NUMBER OF GUESTS: 65
Tell us about your love story!
It was a September Friday in 2009. Kevin was embarking on the very first leg of his Australian adventure with his good friends John and Catroina. They had made their way up the coast from Sydney to the famous tourist town of Byron Bay, where my family were living and that afternoon, planning to meet for dinner at a restaurant in town on the eve of my Step-Mother’s birthday. After dinner we descended on a popular nightspot for a nightcap. Kevin was standing at the end of the bar and although, to this day, he claims not to have noticed me, I caught his gaze frequently throughout the evening. I was trapped in a conversation with another guy and when he went to the bar to buy me a drink I saw an opportunity to signal for Kevin to take up the newly vacant seat next to me. He was instantly engaging. So engaging that I couldn’t tell you whether Giorgio ever returned with my drink. We talked and talked for hours until Kevin eventually said, “we’ve been talking in this crowded, noisy bar and you haven’t once asked me to repeat myself…most people really struggle with my accent.” I was conflicted. I had spent my entire dating life avoiding boys like Kevin: unassuming, charming, youthfully handsome, funny, intelligent, genuine, well-mannered, well-adjusted, Catholic and Irish. If I saw this boy again I would have to admit that my Mother had been right all along and if you were ever lucky enough to have met her, you’d know how hard that was for me.
The next day I took Kevin sightseeing. We made our way to the Cape Byron lighthouse (the most easterly point of Australia). As on any first date, you want to put your best foot forward, but it’s not so easy when those feet have to carry you to the top of a huge hill on a hot day, all the while maintaining sparkling conversation, steady breathing and a taught stomach in a tight dress. I did my best to distract Kevin with tales of my childhood on my Dad’s yacht and almost everything I knew about the whales breaching in the distance. I thought it had worked but by the time we reached the summit, Kevin was convinced my tales were tall ones.
As fate would have it, I was but a day from departing for the Great Barrier Reef to spend a month aboard our yacht with my Dad, which helped to corroborate my stories. Unfortunately, this meant having to cut-short the time in which we had so quickly formed an undeniably strong connection.
By the time I returned, Kevin was living in Brisbane and the rest is history. His large group of friends traveled on to see much of Australia and for some time it was a running joke that he went all the way to Australia for a whole year and never left Brisbane but we are happy to report that we eventually snorkeled the reef together and continue to enjoy life at home and abroad.
What is the meaning of marriage to you?
Marriage to me is having someone to travel the world with: being married to Kevin, an Irishman, in and of itself, means having to travel the world but I’m not complaining! When we’re not traveling we spend our time at home playing cards, drinking tea and quizzing. People often refer to us as an elderly couple and that is not far from the truth.
I cannot, for one minute imagine my life without Kevin in it. Ours is the kind of relationship everyone is looking for and that some, are never lucky enough to find. Kevin is not just my partner, not just my husband: he is my best friend. I lost my Mum at a young age and he has made growing-up without her bearable. I don’t have any siblings and the family I do have are aged. Kevin comes from a good family and knows what it is to be a brother. I know this because at times he has been a brother to me. He loves me in spite of my shortcomings and makes me feel unconditionally supported. We have had to do more than most to be together but he has never made me feel like it was ever too much trouble or that it wouldn’t be worth it.
The wedding location.
We had originally decided to be married in Australia but while visiting Kevin’s family in Ireland we took a Sunday drive. We drove up to a pair of huge wrought iron gates flanked by menacing stone lions guarding a stunning estate. ‘We could get married here,’ said Kevin. I couldn’t very well get married in Australia after that. The grounds of Mussenden Temple were like nothing I had ever seen before; acres of untamed open fields overlooking the Atlantic ocean, the ruins of a castle and perched on the edge of the cliff, an eighteenth century rotunda in which to hold the ceremony.
The island of Ireland is as beautiful in real life as it is in postcards and on TV. When I learned that Mussenden was one of the many Northern Irish filming locations for ‘Game of Thrones’ I couldn’t wait to be married there.
What was the inspiration behind your wedding theme / vibe?
The styling of our wedding was very minimal which is important when you can’t be there to oversee every little detail. I settled on a venue that needed little decoration in such an epic location that the setting was able to speak for itself. I didn’t want to detract from the historic architecture or natural environment: the Causeway Coast, which is arguably one of the wonders of the world.
Having worked in the bridal industry and being a long time devotee of Pronovias, I was thrilled to find a Brisbane stockist. Naturally, I sought quotes to have my dream dress made, the cheapest of which was well over eight thousand dollars so finding LUV saved me a small fortune. Far be it from me to question the genius of such a prolific bridal designer and after trying four or five dresses from their collection I stepped into the one. It was everything I was looking for; a suitably grand train to match my epic venue, fitted over the hip, cinched through the waist, modest in the bust with an illusion neckline and tattooed lace back. I saved so much on my dress that I splurged on a pair of Louboutin slingbacks to wear with it!
Ceremony & reception.
Planning a wedding from the other side of the world is difficult…made easier by an experienced agent. I enlisted the help of LUV Holidays and Honeymoons who organized every last detail of my destination wedding and I couldn’t have done it without them. They suggested that, once on the ground in Ireland, I keep my celebrations central and I’m so glad I did. After the ceremony in the temple, all my guests had to do was walk down the stone staircase and through a hobbit sized door to the crypt below, which we styled with candles. It lent itself to a real ‘Phantom of the Opera’ feel and gave our wedding an exciting gothic touch.
Kevin and I are lovers of classical music and we didn’t want our cliff top location spoiled by power chords and generators for speakers and microphones so we opted for the traditional simplicity of an Irish harp. It was one of the most inexpensive elements of our day and easily one of my favorites. It created a constant ambiance while remaining unobtrusive. Our harpist was so young but so professional and we are so grateful to her for way she contributed to our special day.
Food, food, food!
While our venue was certainly incredible, it presented certain challenges for several of our vendors, the least of which were encountered by our caterers. Fortunately LUV Holidays and Honeymoons were able to put us in touch with a company who had catered this venue before and they knew exactly how to tackle it. I was so impressed by their cocktail menu and I wish I could tell you how delicious the hundreds of canapés were but I didn’t actually eat anything. I only have myself to blame…I was so busy talking to everyone and having a good time that not a morsel of food passed my perfectly painted lips but my husband and guests assured me it was lovely. I did however, spend plenty of time milling around our Veuve Cliquot champagne tower and I can tell you firsthand how great that was!
Most memorable moment.
The most memorable moment for me was actually driving through the Irish countryside with Kevin on the morning of the wedding. We broke tradition and took most of our photos before the ceremony so not to keep our guests waiting for reception. We wanted to be present at the wedding and in the moment with all the people who mean so much to us.
The driver of our classic car suggested we stop along side a mature barley field and just as we did the sun broke through the clouds and we got some incredible photos. My mum had long passed so she wasn’t at my wedding but her song was ‘Fields of Gold’ by Eva Cassidy and in that moment I felt she was in some way with me.
What about the extra details?
Although we had a very Irish wedding, I wanted to ensure there was an element of Australiana. In addition to the twenty or so Aussies that made the long journey for our wonderful wedding, I had Kevin’s wooden wedding band made from native Jarrah so that, no matter where we end up, we each carry something of one another’s culture.
What’s the best advice you can give a bride and groom planning their wedding?
Don’t be afraid to break with tradition, don’t settle, but don’t forget to be open minded and you’ll realize your bridal dreams.
Favourite love quote.
Journeys end in lovers meeting – William Shakespeare.
What do you look forward to most as Mr. & Mrs.?
All the continents we’ll traverse, all the cups of tea we’ll drink and all the cards we’ll play.
"It was everything I was looking for; a suitably grand train to match my epic venue, fitted over the hip, cinched through the waist, modest in the bust with an illusion neckline and tattooed lace back."
|Wedding Venue:||Mussenden Temple, Northern||https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/downhill-demesne-and-hezlett-house/features/the-scandal-behind-mussenden-temple-at-downhill|