Wedding Bells Becky & Aileen |


Wedding Bells Becky & Aileen

For a community who had to struggle for the right to marry, you can bet that when we DO get to walk down the aisle, the forest path, the sandy beach, or whatever you’re having yourself, it’s going to be one hell of a party.

The couples here share their memories of how they met, the nervous/excited proposals, the days that led up to THE day, and all the crazy/wonderful planning that goes into organising the happiest occasion of your life.

All the good stuff, basically.

But most importantly, they share cherished memories of the day itself - the day that they married their true love. The day that started the rest of their lives together.

Here’s to the happy couples!

Shortly after their wedding ceremony, Aileen and Becky stood on top of a hill overlooking their 234 guests on the grounds of Ballintubbert House and Gardens. Much to her new wife’s surprise, Becky pressed a button on a small stereo and the opening chords to Florence and the Machine’s ‘Dog Days Are Over’ began to play. Becky had borrowed a small drum from Dara - their one yearold daughter - and led the way. Soon, their family and friends joined in, singing along and clapping to the iconic beat, before they reached the euphoric climax of their favourite song. Even Nell, their dog, got swept along by the excitement, and jumped up onto her owner’s wedding dress. It was completely unrehearsed but it encapsulated the spirit of their wedding - spontaneous, relaxed, fun. Both Aileen and Becky agree that this was their “magic moment”.

Rebecca ‘Becky’ Oakley met Aileen Griffin in Cardiff when they were both students, and later, Becky left her native Wales to move to Dublin with Aileen. Marriage had been in the back of both their minds but it became particularly relevant in the run up to the referendum. A year after Ireland voted in favour of same-sex marriage, Aileen asked Becky to met her on Burrow Beach and waited, decked out in her tag rugby gear, with a ring box hidden in her sock. She popped the question at sunset.

In August 2017, their daughter Dara was born and that Christmas they decided to start planning their wedding. With big families and a wide circle of friends, a small, intimate wedding wasn’t really an option. A cancellation meant that the dreamy Ballintubbert House and Gardens in County Laois would be available over the August bank holiday and so their minds were made up. In fact, they knew they had struck gold when the venue gave them the goahead to bring their canine companions - Nell and Rua - to the two-day extravaganza. As it turned out, the grounds - which date back to the 1780’s - proved to be a beautiful canvas for the couple to add their own unique touches.

The day of their wedding, Becky and Aileen woke up early and began decorating the venue before kick-starting the day with a chilled out breakfast. They were joined by Dara as well as a number of family and friends and as they all sat around the large table, their nerves began to settle. Shortly after, their photographer, David McClelland, arrived. Once they bathed their daughter it was time to get hair and makeup done, though they parted ways to get dressed. They both selected dresses from Alison May in Kilternan. Becky chose hers first, and Alison then picked out a number of choices for Aileen based around Becky’s choice of dress, keeping that element of surprise.

Once dressed, Aileen headed down to the wooded area to met her fiancé before the ceremony. Here, they got to see each other in their gowns for the first time and were delighted to have that moment captured on camera. After that first look, any remaining nerves melted away. They decided to walk with their fathers and to take a dog each, before they met again at the top of the aisle.

Hand in hand, they walked to the soulful music of the Dublin Gospel Choir. Dara was just a bit too little to walk and so she happily watched her mammies from the congregation. Becky and Aileen had personalised the ceremony itself and they melded traditional rituals with speeches from their friends and family, while their mothers lit candles for those who couldn’t be there.

Once married, the couple took five minutes on their own to share some bubbles and cut the cake before they joined their guests for drinks. Their friends Tina and Tom distill their own gin - Warners - and so a small gin bar was set up. As their friends and family enjoyed their drinks, the sun shone down on the festivities, and the celebration began to feel less like a traditional wedding and a lot more like a music festival.

Shortly after their magic hilltop moment, Aileen, Becky and their guests enjoyed a dinner courtesy of Ali Davis Food, and afterwards the party kicked off. They hadn’t planned a first dance, but they got one anyway. Their band - The Moogs - played ‘Higher and Higher’ by Jackie Wilson and the newlyweds went with the flow, before their guests joined in. The band played until the venue’s one am noise curfew, and then the couple surprised their party with a silent disco until three. They wound down by sitting round the fire with guitars and red wine before they finally called it a night at 6:20 in the morning.

Like any good music festival, the celebrations spilled into the next day with food trucks, singalong sessions, pizza, and a disco complete with the brides dancing on top of their brothers’ shoulders. Crucially, Becky and Aileen took a moment to light a candle on a cake and celebrate their daughter’s first birthday.

The family finally packed up and left the next day, heading off to Powerscourt for a couple days of rest, which admittedly, with a one year-old, is hard to come by! Both lovers of travel, Aileen and Becky had already visited a lot of the go-to honeymoon spots, so they waited until March 2019 when they took Dara with them to Mauritius for a familymoon.

The celebrations spanned almost three days, but both Becky and Aileen agree that what made their day special was the fact that they got to share their special moment with their baby, their family, their friends and their dogs.

Suppliers List

Flower Girl: Their daughter Dara

Bridesmaids: Their dogs, Nell and Rua

Venue: Ballintubbert House and Gardens, Co Laois

Photographer: David McClelland

Dresses: Alice May Bridal

Rings: Weldons Clarendon Street and Adelphi,

Powerscourt Shopping Centre

Flowers: Lorcan Burke AB FAB flowers Cellbridge

Ceremony Music: Dublin Gospel Choir

Wedding Band: The Moogs

Catering: Ali Davis Catering

Cake: Antoinette Rock

Drinks Reception: Warner’s Gin

This article appears in the 358 Issue of GCN

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This article appears in the 358 Issue of GCN