I had to feel for Eimear’s mother. It’s not every mother of the bride travels to Holland specifically to acquire 400 tulips for her daughter’s wedding, or transports them home to a remote part of Co. Kilkenny, or plants them with great care and expertise in her lovingly crafted garden, happy in the knowledge that they would bloom in time for the wedding. But if you were that mother of the bride, and had gone to all that effort, how disappointing would it be to find that all 400 didn’t in fact bloom in time for the wedding. Not 300, or 200, or even 100. Not even 50, or 20, or 10. Total number of tulips that bloomed in time for the wedding: One! And yet, she was philosophical about it; she even laughed about it. Sure wasn’t one better than none? You gotta love that attitude. I tell you something, though. That tulip was the most photographed tulip in Ireland that week!
The garden (even without the tulips) would play a big role in Eimear and Tadhg’s day – it was our location for family and bridal party photographs after the ceremony, when it also played host to a gathering for family and friends from the area as a pre-drinks reception drinks reception. Thankfully the weather was kind – perhaps the Child of Prague helped. Perhaps Eimear’s mother needs to investigate statues that help flowers grow, now that I think about it.
The morning in the house was, for me, all about trying to just get a sense of what was happening. I started as I always do with the details – the stuff that the bride and groom have spent the past year or more planning is always worthy of my time and skills as a photographer – but always with one eye and one ear on what else was going on around me. So much so that at one point I confused myself into thinking the ceremony was 30 minutes earlier than it was, and only a slightly puzzled look and a clarification from Eimear when I started talking about what I needed to do before leaving from the church made me aware of my mistake. Better than the other way around, I guess!
The nearby church in Gathabawn was a pleasant surprise. Bright, which is often a rarity with small village churches, and a balcony also that gave for a different perspective (although no side aisles, but you can’t have everything). Fr. O’Farrell’s ceremony was personal and thoughtful and just the right duration too, so there was plenty of mingling time afterwards (and back at the house) before we headed for Newpark Hotel in nearby Kilkenny city.
A tip of my hat at this juncture to all of the crew at the hotel who were super to deal with – it was my first visit and we probably arrived a little later than they’d have liked due to the garden drinks reception, but at no stage were we rushed or felt like we were throwing their plans off. In fact they just rolled with it, and even facilitated me doing something quite different with the bridal party photo while the guests were gathering for dinner. That shot – a 26 image composite – was fun to do, and even more fun was being able to do a super quick edit of it over dinner to present a small print of it to each of the bridal party before the speeches. Not something I get to do at every wedding, but such was the intrigue of the bridesmaids and groomsmen in the process that I felt showing them the results was the least I could do as thanks for their cooperation (and a 26-image composite really does require cooperation!).
My day finished with the dancing and The Best Men did a great job at filling the dancefloor and kick starting the party. Between the speeches and dinner we took a couple of minutes (literally) to get a couple of lit nighttime shots out the front of the hotel… a challenge I always enjoy confronting at a new venue in particular.
With the party well underway it was time for me to head back to Dublin, happy that the first wedding of my 2018 summer season had been such a delightful day.