The best words I could use to describe the day are “perfect” and “magickal.”
I know that sounds so corny and cliché but it’s 100% accurate. It was Matt’s first introduction to anything Craft-related and he said he could understand why I’m into it.
My husband and I had originally planned on having a US wedding but Covid had other plans. After 2 years of rescheduling and cancelation after cancelation, we finally decided on an Ireland elopement and Olga was the first vendor we booked – I’ve been a fangirl of hers for years and frequent her blog to see what beautiful events she’s part of now.
Despite an unexpected last second scheduling snafu, Olga ( MrsRedhead Photography ) somehow managed to pack her gear and hop a ferry through a storm in record time to ensure that she was there for us. Absolutely mad that she was able to make that happen, it was an actual miracle. And oh my goddess am I ever so glad she did. I feel like I met a kindred spirit and true friend, and was very grateful to have her there with us. Her previous experience with the intimate ceremony performed by the incomparable Dara Molloy (the only other vendor that matters, tbh. They are the dream team) proved to be invaluable as she knew exactly where to be when and so was able to capture literally everything.
I just got the pictures yesterday. Speechless. After working in the photography industry for 10 years, I’ve seen THOUSANDS of wedding galleries. I knew what to expect with types of images and I knew what to expect in her quality of work. But I never really knew what to expect with the actual images, MY images. They don’t feel posed (even the posed ones!), they just feel like an accurate documentation of this wonderful whirlwind of a day. She perfectly captured every aspect, from the petting of the neighborhood cats during our Spar stop all the way through our island photo adventure. She even caught the runaway cows and the sassy horses! It truly was the perfect day and now we have these amazing images to walk us through it again and again. Tears of utter joy whilst combing through them. My only regret is that we didn’t get any pictures WITH Olga!
To anyone who may have read this far and is still wondering whether or not you should book her: YES, YOU SHOULD!
The energy was palpable. Aside from my sleepless, jetlagged, rough start to the day, from the beginning to end it was filled with absolute love and joy, and it was relaxed and go with the flow. We had no plans between the ceremony and the ferry back, and it ended up being the most incredible day filled with beauty and the most excellent company.
Ireland is full of sacred pagan sites, and I wasn’t sure which one would be the best – we had picked all our locations when we still thought we’d have family and friends with us.
I had wanted to provide our loved ones with an incredible, quintessentially Irish setting to show them why I am basically obsessed with Ireland. We had originally thought the Cliffs of Moher would be it, but then Dara suggested the ceremony on Inis Mor.
I had been leaning towards the Cliffs because I didn’t want to drag everyone to a remote island just so I could have a pagan ceremony, but Matt was the one who pushed for it. I had been to Inis Mor with my sister 10 years before, so I knew the landscape to be the kind of moody, green-gray, wind-whipped backdrop we wanted, the local history and lore is deep and vast, and the energy is profound. I certainly wasn’t complaining!
Location was initially our primary concern.
Neither of us wanted to get married in NJ, despite it being our home at the time and where a lot of our people were located. We wanted to give our guests a vacation experience they would cherish forever with some sort of incredible background. Fall is our favourite time of year and the time during which we cultivated our relationship, so we wanted to capitalize on that.
In terms of vendors, I worked in the professional photography industry for 10+ years while also moonlighting as a second shooter, so I’ve seen thousands of weddings and know how important a good photographer is. Thus the photographer was the absolute first vendor I researched and where we wanted to spend the bulk of our budget. When the wedding was going to be stateside, the photographer was going to be one of my old clients who did our engagement pics – she was outstanding. Thus, our elopement photographer had to be equally as good. Luckily for me, when Matt and I had first started talking Ireland wedding I had already been salivating over Olga’s work for years and she just so happened to not only be available but willing to accept our call to arms!
The second vendor priority for the ceremony was the celebrant (and ceremony itself). Matt isn’t religious but loves nature. My spiritual practice is based in Celtic Craft with some Norse influence, so we wanted a ceremony rooted in something more ancient and organic than your standard church verses or legal incantations. We always knew we wanted a handfasting but I dreamed of something more pointedly pagan. When I found Dara – through Olga’s blog – I knew he had to be the one.
Our final priority was food because we love to eat…which is why we chose West when we thought we were feeding a group but I’m so glad we didn’t change that when it became just us. It was such an interesting juxtaposition of the stark, humble beauty of the island followed by the utter luxury of our evening. If anyone is looking for a restaurant and/or hotel along the Wild Atlantic Way to enjoy a fabulous meal and eclectically cool stay, Twelve/West is it.
What made the day really special and personal to you?
For my “something borrowed” I wore rings from my 2 best friends since high school: a 1990s labradorite poison ring and a diamond shaped aquamarine. For my “something blue” I wore “grandmother turquoise”: the large turquoise ring had been Matt’s late maternal grandmother’s, and the copper and turquoise pin on my shawl had been my late paternal grandmother’s. I had another friend and fellow witch knit my shawl. When I was being blessed in the well, I could feel the energy from all these strong women there with me and it was utterly empowering.
My other jewelry was Viking-inspired – the necklace was an interpretation of Freya’s Brísingamen.
The oddest part was that I made absolutely nothing myself. I’m a maker and add hand-made touches to everything. When we were planning the original wedding, I had made all kind of decorations, hotel gift bags, wedding favours, etc. I did none of these for the elopement. Part of me is bummed about that because I would have liked to have a piece I made part of the day, but part of me is relieved. We were running the business, house hunting 1000 miles away from home, and under tremendous stress this past year. Adding the homemade touches would have been a great artistic release for me but would have added significantly to my stress levels (and therefore added to Matt’s!)
Where are you from/currently based:
Matt grew up in Wisconsin, I grew up in New Jersey. We just moved/are currently moving to Alabama.
Where do you work?
I was a graphic designer and Matt was a software engineer. But now we work together. He co-founded/co-owns a mechanical computer keyboard company. It took off in 2020 and has grown to the point where we both quit our day jobs this year to be able to keep up. So we work from home. Every day I respond to customer emails sitting on my couch with coffee and a cat in my lap and I always say “why would I ever want to go back to an office?!”
What’s your interests?
We’re both pretty hardcore nerds. He’s always been into competitive gaming (Diablo, World of Warcraft, Magic the Gathering) and loves sci-fi/fantasy. He’s also one of the most brilliant people I’ve ever met and somehow makes high level coding look easy. He’s also what is nerdily referred to as an “audiophile” and spends way too much time obsessing over speakers.
I’m a sword-fantasy/LOTR obsessed occasional bookworm, sometimes jewelry-maker, home cook, somewhat-practicing green/kitchen/Celtic witch and one of those annoying people who actually enjoys working out. We are both avid animal lovers with two cats named Taco and Bernie and love being outdoors (running, walking, hiking, camping, whatever). We’re extremely close with our families and share the same group of friends, with whom we spend as much time as possible (at least before our move) playing boardgames and cooking way too much food – our parties graduated from binge drinking in our 20s to binge eating in our 30s and 40s.
Oh yeah, Ben’s Settlers of Catan bachelor party from Parks and Rec would have been part of either of our bachelor/bachelorette parties, had we gotten to have one.
Dress: The Marie from Dreamers and Lovers (train removed for the terrain)
All other dresses felt like I was pretending to be someone else. This was the only one that felt like ME. Oh also: they have an at-home try-on program so if you can’t get to LA you can still try their dresses!
Suit and Shirt from Express
We waited until the last second to find Matt’s suit and they didn’t have his size so his pants are actually too big!
Ceremony: St Ciaran’s Well, Inis Mor
We stayed at The Twelve in Barna that night, dining at West Bridesmaids dresses/Groomsmen suits/Wedding party outfits: N/A
Liz: some old ass Frye ankle boots I bought 2nd hand so I could ruin them in the Irish October mud. These are very similar.
Matt: The Captain in Arizona Adobe from Thursday Boots
Celtic knot ring: https://aweinspired.com/products/love-knot-ring-sterling-silver
Lunula earrings: https://aweinspired.com/products/lunula-huggie-sterling-silver
- Flowers: the incredible Dara Molloy (from his personal garden! Be still, my heart!)
- Cars: also Rev Molloy. He’s full service, this one.
- Stationery: I designed the S-t-Ds, re-S-t-Ds, and cancelation/invites and had them printed through Moo.com. I should have brought some for pictures because they were really cool.
- Makeup: me! I used mostly colors from this awesome eco friendly and vegan company that I’m obsessed with https://ritueldefille.com/
- Hair: hahaha I did absolutely nothing except brush it, courtesy of my wedding day jitters + jetlag + never having learnt how to hair
Liz: Custom pear cut black tourmaline with platinum moon cycle setting by D’Antonio & Klein in Philadelphia – Matt designed it unbeknownst to me and he completely CRUSHED it
Magical Pagan Ceremony in Ireland , inis Mor Druid Handfasting Wedding by MrsRedhead
The Banshees of Inisherin