I always have a soft spot for a Galway wedding – having lived in the city for a few years many years ago now, and having left it, somewhat reluctantly at the time, it’s a city I delight in getting back to, be it for work or for pleasure. Last weekend’s most Galway of weddings was one of those that felt more like pleasure than work.
What makes a wedding a Galway wedding? Well, in this case how about a post-wedding drink in Tigh Neachtains, a stroll down Quay street in the rain, shelter in the door of McDonaghs, a girly picture outside The Wooden Heart, stopping traffic at the Spanish Arch, a night time photo overlooking Eyre Square, a quick visit to Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop, walking from the car to the church in front of Anthony Ryans. If you know Galway at all, you’ll know that pretty much covers all the bases!
This was a multi-cultural and multi-national wedding – Emily and Gilbert paid homage to the groom’s Chinese roots in a tea ceremony the day before, and having both travelled home from New York, they were joined by friends and family from home and abroad for their ceremony in St. Augustine’s church in the heart of the city, and their reception in the grand old lady of Eyre Square – the Hotel Meyrick Galway.
Ably assisted for the day by bridesmaid’s Ailis, Siobhan, Emily and Maeve, groomsmen Eoin, Rocky and Rich, Emily and Gil seemed to enjoy Fr. Lyng’s lovely relaxed ceremony – his invite that “Emily, you may kiss the groom” had everyone laughing. The church itself is not your ordinary church, with guests facing each other, and three different places for readings and prayers – so much so that it kept me on my toes trying to guess where the next part of the ceremony would take place!
After the ceremony, and what you might call a receiving mingle rather than a receiving line (the visiting guests didn’t seem to be too familiar with the concept!) we got family photos out of the way before making our way, via some of those landmarks mentioned earlier, to the hotel. The stop off at Neachtains was welcome, and, I was told later, a highlight for the bride and groom and a special thanks should go to the group of friends who so graciously gave up their seats in the snug to allow the bridal party to sit for 15 minutes – the pub was busier than we expected, but we should have known better!
We met our fair share of eccentric characters on the stroll around town – perhaps that’s another sign of a Galway wedding! – but all in good spirits, and all wishing the happy couple well.
Before settling in at the Meyrick there was one last stop – the platform of the train station, which, amazingly, is literally through a door from the function room in the hotel. That stop off was a nod to Emily’s grandad Christy, who worked in the train station. He and his wife Pauline were at the wedding, but the walk to the train station was a bit too much of an ask to get a photo there with him, but we did get a photo with them both later.
There was lots of time for mingling and, indeed, magic during the drinks reception before dinner, and some great speeches after dessert, not least from Emily’s grandmother, brought dinner to a close before The Lewd Tunes kicked off the evening entertainment and quickly had the dance floor packed.
As I drove home I felt only slightly old at the thought that the first time I met Emily was at her aunt’s wedding almost 7 years ago, at what itself was quite a Galway wedding. Old as it might make me feel, it’s always nice to meet up with families again!