John and Susan

John and Susan

A gorgeous, laid back riverside hotel wedding in West Cork, Ireland.

I met John a short while before he was about to take the plunge and leave Shrewsbury to move to Co. Cork, Ireland, to be with his lovely Susan. The pair had been dating long-distance for about 3 years, and I remember by the way he spoke about her that she must be really special. So when I got a message asking if I would like to photograph their wedding across the Irish Sea, I couldn’t say yes fast enough! And I had a whole two years to get excited about the trip while they planned their big day. Thanks to our constant Facebook chats, by the time I got to meet Susan the day before the wedding for the first time, I felt like I’d known her forever!

Shooting my first wedding overseas was so exciting, but I definitely over-thought the whole thing. Terrified that something might happen to my camera equipment on the flight, I guarded my hand-luggage like a woman possessed! I anticipated having to hire a car and travelling to a venue I didn’t know in a country I had never been to, would be ultra stressful, but I can honestly say that Susan and John had the most stress-free wedding I have EVER worked on. They couldn’t have been more relaxed if they’d tried, and this was a real eye opener. The weather in the morning was torrential rain with that famous Atlantic wind and nobody cared. No panicked rush to get to the venue, in fact we had a lovely time at the brides parents house leisurely taking photographs of them all in their finery. My partner and I even had time to sit with Susan’s extended family and have a hearty breakfast! And when Susan arrived at the hotel, there was no rush to meet the registrar and get serious. I was warned that the Irish like a lot of family photographs, but actually it was no more than usual. No fussing about little details, the venue and flowers did all the talking. Just smiles and laughter all day long. It all just happened so smoothly and easily, and to be honest, didn’t feel like work at all.

The Innishannon House Hotel is a sweet little 1700s château style venue with a touch of old-fashioned charm, surrounded by countryside and right on the banks of the Bandon River (the river flooded the gardens halfway through the meal and nobody bat an eyelid, obviously a regular occurrence!). I adored the yellow candy-stripe wallpaper of the main room, and the food was excellent (SO MUCH BREAD AND POTATOES). The gardens were simple, elegant and a beautiful backdrop full of roses. Had it not been for the rain in the morning, the ceremony would have been outdoors overlooking the river on the stunning balcony (again, something which would stress out most brides, but Susan didn’t give a hoot), which made for some gorgeous sunset portraits later on. And of course, it wouldn’t be an Irish wedding without some serious shapes being pulled on the dance floor! The waltzing along to the band playing ‘The Wild Rover’ had me grinning from ear to ear.

John’s striking wedding ring was made especially for him from a silver 1964 commemorative Tokyo Olympic Games coin. This Japanese influence was a fitting tribute to the couple, because they met at an anime convention in 2010.

Susan and John opted for a traditional hand-tying ceremony, using a rope knitted by John’s Grandmother. This is where the phrase ‘tying the knot’ comes from.

A tower of chocolate covered strawberries made for the perfect Summer canape while the guests enjoyed glasses of fizz on the sunny terrace.

My most enormous THANK YOU to Mr and Mrs Haddock for asking me to capture your truly wonderful wedding day and for giving me the opportunity to visit Ireland at last! You were a delight to work with and I wish you every happiness (not that you need it!).

The Supplier List:

Hair: Hair Passion

Flowers: Bloomsday Flowers

Suits: Tom Murphy’s Formal Wear

Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Diamond Bridal

Bride’s Dress: Say I Do Bridal Boutique

Band: The Boogie Woogie Band

Chocolate Strawberry Tower: Incredible Flowers

Violin Duet: Violin Cork

…and just for fun, here’s a photo of me a few days later exploring the West Cork coast and nearly being blown away. I highly recommend visiting this beautiful part of the world, but for goodness sake make sure you wrap up warm!! Even in Summer it was pretty chilly!