I knew from very early on in my chats with Alex and Anthony about their wedding at Salthill Hotel, overlooking Galway Bay and the world famous Salthill Prom, that their day was going to be a good one. What no one could anticipate was just how good a day it would prove to be, with even the weather turning up in style, which – given the summer that preceded it – was some achievement. And while nice weather is always great, the weather alone isn’t enough to make a wedding – that needs a group of guests who are up for a party, and this wedding was not short of those.
I almost always shoot solo for weddings, but for this event I had a side kick – the wonderful Dee Organ – who started her day with Anthony and his groomsmen in his family home, while I started my day with Alex and her bridesmaids in her family home just opposite the Salthill Hotel.
This was going to be a special wedding for many reasons – for one it was the first wedding at the hotel to use the very newly constructed Orangery – a wonderful space that brings the outside inside, and will surely serve to host ceremonies, drinks receptions and indeed non-wedding events for many years to come. But Alex and Anthony got to be the first to use it.
Not that it was much of a day to be inside – whether it was on Shop Street or Quay Street or the terrace of the hotel, most of the guests did their utmost to spend most of their time between the ceremony and the meal out in the sun, with a glass in one hand and canapés in the other.
The ceremony took place in the unique and always-photogenic St. Augustine’s Church which is, quite literally, right in the middle of Galway city. And within the church, the layout is such that the bride and groom end up right in the middle of the church as the congregation sit around them on all sides.
Alexandra was delighted to have her two grannies in attendance for the ceremony, and myself or Dee had one eye on them at all times dto try to capture some candid moments. When the other eye wasn’t on the couple or their guests, it was on the adorable page boys who were being kept entertained during the ceremony.
After the ceremony the bridal party headed for Sonny’s pub via Shop Street, walking past Anthony’s family business with its well wishes on the wall, and taking in congratulations and cheers from half of Galway.
After a drink in Sonny’s and a stop to mingle with some of their guests who were still lapping up the sun on the street, we headed for the hotel with a quick stop off at the couple’s new house for a photo (one that actually became a favourite of mine).
There was a fantastic brass band entertaining guests when we arrived at the hotel, and with the photos almost all done, plenty of time for mingling. I say almost because there was one dress change to happen just before dinner as a surprise for the groom that did require a couple of quick portraits.
The bride and groom had one of the liveliest entrances to dinner that I’ve seen in quite a while, and the speeches kept the atmosphere going with some fantastic contributions from everyone, including a bridesmaid’s speech which I love to see.
After dinner, and after a champagne tower which saw some lucky guests claim some very full glasses of champagne, the dancing kicked off, with Alex’s granny absolutely stealing the show after she’d finished her 11pm Espresso Martini for, presumably, an injection of the energy she displayed on the dance floor!
It was an epic finish to an epic day at was definitely one of Galway’s weddings of the year.
It would be remiss of me also not to acknowledge the help of the fantastic Sandra and her team from Infusion Wedding Concepts who kept everything running smoothly, the wonderful Chris from B&G Wedding Films on video who was a delight to work with once again, and my fellow suppliers – Flowers from the Secret Garden (florist), Two Little Words Designs (stationery), Sandra’s Cake House (cake), Natalie O’Brien (hair), PR Makeup Art (makeup), Capriccio String Quartet, Audio Networks, The Good Hustle Band and Yeoo.dj (all on music), all of whom helped make the wedding the day it was.
Here’s just a selection of my favourite photos from the day. If you’re planning a Galway wedding, or even just a good wedding (and are looking for a photographer) well… you know what to do.