The clocks have changed and apparently it’s officially Springtime here. The days are beginning to stretch and the light lingers little longer in the evenings. We closed out last years weddings in the company of Michelle and Stephen whose celebrations carried them through midnight and into a New Year and a new phase in their life together. Hair and Makeup expertly managed by “Powder ‘n’ Pout” from Carndonagh, in a Maggie Sottero gown from “Beautiful Day Bridal Cottage” in Greysteel, County Derry, Michelle set off to St Michael’s in Urris as the grey skies filled with rain over Mamore Gap. Over the years, we’ve photographed a lot of weddings here, in fair weather and foul. Urris, as anyone who knows the area will tell you, sees some fairly severe conditions at times and this day was no exception. Still the guests laughed and joked with us as they rushed from their cars through the downpour to the shelter of this remote church, dismissive of the wild and windy day. Roof beams creaking in the wind did nothing to distract from the musical accompaniment to the ceremony by Maeve Ward with the service conducted with his usual warmth and humour by Fr. Brady. The service over, we set off to visit the home of Stephen’s Grandmother which lies at the foot of the road leading thought the Gap of Mamore.Later, despite the weather and, specifically at the request of Michelle, we headed up to The Gap. The strip fields below are a well known landmark in this area but more importantly this is where Stephen and his family are from, this is their place and part of who they are. It’s an appropriate background, but not just photographically. As dusk fell we moved on to The Ballyliffin Hotel, the wedding formalities all but over aside from the speeches, the wedding celebrations continued as the New Year rolled around.
The basic requirements for making a photograph are light and time. Those two elements, coupled with some sort sensitive surface be it digital or film based and you’re pretty much sorted. If however, as Shane & Kerry did, you set the date for December 30th, you can be pretty certain that light and time are going to be in fairly short supply here in Donegal. It has often been said, in the world of wedding planning, that the one element you can’t book in advance is the weather. Nonetheless, while the weather could have been kinder, it could certainly have been much worse, and Shane & Kerry seemed pretty unconcerned. The low, cool, blue winter light contrasted sharply with the warmth of St. Mary’s Church. Venturing into the cold once more even as dusk fell, Shane and Kerry were still determined to see through their plans to have their wedding photographs include at least some outdoor settings. So with the last faint rays after the sun had set, with a little help from a video light, the floodlights on the Castle Bridge and maybe just a hint of the wedding car headlights we made one last quick stop before the reception.