It was Jenny Phelan who initially recommended me as a photographer to Margaret and John (M & J) last year. I had photographed Jenny's wedding the year before - thank you Jenny!. Time sure does fly as a wedding photographer particularly when you relate weddings to years.
I headed to Balbriggan for the morning bridal preparation photos and it was a fresh November morning with a promise of some sun in the late afternoon - fingers were crossed and batteries were charged. The morning flew as it always does not before Margaret received a beautiful gift of a watch from John. I captured the essence of this busy but calm morning before heading to St Peter and Paul's Church for the ceremony.. The 'congratulations' took place in the hallway of the Church as it was lashing rain and people hugged, shook hands then headed straight for their cars. Margaret was glad of her winter stole I can tell you, and I caught a tearful moment when she hugged a familiar person she knew - there is a story there alone.
We headed on to Bellingham Castle for the afters, a nice spin up the M1 then take junction 15 off for Castlebellingham. Bellingham is a sister Castle of Cabra Castle and is owned by the Corscadden Family. If you are familiar with both castles then you will know that each castle has an Irish Wolfhound with a name synonymous to each, Bellingham's being Ferdia, Cabra is Oscar. Those dogs have the life indeed. M & J were greeted with champagne, an open fire to warm the bones and I did smell the perfume of mulled wine in the air. I left them there to say hello, thaw out and headed around the castle for a look, so see what was prepared and to capture the little things accordingly. I remember speaking to Patrick Corscadden later telling him that I had my debs in this very place in 1988 and I'll say it again, it looks every part a fantastic place to host the ideal wedding reception. So much space, character, nooks and crannies and the very best service which is key. Both Ciara and Patrick are at the coal face when it comes to setting good standards. I always judge a venue on how they look after the photographer, wouldn't I?.
We did go outside for a few shots around the grounds, M & J did not mind the cold, and the nearby river Glyde set the stage nicely for some shots around the gardens. Johns uncle provided a great focal point for the bridal party to enjoy a laugh while on the bridge. The fire escape was also used for some off the beat photos - something different as they say. Back inside and I moved around capturing guests, their expressions, animation and the general happiness that encapsulates the archetype wedding.
Two of my favourite photos of the day were 1) The portrait of Margaret under the arch, and 2) the photo of John with the lads surrounding him, just like a 21st Century (Anno Domino) Don Corleone. I captured the speeches, left them all to it and headed back to Dublin with a big smile on my face. On the way out I noticed that the signing frame I had created for the couple had been filled out nicely - you just never know what a colourful comment might appear on such a frame, particularly by a character guest, a good few of whom were now sitting down enjoying the banter.
I was delighted to send M & J the images of their wedding while they were away on honeymoon in Cape Town - they were very much thrilled. Margaret and John, I wish you the very best for your future together.
Photography: Aidan Oliver
Videography: Edithouse films
Reception: Bellingham Castle