A Wild Atlantic, Harbour Wedding With Celtic Charm: Anita & Martin
Photography lovers will be captivated by this wild atlantic wedding with heaps of Celtic charm. It took place in Fenit, Ireland; a harbour village that sits just outside of Tralee, County Kerry.
Wedding photographer Martin Cahill and his florist wife Anita had an intimate, destination wedding captured by Nordica Photography.
Words by Martin. Images by Nordica Photography.
Every wedding day is a unique and personal occasion, and like all engaged couples we had those many conversations in our local pub wondering what we might do for our own day. Anita (The Bride) is a part-time wedding florist and Martin (The Groom) a full-time wedding photographer, so we were fortunate to have experienced a variety of different wedding days .
If this experience had taught us anything it was only this: that we wanted to keep the day true to ourselves, our characters, our normal way of life, everything we understand, everything we love and identify with. And more important than this, we simply wanted to be married. To be already married and to start that way of life together.
We spoke about having a large wedding. Filling a church to the rafters and throwing a party to end all parties. A ‘go for’ it philosophy, but the more we talked this through the more we felt it didn’t really work for us; we are a couple that tends to shy away from the limelight.
And then we went on holiday, to a place we go every year – Fenit, Ireland; a harbour village that sits just outside of Tralee, County Kerry. We love everything about the place – the setting, the beaches, the mountains, and the welcome given by the local people. It has a magical quality. It is the best place to disconnect from the modern world and to reconnect with everything that is real.
One Sunday evening we headed to The West End Bar & Restaurant. There is honestly no finer place to eat in the world. We then took a seat in the snug where the Guinness began to flow. As the sun blazed through the window, Spailpin, a local Irish band, fired up their instruments and began to play our favourite Irish songs. At that moment we looked at each other and said – “Let’s get married here!!”.
Everything about the day was designed in that very moment – the harbour setting, our favourite restaurant & bar, the church at the top of the hill, and the band. In only six months we would bring our closest friends & family to a place that means so much to us both. A week to jump in the ocean, to go fishing, to breathe the air, and to get married.
Inspired by the location, we watched some of our favourite Irish films – ‘The Quiet Man’ & ‘Ryan’s Daughters’. Ryan’s Daughter itself was shot in the same area and on the same beaches. A beautifully photographed film it immediately got me thinking about Nordica Photography.
I had always been struck at how they put great photography first, their love for a story beautifully told and all within an emotional context – the sky, the land, the weather, the people and the music. Not only that, but without fail they would capture all of this in one single image. The entire story in one timeless shot. The one image that would sit proudly on your wall for the rest of your life. To a photographer who manages thousands of pictures every day, the idea of one timeless shot spoke to me.
The other priority was Wedding Flowers, and we felt blessed to meet Leona of Every Occassion Florist. Leona had all the enthusiasm and love for floristry that Anita has, and she understood that we were inspired by the backdrop of the Wild Atlantic Way. Anita actually cried when she saw the flowers delivered on the morning of the wedding. They were spectacular and many locals in the village visited the church just to see them.
Once we had confirmed the flowers & photography, everything else fell into place. The church could not have been more welcoming. The West End Restaurant designed a menu for the day that reflected everything we love and also the best of the area, from fresh seafood to beautiful steaks. The perfect accompaniment to a pint of Guinness! The village also connected us to all the wedding suppliers in the area, each of them bringing their own professionalism and character to the week and day.
Outside of dedicated suppliers, we wanted to create an opportunity where all our guests could contribute their own unique talents. From family singing in church, to friends playing on the banjo into the early hours, hand-made decorations, and artwork by Anita’s Sister – Lissie Cowley. It all added to the personal atmosphere of the day.
The nature of the day was probably captured best by one of the local fisherman who dropped into the bar for a quiet pint and to hear the band. Five hours and many more pints later, he asked to take a piece of wedding cake home because he didn’t think his wife would believe for a moment that he had been at a wedding. He kindly wrote in the wedding book – “The best wedding I have ever been to … And I wasn’t even invited!”
One moment that stood out for everyone was Anita’s Sister singing in church. The sound of the piano, violin and Lissie’s voice combined to create a sound that seemed to flow from the ocean and mountains themselves. The emotion echoing through the rafters and reducing the room to a sea of tears. In that very instant our world stood still and we were married.
Anita loves her new mini so we took the car to Ireland and her Dad drove to her church. As the service happened one of the guests decorated the car in spray paint, ribbons and Guinness cans. Anita’s face as she exited the church was priceless.
Our reception decor consisted of… hand-made jars, containers, decorated with lace, ribbon, beads & buttons and each individually decorated, crocheted bunting by Anita’s good friend, polaroids from our guests own wedding days hanging from the wall, and decorative frames around the edges of the wedding breakfast, lucky horse-shoe with hand-painted silk scarf and Irish clovers, a hand-draw seating plan, floral hearts on the window and candles in wine bottles.
Wedding favours were hand-decorated Slate Hearts with their name scribed on the front.
If you could impart any words of wisdom to a future brides planning their wedding day, what would they be?
Only that it is your day. Everything beyond signing the register is open to your creativity, personality and story. Stay true to you.
What a wonderfully evocative wedding day! Loving it’s wild atlantic vibe.
wedding credits / photographer: nordica photography & jim from jim pollard goes click / wedding venue: the west end / brides dress: love bridal boutique / hair & makeup: trica o’sullivan at monster mobile hairdressing & kathryn o’neill makeup artist / florist: every occasion florist / band: spailpin / music: kerry school of music