Jemma & Rob At the Clanard Court Hotel

The Real Wedding of Jemma & Rob At the Clanard Court Hotel on 15th June 2018

I am originally from Scotland, although I’ve been living in Ireland for 15 years, and Rob is from Co. Kildare. We met almost six years ago through our mutual love of horses, although love didn’t blossom for us until nearly a year later when we kissed on a night out at Hallowe’en.

From our very first date in the Wax Museum, we both knew we would be inseparable. For the next few years, we had our ups and downs (mainly ups!). We moved in together, went on various holidays, and generally had the most fun together.

For about six months before we got engaged, I kept hinting and jokingly sent Rob photos of engagement rings, and he appeared to just laugh it off! Getting engaged was pushed to the back of my mind because, in March 2016, we got the best news ever when we found out we were pregnant. So when Rob planned a weekend away to Edinburgh, I couldn’t believe it when, in Edinburgh Zoo, he pulled out a ring and got down on one knee. Little did I know he had been planning the trip since January, and both of our families were in on it. I couldn’t believe my Mum had been able to keep it a secret!

We put any wedding planning on hold and just enjoyed the bliss of being newly engaged and the excitement of becoming parents. After the longest nine months, our beautiful daughter, Aimee, was born. As any new parent knows, the first few months of parenthood are so special, but very busy and very tiring. So wedding planning hadn’t really crossed our minds until we heard that the Clanard Court Hotel in Athy were having a wedding showcase.

As soon as we walked into the Clanard Court, we were blown away, we got such a special feeling. The hotel is beautiful; the fireplace in the hotel lobby, the floor-to-ceiling windows in the ballroom that overlook the gardens, the chandeliers. There is such character and attention to detail. Not only that, but all of the staff are amazing, they are so family orientated, which was so important to us. We booked our date right away that day. We both knew that no other hotel would match up to the feeling we got when we walked in. I dealt with Claire with most of the details in the lead-up to the wedding, and I honestly felt I could email or call her about anything. She helped make our experience so brilliant, she is one in a million!

I didn’t plan to get my dress on the day I did. My mum, Aimee, and I went along to the Ballsbridge Hotel as they had a wedding dress sample sale. I thought it would be a good place to start trying dresses, but didn’t really plan to actually buy one that day. As soon as I saw my dress on the rail I knew it was ‘the dress’, and when I tried it on, Mum and I looked at each other and cried! To top it all off, Aimee started clapping!

My dress was Blush by Hayley Paige from Padanee Bridal, and C&M Bridal in Clane did all the alterations. The ladies there made me fall even more in love with my dress. I had my friend, Niamh, as my maid of honour and my two friends, Yvonne and Katie, as my bridesmaids. We bought their multiway dresses online after shopping around, and Aimee’s flower-girl dress was from Debenhams. Rob had his brother, Karl, as his best man, and his brother, Ian, and friend Damien as his groomsmen. We hired their kilts, along with both Dads’, my brother’s and our pageboy’s kilts, from Debenhams, and I have to say they all looked so handsome.

The lead-up to the wedding was so surreal, but as soon as family started arriving from Scotland, Australia, and England, it really started to feel real. Rob and I spent the night before the wedding in our parents’ houses, and Rob delivered a lovely present the night before which had me in tears.

The morning of the wedding was so relaxed, and I was surprisingly calm, which was probably helped by the fact the weather was lovely, and Aimee was running around making everyone laugh. Our hair and makeup were done by two very talented ladies, Amy Doherty of Makeup by AmyD and Emma Jane Cullen from Emma Jane Hair Studio in Clane. We were all thrilled, and our hair and makeup lasted all day. Our flowers were from Flowerz by Amanda in Clane and they were breath-taking. I had a very exact image of what I wanted, and Amanda went above and beyond.

We were joined throughout the day by Gary from Gary Kavanagh Photography as our photographer and videographer. As soon as we saw his work, we knew he would capture the magic of our day perfectly. Not only is he a talented photographer, he put us at ease straight away and is such a great guy.

The drive down to the hotel with Dad was really special, it was lovely to spend some time as just the two of us. Typically, even though we left on time, we got stuck in traffic, and were around 15 minutes late. To say I was panicking was an understatement.

Caroline Behan, a friend of ours, sang as my Dad and I walked down the aisle. It was such a special moment for me, seeing Rob looking very emotional, holding Aimee, waiting for me. The ceremony was officiated by Vincent Whelan from Spiritual Ceremonies, and he did a great job of personalising the ceremony to us as a family. We had a beautiful sand ceremony for the three of us, as Aimee is obviously such a huge part of our story.

We had our photos taken in the hotel and my horse, Clover, came down to get in a few photos. It felt very fitting that he should be there, since we met through horses.

Rob and I had a chance to look at the reception room and it was out of this world. The attention to detail was second to none, added to by Rob and Damien’s handmade horseshoe table numbers and table plan. The speeches were before the meal as Rob was so nervous. We had my Dad, Rob’s Dad, Rob (who was amazing despite being so nervous) and the best man, Karl.

The food at the Clanard Court is outstanding, we couldn’t compliment it more. Everyone commented on how delicious it was, and everyone’s tastes were catered for. The service was also amazing and Liam, the General Manager, made sure everything ran smoothly.

Our band was 4till6 and they had everyone from grandparents to kids on the dance floor all night. We had our first dance, followed by a special Father-Daughter dance, which somehow ended with Rob slow dancing with my Dad, which was hilarious!

The day was everything we could have possibly imagined and more. The perfect start to our happily ever after.

Photography by: Gary Kavanagh Photography

www.garykavanagh.ie Tel: 089 485 4270

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