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A Black Gothic Wedding With a ‘Til Death’ Theme

“Our wedding theme as you can imagine was quite unconventional. After almost 10 years of shooting weddings together we knew exactly what we didn’t want to be a part of the day. Trying to find vendors or suppliers to match our theme was pretty tricky. We loved the toned down gothic style and decided that “‘Til death” would be a fitting theme, black being the main colour. We both wanted the black tie feel without the formality. Our styles aren’t very conventional so we just chose things we liked rather than people pleasing.”

 

Couple: Ken and Áine
Engagement length: 7 years
Wedding date: 2021-08-13
Wedding location: New Forest Estate
Photographer: Us (Ken Byrne Photography)

 

 

Ken and Áine met in October 2011 on a hunt in Offaly. Ken was photographing a few horses for his brother in law and Áine was hunting with the group. Áine saw him capture what she thought would be an amazing shot of her and her horse. So she made it a point to enquire with him for the photograph that evening (and she thought he was very handsome!).  Needless to say, he personally delivered 3 photographs to her door late one evening and they spent hours talking. After a few deliveries and endless car chats, they knew there was something very magnetic about how they felt about each other. In March 2012, they moved in together.

 

 

“Ken and I had been together, shooting weddings and training with other photographers for almost 3 years when a trainer and personal friend photographer, John, asked us to come to Portugal with him to help run a workshop of about 30. We were beyond excited that our photography was enabeling us the opportunity to travel, so naturally we jumped at it. When we arrived in Portugal, we were in our element. We got to shoot in an amazing location in the sun, with brilliant like-minded people and everything was just idyllic. On the day it was Ken’s turn to run the evening shoot, things ran on a little. Little did I know that Ken had arranged for John to organise a surprise for us after the shoot, before we went to dinner. However, because the shoot ran on, we were going to be late for dinner. Just as we were wrapping up the shoot by the pool with this amazing view on top of a mountain looking over the nearest village, we heard a giggling sound in the distance. Being a good assistant I didn’t let it distract me from holding the light. John marched over to me and he grabbed my hand and brought me to the little dark bar beside the pool and said “Right Áine, you’re our bar maid!”. I glanced at the bar only to see 3 bottles on the bar, 2 glasses and a little black and wooden box. Being in the wedding industry I knew exactly who made the jewellery inside and what he specialised in. I looked at Ken and said “What’s in the box?!”. I ran at him, hugging him in floods of tears. Not. One. Person. (out of the 30 delegates, 4 models or John) knew what the hell was going on because there was no down on one knee, or will you marry me, it was very… Us. So John shouted “I think that’s a yes folks!” and everyone cheered! I just think it was hilarious! Everyone always gets an amazing laugh out of our engagement story. I hope you did too.”

 

 

“Our wedding theme as you can imagine was quite unconventional. After almost 10 years of shooting weddings together we knew exactly what we didn’t want to be a part of the day. Trying to find vendors or suppliers to match our theme was pretty tricky. We loved the toned down gothic style and decided that “‘Till death” would be a fitting theme, black being the main colour. We both wanted the black tie feel without the formality. Our styles aren’t very conventional so we just chose things we liked rather than people pleasing.”

 

 

Ken wore black on black, a black shirt, black waist coat and of course, black tux jacket with a black tie, silver tie pin and silver cuff links. Áine didn’t want to wear a black wedding dress or a white one, so instead, she opted for a beautifully whimsical dusty flowing dress with a low back and french lace. The look was complete with a black veil, black shoes and a flower garland. Kind of like a gothic woodland fairy.

 

 

The groomsmen wore all black 3 piece suits, with cabernet knitted ties. The ladies wore cabernet floor length, off the shoulder, dresses with a slit to above the knee.

 

 

“We had a religious ceremony in the Cathedral of Christ the King in Mullingar. It has an amazingly long aisle and needs no decoration. Its splendor is more than enough. As a child my grandparents would bring my sister and I there and it held beautiful memories for me. Being there made me feel like my grandparents were in some way with us. We chose our vows and readings and our priest was a lovely man. I have to say though, nothing will ever compare to the moment I let go of my father’s arm and reached for the loving embrace of my husband, Ken. He was teary eyed and hot to the touch as I stole a kiss and clung to him after my long walk to the alter. We had made it. It was finally our turn.”

 

 

“Originally we had wanted an outdoor venue with a yurt or stretch tent. After many hours of research and number crunching we were still in two minds. We decided to go to lunch at New Forest Golf Hotel in Tyrrelspass. After speaking to Jimmy, we were sold. Everything would be taken care of. Everyone could stay the night and we didn’t have to lift a finger after that. Jimmy was a saint! We sourced the black tablecloths and coloured uplighters, while Jimmy did pretty much everything else. The food was amazing, the atmosphere was on fire. We had the best day and retired to a huge apartment that I got slightly lost in that night.”

 

 

“As wedding photographers, you can imagine what a daunting task it would have been for someone else to photograph our wedding. We did initially ask a few photographic friends but by the end of it Ken and I had a chat and found that we didn’t really want anyone else to shoot our wedding. It had to be us. In Ken’s words ‘We have made a living from putting ourselves into other people’s shoes and capturing them as they are seen through the eyes of their loved ones. There is no-one on this earth that can see you the way I do. I can’t wait to see how you see me through the lense.’ It’s for this reason alone, that we decided to photograph our own wedding. A good friend and previous student of ours agreed to help us with a few candid shots at the church and reception. He is one of the most hilarious people we’ve ever met so having him as a guest was by far a must regardless of whether or not he took the lense cap off.”

 

 

My favourite memory was the moment I got to touch Ken at the altar. He was on one knee, photographing me and my daddy as we made our way towards my future. He stood up, shook my father’s hand firmly and I felt that all to familiar magnetic energy. We were meant to be together. Being apart felt so hollow like I was missing a huge part of myself. It was in those moments, on the altar, looking into his cool blue eyes. I tried to ground myself at that moment in the hopes of revisiting it many times again in my head.”

 

 

Our advice for other couples is to take your time and talk to each other. Sometimes stressing over where to put flowers or what gifts you got for your bridal party can seem so important when you’re in a flap. But step back. Take a break and talk to your other half about it. A problem shared is a problem halved. Also, ask for itemised invoices before your wedding day!”

 

 

Suppliers

Ceremony Venue: Mullingar Cathedral | Reception Venue: New Forest Estate | Photographer: Us (Ken Byrne Photography) | Planner/Coordinator: Jimmy | Musician/band: NA (restrictions) | Hair: Valerie Foran | Makeup: Rachel Watts | Couple’s outfits: Dress – Brummell and Co and Suit –  Guy Clothing Tullamore | Wedding party outfits: Bridesmaids – JJs House Online and Groomsmen – Guy Clothing Tullamore | Cake: My brother in law made 100 cup cakes! | Celebrant/solemniser: Fr. Derek Darby | Jewellery/rings: Micheal Horan | Accessories: Candles – The Blackened Teeth on Etsy and Veil – Josaphine Accesory on Etsy | Flowers: Dooleys flowers

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Kelly Jane Hartmann

Kelly is a former wedding planner and a lover of anything pink. She believes that any bride can plan her own wedding, with a few tips and helpful tools.

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