around Mexico, Belize and Guatemala, and then flew to LA where we hired a car and took a road trip through Arizona, Utah and California. We flew home via Toronto and so stopped off there also for two nights to visit some family and friends. It was the best trip ever, and an amazing start to married life!
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | [Elaine] All of it! Although if I had to pick, the morning with my family and bridesmaids was so lovely, holding hands with Kevin at the altar when my Dad had given me away (and temporarily regretting the short dress in case anyone could see that my legs were shaking), and of course the dancing![Kevin] After such a crazily busy run-up to the wedding day itself, time stopping as I saw Elaine for the first time on the altar, being struck by how beautiful she was, seeing that she was just as nervous as I was, and just being really happy.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | [Elaine] We didn’t want a completely traditional wedding, with all the expected formalities. However, it was hard to maintain this idea through the planning process. Lots of brides and grooms advise to do your own thing, but I found trying to do this made the planning more stressful. So basically, be flexible, as in reality the day isn’t all about you! We ended up giving in to pressures on some fronts, and at the end of the day, it wasn’t a big deal, and it made other people happy, which made us happy.
Also, accept any offers of help, as it was lovely having family and friends involved.[Kevin] Don’t get too hung up on the little details – the chances are that neither of you will care that much about them on or after the day itself. Also, try and make your speech personal: it is the job of the groom to make everyone cry, and that of the best man to pick everyone up afterwards.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photography | Honey and the Moon Photography
Venue | The Millhouse
Hair Accessories | Silver Six Pence In Her Shoe
Make up | Sarah Maguire
Hair | Rita O’Brien
Church Music | Rachel Reid
Wedding Band | The Converse Allstars
Florist | Darling Buds (Siobhan Grehan)
Suits | The Black Tie Showroom
Thanks so much to Elaine and Kevin for sharing their lovely nuptials with us xo Lou