Durrow Scarecrow Festival 2015

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.

Anita and Conor's August Wedding in Castle Durrow by Aidan Oliver Weldon

Anita and Conor were married in Durrow this August just gone. Anybody who is familiar with Durrow knows that not just is it a quaint little village with a wonderful castle right smack in the middle of its centre - but that it hosts equally wonderful creative Scarecrow Festival every year. I though it fitting to start and finish with a shot from this festivals entries as a tribute to what you see when you enter and leave. I also made a little trip to the Church as I normal like to get the lie of the land if it has been a while since I've been there last. 

Photographing the bridal preparations is made much easier when you have a large room with plenty of light and the natural backdrop of the castle gardens always provide great scenery to muse over, loose a minute or two. It was a very relaxed affair, and I even managed to nip over to Conor's room to grab a few photos of himself to tie all it in nicely. 

The lovely couple were married locally in Cullahill Church by the wonderful father Tom McGree who by all accounts was a lively priest for his 75 years of age. The ceremony was celebrated with smiles and genial laughter. A quick greet post ceremony and we all headed back to Durrow for an outside reception in the blistering sun. I love watching people, having a laugh, a joke and just generally interacting. We took some informal photos of the families and bridal party then headed in when called for the meal, through the garden pavilion and to the banqueting hall. 

Speaking of food, much of the castles organically grown produce is used for their weddings fare and the very same gardens are a joy to see in seasonal bloom, August being no different. Food is their speciality here so it is important to see everyone sat in time as it can be a long day. 

Grace was said and my day was done. I had a tasty bite to eat in the main bar and back off to Dublin I went, delighted and honoured to be able to have captured Anita and Conor's wedding. I wish them the very best for their future together.