Just last week, James cracked his favorite joke to our car salesman that he has been married twice. To which I always follow up with “to the same woman”. It’s true, we were married twice. Legally, then we had our real wedding. This is not uncommon for people who decide upon a destination wedding, but we unfortunately had to wait a few months between each ceremony. A planner by nature, I have learned that while I love to be prepared, part of preparation is acknowledging that things simply won’t always go the way I intended! I’ve been asked about the dual dates a few times, so on the 4th anniversary of our Ireland wedding, I thought it was fitting to finally share the details.
James and I decided on a destination wedding because we love travel, value community, and wanted our wedding day to live up to our own expectations, not those of the wedding industry. We chose Dublin, because that is where our dating relationship began years before. Not wanting to deal with legalities after returning to the US, we chose to have our legal ceremony before our wedding, but this date had to come months before the wedding; James would be studying in Israel for the entire summer leading up to the wedding, flying straight to Dublin from Tel Aviv. We planned on simply heading to the courthouse before he flew to Israel, but upon learning of the necessity for a stateside ceremony, our family began pushing to make adjustments to the wedding. Eventually, to accommodate everyone, our civil ceremony alone in the courthouse became an intimate ceremony on the beach (with our pastor). All but 3 immediate family members chose to come to this instead of Ireland. Truth be told, I never intended that day to become my official anniversary, it was a motion I was going through for legal purposes and to please our families. I did not want to marry the person I loved more than anything in the world, then say good bye for a few months. However, our pastor insisted upon vows, and there was no way to stare at James and speak those words without meaning them from the bottom of my heart. Legally & spiritually committed, that day became the day that our marriage began. Funny enough, it just was not our wedding day.
Having the two ceremonies and two dates was not ideal, but it has now become a part of our story, and it is something that worked out for the best. Our group in Dublin was now significantly smaller, but I couldn’t have asked for a more fitting experience. For 5 days, we celebrated life & love with a handful of our closest friends. Our time together consisted of amazing food, lively music, countless pints, picturesque hikes, necessary tours (yum), and night endless hours of fellowship. Our wedding itself was a brief gathering at the Yeats Memorial in St Stephen’s Green, where a few backpackers stopped to watch & cheers us on as well. Our reception was a delicious meal at The Vaults. I did not hire a professional photographer (something that I learned a valuable lesson from), but was thankful to have many talented friends (including Will Rosenberg & Trooper Kristianson, whom I adore) who helped me keep a solid record of the length of our time together. The following images are a smattering of everyone’s photos (edited by me, and Lordy could they use a re-edit now that my style has improved!). It still makes me happy to look through my wedding album and see this special occasion through the eyes of everyone I love.
Here is a peek at our story:
My dear friend Kelly, whom I traveled to Europe with the first time years before, was someone that I always wanted to sing in my wedding. I was so blessed when she was able to make it, and especially excited when her friend Ashley was able to travel down from Belfast to accompany.
My dad was the only family on my side that was in Dublin. He instilled in me the desire to travel and to carve out my own path, so it was fitting for him to take part in this wedding. The wine glass in front of me in this photo is the glass he purchased for communion. The story behind it is too long to share here, but truly lovely, and a testament to his support of my vision for my wedding. I will toast James with this very glass, tonight, and every year on this day. This was our last conversation with him on our trip, he hitch-hiked across the country the next day and left us young folk to celebrate on our own. Love you, Dad.
My favorite picture of our whole group, out on the cliffs of the Irish Coast. Thanks for this one, Will
I can’t resist a few highlights from the honeymoon:
The Moore’s on the Moher‘s.
Props to this older gent and his dog for their version of public transportation.
So is the (semi) brief explanation of a very long story. It was not always easy, but I am so thankful that my wedding was true to James & me, & such a perfect start to the adventure that marriage has proven to be. If I could give each of my future clients, or anyone getting married, just one piece of advice it would be this: be true to yourself. Let your wedding be a representation of you as people, as a couple, and your hopes for the future. High end or low budget, grand event or intimate gathering, whatever your day ends up being, remember that it is YOUR day. Let yourself shine through, and you will not regret it.
James, I love you so much. Thank you for fulfilling those Irish blessings we were showered with 4 years ago. Because of you, love & laughter has truly lit my days, and warmed my heart & (our) home. I couldn’t ask for more.