Belleek Castle Summer Wedding by Aidan Oliver Photography by Aidan Oliver Weldon

The wonderful Belleek Castle was the choice for Katelyn and Michael to get married in June just gone and what a month of joyous Summer sun it was. The couple both live in Canada and many emails crossed the pond before we met. Michael hails from Belfast so the three of them (including  their little guy Killian) arrived over to visit Michaels family prior to their wedding. When you have a kid and live in Alberta and have organised a wedding remotely you have to be saluted for the sheer effort in pulling it all together.

As a photographer my aim is always to help where and when I can by communicating as clearly as possible, putting peoples mind at ease then pulling out the stops to deliver the very best I can. We started our conversations a year prior to the 8th, the day they got married. 

I asked Katelyn where they met and she told me this "Michael and I met st. Patrick's day at a small pub in Brandon Manitoba. I was a student trying to avoid studying and he was fresh to Canada and not looking for a girlfriend", brilliant, and very real of course. I am fascinated by stories of how folks initially meet. Katelyn continued with the story "We instantly had chemistry and started talking. The relationship was on and off the first year as we both weren't too sure what we wanted in life but life kept drawing us together. The cheesy line "absence makes the heart grow founder" is very true to us as once we started distancing from each other we knew we only wanted each other".  What a lovely few words said just there. 

I arrived for the bridal preparations and not before I took a walk around the castle to capture the esscence of the grounds and also wanted to check out the 19th century Knox-Gores stables where the civil ceremony was to take place. They also have a café in the same courtyard where guests can have a coffee outside, and prior to being called to sit. I headed up to say hello to Katelyn and the day oficially began for me. It was very relaxed and I moved between the bridal suite and outside as Michael and Killian were around, the hurl's were taken out and some frendly pucks were made between the lads on the green, a great way to ease them all into the exciting day ahead. As usual  watching it all unfold and capturing all that goes into making each day unique, the lads getting ready the restrained excitement in the bridal suite, Killian being dressed each day unfolding in its unique way. I could not resist getting a His 'n' Hers shot of the couples favourite tipple, his being Jack Daniels and hers, being Fireball. Bridesmaids pressies were handed over and Mum shed a tear which I manage to capture. There was also a giddy moment on the stairs with Katelyn and her dad Michael right before they made their way over to the stables.  

The photo of Katelyns Dad Michael just after greeting her hubby to be Michael Gough while hubby to be catches a coy smile from Katelyn is one of my favourite of the day. The stables is such a rustic place to get married and the ceremony was full of life and laughter and thoughtfulness it was a sheer pleasure to have captured. McGarry's florists did a wonderful job at arranging the flowers with Daragh Gillen entertaining the guests with his mystical harp playing. 

After the ceremony the couple greeted their guests in the grand entrance hall of the castle while siping on a glass of bubbly, Killian was also in on the action and it was such a pleasure to see him so involved in the day, celebrating as a trio. 

We headed off for some couple photos on the grounds of Belleek and as a large estate you get to see something different each time, each season, each week in fact. I had photographed a smaller wedding in Belleek a few weeks prior and was delighted that the weather had kept - surely the best Summer we have had since 1976, well it felt like it. We walked through the small forest adjacent to the castle and right up to the shore of River Moy, the couple sat and watched the moored boats bob in the sparkling water, chatting about the fab day it was. There is something magical about forests and the estate surrounding Belleek is a wonder to walk around with its approximately 1000 acres of woodland to traipse around in. 

 Katelyn also wrote me a line that said "We have a amazing son together and so glad he was there to celebrate our day with us. We had the most dreamy day for our wedding and can't wait to spend the rest of our lives together". I do wish Katelyn and Michael the very best for their future together.

Suppliers list: 

1. Venue: Belleek Castle 

2. Photographer: Aidan Oliver Photography

3. Cake: Mayo Wedding Cakes

4.  Florists: McGarry Flowers

5. DJ: Midland Djs

6. Harpist: Daragh Gillen

7. Hair and makeup: Bella beauty

If you would love to chat about your wedding I would be delighted to sahy hello. You can contact me on 00 353 87 2861544, aidanoliverphoto@gmail.com or send me your details here: http://www.aidanoliver.ie/contact/

Colm and Silke's Borris House Wedding by Aidan Oliver Photography by Aidan Oliver Weldon

Borris House in October is a rather wonderful setting and I have been meaning to blog about about Colm and Silke's wedding for a while now and here we are. As usual (and as I normally and happily expect) there was a good deal of emailing and conversation before we decided on a package to best suit the couple. After contacts were signed the time flew by and pretty soon the 7th October and the sumptious Autumn colours were upon us. Driving under the gate lodge I pulled in to take some photos and noticed some conkers (horse chestnut seeds) on the wall which brought me back to my childhood and the competitive games we used to play. The drive up to Borris House revealed itself gradually - I was heading for the saw mill where I knew Colm was staying close by, having driven up in his wonderfully refurbished Volkswagon Transporter camper van, it beaming out in royal blue. I noticed an ancient tree leaning toward a gate and immediately thought of a scene from LOTR (Lord of the Rings). There is so much to see around the estate, plenty of woodland walks which hold much character. The ice house itself looks almost like a mini Newgrange. 

Silke hails from Germany and Colm is from the capital and they both enjoy potholing or caving as it is known internationally. If I remember correctly this is where they initially met. I introduced myself to Colm and Silke then set about watching the day unfold moving back and forth between the couple, keeping my eyes peeled for interesting conversations, ongoing preparations and wedding day detail that would tell their story. The chapel on the grounds was being prepared for the ceremony so this provided for another focal point between bridal prep and other ancillary stuff Colm and the lads were looking after. The coffee van also arrived, we were ready to go.

After guests were refreshed and had been seated Silke appeared and greeted her dad at the end of the stairs. It was a rather touching moment, Silke wiping a tear from her dads eye. She was then driven with her bridal party and mum in the Transporter around the corner to the church. The ceremony was stunning, friends sang and played music, kind and light hearted words were spoken, there was a traditional hand binding and a tree planted, all symbols of the love this couple have for each other and the gestures made to celebrate it. The newly married couple were then driven back to the house in the Transporter (of course) for refreshments and to begin the celebrations.

Colm being a keen brewer had a couple of kegs lined up for guests to sample as the chatted around the Transporter. The weather was beautiful for early October, a warm sun lifted spirits higher as a selection of canapés and traditional teas were provided. There were kids of all ages at the wedding, some very young and it was lovely to see such inclusivity. We took some family family photos over near the couples favourite tree then and I took the couple for a brief walk as they wanted to spend as much time with their guests as possible prior to the meal. Colm and Silke said a few words outside when we arrived back and then everybody was called to sit for the meal. The remaining speeches were undertaken during the meal. 

I left the wedding party and headed back to dublin not before grabbing a photo of the imfamous camper van against the majestic Borris House. I wish Colm and Silke the very best for their future together. 

Supplier list

Photographer: Aidan Oliver Photography www.aidanoliver.ie

Wedding Venue: Borris House, borrishouse.com

Catering: Blackstairs Catering https://www.facebook.com/blackstairscatering/

Flowers: Tina from the thewildbunch.ie/

Hair and Make up: Christine http://snipsandlips.com/contact.aspx

Silke's Cape: Roisin Cross Silks http://silks.ie

Winter Wicklow Gaol Wedding by Aidan Oliver Photography by Aidan Oliver Weldon

When you are contacted by a client and they tell you that they are getting married in a jail well, your eyes open, you ask them “what jail?” and they say “Wicklow Jail”, then you get an idea of the setting for their wedding. 

Evelyn and Chip were doing just that and Evelyn gave me a shout in November to discuss the setting and their plans for the day. I have to say that I was as excited as they were and agreed to meet them at the Gaol to go through the day just as they had planned and envisioned it. If you have ever been inside this building then you would see that the Gaol part is a long rectangular building three stories in height with an open stairs connecting the first floor to the second floor landing. The couple planned to have the wedding ceremony at the foot of this stairs just in front of the large window. The 70 odd guests would line up along the two sides (and two levels) of the walkways which were approximately a metre across in width so any photography would have been restricted. As he works in the film industry Chip mentioned that he was going to install production lights back towards the ceremony area which would allow guests to see the proceedings and I knew that this was going to be spot on (excuse the pun) as the light would be directed on on the couple, the celebrant, the proceedings and the guests would be illuminated with (for the most part) any remaining light, thus creating the perfect mood. Oh, did I mention that Wicklow Gaol is supposed to be one of the most haunted buildings in the world? - I’ll leave that up to your imagination here.

We chatted about a second photographer and agreed that it would be ideal to leave one person focus on the ceremony and a second person float around considering the width restriction on the landings. Having been the second photographer at a Kinsale wedding with my friend and wonderful photographer I knew that Leanne Keaney www.leannekeaney.ie was the right person to help me out here - thankfully she was available. I trusted Leanne to focus on the ceremony while I was able to nip around and capture other angles. It worked a treat and we both managed to get numerous same shots from different angles which threw a different perspective into the photos.

Chip was getting ready in the Bridge Tavern so I arrived there first. Evelyn was to leave from cell 30 which was located on the second floor, her two bridesmaids Kim and Fiona, would go before her and this was to surprise guests (that at this stage) had lined up all along the walkway to the entrance hall. Chip was well ready as were all the guests. There was an air of excitement and expectation building up. Everyone was mesmerised at the location.

The ceremony was simply awesome, the love that these two people have for each other was very much prevalent and you could see the pure glee in the guests faces as the ceremony proceeded. It was a lot of fun as well as part emotional, a tear was shed by Fiona (Evelyn’s sister) as she spoke a few words. Fiona lives in Australia and quite a few guests traveled from afar to be there hence the emotion. Fiona’s son Ryder looked the dapper part handing over the rings to the beaming bride. 

Post ceremony (and after the kids had shot off all their confetti cannons) I left the very capable Leanne to capture guests mingling and the general ambience of a reception and myself, the newly married duo and Adi headed over to Black Castle to the salty air to capture some couple photos.  I've interspersed a few photos of the reception amid the coastal shots to show what was happening simultaneously. To say it was windy, cold and wet was an understatement but Chip and Evelyn were ready to rock here as well and were fearless; I salute you both for your steadfast determination by the way!!!. We captured the few cracking photos at Black Castle the same scene where (if I remember correctly) Chip proposed to Evelyn.

Back to the Gaol we went for the family photos and the wedding feast and true to form the 8 hour whole roasted pig was very ready and looking a damn sight tasty. Coupled with this fine beast (and the delicious crackling) there was potato gratin and braised vegetables served in a red wine jus plus baby roasties to accompany the meat and also for the vegetarians. Many guests were back up for more and the roast more than amply served all present. A few words were said in the speeches and the DJ was ready to take the wedding party onto the floor with some seamlessly mixed vinyl tunes.

I said goodbye and thank you was presented with one of the wedding bouquets (for my fiancé) and headed back to Dublin, delighted with the days events and chuffed that I was asked to capture this rather unique wedding.

Supplier List

Main Photographer: Aidan Oliver Photography

Second Photographer: Leanne Keaney

Ceremony and Reception: Wicklow Gaol

Flowers - Austen Flowers

Pastries & sweets - The Rosie Apple Bakery

DJ - Funky Funktion

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.