All images on this page are Copyright of Corin Bishop.
Seven weeks ago, I took the plunge myself and married my beloved Dee. I wasn't sure how I'd be on the other side of the lens. The truth, I was a nervous wreck! At least for part of it. When Dee walked up the aisle, my legs almost gave way, so I have a newly discovered empathy for grooms now! Once we got going, however, it was an absolute blast. The rain did not stop from midday 'til midnight, but you know what? It didn't matter a damn.
When I met with couples over the past year, as soon as they heard I was getting married myself, their next question always began with "Who do you have for your...?" Insert any number of words into that space - photography, band, flowers etc. I'm delighted to say we chose our suppliers very, very well. So that's what this post is about. Who we had, why we had them, and why I'd recommend each and every one of them in a heartbeat.
Venue - Clonabreany House
We narrowed our choice of venue down pretty quickly to three venues, all quite similar on paper. All three were country houses, all in County Meath, and all three beautiful in their own way. I had shot weddings in all three, so I knew what to expect from an aesthetic point of view. As a photographer, however, you don't necessarily see what goes on with a venue in the lead up to a wedding, or get to experience all the trials and tribulations that come hand in hand with planning a wedding. This is where Clonabreany stood head and shoulders above the other two.
We met Jane on our first visit to Clonabreany. Immediately, it felt like we had known her for years. She made us feel so welcome, and nothing was too much trouble. You want the venue for three days? No problem. You want to bring your dog? No problem (that made my mind up for me)! Anything we asked for, it was granted. No request was ever dealt with in a way that felt it was a hassle or hindrance. This was in direct contrast to the other venues we looked at, where we were told "You will arrive at this time, you will sit at that time, you will dance at X time and you must be off the premises by Y time."The food, both at our tasting and on the day, was simply out of this world. The chef Gerry was just brilliant, giving us great advice, and taking enormous pride (and rightly so) in his food and his kitchen staff. We're still getting compliments today from our guests about the food, weeks after the wedding.
The one thing about Clonabreany that will stay with us for the rest of our days above everything else, is how they treated Dee and I, and our guests, on the wedding day. Colm and Pauline, especially, were like close family on the day. We wanted to bring them home with us! If there was one incident that summed up their care on the day, it was what happened when our ceremony ended. As I mentioned earlier, it rained on our wedding day. Not just any old rain, but the biblical kind that comes once a decade. A real downpour. Well as we left Kilskyre Church (a couple of miles from Clonabreany), Colm and John were there with umbrellas, escorting our guests to their cars. Never in the countless weddings I have photographed did I see such care and attention. Colm even went one step further and took possession of the wedding paperwork, and kept it safe until we were ready to check out.We're still hearing little stories from friends and families about lots of little touches the staff performed during the day, and it's just lovely to hear.
I simply cannot praise Clonabreany House enough. This may seem odd, but it felt like it was ours for the 3 days that we and our families were there. That's how comfortable they make you feel. I'm booked to shoot 3 weddings there next year, and I just cannot wait to go back!
Hair & Make Up - Susan Peggs and Ailbhe Lynch
I actually did my own hair and make up, believe it or not. Dee, however, employed the services of the amazing Ailbhe Lynch for make up, and the superb Susan Peggs for hair. When Dee and I discussed suppliers initially, I mentioned there were two key factors to consider above all others. Firstly, quite obviously, is the quality of their work. Secondly, but equally important, is what are they like to be around on the day. Who do you want to surround yourself with while all the excitement is building, or the tension rising, or the nerves wobbling? You want to be around friendly, relaxed, fun and warm people. And that's exactly what Ailbhe and Susan bring to the table. Their work speaks for itself, but they are just a joy to be around.
Band - The Ratzingers
There are no words that could even come close to describing how good these guys are. They play each wedding with the enthusiasm as if it was their first. They love putting on a show, and man, they are bloody good at it! We didn't even consider any other bands, let alone go to hear any others. I had raved about The Ratzingers for years, long before I even met Dee, so the thought of having anyone but Katie and the boys sing at our wedding just never entered my head. They filled the dance floor from beginning 'til end, learned a pretty unusual first dance song for us, and even allowed us to soak them for the ice bucket challenge (which was brilliant)! Our guests raved about them. If you're looking for a band - book The Ratzingers. There is no better band.
Videographer - Velvetine Studios
Photographers often have a love/hate relationship with videographers. There are some excellent ones in Ireland, and some appalling ones. The same goes for photographers too. So, it wasn't guaranteed that we'd go for a video. Maurice O'Carroll of Velvetine pioneered the cinematic style of wedding films in Ireland that only a few have managed to come close to matching, and he was our choice for our wedding film. To give you an idea of how good he is, check out the sample 'trailers' on his site. Most of you will get goosebumps looking at clips of some strangers' wedding. That's how good he is. He as an ability to tell stories and capture emotions on film that is simply unsurpassed. He and is wife Elaine were so lovely on the day, so discreet and professional. Highly, highly recommended.
Photographer - Corin Bishop
Without a shadow of a doubt, the most common question I was asked over the past 12 months is "Who is YOUR photographer?"
We only ever had one choice, and that was Corin Bishop. Corin is a good friend and a great photographer, and to be quite honest, that's exactly what we needed on the day. The weather was appalling, but Corin still managed to capture our wedding day perfectly. It was a wonderful day, but also a difficult day. My mother passed away not long before the wedding, as did Dee's aunt and uncle, so there were sombre moments throughout, along with the jubilation of the wedding itself. There is nobody I would've chosen over Corin to be around us, to be part of our day, and to capture it - a job he did brilliantly. All of the pictures on this page are his, and you can see some more from the wedding on his website here.