Jennifer and Jason's Engagement & Castle Durrow Wedding by Aidan Oliver Photography by Aidan Oliver Weldon

I met Jennifer and Jason when I was photographing Cora and Sean's (their friends) wedding last October. Jennifer liked the way I went about photographing and asked me if I was free on the 17th June next year and I told her I'd check and get back to her when home, which I happily did. Thankfully I was. 

We met up in late January to have a chat and also to design a wedding package for their big day. The months did fly by and before we knew it June had arrived for their engagement shoot which I've included a few pictures of below. I nipped down to Kilkenny Castle and we went for a walk around the interesting grounds. The jagged sculpture at the east end of the park provided a great backdrop for a bit of fun as I snapped way. 

The morning of their wedding I headed over to Jennifer's mum's house not too far from the Curragh for some bridal preparation shots. These shots always help to tie in the wedding story together. What a day it was, sunny as I've seen it over the last year and methinks (up until then) it was the hottest day of the year. 

First item I saw on the way in the driveway was the was the U.S. style post box which just had to be taken!!!. 

Although Jennifer had not yet arrived back from the hairdressers it was great to see makeup artist Ellie Murphy again so we said hello again and I followed the mornings flow as unobtrusively as possible. I did catch a lovely shot of the bride with her dad Mick through the window in full smile. Jennifer did not hang around putting her dress on and given the day outside we decided to take a few portraits and family shots. She looked absolutely stunning in the dress she picked from Truly Bridal in Naas. When the Limousine arrived there was time to catch a toast before heading off to Castle Durrow which was about 40 mins drive away, most of it along on the M7. 

While I was travelling down to Castle Durrow I was thinking about the day ahead and how it might pan out and this gave me a smile. I arrived at the gates and some guests were already there looking suspiciously like they were going to head over to the Castle Arms for a drink - after all it was sweltering out. I was ready to join them!!!. Having parked up at the Castle I noticed the Model T Ford ready for action, and the jump leads on the ground close by as a contingency. Jennifer was to drive up to the castle in the Model T all things going according to plan. We don't always get a chance to see the chef who cooks the wedding meal so I took a snap of himself which I believe is now pinned up on the canteen wall. Jason (the groom) was in fine form and I said hello captured a few photos and headed over to the ceremony room to capture this room before guests arrived. Billy Hutchinson (celebrant) was ready to go - all we needed were guests, bride and the goorm of course!. A few photos here and then I headed back to get the guests arriving. Jennifers early arrival put us into good shape so pretty soon the ceremony which included sand pouring was underway. After the ceremony there was a greet halfway over to the Castle reception (under the arch) and this was a chance to capture the sentiment as hugs were given and exchanges made. 

As the day was so warm it was ideal for all to convene on the veranda which is to the back of the Castle. We managed to use the shade to our advantage for the bridal shots and the few family photos that were captured. As you walked down the steps to the garden the smell of lavender was enticing. The reception room looked amazing as it always does, I had created a signing frame alongside the picture net where people were asked to pen their best wishes on card for the happily married couple. Jason asked me to grab a shot of himself and Mick which I was only happy to do. I then took them both around to the front of the Castle to catch some of that lovely evening sun and post photo op they relaxed in the private reception room while the guests were called for dinner.

Soon the feast was under way and it was time to retire to the Hunting Bar for a bite to eat. The food is always something to look forward to here and the service exceptional. Once I took my cue to head back in to capture the speeches you could feel the energy, the buzz - people were happily chatting, having been fed and watered - the doors open, it could have been a country hotel in Savannah, Georgia or the Villa Dievole in Italy it was that kind of surrounding and weather.  Speeches over we waited for the Usual Suspects (band) to lighten up the night with sound and pretty soon Jennifer and Jason were up for their dance and the party started. 

I do wish Jennifer and Jason the very best for their future together.

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Claire and Ruairi's Wedding Adventure in Derryleckagh House by Aidan Oliver Weldon

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When I say "what a February 2017 wedding adventure", I mean it. This was all about a step into an old ruin of a house on the bride (Claire's) dad's land post ceremony. It was wet, dark and slightly treacherous but it was fun and not just different for sake of it - it was personal. I was up for a change of scene as were the bride and groom, there were many memories in that house, family memories and as a fearless photographer who loves a good story, it was to provide the backdrop for later, maybe even defining their day as the perfect photographic memento, and an adventure into the recent past.

I travelled from Dublin up to the townland of Derryleckagh to capture Claire for her bridal preparations, which were well under way when I arrived. I had visited the church (Mayobridge) to get an empty pew photo before checking out Derryleckagh and heading to Claire's parents. It was a jaunt up the road and I was well on time. There was a definite buzz happening which was noticed, and bridesmaids Amy and Niamh were in control of the situation!. I busied myself taking it all in while melding into the background and watching. I heard it mention that the ladies were up until all hours the night before but it certainly did not show in expressions or energy, that is the benefit of youth for you. Fiona, the makeup artist had her illuminated makeup mirror ready to go and it provided the catchlight for one or two gorgeous photos of the ladies. Pretty soon the cars arrived (one and Austin Westminster and the second a Beauford) and I left the smiles, laughter and banter for Mayobridge. 

Sure enough, the lads had just arrived and I caught them climbing the steps, all dapper in the drizzle and weather that it was. Ruairi is a character and I caught a great shot of his sister in law (to be) dusting his jacket whilst greeting guests as they arrived. The weather would clear later, I knew it, I was confident. Ceremony over, we took some photos outside the Church and the guests scarpered to their cars and made a beeline to the reception. Bride and Groom, videographer and myself and headed to Derryleckagh for the fab photos that were envisioned. It took a bit of help to get Claire into the ruins and by the time we had taken our shots the rain outside had abated; result!. As I mentioned at the start Derryleckagh is a special kind of place and we did well to grab what we could inside the ruins as there was water dripping down and broken glass everywhere. The natural stone depth of the the window provided a super directional fall off in light for a few shots of the newly married - they looked so content, beaming in their youth. The excellent videographers (Declan and Caoimhe) from Filmitstudios requested a few shots outside Derryleckagh and I hung on the periphery taking the occasional shot when I spotted an ideal situation.

Photos over, we then went to the reception which was held in Darver Castle, Readypenny, a twenty something mile jog across the border off junction 16 on the M1. Mary (proprietor) was waiting with a couple of glasses of bubbly. The couple relaxed for a while and I headed to the function room to see and capture the layout. People were at this stage gathered in the ample  reception rooms, orangerie and bar so there was some craic and conversation captured. We then flew through the family shots, Filmitstudios grabbed a few couple shots and then it was soon time for the meal. Everyone settled, the speeches started and they were brilliant, some real gems of statements and the wedding party was set alive and kicking. Claires uncle's Birthday was not missed and Claire presented her uncle with a birthday hat (and cake). I left them dancing to the tune of the fiddler and headed back to Dublin, delighted with day that had just flown. I wish them the very best for their future together.

The wedding gallery is just below:

 

Supplier List:

Photographer: Aidan Oliver Photography

Venue. Darver castle 

Dress. Creative Ideas Bridal, Armagh

Bridesmaids Dresses. Creative Idea Bridal, Armagh

Grooms. McCartan Bros, Newry

Make up. Fiona Murphy Makeup, Newry

Hair. Gloss Hairdressing, Newry

Flowers. The Flower Barrow, Newry

Cora and Sean's Mount Juliet Wedding by Aidan Oliver Photography by Aidan Oliver Weldon

Cora and Sean are the perfect couple, and are honestly one of the most genuinely happy couples I have met in a long while. You'll see in the photos as you pan down the wedding collection. They were married in the postcard picturesque village of Inistioge, Kilkenny last October on a beautiful crisp Autumn day. Inistioge (the jewel of the west) is nestled in the Nore valley in which the river Nore winds an almost semicircle from Ballyduff to Woodstock and is surrounded by magical woodland and walks that take hours to complete, or you could just pop into the Woodstock Arm's, then O'Donnell's pub for a, (ahem!), coffee or latte. Woodstock Gardens and Arboretum, up the hill on the right is listed in Georgina Campbell's Ireland guide. You have many choices upon entering Inistioge, interesting ones, adventurous ones. 

The couple held their ceremony in Saint Columcille's Church in the village, literally side by side with St Mary's Church. Cora had asked for a shot of the empty church, i.e., before guests arrived and I always find solace in sussing out a venue pre arrival of the wedding party - it helps to create the framework in my mind for each and every individual wedding story. After a coffee in the quaint "circle of friends" cafe off I drove to Mount Juliet to meet the groom. Sean had stayed the night in Mount Juliet and was chatting to his Dad when I arrived. I captured a few photos of the Manor House and the groom with his Mum and Dad and headed off to Maidenhill, Kilkenny to meet the bride. 

Cora was as relaxed as can be and there was plenty to see and photograph so I watched and observed, took some time out to grab a few detail shots not forgetting to mention that her red dress was absolutely stunning, even more beautiful on Cora than I envisioned as it waited patiently upstairs. So unusual to see a bride move away from the norm, so refreshing. I wished them the best and headed back to Inistioge (yes, the miles were clocking up well!) to get guests arriving and see the lie of the land. There was plently of banter and Sean was enjoying being pulled left and right by his neices and nephews - they were as excited about the wedding as Sean. Cora arrived and most guests were settled in the church so a few adjustments (bride adjusting drivers necktie) and we were off. 

Ceremony over we grabbed some family shots in the village and then some relaxed couple shots agains the varied backgrounds in Inistioge. Back in the car we all headed to Mount Juliet where we took a few couple shots at the walled garden then they were chauffeured off back to the Manor as requested, and to enjoy the celebrations, the canapés and the people gathered. Spending time with their guests was a prerequisite and I just knew we had some lovely shots in the bag. I spent some time moving around watching guests engage in conversation and capturing this emotion. Speeches were pre-dinner and in the Manor House, the stairs providing the perfect arched podium for some very funny anecdotes. Dinner was called and guests took a stroll in the evening sunshine up to Kendals restaraunt. This is where the guests were treated to a real surprise with the food - it was a mixture of Moroccan, Italian and Irish food, cooked at stations, both laid out and also served to guests - the smells were enticing. You chose what you wanted, spoke to other guests regarding what they are getting and what might tickle your fancy. You could feel the energy in the room, people were excited about what to try next, and there was a giddy anticipation for more. There was of course a star dish, it being a succulent minature beef wellington that people kept going back for. I captured the atmosphere of this very personalised and entirely unique meal and headed back to Dublin. Cora did surprise me with a doggie bag of goodies for my trip home. I thanked them both for being such wonderful people.

I do wish Cora and Sean the very best for their future together they were made for each other.

Suppliers:

Photos: Aidan Oliver Photography

Venue: Mount Juliet

Dress: Miriam Rice

Grooms Suit: Louis Copeland

Makeup: Sarah Bateman

Hair: Antons hair Saloon

Church Flowers: Soah Flowers