R&R at Ashford Lodge

Ruth & Ross

Photography by the very lovely Moathill Photography

Dear Simone,

I’m not sure how to start this email without getting overwhelmed. Last Saturday was the most beautiful day of my life & you were an instrumental part of making it so.

We told you that we first saw you at our friend’s wedding last Spring & commented on how beautiful you made the ceremony. We thought you knew the boys! It was so touching and personal.

And then we met you for our wedding. Simone, you treated us like we were the most important couple that you had ever met. Like ours was the only ceremony you would ever perform. Like fulfilling our dream meant fulfilling yours.

I’m overwhelmed by each and every personal touch. From the remembrance candles to the vows and ribbons, to how you weaved what we told you about the people in our ceremony, to how you told our story, to how you carefully minded our kids, it was all so simply beautiful and unique. Thank you.

And to then get the gift of the ribbons & the cert the next morning, blew me away.

Thank you again Simone. My favourite decision was choosing you to be our celebrant.

With the warmest regards & love, R&R. X X

Continue reading

Wedding Day Nerves and How to Beat Them

I attended the launch of Marie Forleo’s new book ‘Everything is Figureoutable’. Marie posed the question, ‘do we misinterpret nerves and fear?’  Is the feeling of butterflies in our tummy, sweaty palms, and dry mouth symptoms of nerves? Or is it excitement?  Bruce Springsteen once said he has these very symptoms before going on stage. Bruce does not associate these feelings with fear, instead, he knows it’s his body telling him he is ready to ROCK! Continue reading

A barn, a snowstorm, and freezing temperatures: a perfect wedding in Ontario, Canada.

Waterstone Estates was the setting for Kyle and Holly’s November wedding celebrations!  It was one degree Celsius and two days after a snowstorm.  YES, it was stunningly beautiful.  YES, I had the most wonderful time, and YES it was FREEZING! It was one of the most special ceremonies I have ever delivered and the memories will stay in my heart forever.

Here is a little sneak peek of their beautiful day! Continue reading

Ceremony Photography: Should guests take photos during your ceremony?

I am really happy to talk about the subject of guests taking photos during a wedding ceremony, and if all photography rights should be exclusive to your photographer.  In the planning stages of a ceremony, I give couples the option of me asking guests not to take photos and not to post images to social media.  What do couples decide? The answer is a mixed bag, but most often its ‘leave it to the photographer’.

I recently delivered a ceremony, where the bride and her little girl, together with the bride’s dad entered the ceremony room to walk up the aisle. Naturally, the little one was a bit stunned but soon settled, and began to dance to the processional music. Yes, this was an adorable moment. BUT what hit me like a bomb was, the groom/dad could not see what was happening because the guests had taken over the aisle with their camera phones to record the moment. In truth, not one person with their phone out realised what the groom was missing.

Since that day, when couples say it’s OK for guest to take photos, I explicitly request guests not to lean into the aisle.  The photographer always thanks me. Remember, on a wedding day, the celebrant, photographer, musician, florist etc are all one big team that is hired to do their job, work together and get things right!

I was curious to know what a wedding photographer thought on the subject.  Thomas Stewart, a world-leading wedding photographer,  is well known for his very clear message (all 26,000 words) about having an unplugged wedding and of course his famous photo seen below. (With kind permission from Thomas)

Stewart Thomas Image

Another explanation on the impact of guest photography during your ceremony comes from Jenna Kutcher, an esteemed US wedding photographer (retired…a young woman who went on to do other great things).  Jenna has very kindly given permission for me to share her views with you. It’s a long read, but hang in there, its worth it <3.

Courtesy of Jenna Kutcher

Hey sweet friend,

I’ve been wanting to write to you for awhile. The thing is, our paths only seem to cross on the weekends and while Saturday strikes and I think of the words I’d love to deliver to you, I forget throughout the week and fail to reach you… until now. Here’s the thing, I have so much to say to you, but I’m never quite sure how to deliver it, because I see you and I know your intentions are pure. So first, just listen to my side, maybe you’ll rethink grabbing out your iPhone or packing your DSLR for the next time you get to witness a precious round of “I dos!” As our generation becomes the most photographed generation on the planet, we have become obsessed with documenting everything: from the minute we wake up to what we eat for dinner. Our lives are shared with the world and while it’s a joy – it’s also become a big problem.

You might not know it, but I’m always looking for you at my weddings. You blend in so well, try to appear inconspicuous, but as I start at the front looking into the crowd, I am trying to pinpoint your whereabouts and plan how I can work around you. Wait, you didn’t realize that what you do impacts me? It does. So while you’re positioning yourself in an aisle seat and clinging to that camera before the bride rounds the corner, I am coming up with action plans in my head. Here’s what you don’t realize: as the professional photographer, we are given guidelines. We can’t use flash, we need to stay put and out of the way, and we must remain discreet while delivering the BEST photos to our clients. So I am sure you can imagine the shock when you’re flashbulbs go off and suddenly our settings are wonky because we had no clue you were ready to strike.

I’ve watched mothers miss their daughters walking down the aisle, I’ve seen grandma’s hiding behind the glowing screen of an iPad, and I’ve witnessed so many moments that were missed simply because someone was scrolling through their camera roll to check out “the shot.” I don’t know everything, but here are a few things I do know: you, my friend, were invited as an honored guest. The couple didn’t invite you out of obligation or because you know how to use Instagram, they genuinely wanted your presence at their day. Whether you’re their college bestie, you used to babysit them and you have horror stories, or you’re their next door neighbor – I’d like to bet that they would far rather see your smiling face than what iPhone you have. So while you’re doing your best to document that precious aisle moment that they’ve probably been dreaming of for months (even years) their professional photos (the ones they will probably hang in their home) will not be of your sweet face but of your phone screen and determined look as you try to nail a Facebook worthy photo – which, let’s be honest, your photos probably aren’t turning out that great anyway.

When I am hired to do my job, my couples are investing in me and trusting me. Trust isn’t something I choose to take lightly so I will go to the ends of the earth to deliver them the photos they’ve been dreaming of. I can tell you a few things:  they didn’t dream of looking out into the aisle and seeing you (and ten of your posse) leaning in and holding out your phone in an attempt to be “discreet” and they definitely didn’t envision professional photos with all sorts of screens glowing in the background. When I see you, I feel a little sad, because here I am, a workhorse ready for battle and there you are throwing away an opportunity to be fully present for the very people who requested your presence.

What I don’t want you to hear is this: I am not a bitter photographer who is worried about you stealing my job, not in the least. In fact, I respect your desire to help remember the day! That being said, I think there is a time and place for your documentation (and it might not be in a dimly lit church with a captive audience!) I know my couples love seeing your images, I want you to be in them, but here’s what I would prefer to avoid: I don’t want to trip over you as you crouch in the aisle, I get distracted with you shooting over my shoulder, and I hate having to figure out how to creatively crop you out of the photos because you’re staring at your phone during precious moments. In fact, I am so set on seeing your face I make sure that my clients are given the opportunity to share their photos with their guests, so that not only can you live the day in the present, you can also relive those moments you were a part of for years to come.

So next time you’re inching towards the aisle or your point and shoot is ready to fire, I dare you to just sit back and relax. I was hired to document the day and I take that position seriously, so seriously, I might smile at you (but deep down I am willing you to simply enjoy being a guest!) My clients will thank you, I will thank you, and the photos that you get to be a part of will be a part of their legacy long after your blurry iPhones have been buried in the feeds of Facebook! Let’s not forget about what it means to be a witness to vows!

Let your presence be their present.

Love,

The Professional Photographer Hired to Do Her Job

Couples pay a lot of hard-earned money to hire the best photographers, and it’s not ok for the photographer to compete with your guests to do their job!  What would it be like if a guest came to the front of the room and read their own random text alongside mine?  Or if they popped into the kitchen and started putting a salad together…they would be booted out pronto!! So why is it acceptable for your photographer?  Not the same thing?  The conversation is happening over on Instagram, and I would love to hear your thoughts!

Want to stay connected? Follow along on Instagram / Facebook / Twitter  / Pinterest

 

 

 

 

Claire and Patrick

I first met Claire, a leading Irish wedding photographer, when we worked together on a surprise vow renewal ceremony, held at the lakeshore in Glendalough.  So, I was very honored when she asked me to be the celebrant for her and Patricks wedding.

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Courtesy of Paula O’Hara – Wedding Photographer 

 

Having seen Simone working before, I immediately knew I would love to have her at my own wedding too. When planning ours, our main concern for the ceremony was that it would be personalised to us and intimate. Simone worked with us to achieve exactly that and went above and beyond our expectations every step of the way. She thought of every detail to incorporate our loved ones and each ceremony element she helped us choose reflected us completely, including having our dog involved in the ceremony! Simone’s manner is kind and compassionate and she is deeply committed to achieving her client’s desires. Many of our guests also commented on her warm and friendly disposition throughout the ceremony. We are so thrilled to have had Simone deliver our ceremony and couldn’t recommend her more highly – Claire and Patrick

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Courtesy of Paula O’Hara 

Claire and Patrick’s wedding was elegant and timeless.  It was also the first time I worked with a ring bearer who was a (all be it gorgeous) golden retreiver! She was as good as gold. A last-minute decision to hold the ceremony inside turned out to be the right one, as it poured rain a few minutes in! I have such beautiful memories of Claire and Patrick’s day, and feel privileged to have been part of it <3

For fine art wedding photography contact Claire at Studio Brown 

Want to stay connected? Follow along on Instagram / Facebook / Twitter  / Pinterest

Style & Sophistication: Aoife and Robie

Aoife and Robie celebrated their ceremony in the beautiful Trudder Lodge, a period House in Newcastle, Co. Wicklow.

Heavy rain showers had no impact on the style, elegance and excitement of the day!  I was the very lucky celebrant who was chosen to create Aoife and Robie’s wedding ceremony and I loved every minute of it!

The ancient Scottish tradition of handfasting was a very special moment, when Aoife and Robie made joint promises for their married life ahead.  Following this they shared their peronal promises for each other.  Their marriage was sealed with the giving and receiving of a ring and New Zealand Jade.

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They also secured love lettters in a wine box ceremony, that is waiting to be opening on their first anniversary!

I wanted to say thank you so much for your wonderful, personal ceremony on May 27th. Everyone raved about you and the ceremony. It was so unexpected for most people that I think they were genuinely entertained. The main comment was how personal and romantic the entire thing was.

Robie and I said from the start that you were our star supplier for the day. We knew once we met you that you were the perfect addition to our day. You guided us through it with such grace and determination that I honestly cannot imagine doing the day without you.

The one thing I really wanted to make sure is that we felt the ceremony, took it slowly and enjoyed it. I can honestly say that we did and it remains my favourite part of the day.

Aoife and Robie

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If you would like to have a chat about planning your wedding ceremony, please feel free to give me a call on +353 877813594 or send an email to hello@thecivilcelebrant.ie

I look forward to hearing from you!