Claire and Peter by Kurt Vinion in Middleton Park House

Real Weddings

This was a truly sumptuous and stylish wedding that we couldn’t wait to share with you all!

Photographing weddings for many years, Claire of Claire Durkin Photography knew only too well what would work and what wouldn’t for her own wedding to Peter in the Middleton Park House, Castletown Geoghegan, Co. Westmeath.

After an engagement lasting two years, Claire set about planning her wedding by mixing a number of on-trend themes such as vintage, eclectic and the golden era to create a day that would be truly unique to her, her husband and all of their guests.

Having worked with Kurt Vinion of Prague before she knew he would be the perfect photographer to capture their wedding day.


We met… at a wedding reception in Ballykealey Manor House, Co. Carlow. Peter’s friends (Ciaran and Nicola Power) had their reception there and I was invited by my best friend Edel to be her plus one for the day! We met at the bar and I asked him to mind my camera while I danced with my friend. He managed to lose it but redeemed himself later on when he remembered where he’d left it!!

First impressions of Peter… Handsome, very dapper and a great dancer!

Peter’s first impressions of you… He was smitten. It was love at first sight- well so he tells me


Our proposal… Peter proposed to me in Thailand at the Sarojin Hotel, Khao Lak. It was the wettest day ever, rained for around 12 hours solid! That night, after a candle light dinner, we went for a stroll along the beach where we were beckoned over by the staff to watch the ceremonial lighting of the lanterns.

I saw some Thai writing on ours and when I enquired as to what it meant the staff asked me to repeat after them, because Thai is a very complex language, it took some time to master the vocabulary! When it was eventually translated back to me in English I nearly died of shock! I translated – ‘will you marry me’. Peter promptly produced the ring on bended knee and I said “yes”!

The lantern was released to the heavens and we made a wish. It was such a beautiful tender moment. Then the monsoon rains started.


Our ceremony… Our priest Fr. O’Sullivan prepared a very endearing and personal ceremony which was just beautiful. We felt honoured to him prepare us for married life. All our guests commented on our ceremony which was very unique and special.



Our wedding theme/ colours… I didn’t really have a theme as such, but I did have a strong sense of what I wanted. My wedding was an eclectic mix of all the things that I love with a strong nod to vintage and a bygone era.


My dress… J’aton Couture from Australia designed my wedding dress. I could not have been more thrilled when Eileen Boulger of Galway informed me that she had been in contact with the designers who agreed to ship one of their wedding gowns to Europe.  I’m the first person in Ireland to wear one of their stunning gowns. We had a few obstacles along the way with the ash cloud over Europe but all worked out well in the end. The dress was well worth the wait!

I got my wedding veil from Linda Casey of Poppy Bridal in Ennis. I decided last minute to wear a veil and Linda came to the rescue. The colour was a perfect match to my dress.


We chose our venue because… We fell in love with Middleton Park House the minute we drove up the meandering avenue. This was the place we were looking for, beautiful decor, fantastic food and the fact we had exclusive use of Middleton Park House for our wedding. Gerard Lynam and his staff were wonderful to deal with, nothing was too much trouble. Middleton Park House comes highly recommended and certainly lives up to its reputation.


My favourite part of the wedding… The whole day was just wonderful it is impossible to pick out just one favourite moment.


Advice for other brides…  Get a professional wedding photographer! It’s one thing that people tend to overlook! Every time I look at my wedding album I relive my wedding day. Kurt Vinion captured the whole essence of my wedding day through his amazing photography – the joyous tear, the tender moments between Peter and I, and the fun and laughter we shared with our families and friends.


Wedding Photographer: I had the absolute pleasure of having the amazing and extremely talented Kurt Vinion of Prague, photograph my wedding. Kurt is a renowned destination wedding photographer who is based in Prague but travels all over Europe photographing weddings. Also, not forgetting Ben Millett, who assisted Kurt on the day – they are two very talented guys.

Suit: I designed Peter’s suit.  Ronnie from Louis Copeland understood my vision and tailored it for him.

Bridesmaid Dresses: I bought the Bridesmaids dresses from Chica and made some slight alterations to them. I had the sleeves taken off the dresses and added some embellishments to the shoulders.

Flowers: Aoife from Sheefin flowers, Mullingar.

Church music: Celtic Rose with a mix of classical  instrumentals and soprano Emer Barry.

Videographer: For many years I photographed weddings in Dublin and would often work alongside Richard Gill. A wedding shoot with Richard was always fun. I called up Richard after I got engaged to tell him the good news and asked him to film my wedding. His response was “well, it’s about time”!

Music: Jason O’Callaghan with his band, Wedding Knights (formerly The Irish Rat Pack) entertained everyone on the night. He threw in a few fun surprises that really got the party started! Also later that night we had a Trad session provided by none other than Claire Devine and friends.

Cake: Cake was made by Cakes by Una, Longford. I showed Una a photograph of a cake I liked and she made an exact replica.

Make-up: Ailbhe Lynch. I simply adored my wedding makeup. Ailbhe created a look for me that made me feel a million dollars. She’s tremendously talented.

Hair: Sandra Crosbie is an extraordinarily talented hair stylist. I wanted my hairstyle to look similar to those old Hollywood waves from the 1940s. Not only did Sandra create a wonderful style for me but she created a unique look for all my bridesmaids too.

Both ladies are thorough professionals and should be at the top of every bride’s wish list.  They made my wedding day.

Stationery: Momental Designs made our beautiful bespoke invitations. I was inspired by the chandelier in Middleton Park House and asked Kristy to design my wedding invitations around that.

Decor: The vintage tableware for the afternoon tea reception we hired from Vintage Touch in the UK.

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