Elaine & John - Barryroe Church & Dunmore House, Cork

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There was a lot to look forward to with Elaine and John’s wedding last September. For a start, they chose a photographer’s dream of a church to get married in. Spacious, beautiful, bright. Just look at it! Then again, they got married in West Cork, which is itself spacious and beautiful on even the worst days and which, on this happy sunny day in September, was bright too – if a little windy.

Barryroe Church is nestled on a hill, meaning we had to take shelter around the side for the family photos after the ceremony, but its stone walls made for a nice backdrop all the same, and the wind didn’t claim much else by the way of casualties, so all in all we got about as lucky with the weather as you could hope to. Photographing any wedding in West Cork is a treat, but especially so on this occasion as Elaine and John’s reception was bringing me back to the place where I myself celebrated my wedding almost 5 years earlier – the beautiful, highly recommended, Dunmore House.

Not only that, but if all went to plan we would get to stop off at the beach en route from Barryroe to Dunmore. As I said – a lot to look forward to. And it delivered on every count.

I stayed to capture a little bit of what was going on before making my way back to Elaine’s family home, making a stop off at Inchydoney Beach en route, knowing that I would get a nice view of Dunmore from across the bay.Back at the house I arrived just before Elaine and her entourage, and set about photographing the details. I really liked her invitations, and found a pool of light from two windows at the top of the stairs in which to place one.

Downstairs the boys were doing a spot of ironing and keeping an eye on things outside, while upstairs Eileen was helping Elaine look like a bride, as Elaine was helping Michelle look like a bridesmaid.As 1 o’clock drew closer I nipped on ahead to Barryroe Church to catch up with John and his grooms party.

Page boy Michael struck a great pose, and the rest of the guys didn’t too bad either. Flower girl Anna was excited about the bride’s imminent arrival but still posed for a photo for me.

As Elaine arrived, her veil tried to steal some of the limelight as it acted up, and would keep Eileen on her toes during the ceremony later too.

The walk up the aisle can be a stressful time for all, not least the photographer, but I love capturing the “first glance” between the groom and bride. More than the “first kiss” or the “first dance” I think this particular first can be the most memorable moment of the day for the happy couple. 

All that was needed now was for Elaine and John to say "I do". Which they did, of course!

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Above is some photographic proof that they did! Getting photographs of this part of the ceremony in a way that is unobtrusive for the couple and the guests is always my priority, and on this occasion I shot much of the vows and rings with a longer lens, which throws the background pleasingly out of focus.

I love the shot of Elaine catching her mum’s eye as the two mothers returned from their trip to the altar with the gifts ahead of communion.

I mentioned above how the church was a photographer’s dream, and especially so when the photographer loves backlit scenes, as I do, so I availed of that back light more than once as you can see.

Ceremony over, receiving line underway, and it’s not uncommon for a few guests to take their opportunity to grab a photo of the happy couple, and not uncommon for me to grab a photo of that!

Receiving line done, and we snuck around the corner to take shelter from the wind for a quick family photo session before sending the families onto Dunmore while we headed for the beach. Flip flops and flat shoes were the chosen footwear for Elaine and Michelle.

I had worried a little about how much time a trip to Inchydoney beach would take on our way from Barryroe to Dunmore House, given how nice a day it was and how busy that particular beach can be, but – in the spirit of everything going right on that particular day – I needn’t have worried.

We got in and out in record time and the sun even obliged the photographs by popping behind a cloud to give some lovely soft light while we were there.

The wind and the veil even came together for a kissing picture of the happy couple.

Back at the hotel, the wedding had a New York theme, with the tables each containing photos from New York and the cake fitting in nicely with the theme also. The resident dog at Dunmore obliged me with a photo and no more than the rest of the day, Dunmore House itself was bright and beautiful.

Finally, before the call for dinner, we popped outside to get a photo of Elaine and her friends with as breathtaking a backdrop as you’d find for a group photo.

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