If you are anything like me when I was ‘ahem’ planning my wedding (In truth my husband planned it all but that is a different blog all together) you buy the wedding magazines religiously and then jump straight to the ‘real weddings section’.

Of course all of my wedding posts are real weddings but I thought it would be even better to add in a few words from the bride herself, so here is the first of many in my ‘meet the bride’ series.

Amanda Forman Photography | Westport Ireland | Irish Wedding | St Mary's Church | The Castlecourt Hotel

Where did you and Adrian meet?

Our first encounter was in the Punch & Judy pub in Covent Garden on a beautiful, sunny evening in June.  We caught a glimpse of each other as I was coming down the steps into the pub and later, after we got chatting, Adrian introduced me to Hendricks Gin – I think I knew I’d be seeing him again!

How long were you engaged for before the big day?

We were engaged for almost a year and a half before the big day – enough time to get everything sorted without having to stress too much.

Tell us about the proposal

Our friends in Paris asked if we’d like to do a last minute flat-swap in the February half-term – we jumped at the chance as neither of us had ever been to Paris and having free accommodation for a week in one of the most expensive cities was a no brainer!

The first full day there happened to be Valentine’s Day so we figured we probably should go and see the Eiffel Tower to see what all the fuss was about. Neither of us had any interest in queuing for hours to get to the top – it’s not like we were going to get engaged or anything!!  And Ireland were playing France in the Six Nations Rugby Tournament so my priorities after taking a few quick selfies were to find somewhere showing the game.

\We walked away from the Tower to get a better picture of the two of us with the Tower behind us.  Adrian asked some other tourists to take our picture as the selfies just weren’t getting the best shot.  We had a quick look and though the pictures were lovely, Adrian gave the camera back to the guy and asked him to take a few more.

As I was perfecting my pose once again I noticed Adrian had dropped to the ground so, without spoiling my pose, I gestured at him to get up and stop messing around.  When he didn’t respond, I looked and saw he was on one knee holding a ring box and looking very vulnerable.

In complete disbelief, I pulled him up and told him to stop playing such a sick joke!! Then I realised it wasn’t a joke and the tears flowed and I could hardly stand.  The poor guy taking the pictures was almost as shocked as I was!  It was the most overwhelming feeling.  We strolled to the closest Brasserie so we could sit down and take it all in…and the rest is history.

Amanda Forman Photography | Westport Ireland | Irish Wedding | St Mary's Church

Tell us about your ceremony – why did you choose the location 

During one of Adrian’s first visits to Ireland with me, we went to Westport, a small but vibrant little town on the West Coast of Ireland.  We had such an amazing time there and it became somewhere we both wanted to return to over and over again.  We wanted to choose somewhere that we thought our friends and family would enjoy.

Our ceremony was held at St. Mary’s Church which is right in the heart of the town and just a 2 minute walk from the hotel where we had our reception.

Amanda Forman Photography | Westport Ireland | Irish Wedding | St Mary's Church

So…….. You went for a pint after the wedding ?

One of the best memories we have of the day was just after the ceremony when we sneaked away to the pub for a quick pint.  The sun shone as we walked up the main street of the town to Matt Molloy’s pub and the whole town stopped and congratulated us and took pictures with us – we felt like celebrities!

It’s a little bit of a tradition in Ireland for the Bride & Groom to pull their first pint of Guinness together after the ceremony so we did just that in one of the most famous and most traditional pubs in Ireland.  It also happened to be where we spent our first evening in Westport together a few years before, listening to Irish music and introducing Adrian to the Irish ‘session’!

Amanda Forman Photography | Westport Ireland | Irish Wedding | St Mary's Church | The Castlecourt Hotel

Where was your reception held?

We had our reception in The Castlecourt Hotel in Westport.  We were mindful that all of our guests had travelled long distances to be with us on our special day so we wanted to ensure everything was accessible for them and the location of the Castlecourt was perfect.  It was just 40 minutes from Knock Airport and situated right in the town of Westport.

From our first enquiry to our departure after the weekend of our wedding and even still as we approach our anniversary, the proprietors and staff at the Castlecourt couldn’t have been nicer or more accommodating.

The cake – or lack thereof

Having been guests at quite a number of our friends’ weddings over the years, one of the things we agreed on was that a wedding cake, though a massive tradition, just wasn’t for us.  Firstly, we couldn’t agree on one (he wanted sweet, I wanted savoury), and secondly, by the time the cake is cut and given to guests, they will already have had a 4 course meal and a buffet.

We decided a vodka luge would be much more fun!  In keeping with our Paris engagement, we commissioned Northern Ireland Ice Sculptures to create an Eiffel Tower shaped drinks luge for us.  It was a stunning centre piece and talking point, and it definitely got the party started!

Amanda Forman Photography | Westport Ireland | Irish Wedding | St Mary's Church | The Castlecourt Hotel

Where did you get your dress from?

My dress was designed by Katya Shehurina, a Latvian designer whose flagship Bridal Boutique is in the heart of London’s West End.  Having trawled through endless rails of dresses both in the UK and Ireland, I had almost settled on a very simple, highly structured dress in a boutique in Ireland.

My aunt then treated me to tickets to Brides the Show where I entered a competition and won a £1500 voucher for a Katya Katya wedding dress.  I couldn’t believe it!  When we met the Shehurina girls at the show, I admitted that though I didn’t really know what I wanted in a dress, I knew that I definitely didn’t want lace and I definitely did need the dress to be boned & structured.

My heart sank when I saw that the Shehurina gowns were mainly delicate French lace and with absolutely no boning.  I honestly only went to the Boutique to be polite, having won such an amazing prize, but never imagined I would find my dress.

The Violetta dress was just perfect for me!  The intricate French lace design was stunning and I decided to choose two slips – the white for the ceremony and then the nude shade to really highlight the lace pattern for the evening reception.  My whole experience was absolutely amazing – I got to meet Katya herself and every time I went for a fitting, I was made to feel like absolute royalty.

Tell us about the wedding rings

We met a jeweller who lived locally to us at a wedding fair and thought it would be nice to support someone local when buying our rings.  I had a rose gold engagement ring so chose the same colour wedding band, with tiny diamonds for mine.

Adrian had never worn jewellery, not even a watch, so choosing his was a little more time consuming. In the end he chose a brushed yellow gold band with the wedding date hand engraved in roman numerals.

Amanda Forman Photography | Westport Ireland | Irish Wedding | St Mary's Church

Any glitches in the run up to the wedding?

Planning a wedding from a different country can be tricky and there were a few minor hiccups along the way, but I made a decision not to worry about things I wasn’t in control of.

How did you choose your photographer?

There was a vintage wedding fair in Bethnal Green’s York Hall one Sunday which I dragged Adrian along to.  One photographer’s display caught our attention so we went over for a chat – we assumed we would probably get a photographer in Ireland as it would be easier, but wanted to get some inspiration.

We chatted to Amanda and her husband, Tom, and while I got carried away looking at the beautifully put together albums and stunning framed shots, and chatting all things photography with Amanda, Adrian got carried away chatting about absolutely everything with Tom.

We stayed for ages and just before we left we entered yet another competition – this one was for an engagement shoot.  That evening, we looked at Amanda’s website and were really impressed with her work, and thought about how well we all got along and how we would just love to have a photographer like that, someone who we would feel completely at ease with.

It turns out that we won the engagement shoot and Amanda was happy to come all the way to the West of Ireland to shoot our wedding!

Finally do you have any advice for future brides?

Enjoy every second of the planning.  Stop and breathe on the day and take it all in.  Sneak away for a quick pint with your new hubby at some point.

Have fun. Plan something for after the wedding/honeymoon – you’ll be surprised at how time you will reclaim after the big day.

Amanda Forman Photography | Westport Ireland | Irish Wedding | St Mary's Church | The Castlecourt Hotel

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