Destination Wedding: West Coast Of Ireland

Katie and Tom booked me early in 2017 to photograph their wedding near Castlebar, Co. Mayo, this September. I have a camper van, I quite like ferry trips and so figured that I would quite enjoy being rained on for a few days (!) in this beautiful part of the world. In fact my girlfriend, Emma, thought she might like to assist me and so off we went.

 A beautiful bride at a location filled with childhood memories

A beautiful bride at a location filled with childhood memories

Every wedding is different. We all know this. The specifics of people, place, weather and the myriad of planned and unplanned details are about as unique as our own DNA. It is always a thrill for me to take my first steps into such a special and unique occasion, knowing there isn't a precise formula and that it's guaranteed to be 'all new' each and every time. Everything about this wedding (apart from my camper van nearly braking down) was an absolute blast and, without a shred of commercial cynicism, truly touching.

 At the local pub, next to the church: generations of family, friends and community

At the local pub, next to the church: generations of family, friends and community

I'd met Katie and Tom a few weeks before the wedding and could see what a wonderful match they were. Both radiated happiness and peace and were so incredibly friendly and generous towards me. I figured that the same relaxed, authentic approach they'd shown me, when applied to their special day, would provide all the creative fuel I would need and I wasn't wrong. Their wedding was absolutely theirs and it was, frankly, brilliant.

Lexar4-0983.jpg

The day before the wedding, we met up and took a tour of the locations that were important. These included the family home, lakeside beaches Katie played at as a child, the village pub (which doubles as a funeral director), the church and the reception venue.  There were significant distances between some of them, which meant that I was going to have to work very quickly indeed if we were to remain on schedule. But this is what I love: the real moments, the real experiences, meaningful connections between people and place. On the big day, we included photographs with Katie's grandfathers postman's motorbike and visited the oldest person in the village, who showered Katie with vast quantities of holy water. That turned out to be the only rain on the day. Despite dark clouds and clear blue skies swapping places repeatedly, it remained fair and dry. Three days of rain followed!

I believe that one of the most important things for the Bride & Groom to plan on their wedding has nothing to do with venues, photography, decorations, music or food. It's their own mindset. We all know that planning and making a wedding happen can result in a lot of pressure and restless minds. This is something I will write about in another short blog post, but I could see very clearly that Katie and Tom were in a great place on their wedding day. Whether they'd had to think about it to clear their minds, or whether it came naturally, I don't know. All I do know is that I could see it in their faces from the moment I saw them until I bade them goodnight! What an absolute pleasure that is for me.

As a wedding photographer I'm not only a 'service provider', but a fellow human being with all the same hopes, dreams, pains and joys as everyone else. I carry this into every wedding I photograph and I can honestly say that seeing people this happy gives me goosebumps. It's magic... magic that is palpable, entirely infectious and lays down deep, unforgettable memories. Incidentally, this is a subject that sits right at the heart of my love of photography. It is well described in this article here. Come to think of it, I think a little post here on PMP about such 'meaningful moments' would be a good idea.....

Until next time!