If there’s one thing the Irish know, it’s how the throw a good party and this was the exact criteria for Ana and Ricky’s humanist wedding. Held on the Liss Ard Estate in County Cork, they wanted a colourful day that celebrated them, but that was also really fun for all their guests.
“My family is half Colombian and we wanted to celebrate the mixing of cultures in our wedding so we decided to have a wedding with a Latin theme”, explained Ana. “Both being fans of bright colours, we hoped our special day would reflect our gregarious personalities and loving relationship. We are definitely more spiritual than religious, so we took a lot of inspiration from traditional folk celebrations such as the Mexican Day of the Dead as well as the decorative religious imagery found in catholic churches around Latin America.”
“We wanted an event that was unconventional, joyful and exuberant, in contrast to the muted and restrained style of weddings traditionally held in the UK and Ireland, but with a touch of the vintage glamour we both love. Our priorities were for their guests to relax and have fun, and for everyone to be pleasantly surprised with the originality and creativity that had gone into planning the day.”
“Being an artist, I was keen to do as much of the design and creation of the wedding as possible myself”, she continued. “How often do you get free rein on such a fun project? From developing the initial concept for how the event would look and feel, I sourced the materials for decorating the marquee and made lots of the paper flowers myself. I designed the wedding rings and made all the stationery, as well as choreographing the ceremony. It was a bit stressful towards the end as I was still designing the order of service booklets the day before and my poor family ended up having to finish the printing and assembly of them for me, all of which was done at their home the night before and morning of the wedding!”
“Although her fee was actually very reasonable, we hadn’t initially planned on getting a professional photographer for our wedding as we wanted to keep costs down”, Ana explained when I asked her about their budget. “But I was persuaded by my sister, Rosa, who did my hair and make up on the day. As someone who works at a lot of weddings, she convinced me of the value of having someone there who would really capture the emotions of the day and give us a lasting memory of the event that we had worked so hard to realise. Once I saw the pictures I realised it was worth every penny and more! Magda‘s photos are all we really have to remember the day by and she immortalised it beautifully for us.”
The bride wore a handmade dress with vintage roper boots from Etsy. Her jewellery was also all handmade and in her hair she wore real flowers. “I absolutely loved my dress, which was handmade by the talented Alice Halliday, from recycled vintage textiles”, she continued. “The skirt started off life as a tablecloth and the top as a collection of lace mats from a charity shop! She cleverly tailored these into a stunning bespoke gown with a removable train that meant I could wear it all day and even dance into the night! It cost a fraction of what most wedding dresses do and I loved knowing that it was totally unique and made specially for me.”
“If I was able to go back and change anything I would have made sure the ceremony was planned earlier on and maybe asked somebody to help me choreograph and rehearse it”, she concluded. “The vision was quite ambitious; a humanist ceremony with a three-part structure including a handfasting in an ancient ring fort and exchanging vows by the side of a pond, surrounded by trees and at the whim of the temperamental Irish weather, complete with live musical accompaniment. It was slightly chaotic and we hadn’t learnt our lines so we ended up reading them off the celebrant’s script, which was definitely a bit stressful! But it all worked out in the end and was even more funny and moving than we’d hoped.”