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A Scaled-Back Covid Celebration With Close Friends and Family

“We wanted the day to be as relaxed as possible and to feel like a celebration, despite the uncertainty around the public health situation. The most important thing to us was that our families and some of our closest friends could be there to share the day.”


Couple: Ita and Cathal
Engagement length: Originally 18 months but due to the pandemic, we ended up being engaged for 2 years!
Wedding date: Autumn 2020
Wedding location: Rathsallagh House, Wicklow
Photographer: David Maury Photography


Ita and Cathal met when they were aged 18, in Trinity College while studying. They had mutual friends but never spoke directly to each other until the day Cathal showed up wearing a Santa hat. Ita took a picture of him on her pink flip phone and they swapped numbers. Later that day Cathal texted, ostensibly looking for the photo, and they didn’t stop talking for the next 15 years!


We had planned to go on holiday to Vienna for a Christmas mini-break and Cathal suggested dinner the night before our flight. However, he told me that he had a conference in Trinity and I would have to meet him there. I arrived outside the Hamilton Building and saw Cathal coming towards me with a bouquet of roses, which made me think that he was trying to apologise for some trivial (and previously unknown!) misdemeanor. We walked into the Hamilton as Cathal kept telling me he wanted to introduce me to his work colleagues. While I was looking for this mysterious fictional conference, Cathal stopped in the spot where we first spoke, dropped on his knee and asked me to marry him. After I had stopped crying, I managed to say the most heartfelt yes!”





“We had originally decided on a summer wedding and had invited all of our extended families and friends. However, as the COVID 19 pandemic hit, we moved our wedding to a scaled-back version later in the year. We wanted the day to be as relaxed as possible and to feel like a celebration, despite the uncertainty around the public health situation. The most important thing to us was that our families and some of our closest friends could be there to share the day.”





Ita wore a gorgeous mikado satin dress from Belle Marie in Athboy, along with a cathedral-length veil. Cathal wore a navy three-piece suit with a white tie and a blue waistcoat. They wanted the flowers to be quite classic and timeless so they opted for roses in shades of champagne and white in the bouquets and boutonnieres. They also included freesia as Ita’s mother had this flower in her wedding bouquet and she loved the idea of an evocative scent transcending generations and providing an instant link to a special day.





The bridesmaids wore dusty blue gowns and the groomsmen wore navy three-piece suits with navy waistcoats. The flower girl wore a white dress with a dusty blue belt and the page boy also wore a navy three-piece suit. They also tried to coordinate with navy face masks for the bridal party!




“A traditional church ceremony was how we had envisioned the start of our day and as usual, Ita was late! An unexpected power cut meant that the church was lit only by candlelight which proved to be serendipitously atmospheric! Our original priest was stranded in Rome but Father Francis kindly stepped in to officiate and gave a very genuine and charming ceremony.”





Rathsallagh had always been high on our list of potential venues due to its reputation for dining. When we viewed the venue, we were blown away by the family atmosphere and beautiful gardens. As the wedding evolved into a winter wedding, we were delighted that the cosy reception rooms and open fires fit with our aim to have a relaxed, Christmas celebration.”





“Our photographer was recommended to us by one of Cathal’s cousins. He was the perfect combination of relaxed and professional and despite neither of us being comfortable in front of a camera, he managed to capture every single moment and every single guest without ever feeling intrusive or staged. We loved the final album and it is a wonderful keepsake of the day.”





Having a videographer was especially important to us given that so few of our original guest list could be there. Despite the power cut, he still captured the wedding ceremony beautifully. His experience shone through and we were absolutely delighted with the final results. His work meant that those who couldn’t be there still got to share the highlights of our day.”





“Both of us have a sweet tooth so we wanted to reference that in our favours. We decided to have personalised Love Heart sweets along with miniature Christmas decorations. We put these into little bride and groom boxes, along with a Christmas-themed face mask and hand gel – practical and sweet!”





“My favourite memory was walking back down the aisle as a married couple and seeing each member of our (small) gathering clapping and smiling, sharing the sense of pure happiness and joy we felt! Standing outside the church as a married couple and greeting our guests as they came out was an incredible feeling. We were so grateful for the effort everyone had made in a time of stress and uncertainty to travel and be part of our wedding.”





Planning a wedding is a stressful time but having planned two radically different weddings with many variables at play at every stage, I know with certainty that it is not the details that make a wedding memorable or enjoyable, it’s the people. Marrying the person you have chosen to spend the rest of your life with changes everything and nothing – life still continues as it was but yet is improved in intangible ways. Marrying your person in the presence of people who have watched you grow together, complement each other and make each other stronger solidifies the sense of celebration, love and commitment and their presence enriches the day.”



Ceremony venue: SS Mary and Laurence Church, Crookstown | Photographer: David Maury Photography | Videographer: Fireworks Wedding Films | Wedding venue: Rathsallagh Country House, Wicklow | Musician: Orla Fallon (Church) | Cake: Cakes Galore by Polly | Jewellery/rings: Bespoke Diamonds | Accessories: Swarovski Crystal | Flowers: Trimbles, Nutgrove and All About Weddings, Arklow
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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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