Irish Love Story in Humanist Outdoor Wedding: Yvonne Heery & Ben McLoughlin
23 Jul 2015
It was a ‘beg, borrow and steal’ affair, where friends pulled together to create the laid-back, outdoor wedding at Lisnavagh House, Co Carlow, Ireland – the results were beautiful.
Photography by JAM Shoots
The sheer joy on 33-year-old Yvonne’s face in these pictures is enough to make you smile – brides are always happy, but Yvonne’s joy is infectious, even through static images.
Yvonne and Ben, 33, were engaged on 8November 2014, and married eight months later on 4 July 2015. Yvonne tells us about the journey that took her from surprised girlfriend to glowing bride.
How did you meet each other?
We met (and had our first kiss) at a teenage disco when we were 14 but nothing came of it. We reconnected 12 years later through my cousin, who was also Ben’s best friend, and have been together ever since.
Tell us about the proposal.
We were up in Belfast for the weekend to visit the Titanic Museum, staying in the Fitzwilliam Hotel. Ben had booked Deane’s for dinner, and surprised me with a ring he had made himself in a beautiful wooden box he had also made. He knows I’m not all that into diamonds, so it was perfect.
What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
To be honest we didn’t really have a theme. It was a case of beg, steal and borrow. We have an amazing group of friends who helped us out with bunting, vases, jars, candle holders and some great props from a visual merchandising department - you name it, we borrowed it. We managed to pull the whole thing off on a shoestring.
When did you know when you’d found ‘the’ dress?
I’m not a typical bride in that I didn’t have a clear idea on what I wanted, and to be honest it was never going to be a case of searching the length and breadth of Ireland to find ‘the one’. I went with my cousin and a friend to a bridal shop in the Midlands and, actually, the first dress I tried on was perfect, so I went for that! I wanted comfortable, non fussy and I was lucky that the first one just felt right. My incredible friend Sarah made my head piece, which I really loved.
Tell us about your floral arrangements.
The flowers came pretty easy, we just bought 150 sunflowers and a box of baby’s breath (gypsophila) from the wholesale flower market and just had a couple in each of the tall vases on the tables. Our friend Ferdia did a great job with the bouquets.
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
Just really happy – the sun was out, all our friends and family were there, it was perfect. I’d been a bit of an emotional wreck in the weeks leading up to the wedding and I was worried that I’d be a blubbering mess on the day, but other than a few tears in the morning when I saw my parents I managed to keep it together.
What was your most memorable moment?
Yvonne: I think for me it was the ceremony. We went with a humanist ceremony and our solemniser was great. We had a friend of ours read some of the lyrics from Huey Lewis & The News ‘Power of Love’, and it was priceless. Also, it felt like the only time for the next couple of hours that we actually got to spend time with each other.
Ben: I think it was our entrance into the marquee. Because it was the 4 July, we thought it would be funny to have our friend John do a wrestling introduction and we arrived in to the Hulk Hogan theme song ‘I am a Real American’. It was hysterical.
What was the most important investment for you?
Music - I know when we go to weddings, the band is always what we remember. We were really happy with our choice, we went with a bluegrass cover band and even though they were a little left of centre, I think people really enjoyed them. Oh, and a good DJ - our friend Rob did an incredible job, best playlist ever! We also had a great band, Bunoscionn, for our BBQ the next day. They were fab and really got the party going again.
What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
We both wanted ‘Baby I Love You’ but couldn’t decide between The Ronettes version and the Ramones version. As it turned out our band did their own bluegrass version, which was perfect.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
Our cake was made by my best friend’s mum. She did an amazing job. We just said we didn’t want anything too fussy and she totally nailed it. It was delicious.
If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?
Honestly, I don’t think we’d change anything. Maybe try and take more of it in? It goes by so fast and there’s so much going on that if it wasn’t for the photos we might forget a lot of the details.
Where did you go on your honeymoon?
We hope to go to Japan after Christmas, so we did a ‘minimoon’ in Monart for a few days after the wedding, just to sleep it off in bathrobes!
Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
1. Don’t get hung up on what you think other people will make of it – it’s your wedding and if you go with your gut then it will be perfect.
2. A good sense of humour is what really drew me and Ben together in the first place and we tried to bring that into the day. Never underestimate how entertaining a bit of silliness can be.
3. Also, you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg on stuff. Pull in favours. Get your friends to help you out. We’re not generally all that into bouquets and veils and bunting but because they we’re all made by our friends it made them really special.
4. A good photographer. We were so happy with our photos - JAM Shoots are INCREDIBLE, I can hardly remember noticing them on the day but they really captured the essence of it.
Steal their style:
Photographers: JAM Shoots, firstname.lastname@example.org
Make up: Ashley O Rourke
Catering: Mikey Cleary email@example.com
Evening food: Home Fries
Wine: Grand Wines firstname.lastname@example.org
Band: Prison Love email@example.com; Bunoscionn firstname.lastname@example.org
Venue: Lisnavagh House