Astrid and Ben Wedding in AnnaCarriga Estate
29 August 2015
It was a blustery day as we took a stroll along the North Devon coast near the West Country’s “Little Switzerland” – Lynton & Lynmouth. Ben paused to admire the view of the Bristol Channel, while I contemplated getting back to the car as fast as I could. With a break in the clouds and the merest glimpse of sun, Ben was down on one knee and popping the question. Caught totally off guard and a little bit shell shocked my first reaction was to get down on one knee too in a show of solidarity. When we had both finished laughing at my slightly unorthodox reaction I duly said yes and we hurried back to the car out of the cold winter weather. We had a wedding to plan!
August of that year and we were going to visit our first potential venue. Nestled on the shores of Lough Derg, the glass pavilion looked absolutely stunning against the crystal waters of the lake, rolling green hills and clear blue sky. Even if the same unusually balmy weather couldn’t be guaranteed on our big day, having met Jana and her team we knew this was the perfect venue for us.
On our way back to the UK we stopped off in Dublin to look for a suit for Ben. Louis Copeland was our first port of call and we chose a very sharp electric blue handmade Italian suit. After trying it on we were sold. Not wanting to break with tradition I kept my Jenny Packham dress a secret until the big day.
A year later and it was the morning of the wedding. Surprisingly for Ireland, the skies were somewhat grey and the rain was sweeping across the valley. Jana had a local weather app and assured us it would clear up in time for the ceremony. She had done such a great job so far; we crossed our fingers and almost believed her. But she was right! Twenty minutes before the start of the ceremony, just as the first guests started to arrive, the clouds parted and bright sunshine filled the sky. Chairs were whisked out and by 2pm the stage was set for our perfect day. This is where we should mention our wedding band Carouse. They played as a three-piece for the ceremony mixing traditional Irish songs and covers we had selected, they even learnt Thirteen by Big Star so we could have it as our processional song. Tina Storey, our humanist celebrant did a great job of restoring calm with some mindfulness exercises and then delivered a ceremony which was relaxed and perfectly reflected our beliefs and values.
After The Campbells, our photographers, had got the family snaps on the beach we returned in time for the wedding breakfast. This incorporated both delicious Norwegian and Irish cuisine. The speeches were peppered with mandatory shots of Aquavit (a Norwegian spirit) and by the time Carouse returned for the evening’s entertainment everybody was ready for a dance, which was a good thing, because in their full five-piece party formation, they are a force to be reckoned with. “Best wedding band ever” is the most common comment we get about them from family and friends and we certainly agree. It was at this point in the evening that Rico, AnnaCarriga’s resident cocktail expert, really came into his own. The dance floor was full for the whole night and if you needed to cool down you just had to step out onto the beach and stare in awe at the moonlit lake. The following morning, we blew away the cobwebs with a two-hour paddle boarding and kayaking session on the lake followed by a delicious BBQ at AnnaCarriga.
We had a few more days to relax in Ireland with close family then we were off to honeymoon in Thailand. The heat was a bit of a shock after being in the west of Ireland but we had an amazing time mixing a vibrant city break in Bangkok with more chilled out time spent in Chiang Mai and Koh Samui.
Although they might not be able to guarantee the gorgeous weather we had, for everything else we can wholeheartedly recommend AnnaCarriga to host your special celebration. Everything was so relaxed and it went off without a single hitch. We have so many happy memories of our weekend and we can genuinely say it was our perfect wedding thanks to Jana and the team.