I am going to tell you a story. About two young people who met nine years ago. Two young people who were in love, and suffered, and came out the other end of it stronger.
The most enjoyable part of my work is being invited into people’s lives and hearing about who they are. When you know the story, and what has happened before the wedding, it completely transforms the way you shoot the day.
This was a joyous occasion. Maybe for more reasons than most weddings. Clare and her family have had tragedy in the past and survived it. Five years ago, Clare’s Mum, Dad, and sister were involved in a very serious road accident. They were in critical condition, especially Clare’s dad who suffered brain trauma, (the loveliest man in the world btw). They didn’t know if they were all going to make it. And Ciaran was there for Clare when she was trying to be strong for everyone. Throughout that time Ciaran came and stayed with Clare on a makeshift bed in the sitting room, because she couldn’t sleep at night. During the speeches Clare’s Dad spoke of how strong she was for everyone during that time. She was the rock. I could totally see this in her on the day. Nothing stresses Clare. There is a quiet calm that surrounds her and I’m not sure if it was there before the accident. It’s definitely there now, and she is wonderful for it. She knew she was going to enjoy this day. Some people fret about rain. Not Clare. I could see the most precious thing to her was having EVERYONE she loves present, alive and well for this celebration with Ciaran. The relationship between her and her Dad brought tears to my eyes.
As you are probably aware, the connections between people on the wedding day are so special to me. It’s the most important thing. But I’m not completely unaware of the aesthetics and the creative efforts my brides are putting into their day. I know that I’m shooting some of the most stylish brides in Northern Ireland right now. And I have to tell you, it’s pretty exciting when you turn up to the wedding and there are two wedding dresses. The bridesmaids were wearing dresses ‘Pippa style’ and believe me, they could carry it off. I was obsessed with the neck detail that was made bespoke for Clare’s first dress. Complete with crosses, jewels and miraculous medals. And wedding gowns with pockets!! I faint! They are there to solve the never-ending problem of what to do with your hands. I’ve been dying to shoot a pocketed dress for ages. So chic. She was a timeless ‘Hepburn-esque’ bride. The lace dress was perfect for the evening and those relaxed portraits in the field later on. I also adored how Clare used their ‘C&C’ initials and matched it with her love for Chanel! So creative. But then, she is a trés cool film producer.
I’m going to end this story with Ciaran’s own words as written in his card to Clare on the morning of their wedding. It says it all about who these two are together.
“Clare, I cannot wait to marry you! You are going to make me the happiest man in the world today, and I cannot wait to call you my wife. This has been nine years in the making, but from the beginning I knew this day would come, and we would both say “I do”!! You are my soulmate, my best friend, the love of my life, and soon to be my wife! I love you with all my heart and soul, and I cannot wait to see you at the church. xoxo”