For regular visitors to my site, you know that first shot that loads when my webpage appears of the bride and groom standing under the festoon lights with one very happy and content dog? Well, this is that very wedding. Want to see every single thing that happened on that day that led to that very shot? Well now is your chance because quite honestly – this is the largest blog post I’ve ever done. I tried to cull it back, I tried to include only what was necessary to tell the story but you know what, I’m not very good at that so you might as well get comfy and settle in for the long haul. This is big. This is all about Stefan and Kristin, their family, their friends, their dog Jack, the amazing weather, the sensational Ballyvolane House and their absolute dream wedding day.
I was so excited about this day on the lead up to it. I had met Stefan and Kristen for the first time just a couple of months before. They live in the UK but were home to tie up some wedding details and to visit family. I drove down to the Cork and met them for a coffee and a chat and what a chat it was. I’d have stayed there all day chatting to them and I think they would have too. It’s weird, you’re supposed to meet people and talk about their day but sometimes you find out what they do and you just want to talk to them about that and before you know you look at your watch and wonder where the time has gone with hardly a single thing about the wedding being mentioned. You leave meetings like that wishing you were their mates and fast forward a couple of months and I arrive to shoot their wedding wishing I was a guest.
I heard the guys would be having breakfast in Fermoy town. I park the car, get my camera out and who did I spot coming out of the barbers but Stefan, the boys and his father. It was a pure coincidence but a great way to start the day as the first few shots of their day they didn’t even know I was there. I felt like a true pap. We headed down to the local cafe to get breakfast and coffee’s and I just snapped away as I listened to the banter between these guys. It was great and interesting to watch the faces of the locals as they must have wondered why a group of guys in the middle of a cafe had their own photographer. #celebrityspotting
I then took the quick drive over to Ballyvolane House to see and spend the rest of the morning with Kristen. Ballyvolane House looked out of this world.The gardens were incredible with flowers in full bloom every which way you looked. The trees were thick with leaves and the sun just made everything even more spectacular. Some guests had stayed in the glamping tents and they were out in the gardens playing with Jack (Stefan and Kristen’s dog) and Jacks two new friends, Ballyvolane’s very own house dogs. It really was how you’d imagine the perfect wedding morning at Ballyvolane to be.
As soon as I went upstairs to see Kristen I was taken into a room with just Stefan’s mother and Kristen. She wanted to present Kristen with a present that Stefan had prepared. His mother sat Kristen down and said some of the nicest things that a mother could say to her future daughter-in-law. I wasn’t ready to be welling up like this! I’d only just arrived! They hugged (I wanted to join in but I resisted) and together began to open the present which was beautiful painting that Stefan had commissioned depicting the place where he’d asked Kristen to marry him. Talk about raising the bar. Nice one Stefan..
The rest of the morning was lovely, lots of excited friends dropping in to chat and wish their best and before long were were off to the church. Laleh and Claire (awesome and very entertaining bridesmaids) did an little impromptu dance as the wedding car pulled up and it wasn’t long before we were inside and watching two people who are so obviously nuts about each other say yes and become husband and wife. Did I cry? Jeesh… what do you think I am… course… not.
With homemade biscuits for everyone after the ceremony (great idea!) we made our way back to Ballyvolane House were I then spent most of the day photographing awesome people in awesome surroundings. What a easy place to work when no matter where you point your camera you have a beautiful backdrop. Guests were outside all day – playing polo in the garden (which is so much harder than I ever thought possible!), drinking Ballyvolane’s very own Elderflower cordial and champagne and really just enjoying the incredibly hot sunshine, which 6 weeks ago was still quite rare.
I’ll not bore you with too much else but lets just say that the bridal photo session was one of the funniest I have ever shot. There was quite a surprise for me at one point when I asked them to just do their own thing and there was a bit of a surprise for Stefan when I asked the guys to get nice and close to each other 😉 Hilarious 🙂
Then it was dinner, a lovely break with some more shots in the soft evening sun, an incredibly funny and a very, very well written and superbly delivered speech from Stefan (this is what happens when you’re a script writer) and without doubt the best best-man’s speech ever (again, this happens when the best man is a script writer and actor) and resulted in possibly the best speech photograph I have ever taken – it makes me laugh every time I look at it.
Then it was time to dance and dance they did. I’d say the walls of the the little barn at Ballyvolane have never heaved so much as they did that night as it seemed like everyone was on the floor. Flipping loved it.
And then. I took a selfie with me and my buddy Jack. And then I took that one last shot of Kristen and Stefan before I said my goodbyes and drove home with a massive smile on my face. I wish I was a guest.
Dress – Bridal lounge of York
Shoes – Jimmy Choo
Bridesmaid dresses – Handmade by Nadia
Hair – Hair & Beauty Gallery, Lismore
Makeup – Niamh
Grooms Suit – Armani
Stationary – Handmade by Kristen & Stefan
Flowers – Designed by Deborah
Church Music – Gemma Sugrue
Pianist – Emiliano
Reception Venue – Ballyvolane House
Evening Band – The Bentley Boys
Evening DJ – John Duggan