Aidan & Sinead

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Aidan & Sinead

Natural and relaxed winter wedding at Ballygally Castle

A crisp November day beckoned; with a fresh blue sky and a nip in the air I headed to see Sinead on the morning of her wedding to Aidan. We'd first spoken about my relaxed and natural approach to wedding photography via the wonders of Skype over a year earlier, when the pair were living in London and making preparations to head home to County Antrim to get married at Ballygally Castle.

As I hope you'll see in the images this really was an immensely happy day, with all of the beaming smiles, hugging, kissing and belly laughs that you would associate with a wedding, although there was definitely a tinge of sadness for me as I arrived at Sinead's parent's house that morning.

Sinead's lovely Mum Pauline had been battling cancer, and Aidan and Sinéad had moved their date forward by a month or so to make sure that Pauline was able to be there to see her Daughter get married.

I can honestly say that I have never, ever encountered anything quite like this group of family and friends. They were warm, welcoming and above all resolute in their determination to make the absolute most of a celebration of such a happy and joyful occasion, even in the face of such heart wrenching circumstances.

This is the story of that wonderful day.

After spending the early part of the morning with the ladies of the bridal party I made the short trip over to Aidan’s parent’s house to check in with the boys, who were busy making themselves look presentable. As the time to leave approached there was a slight air of mounting tension, even if it was masked with a good amount of banter!

After a really fun and relaxed early morning, a certain amount of nervous energy had crept in when I got back to bridal party HQ too, especially as the time of the ceremony drew closer.

After Hugh had seen his beautiful daughter in her stunning wedding dress for the first time as she descended the stairs, it was time to leave for the church, where an expectant Aidan was awaiting Sinead's arrival.

Following the ceremony, and much congratulatory hugging and kissing that followed, the Bride and Groom headed to the gorgeous surroundings of their wedding reception venue at Ballygally Castle on the County Antrim Coast.

After taking in the stunning views across the bay to Ballygally Castle, Mr and Mrs Watt headed inside to the warm welcome of all of those nearest and dearest to them.

After being seated for dinner the wedding guests heard speeches from both the Bride's and the Groom's fathers, Aidan's brother Brian in the role of best man, and of course Aidan's own speech which was both funny and heartfelt in equal measure.

After Dinner I was enthusiastically assisted by Groomsman Conor in rounding up some volunteers for a "sparkler run" (think confetti - only on fire) in the grounds of Ballygally Castle, and I'm pretty sure we ended up with almost every single guest at the wedding waving a sparkler, other than those sensible enough to have decided not to brave the cold and make the most of reduced queues at the bar!

Back in the warm once again it was soon time to head to the dance floor for their first dance as tradition dictates, followed closely by Sinead's Dance with her Dad

Staying with the theme of the dance floor; it's safe to say that the style and energy of the moves on display went up a notch or two in the hours that followed, with varying degrees of success! I absolutely love a really energetic dance floor and this one certainly did not disappoint in any way;

I do like to end a set of wedding images on something a little different to my largely natural and relaxed documentary style of photography if I can, and I had seen the opportunity for a dramatic silhouette against a pergola in the grounds of the hotel and took this image to round off the set of images from the day.

I genuinely love being able to do what I do, I'm so lucky to be able to share in such joyous occasions in people's lives, and being entrusted to capture all of the moments and memories of a wedding day is a real honour for me. I thoroughly enjoyed my day with Aidan, Sinead and all of their friends and family, and looking back through these images to write this post today just brought it all right back to me, so I hope that you can get a real sense of the "feeling" of the day too!

After packing away my cameras and saying my goodbyes I drove away from Ballygally that night and was suddenly overcome with emotion, to the point where I had to pull over to the side of the road and compose myself for a minute before driving home. I had only spent one day in the company of Pauline and her lovely family, and was blown away by their positive attitude, bravery and togetherness in the face of such a horrible disease. I was so glad that I had been able to be there and capture as many memories from the day as possible for them, it was an experience that will stay with me for a very long time.

 

Sadly, Pauline lost her fight with Pancreatic cancer in January 2018.

If this story has touched you like it has me, then I know that it would mean a lot to Sinead, Hugh, Maeve and Ciaran if you would be able to make a donation to Pancreatic Cancer UK, no matter how small. Almost 9,500 people just like Pauline are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the UK each year. I know that Sinead has run marathons to raise funds and awareness for this cause which is understandably very close to her heart; it is no exaggeration to say that just one small donation for research in to treatment of this less well understood form of cancer could mean that one more mother is able to see their little girl get married.

CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO PANCREATIC CANCER UK

In Memory of Pauline McKeown

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Roger & Jess

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Roger & Jess

An Irish North Coast summer Marquee wedding

I'm not really sure where to start.

The beginning is probably the most logical place so I've cast my mind back to a chilly February morning at a wedding fair in Belfast where we first met Roger and Jess. They explained that they were planning "a simple affair with a marquee in Roger's parent's back garden on the North Coast" for their wedding and wanted something nice and relaxed and natural for their wedding photography. This sounded great to me as I love a good DIY wedding, although I'm not sure that this description really did justice to the eventual outcome of a lot of hard work and attention to detail.

I spent most of the morning of the wedding with Jess and her bridesmaids Katherine, Zahra, Rebecca, Mum Helen, Dad Gary and of course flower girl extraordinaire - Jess's little sister Emily. The ladies (and Gary!) were a pleasure to be around, with plenty of energy, smiles, laughter . . .just a few tears and an impromptu dance routine or two instigated by Helen!

A visit to the boys at what would be the venue for the wedding reception later in the morning revealed the result of all of the meticulous planning and hard work that had gone before - not least by Roger's lovely parents Shirley and Brian who had so generously offered to play host at their beautiful home in Portballintrae. There were no dance renditions here, just a few lawn games and a bit of a gym session, followed by some relaxing around the fire pit and a fair bit of poaching from the freshly set up sweetie table. The time then came to don the bow ties in readiness for the main event.

It was back with the girls in time for the final preparations as everything became a little more real as Jess slipped in to her stunning Enzoani wedding dress from Eden Bridal . . . 

A short vintage Mustang ride later the Causeway Coast Vineyard was the venue for the beautiful ceremony , presided over by Jonathon Frazer.

It wouldn't be a wedding on the North Coast without a trip to the beach, so we headed down to Whiterocks just outside Portrush for some natural and relaxed pictures whilst having a walk and a chat, before heading back to Portballintrae.

I hear a lot of wedding speeches, and I have to give special mention to Roger's best man and all round good guy John - he pulled a phenomenal rhyming speech out of the bag that was both touching and funny, only just upstaging the mother of the Bride who took to the mic for a rendition of "Isn't she lovely" ! Brian and Gary both delivered amazing Dad's speeches, with plenty of laughter and not too many dry eyes. Roger's groom's speech was a truly lovely ode to family and friends - and most of all to the new Mrs. Bonnar. It was the perfect way to close proceedings just in time for some delectable dishes from Jane's Kitchen, served under the incredible maverick marquee.

Jess has got moves - lots of moves, and she'd even taught Roger a few for their first dance, which went down a storm with the guests. Ceilidh band The Outlaws packed out the dance floor (you may recognise the drummer!) before a carefully choreographed dance with Jess and her Dad just as the sun was setting.

We couldn't ignore the golden light streaming in, so we ran down to Portballintrae Beach to catch an incredible sunset. There are few places on earth as beautiful as the North Coast of Ireland at sunset.

As the last of the sun disappeared over the horizon the party raged on, before it was time for the Bride and Groom Bonnar to run a sparkler lit gauntlet to their waiting car - a fantastic way to end the most perfect of days.

It was an absolute pleasure to spend such a magical day with such a fun loving and welcoming bunch of people, I am really lucky to be able to do what I do. Congratulations to Mr & Mrs Bonnar and thank you everyone for having me along for the day.

Wedding Featured on One Fab Day

One Fab Day Online Wedding Magazine

Click here to take a look

http://onefabday.com/ie/maverick-marquees-strawbridge-house-jess-roger/

If you think that you might like me to attend your wedding to capture everything in my relaxed and natural way please do get in touch - we would love to hear from you.

 

Wedding Suppliers

Video - Islander Visual Media

Wedding Dress - Enzoani (supplied by Eden Bridal Belfast)

Hair & Make up- Elana @ Elle Pearls // Mellissa Elliott

Flowers - The Stables Flower Company

Marquee - Maverick Marquees

Catering - Jane's Kitchen

Music - The Outlaws Ceilidh Band

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Gillian & Curtis

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Gillian & Curtis

A Ballymagarvey Village Wedding . . . 

When Gillian and Curtis first got in touch about their wedding at Ballymagarvey Village, not far from Dublin in County Meath, it's fair to say that I started looking forward to it straight away. Ballymagarvey Village has quickly built a reputation as one of the most exclusive wedding venues in Ireland, and for very good reason!

I started the morning with Gillian and the girls in the purpose built bridal prep suite at Ballymagarvey, with coffees, croissants and prosecco were all in bountiful supply

(CLICK ON THE THUMBNAILS AND SCROLL TO SEE IMAGES IN FULL SIZE!)

I then headed to see Curtis and the lads, who had spent the morning at a local hotel, before heading down to The Snailbox pub just down the road from Ballymagarvey for a wee bit of dutch courage in the form of a pint of the local black stuff, expertly pulled by the man of the moment.

(CLICK ON THE THUMBNAILS AND SCROLL TO SEE IMAGES IN FULL SIZE!)

Back with the ladies it was all starting to get a little bit real for Gillian as she slipped in to her beautiful flowing two piece wedding dress and put the finishing touches to hair and make up, before taking the short but sweet walk to the ceremony room . . . . 

In the ceremony room a slightly nervous Curtis awaited his bride, who made her entrance to a stunned reception from family and friends for the emotional ceremony.

After walking back down the aisle as husband and wife there were plenty of hugs, smiles and congratulations before we all headed to the fabulous lawn for some drinks in the sunshine

(CLICK ON THE THUMBNAILS AND SCROLL TO SEE IMAGES IN FULL SIZE!)

In amongst all of the mingling we took a wee 15 minute break from the action for a quick walk and a talk to get some nice relaxed and natural images whilst strolling around the beautiful grounds at Ballymagarvey . . . 

With the guests assembled in the resplendent dining room it was time for the delicious wedding banquet, but not before some simultaneously entertaining and tear jerking speeches! 

With the light fading we headed outside for a few more shots before it was time for the first dance;

Family and Friends didn't need much persuasion to join Mr and Mrs B on the dance floor after Gillian and her Dad had finished rocking away , and I was on hand to get in amongst everyone with my cameras; 

I'll leave the story there with one last image from the beautiful Lantern Tree at Ballymagarvey Village. I loved showing this to Gillian and Curtis on the back of my camera screen at the time, just to prove that there is no computer trickery or Photoshop cheating going on! (Click for full screen goodness!)

Gillian and Curtis jetted off to the white sandy beaches of Jamaica with a brief visit to Florida for good measure, I hope you guys had half as good a time as I did at your wedding - thanks very much for having me!

If you are reading this and think that you might like me along to capture your wedding day in a nice relaxed and natural style (with a couple of creative shots like the last one in there too!) please just get in touch

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Rebecca & Daniel

Rebecca & Daniel

A spring Wedding at Eaves Hall

Eaves Hall is a magnificent venue for a wedding, it's difficult to imagine that this spectacular building was once home to just one family - The Burtons; who built the grand house and it's fabulously landscaped grounds that nestle in the beautiful Lancashire countryside as their family home in 1867.

Fast forward exactly 150 years to this Spring and Eaves Hall played host to another set of families as Rebecca and Daniel came together to celebrate their marriage.

It's always a privilege to be present at a couple's wedding, to document such a special time in people's lives, and it's especially satisfying when everyone makes you feel so welcome - almost as if you are part of the family yourself. I was genuinely sad to leave as the dance floor was in full swing after spending the entire day with such a lovely set of people, but had an early flight home to Belfast the following morning.

We've chosen some of the many images of Daniel and Rebecca's wedding, which I hope you will agree tell the story of that special day!

We wish Rebecca and Daniel all the best in what I am sure will be a long and happy future together, and want to thank you again for asking me along to document your wedding day, it was an absolute pleasure.

If you think that you may like me to photograph your wedding, please get in touch - we would love to hear from you!

Rosie & Mark

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Rosie & Mark

INTIMATE JAMES STREET SOUTH WEDDING

They say that good things come in small packages
— Anon (AKA "They")

The above quote is a well known one, although I have never been entirely sure who "they" are exactly . . . . but it would appear that there is quite a bit of truth to that particular assertion.

When I was contacted by Rosie and Mark to photograph their wedding I was informed that it would be a very intimate and relaxed affair, with only eight guests including the bride and groom.

I love something a little bit different, and relish the challenge that a wedding that is a little bit different brings with it, so I was really looking forward to photographing their day as it offered a chance for me to think outside of the box.

My aim is to blend in as much as possible, and tell a story from the perspective of a guest, which would be slightly different to a more traditional wedding as I would be making up 11% of the entire wedding party on the day.

It was off to South Belfast in the morning to see Rosie and the two bridesmaids Catriona and Claire getting ready with the assistance of the hair and make up experts, before we were joined by Rosie's Mum and Dad. We then headed to Belfast City Hall where Mark and his parents were waiting for the bride.

After Rosie had made her entrance and the intimate ceremony had finished, the Bride and Groom walked back down the aisle and we took the opportunity to get some relaxed portraits and a couple of group photographs inside the amazing interior of City Hall. There really is no place quite like this building; we are so lucky to have such a magnificent civil wedding venue here in Belfast, and I hope I will be back soon.

It was just a hop skip and a jump through the ever so slightly damp city centre to the incredible James Street South where the guests would enjoy their wedding breakfast. If you have never been to this restaurant and have a special celebration coming up I would strongly suggest making a booking. They also have a private dining room that is available for weddings if you are on the lookout for a Belfast city Centre wedding venue with a difference! The staff could not have been more attentive and accommodating, and the food looked that good that I actually made a booking there and then for my own forthcoming anniversary (it tasted even better than it looked!).

After the delectable desserts had been served it was time for me to go. I had thoroughly enjoyed my short but sweet time with Rosie and Mark and their families, it was really nice to feel such a part of their day, and I wish Mr & Mrs Rose all the best for what I'm sure will be a very long and extremely happy future together.

Yes, you did just read that correctly; Rosie is now able to proudly proclaim that she is Mrs Rosie Rose; and I for one think that it has a certain ring to it!

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Claire & William

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Claire & William

OLD INN CRAWFORDSBURN WEDDING

I knew from the first time that I met William and Claire that their wedding would have that little something special about it, the kind of thing that you can't really describe, and it turns out that I was right.

The day started at Claire's Mum's house in Dromore, within a two minute walk of the groom's parent's house, which was handy for being able to cover the guys as well as the girls getting ready in the morning.

Dromore Cathedral was the backdrop to William and Claire's wedding vows, which was also a handy distance . . . especially in the back of a vintage Rolls Royce! Whilst William waited, perhaps just a little nervously, the bridal party arrived at the church before making their way down the aisle, with guests stunned by Claire's unbelievably elegant dress.