It has been an incredibly difficult six months holding off publishing today’s wedding but the moment we laid eyes on it in BASH magazine in Ireland, well… we knew it had been worth the wait! Regular readers of Fly Away Bride will recognize today’s couple immediately as the lovely Alex and Lisa from 2People1Life. Alex and Lisa are on a trip of a lifetime around the world and have committed to getting married in every country that they visit… all according to local customs and traditions! Back in April, they graced the emerald isle for their 41st wedding and we were so thrilled to be a part of their Irish wedding day, one that was based on old Irish wedding traditions and customs. We pulled together an inspiring team of Irish creatives to give them an Irish wedding that they wouldn’t forget and today, we are beyond thrilled and excited to share it with you!

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Tomorrow we will be featuring the second part of this wedding and we will endeavor to explain some of the background to the celebration’s style, but for today – Lisa is going to walk you through wedding number 41 in Doonbeg, Co. Clare.

“I had a little bit of a woolly head in the morning from the wine and the late night but I was just so excited it wasn’t going to slow me down. PLUS…the SUN was shining! The Child of Prague had pulled out all the stops! Jill, you are a legend!

I grabbed a shower and everyone went over to the lodge for breakfast, a good start to a wedding day. I went downstairs in my dressing gown to find Sam still decorating flower petals! I had seen her go to bed so I knew she had had SOME sleep but it cant have been much! I made us coffee and toast and finally dragged Alex out of bed…it was time to get our wedding on!

Audrey and Kathryn took me over to a room in the main lodge to get ready, I wasn’t going to see Alex until the ceremony and I was as nervous as I always am when I have to leave him… sounds ridiculous BUT we do live side by side in a van 24/7!

The house was absolutely beautiful, gorgeous furnishings and with a great view of the famous golf course. I was seated in the window to have my face massaged and prepared to perfection by Kathryn and then I was put in Audrey’s chair for her to transform me into a true Irish beauty! Audrey was giving me hair extensions for the day!

She fastened the new hair to my very short hair and somehow made it look like it belonged to me! The colour match was perfect and I immediately wanted to keep it! She braided it into a messy fishtail plait (as only the professionals can) and sent me off to Kathryn again who made me look decidedly cherubic. I didn’t want to see until I was completely ready! We chattered about anything and everything as they prepared me to say ‘I do’ to Alex for the 41st time.

Lindsay was busy in another house with Alex choosing clothes for him and when she came back she said one of the most Irish things I have ever heard and I was SO pleased to hear it with my own ears…she said…” You’re a vision so you are” …THAT made my day!

 

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Kate and Sean arrived from Poppies and Me as it was time for me to get dressed. I felt like I had known Kate forever after our tweet-offs and was so pleased to meet them both! We went to get dressed and got some shots as we laughed and joked about getting INTO the water after the wedding… and then I got my flower crown! Jill had made the most amazing flower headband that I could almost have died, full of hellebors, purple bell flower things and olive but sadly the colours were JUST off with the dress which was a seafoam green. Jill was such a whizz that she just whipped up another one in no time in just plain olive branch and it was perfection!

I pulled on my newly embellished cardigan (thanks Lindsay) and a pair of leggings to keep me warm and we were ready to rock this Irish wedding!

We drove down to the blustery beach in Sean and Kates landrover (As much Seans baby as Peggy is Alex’s) and we rallyed over rocky, wet sand…Sean of course was in his element and I bagsied the drive back.

I could see Alex standing waiting for me in the distance at the water’s edge and my heart leapt. Two fire pits were burning and Alex and Dara were warming their hands by the flames.

Dara Molloy, Irelands’ best known Celtic Priest, had readily accepted his invite to hold a Celtic spiritual ceremony for us and we were intrigued to see yet another incredibly different ceremony.

Alex was turned away from me so that he couldn’t see me approaching him… thank goodness as I had to hitch up my dress to stop it trailing in the sand and I had my silly green pumps (flat shoes to all you Americans out there) on which did not match in ANY way but it was too cold to go barefoot.

He turned around at the last moment and I worried he wouldn’t recognise me with my long hair and angelic face!!! (wink wink) Of course he recognised me and gave me a huge kiss and a hug and pulled me close to him.

Dara started the Celtic ceremony which like the druid ceremony in Wales was very touching and all to do with nature and the power in ourselves to be together as one.

Dara blessed us with the four elements (earth, air, fire, water), the classic requirements for the existence of life on this planet. In this sense, we are being blessed with them all the time. He used symbols for each of them: peat (turf) for earth, an eagle’s feather for air, a long match for fire, and water from a holy well.

Dara explains the blessings.

“The blessing of the earth was a blessing on your life’s journey as a couple, and I blessed our feet with the peat.”

“The blessing of the air was for your inner lives (invisible like the air) and especially for the quality of your communication with one another. I fanned your faces with the feather.”

“The blessing of the fire was for your love that it would stay burning brightly like the sun and I also blessed all the fires within you … you interests, passions, ambitions, dreams. I lit a match above your heads.”

“The blessing of water was a prayer that you would always have a strong community to surround and support you, the way water surrounds Ireland. I asked you to think of all your family and friends and I sprinkled the water around you to bless them.”

At this point I was in floods of tears. The thought that our families were so close to us right now was such an emotional draw and during the blessing for our families I wished so much that they were there with us.

At the end of the ceremony, Dara blessed our relationship with oil for health and with sacred water for protection.  He explains “Your relationship is something living and so it needs to be minded and looked after in order to remain healthy. I put the oil on your joined hands, making the sign of a Celtic cross.”

The Celtic cross is an ancient pre-Christian symbol, with the circle representing the sun and the cross in the middle representing the four directions. It was carved on the sacred trees of the druids to protect them from being used for firewood. It is therefore a sign of sacredness and protection.

Dara continues “With the sacred water (from the holy well of St Ciaran on Inis Mor) I circled you a few times sprinkling the water around you. This was a circle of protection to mind your lives and your marriage. As I went around, I prayed that your lives would be surrounded with Love, Truth and Beauty and be filled with the fruits of the spirit: joy, peace, patience, kindness, loyalty, trustworthiness, gentleness, generosity, compassion, tolerance, forgiveness.”

Then we tied the knot. The tying of the knot (handfasting) is one of the seven ways in which people were married in ancient Ireland. Dara explained more about the history of this tradition. “The first level of marriage was if two people had sexual intercourse. This in Brehon Law carried certain responsibilities. The seventh level of marriage was when a person of the highest class married another person of the same class. In the middle was a handfasting ceremony, where two people could choose to be married for a year and a day. A sacred cord was used by a druid to tie the knot between them on their hands.”

Dara used a cord that is traditional to the Aran Islands to join our hands. It is called a ‘crios’, woven with wool normally in the family’s kitchen with a mixture of colours. The men wore these ‘crioses’ as a belt to hold up their home-made trousers (tweed).

There was not a dry eye on the beach as the ceremony came to a close. We all hugged and wiped away our tears talking of the beautiful blessings all the while shivering in the blustery wind. We all jumped back into cars to drive back to the lodge to eat cake and celebrate! I was too cold to drive (I think Sean was pleased) and he took us back to warm through and eat cake pops before we went to take a few pictures in the dunes around the beautiful Doonbeg lodge. We couldn’t thank Dara enough for such a beautiful and touching ceremony. I was an emotional wreck by this point and could barely talk without shedding a tear!

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We had soon warmed though and braved the chill again for pictures. The grounds of the lodge are just stunning. Vast expanses of green and golden grasses stretch out and end abruptly, dropping to the beach and frantic ocean, such an amazing back drop for truly inspiring wedding pictures!

We had a great laugh with Kate, Sean, Reuben and Ray while taking the shots and I absolutely rocked my hair, of course Alex looked amazing in his simple cardigan and tweed ensemble!

Once we were done we were all starved, we had all worked so hard and NEEDED food and the obligatory pint of Guinness to celebrate. There was one last thing to do before we ate… cut the cake!

I walked into the room and saw Sam’s masterpiece in the lodges stunning dining room! She had created such a beautiful thing! Huge icing anemones in perfect seafoam green (to match my dress) clung to the sides of the cake. It was stunning simplicity and just perfect! I hugged her close and with a few tears thanked her so hard! I had seen just SOME of the effort it had taken to make something so beautiful, the fact that Sam had come all of this way to spend her time with us and to make us this stunning cake was just overwhelming. I couldn’t believe that the day wasn’t a dream!

We had to cut it. I hated doing it! It was like destroying a work of art…but once it was done and we tasted the cake…oh my…I was so glad we had cut it! Perfectly moist choclatey sponge draped in the most incredible icing with a divine filling! We had died and gone to cloudberry cake heaven!

We took some pictures with the cake and then all hit the restaurant like a crowd of ravenous beasts! We ordered the incredible fish soup, steaks, burgers…just everything…we were all so hungry!

We had such a good laugh (known as a ‘good craic’ in Ireland) with everyone and more than a couple of glasses of wine! Before too long it was time for everyone to leave! I was an emotional wreck for this wedding. The ceremony was so touching and I loved it so much. I think my emotions were running high because of the gang. Everyone was so lovely and we had had the chance to hang out with everyone and gotten to know everyone individually a little bit. I loved Lindsay’s passion for weddings and travel, Jill just made me want to hug her and laugh constantly, we have a similar dry humour and the same dippy minds I think (hope you don’t mind me saying that Jill…I still laugh at ‘killed them alive’), Kate and Sean were a couple totally in love that we could TOTALLY hang out with ALL the time, Reuben was a lovely gem who also had passion abounds for travel and film and Kathryn was just the softest soul anyone could ever meet. Samantha was a woman after my own heart, loved delicate work, could spend hours with a paint brush mixing colours (just with icing rather than paint) and Audrey is just the bubbliest most in love with her family woman I have ever met (and she made me long hair!!!) Everyone was just so damn lovely and I never wanted to let them to go!

I literally sobbed as Jill got into the car to go. She pushed the child of Prague into my hand and told me to keep him. She also told me that he is better luck once his head falls off, though you can’t snap it off on purpose! That wont be a problem in Peggy! I just felt like if we had been staying around for good that I would have a best friend in Jill and I was sad she had to go. Audrey and Kathryn went next, Kathryn gave me a lovely red nail varnish and I promised to think of her each time I wore it. Reuben sped off in his little car, Samantha wasn’t far behind him, leaving her AMAZING cake behind her with us and that left us with Lindsay and her Mum and Aunt and Kate and Sean. We had a few more drinks and we had to let them go too!

Lindsay had pulled off so much for us it was untrue and we just cant thank her enough for all of her incredible hard work! It was such an amazing day and we couldn’t have asked for more. I doubt there is a more beautiful location in Ireland, Dara had been the perfect man for the ceremony and the team had been a bunch of amazing people. I was beside myself with joy. We waved as they left and had one more drink with Kate and Sean before they had to leave too! They came to see Peggy first, being a car enthusiast Sean wanted a look to compare notes with Alex. Kate and I just wanted to get a bit drunk on wine but it wasn’t happening that night! It will happen though…one day I know it!

So we waved them off as well and I was absolutely a wreck. I was overwhelmed with emotion at the whole day. The wedding, the people, the location, the fact that this was our last wedding near home and that meant we were leaving our families again within days. I sobbed into Alex’s shoulder and he helped me back to our room for a shower and to calm down.

For me it had been absolutely perfect. Everything about it and I didn’t ever want it to end.”

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Don’t forget that Alex and Lisa are also trying to raise both awareness and money for UNICEF and that by making a small donation to the charity through their registry www.thirtyweddings.com, you could be in with a chance of experiencing their final wedding ceremony first hand. Yes, 2People1Life have committed to flying out two lucky donators for an all expenses paid, front row seat at their last wedding location which will be in the country that they loved the most on their entire trip!

If you liked this, don’t forget to check out Part Two and the wedding video.

Couple; 2People1Life  | Photography; Poppies and Me | Planning; Fly Away Bride | Styling; House of Hannah | Videography; Show and Tell| Venue; The Lodge at Doonbeg | Celebrant; Dara Molloy | Flowers; http://wild.ie/ | Stationary; Farrell and Chase | Hair; Upstyle Junkie | Make Up; Kerry Make-Up Artist | Cakes; Cloudberry Bakery  | Menswear; Salingers and Miss Daisy Blue | Blue Wedding Dress; H&M

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