Claire looks the same as she did when I first met her almost 17 years ago, needless to say I dont! I felt a duty of care to the Bride and Groom at this wedding not just because Claire is my close friends sister but the wedding was on Valentia Island during a storm.
What followed was biblical!
One week after Storm Ophelia, another Storm named ‘Storm Brian’ arrived on the South West Coast. I’ve never seen such an unpredictable weather event and being on the rather windswept Valentia Island exposed us to all sorts of blustery madness. One minute it was calm and the next it was unforgiving but when you are asked to photograph a wedding on Valentia Island and in the beautiful Royal Valentia Hotel you don’t say no. The Island is possibly the most beautiful location I’ve seen in this country, I simply can’t think of anywhere more beautiful. Valentia has everything to offer a photographer and while the weather was less than ideal it made a beautiful wedding that bit more memorable. Claire’s Dad is from nearby Ballinskelligs, hence the initial landscape images below. In those images you will see power lines being blown east, high surf pounding the beach opposite the (new) family home and huge waves passing the old family home on an exposed island which must have made for a beautifully tough childhood.
On the morning of the Wedding I sensed some stress with the Groom, something which was entirely understandable given all his nearest and dearest were travelling on such an unpredictable day. I watched him visibly relax into the day though, once he arrived at the church he was evidently more content and a broad smile welcomed the guests as they were blown into the church. Some guests struggled up the drive to the church in their finery but they made it and the ceremony began.
At many weddings the groomsmen tend to have less to do than the bridesmaids etc but I’ve never met a more attentive and accommodating Bridal party than the Brady’s and Fitzgerald’s. Both families were in their element on Valentia and there was a party to be had. A short distance from the Church stands the Royal Valentia Hotel where the guests settled quickly. We didn’t get much time to shoot images outside and when we did, Claire’s veil blew into the sea. Just one of the groomsmen laughed but I’m not saying who…… Claire took it well though and we bid the veil farewell. Given the events of that weekend, this was the least of her worries. The ‘perfect’ wedding days you see in the movies are fiction and couples need to realise that. Claire and David knew that, they knew that having their wedding on an Island like Valentia could lead to all sorts of issues but they persisted. They were right and the wedding was perfect!
To Claire & David – Perfect for each other and thank you for having me photograph your day
To the Fitzgerald’s – You’ve left Aidan with such an identity crisis with Kerry & Dublin but now I understand why!
To the Brady family – Such an attentive fun loving bunch, you made it easy.
PS: Check out John ‘West’ Fitzgerald below, you’d swear he speared a great white.