Winter Wedding

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

Margaret and John's BELLINGHAM CASTLE WEDDING by Aidan Oliver Weldon

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