Deirdre and Ger's wedding at our Venue of the Month for April, The Falls Hotel, came about seven years after they first met in Australia. Ger left Clare in 2008 to find work in Melbourne, while Dee left Tipperary and travelled around South America and Australia before settling in Perth to work. "We met one weekend as Ger had flown to Perth for a going away party for some mutual friends, and the rest as they say is history! We stayed in touch and started a long distant relationship between Perth and Melbourne for a year and a half," says Dee.
They saw each other at least once a month in that time before they moved to be together. "It wasn’t easy given that its nearly a five hour flight between the cities and a three hour time difference! Dee eventually made the big move to Melbourne in December 2010 where we were based for a few years before moving to Dubai in 2016," says Ger.
Ger pulled out all the stops when it came to proposing, after a hint or 12 from Deirdre about when they might get engaged. "We were supposed to be going camping along the Great Ocean Road, which is just outside Melbourne, so unfortunately I didn’t have any fancy dresses packed! When Ger pulled up in front of the driveway of the most stunning house, the iconic “Polehouse” house – I got butterflies because I knew that this wasn’t the camping trip we’d planned," says Deirdre.
As they met in Australia, they wanted to use their wedding as an opportunity for both of their families to get to know each other, so a long weekend in Co Clare was the perfect option. "The Falls Hotel in Ennistymon, Co Clare was a fantastic venue to host us all, it was such a lovely and relaxed weekend. Dee rented the cottage on the grounds of the hotel for the week so she had a home away from home. The hotel management and staff were very friendly and efficient, making sure that everything went smoothly. We used the fabulous grounds as the backdrop for our photographs," says Ger.
The initial planning happened in Australia and the final touches were added after the couple moved to Dubai. "We both also have a lot of family at home in Ireland who helped us out by going around the country checking out bands, venues, etc for us. I was lucky enough to have a sister & cousin with me in Melbourne to help me shop for “The Dress”," says Deirdre.
Like many couples, the challenge of the guest list was the hardest part of the planning process. "Deciding who to invite can be difficult when you are both from large families and don’t want to go overboard with numbers. And when you do finalise the guest list, getting the names and addresses for the invitations and then receiving back the RSVPS takes more time than you would realise, especially when you are overseas and don’t get the opportunity to meet people personally. We found this to be the most difficult and time consuming part of the planning," says Ger.
They were lucky on the day and the rain held off for them, but that didn't stop the wind. "We were nearly blown into the Atlantic Ocean in Lahinch! But that didn’t dampen our day, it was fantastic. It was just so lovely being surrounded by so many close friends, family & neighbours. My four sisters were my bridesmaids and as we are all very close, the banter started from early morning right through to the end of the night. Ger was the same, his three brothers were his groomsmen – so it was a lovely family affair for both of us. The day was brilliant and looking back, we still wouldn’t change anything," says Deirdre.
She was convinced walking up the aisle was going to be one of the most nerve-wrecking parts of the day, but it ended up as one of her favourite memories from the wedding. "The thoughts of everyone turning to look at me walking up the aisle made me break out in a cold sweat! But that is actually one of my fondest memories – that special moment with my dad and walking down the aisle smiling, and looking up to see Ger there waiting for me," she remembers.
The only problem that came up on the day was one they didn't even know about until the next day. "The only hiccup on the day was sorting out payment for the suppliers that we weren’t able to pay for in advance. We were organised and had left funds in separate envelopes, but when it came to locating them in reception to pay the suppliers at the end of the night, the night staff didn’t know where the day staff left the envelopes. This caused a bit of confusion, but luckily the best man sorted it for us and only told us about it the next day!"
The couple's unsung hero on the day was actually their photographer, Yvonne Vaughan. "She spent so much time with us on our wedding day taking all the photographs, yet we hardly noticed her clicking away at the same time. Its so important to have someone that you can work with and someone that you’re comfortable with so that your photographs come out as natural as possible. One the day, Yvonne was full of tips helping to ensure that not only did she capture the best moments, but also helping to ensure that the day ran as smoothly as possible," says Deirdre.
Their advice for other couples planning a wedding? Don't forget to make time to enjoy the build up to the wedding, as well as the day itself! "The build up to the wedding can be as exciting as the day itself, so don’t leave everything to the last minute and end up stressing yourself out. Enjoy the time beforehand with all the wellwishers, etc. as its time that you wont get back again. We left home and headed to Co Clare a few days before the wedding, so we had lots of time to kick back and relax. The day before the wedding Ger was golfing with his groomsparty, uncles and friends while I was having tea at Fr Teds house with the ladies, it was a laugh a minute and helped us all get in the spirit of things and it really set the tone for the wedding day," says Deirdre.