Suzanne & John Were Married in the Garryvoe Hotel on Saturday, 28th April 2018
John and I met almost six years ago in our local pub, Kelly’s in Cobh. John asked me was my name Jacob? I looked at him puzzled and he replied, “’cause you’re a cracker!” It was so bad it was hilarious and, with that, we hit it off. The following weekend, we went on our first date which was a social meet-up again down in Kelly’s, the scene of the crime.
As John is in the Merchant Navy, he was heading back to sea two weeks after we met.
At the end of our first year together, we travelled to Asia for four months which was a brave move as we both knew this would make us or break us and, thankfully, it made us. The following year, in October, John qualified as a Master Mariner. To celebrate, along with a birthday present to me, John brought me to Paris. Everyone believed he was going to propose but, instead of coming home with a ring on my finger, we came home with the news of me being pregnant. Our son, Sam, was born in July 2015 – he changed everything, and we were truly bonded as a family.
On Christmas morning the three of us woke up excited and eager to get down stairs to see what Santa brought Sam, not realising what awaited me. John and Sam both handed me a letter which was from Sam, asking if I would marry his Daddy. I couldn’t believe it; I said yes and then, in complete shock, also said thank you.
Early January, I contacted Garryvoe Hotel. It was the first on the list and every venue after was amazing in its own right, but Garryvoe Hotel had what we wanted, it was just in a class of its own. When we arrived at Garryvoe Hotel all I could say was ‘wow’ the location is just breathtaking, right on the beach over looking Ballycotton lighthouse. We entered the hotel and were greeted by the very lovely Stephen Belton who gave us the grand tour. That was it, my mind was already made up and, of course, John went with whatever I wanted as he said throughout the build-up, “This is your day, darling”.
The location is just breathtaking, right on the beach overlooking Ballycotton lighthouse
Shopping for my dress was far easier than I imagined. There was a bridal sample sale on in the Castlemartyr Resort. My dress was spotted by Kate, one of my bridesmaids, who made me try it on. It didn’t jump out at me, to be honest, but when I tried it on it was like it was made for me, it ﬁt like a glove and I felt just amazing. Both Annie and Kate shed a tear, it was the one. It was art couture by Gemy Maalouf
I had four bridesmaids, Annemaire Davidson, Rebecca Keaney, Kate Higgins – all lifelong friends – and Emma Alcock, John’s sister, and a fantastic addition to my life not only as a friend but now a sister.
I got the girls’ dresses from Ci Ci Boutique in Clonakilty. I was looking for something a bit different and fell in love with the dresses as did the girls, to my delight. John wore his uniform and the groomsmen looked very dapper.
John and I chose to get married in the Star of the Sea church in Ballycotton. It was a bit odd for some people to grasp as neither of us are from Ballycotton or the surrounding area, but as soon as you saw this church. you would understand. It is so beautiful, situated on a cliff, overlooking the bay. It is just the perfect size and with so much natural light cascading through the stained glass, it’s stunning. Our celebrant was Fr. Des Champion, the Naval Chaplain, and a solid figure throughout my life. I made my First Communion, Confirmation and had Sam baptised by Des; it was only right that he was our celebrant.
The night before the wedding, my mother, the bridesmaids, Sam, and I stayed in the Garryvoe Hotel. We got two conjoined family rooms. I think this was the best decision as it was so relaxing and took all the pressure off. We had food in the bistro that evening, which was delicious. Aidan, the General Manager, found out that Sam had a fascination with washing machines and so brought him along with his aunt, Emma, to the laundry room. Sam was ecstatic. The staff were so attentive to Sam,which was so touching. At any point when he wanted to go to see the washing machines, he was given free rein. It’s the small personal touches that stick and leave a lasting impression.
The morning of the wedding, I awoke to a bright beautiful sky. We ordered room service. I think everything on the breakfast menu was ordered. I had the very talented Emma Fleming looking after hair and had two make-up artists tending to the bridal party – one was Debbie Hayes, who made the girls absolutely stunning, and the second was my sister-in-law, Laura. The very talented Amy Frahill, creator of Amy Frahill Photography, captured us in our most natural of poses. Amy is very calming and makes you feel at ease immediately. She had us in ﬁts of laughter throughout the day and made the most camera-shy come out of their shell.
We arrived in an old school style VW camper van at the church, which is only a short distance from the Garryvoe Hotel. My father and I arrived to the beautiful sound of Nella Fantasia played on piano by a good friend, Dominic Finn, and accompanied by the beautiful vocalist, Caroline Fraher. The ceremony was beautiful and funny; Fr. Des, in good old Des fashion, roared up in his car two minutes before my father and I arrived. He got the venue wrong and went to the wrong church first. He explained this to our guests who all thought this was hilarious but poor John was in a heap. Thankfully, Des has a great manner and a way of making people feel at ease.
After the ceremony, John and I went to the viewing point of the lighthouse for photos and then followed our guests back to the hotel. We were welcomed with a red carpet and champagne. Our guests enjoyed the most beautiful canapés and a Prosecco and rum reception while listening to the musical duet, Romanza, in the stunning library. The weather was glorious – it was only right that we took the opportunity to use what the Garryvoe Hotel had right on its doorstep. Literally out the front door is the most stunning sandy beach.
The evening was amazing and the food was superb along with the service. Later, we danced away to the band, The Phoenix, who kept the floor full all night. The bridal suite in the Garryvoe Hotel has to be the best in Ireland! We awoke as Mr and Mrs to a bottle of champagne, fresh fruit and warm pastries which we enjoyed on the balcony overlooking the beach and Bay.
The following Monday, we flew off to Barcelona, just the two of us. It was the most relaxing four days I think we have ever had.
Photography by Amy Frahill Photography