Elaine and John in Glenlow Abbey Hotel and the Hotel Meyrick

Elaine & John  Were married in the Glenlo Abbey on Saturday, 25th November 2017

Saturday, 25th November 2017, was Elaine and John’s big day – they got married and had what was, hands down, one of the best days of their lives. So yes, believe what they say – it is true. It’s a big deal and a really special event that goes so fast it only feels like a moment in time!

They got engaged in the previous November, near Elaine’s home in Meelick at a really special place to them both, Meelick Quay/Rampered (on the River Shannon). Growing up there, it held many precious memories for Elaine, as an avid Kayaker, it is one of John’s favourite places to go to just surf the rapids. So the boy did well, he pulled on all the heart strings – the big romantic!

John then whisked his fiancée away to get their engagement ring in the fabulous Memory Lane Antiques, Birr, Co. Offaly, where they have such an amazing selection of unique rings to choose from, but there was only one for them! From the moment the beautiful three-stone was slipped on the finger – the excitement and plans began for the couple.

They got married in the beautiful 5* Glenlo Abbey Hotel in Galway city, but it was very important for Elaine to make that 75km journey from home. “There was nowhere else I wanted to wake up and create those memories from. My home is over 300 years old and has now seen five generations of Williams’ – everything around me was steeped in nostalgia and I was so happy to be adding a new chapter to it all.  The year previous, we had gotten engaged there and eight years to the day we started going out – we were getting married. So, I wanted to start my memories of the day from there, surrounded by my family and my favourite place.”

There was nowhere else I wanted to wake up and create those memories from.

Elaine describes the morning of her wedding as being “one of the few times in your life (apart from when you were a child and awakening for Christmas) that you will jump out of the bed and be so excited for the day to begin – wishing you could pause every second and take time to truly appreciate it all for what it is”. In the few days in the lead-up to their big day, the weather was really miserable, there was rain and wind and the forecast wasn’t looking good. “It looked like we were going to need lots of umbrellas, but we didn’t care. It didn’t dampen the spirits.” Miraculously, on the morning, the couple woke to a beautiful crisp, white and frosty morning, all rounded off with the most magical sunrise – the perfect winter wonderland. It was here; the countdown was over. The house was full of chatter and excitement, the smell of brewing coffee and the sound of laughter filtered throughout.

Super prepared and not fazed by the treacherous roads, Elaine’s amazingly talented make-up artist, Elaine Hession, arrived at 6.30 am, full of energy, cheer and excitement – ready to work her magic. They agreed a schedule and shortly after were joined by Elaine’s hairdresser – the gifted Aoife Rowe and her assistant Olivia from Barry’s Hair Studio (Galway). Operation beauty was in full swing and everyone was on cloud nine.  The superstar photographer and videographer duo, Julia and Kenny, from Wonderfulife Productions arrived and were busy capturing all the precious moments in the most discreet, natural, non-invasive and professional way.  This is when it really hit Elaine: it was her wedding day. “I was sitting getting my hair blow-dried and watching my sister getting her make-up done, when out of the corner of my eye I saw Julia and Kenny outside on the frosty lawn capturing it all and I just thought – oh my God, that’s OUR wedding video and photos!” A few hours later, after slipping into her beautifully elegant Cymbeline dress and surrounded by her gorgeous family, Elaine took the last of her photos at home and made the journey to greet her guests, new family and handsome husband in Galway. Chauffeured by her parents, Berry and Tommy, in their car and her bridesmaids (ssters Thelma, Sarah and best friend, Hisa) by her brother Evan in her own mini – Elaine headed off, with the sun shining and excitement in her belly. Prior to that, John and his three Best men, brother Martin and dear friends Ronan and John, were chaperoned to the ceremony in John’s friend Keith’s vintage jeep.

Both my parents walked me down the aisle, which was really important to me

Elaine said, “I arrived at Glenlo and was greeted with a big smile from Cathy Melia (Wedding Co-ordinator) that immediately put me at ease. The whole place looked amazing – the beautiful grounds, the decorations inside, the old train, the spectacular chiavari chairs; it was just perfect. Having a Spiritualist ceremony, we really wanted a venue that had a wow factor and the Glenlo certainly delivered. Pairing all this with the beautiful flowers put together by the remarkable Marika Leen, the whole place looked spectacular. Both John and I have a strong preference for locally sourced, environmentally friendly and sustainable produce – that is why our flowers were so special, over 90 percent were foraged from the local landscape – in November.

“The ceremony was just so special and personal, beautifully brought together by our wonderful Solemniser, Enda Harte. Both my parents walked me down the aisle, which was really important to me. The ceremony was made extra special by the fact that John’s hugely talented brother and Best man, Martin and his Siste,r Emma, who were accompanied by the remarkably talented musician, Ailbhe Hession, provided the ceremony music. It was one of the most special things and memorable parts of the whole day. Both of us and our guests were blown away. Ailbhe then performed a song by John’s late sister Carmel and it meant the absolute world to us all”.

After the ceremony, the couple and the bridal party took some wonderful photographs on the grounds of Glenlo, in the impressive Quadrangle at NUIG where they both have spent most of their relationship together and the pièce de résistance definitely was the beautiful Eyre Square Continental Christmas Market. Thereafter, they joined their guests for celebrations in the stunning four-star Hotel Meyrick. “When picking our wedding venue, John and I had very little hesitation – Hotel Meyrick was perfect in so many ways. Not only is it a fabulous building inside and out, but the quality, service and experience was just second to none. From the moment we met with Paula Feeney and Margaret McCormack, we were so unbelievably happy and excited to be one of the lucky couples who get to have their special day there. We could not have asked for more, the food, the hospitality – everything blew both ourselves and our guests away.” The couple and their guests danced and partied long and hard into the early hours of the morning, entertained by the gifted Pyramid Wedding Band and DJ Jason Shaughnessy. “We were willing to book our wedding around Pyramid’s availability (honestly) – we just knew immediately they were the band we wanted. They’re phenomenal and it meant so much to be able to have them there to entertain us all. John has worked in the wedding industry for some years and he has an amazing bank of knowledge built up for quality suppliers and entertainers. We knew the Pyramid and Jason would be the best people to keep our guests partying all night long and we really weren’t wrong.”

We asked Elaine and John if they had any advice for couples-to-be: “It really is clichéd, but try to slow everything down, don’t panic about people doing their jobs – they are the professionals and don’t lose sight of the reason why the day is happening in the first place. Enjoy the happiest and most amazing day of your lives”.


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