Documentary Weddings

Caroline and Jim's Trim Castle Hotel Wedding by Aidan Oliver Weldon

Caroline ands Jim’s August 2015 wedding was a real treat to photograph. Caroline comes from a rural picturesque village called Donaghpatrick which is a few miles outside Navan town. We had the bridal preparations in her parents house, which is an extended red brick schoolhouse dating back to 1883. Her dad had added on to this fine property some years back and looking at it you would not think it was done as such. My assistant for the day was Eamonn and we watched and observed as the morning unfolded - a very relaxed affair. Her Dad, a hardworking farmer is very proud of his refurbished and painted farm machinery which he proudly exhibits in the side garden of the house; we could not resist a shot of of him alongside this restored equipment. Caroline’s uncle runs the grocery shop next door so I dropped in and grabbed a photo of the good man himself with his wares was a backdrop. It all added to the day. Eamonn brought along his instamatic camera and handed over some wonderfully candid shots to guests as we went about documenting the day. 

Caroline was soon ready, appearing in her beautiful designer dress and I caught a couple of photos of both mother and daughter as they chatted both delighted and excited. We observed, capturing peoples interaction and snapping shots of family and friends as they went about preparing for the day ahead, from loading their cars, to ticking off their lists, some light conversation, everyone anticipating looking forward to this wedding celebration..  

The ceremony took place in Kilberry Church, a few miles away. On the way back to her parents house (for a drink and a few photos in the garden) we had to stop to let the cows cross the road - this provided an ample opportunity for a rural shot, something different and another photo to add to the wedding story. 

On we went to Trim Castle Hotel for the reception and a walk around the castle. Jim is big into Elvis so I suggested he bring a few albums along and we feature these in a couple of shots. The craic was mighty here. We let the bridal party head off and headed across the river Boyne to St Mary’s Abbey & the Yellow Steeple backdrops for a few shots that the couple had envisaged prior to their wedding day. You could smell the late summer air and the reeds along the hill provided a wonderful texture to the shots. 

Back we went for the meal, for Tropical Storm’s wonderful renditions of Elvis’s songs as they serenaded each table of smiling guests. Instead of a first dance, the couple sang a tune, then danced late into the night. 

I wish Caroline and Jim the very best for their future together and thank them for taking me on to capture their unique wedding.


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