September last year I had the pleasure of writing a ceremony for a family member for the first time. It was for my brother in law Rob and his Canadian wife Nancy.
Nancy & Robert got married in Canada in March 2017. As only Rob’s mother Bernie was able to travel from Ireland, they decided to have an Irish wedding in September and enlisted my help as Celebrant and Planner.
After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing on venues it was decided they were going to have a backyard bash in Rob’s mother’s house, and the event affectionately became known as our Weekend at Bernie’s!
First thing we needed to sort out was a marquee, and I sourced one through Party Tent. I found them so easy to deal with, there’s plenty of options to choose from and lots of extras available such as tables, lighting, even bins. The order was placed over the phone with a courtesy call a week beforehand and the tent was delivered and set up on the Thursday afternoon. The party was taking place on the Saturday which gave us plenty of time to set it up.
The garden was split between two houses, Bernie’s and Rob’s sisters who lives next door. The marquee was placed in his sisters garden and we tied bunting, added table cloths to the trestle tables supplied, decorated the two high tables with tulle and mason jars with pretty flowers were dotted around. Then it was time to decorate Bernie’s back garden. A mish mash of chairs were gathered which gave the place a quirky feel to it. The garden had a wooden trellis already in place, which was draped in tulle and tied with jute cord. Plenty of lanterns were added. Bernie’s backyard was transformed and it looked fab.
My husband Brian was roped into being chauffeur while the happy couple took some photos. They had booked a wonderful photographer, Johnny Corcoran, and went for a spin around Dublin to take some pictures, with the obligatory Dublin door photo, and a quick pint in Cassidy’s Pub. Johnny was the perfect choice. Nancy & Rob wanted someone who could capture the intimacy and simplicity of the day in stunning images and I think Johnny did that absolutely perfectly.
Meanwhile I was at Bernie’s putting the final touches together and getting ready for the ceremony. This was my first family ceremony and I will admit there were some nerves. I had met with Rob and Nancy a few months previously and they had shared their story with me. I found this one a bit of a challenge to write as I was writing for family and it took me a couple of edits before I was happy to show a first draft to them. Luckily, they were delighted with the first draft and only minor tweaks were needed after that.
6 O’Clock came and we were ready to begin. The small number of guests had arrived. Brian provided some beautiful classical guitar music as Nancy walked down our make-shift aisle, accompanied by her Uncle.
I opened with a little note on one of my favourite Irish wedding traditions, the ringing of the bells and welcomed everyone to Bernie’s, a house that had seen five generations through its doors. The Canadian guests were welcomed in Gaelic, and we got stuck into their love story, with plenty of laughs and a couple of funny distractions. They exchanged vows and rings again and we ended the ceremony with a traditional Celtic hand-fasting ritual. We chose ribbons representing romance, patience, joy, health and passion. The first 3 ribbons were brought up by their flower girls, and the final two ribbons were laid across their hands by each of their mothers.
The ceremony was short and sweet, celebrating their journey together and their families. I pronounced them married (again) and everyone wished them luck by ringing their bells.
After the ceremony it was time to get the party started. A few family photos were taken by the talented Johnny, including a precious one of Bernie with all her grandchildren. Food was provided by a local restaurant, the drinks included Guinness and Molson Canadian lager, with plenty of prosecco, wine and liquor on offer as well. A very catchy 80’s playlist had us dancing into the early hours of the morning, with one or two embarrassing Irish jigs in there as well.
The party ended in the wee hours of the morning with many of the guests only having to walk up the stairs to their beds! Young and old, everyone agreed the wedding at Bernie’s was a roaring success.
Clean up the following day was relatively quick and painless with many hands helping over endless cups of tea and reminiscing about the night before. Rob and Nancy were thrilled with how everything had gone and I was chuffed my first family bash had gone off without a hitch!
Photo Credits: Johnny Corcoran Photography
Marquee Hire: https://partytent.ie/
Celebrant & Planner: Yvonne Cassidy Weddings
Yvonne Cassidy is a wedding celebrant and coordinator based in Dublin, Ireland. Yvonne helps couples who want a laid back, relaxed wedding ceremony, full of fun and laughter. From the ceremony itself to the coordination, she works with couples from start to finish, designing ceremonies that will be remembered for years to come.