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Real Weddings: Irish World Championship Medallist Jenny Egan ties the knot in Co Wicklow

Real Weddings: Irish World Championship Medallist Jenny Egan ties the knot in Co Wicklow


by Shayna Sappington
28th Apr 2023

Multiple World Cup medallist Jenny Egan fell head over heels for her husband-to-be when they were both just teens at summer camp. Fast forward to almost two decades later – they were married in Wicklow's Brooklodge with their friends, family and fellow athletes in attendance.

THE COUPLE
Jenny, Irish world champion canoeist and multiple World Cup medallist, and Jon, Jenny’s coach and national development canoe sprint coach.

THEY LIVE
In Lucan, Co Dublin.

THE VENUE
Brooklodge & Macreddin Village, Co Wicklow.

PHOTOGRAPHY
Jenny McCarthy.

THEY MET
In July 2002. We are both canoeists and my mum organised for me to go on a training camp in Nottingham, UK, which is when I first spoke to Jon as he was there as part of the Great Britain Junior Squad. Jon kept telling me I was amazing and he was very persistent over the following months chasing me.

On December 27, 2002, we became a couple, I was only 15 and Jon was 16 years old. Jon came to Ireland to meet me and we started our long-distance relationship. He lived in Guildford, Surrey and we travelled back and forth to see each other, with Jon flying to Ireland and my mum and I travelling around the UK and Europe for competitions. 

Jon then moved to Ireland in 2005 as a 19-year-old for two years, then moved back to the UK to progress his own sporting career as part of the Great Britain canoeing team. We then continued our long-distance relationship. In 2014, Jon moved to Ireland again and has been living here since.

THE PROPOSAL
Jon proposed in 2018 in Braga, Portugal. I had just won a bronze medal – Ireland’s first medal (by a female or male athlete) at an International Canoe Federation (ICF) Senior Canoe Sprint World Championships. Jon always knew that I would love to get engaged surrounded by my family and he got down on one knee in Braga, Portugal in front of a beautiful water fountain. My brother handed him the token ring for the proposal while my parents watched and cheered along with some Irish and international athlete friends. It was a beautiful moment surrounded by love.

Jon and I then designed my engagement ring together with Grainne Seoige from Grace Diamonds. I really wanted a diamond from South Africa because that’s where I won Ireland’s first female ICF Senior Canoe Marathon World Championship medal in 2017. We created so many memories there and I always wanted to have a piece of it with me forever.

So, Grace Diamonds was the perfect fit as we were supporting an Irish company at the same time as having a South African diamond. Grainne was great in the process of the design and we also went on to have our wedding bands designed by her with the date of our wedding engraved on the inside of them.

THE DRESS AND THE SUIT
My wedding dress was bespoke and designed by the beautiful Kathy De Stafford. When we started the dress-making process Kathy named my dress “The Genevieve”. My mum and I completely enjoyed the whole dress-making process and seeing it come to life. I cannot thank Kathy and all the staff at De Stafford Bridal enough for the time and effort she put into my dress.

I always wanted to support Irish design and I fell in love with Kathy De Stafford’s designs. I knew that I would like a fitted dress, which was unique and elegant. Kathy showed me some examples and then she created my bespoke dress. It was white satin with beautiful hand-sewn petals on the top of the dress, with a train incorporating the petals. Jon wore a three-piece suit from Moss Bros.

THE CEREMONY
The Dublin String Quartet played at our ceremony and drinks reception. The entrance music was Runaway by The Corrs. Romy McAuley was our amazing celebrant and we had an interfaith ceremony. She is the warmest, loveliest and most engaging lady.

We incorporated two rituals into our ceremony: Parent Recognition and Candle Unity. Then, we had three readings, “Love is Friendship” by Ann Landers, “Marry Your Best Friend” and “A Friendship Blessing”. We signed the register to Signed, Sealed, Delivered by Stevie Wonder. After we were pronounced husband and wife we danced down the aisle to Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Queen.

THE RECEPTION
Our drinks reception followed in the stunning BrookHall. There was a beautiful 20-foot Christmas Tree in the hallway, the fires were blazing creating a warming welcome as the Dublin String Quartet continued to serenade our guests. We had a selection of canapés and afternoon tea treats along with mulled wine, prosecco and a selection of craft beers.

As the band was setting up, we had our guests form an arch of sparklers outside, which was magical. We also had a photobooth supplied by the Candy Lady, this added so much atmosphere to our wedding and we were given an album with messages from our guests of all the photos taken, and our guests were provided with their own copies of their photos to cherish forever.

THE ENTERTAINMENT
An extremely special part of our dinner reception was when the talented world-famous saxophonist Derek O’Connor played This Girl by Kungs V Cookin’ On 3 Burners as we were introduced into the River Room as husband and wife. The atmosphere was electric and all our guests were up dancing. 

The band was the fabulous Ultrasound which is made up of friends of ours. Our first dance was Perfect by Ed Sheeran which was so appropriate for us as we were so young when we started our relationship. Everyone danced the night away and we had an amazing party.

THE DECOR
We had favours on the tables for our guests which were Lily O’Brien chocolates in a white box wrapped with a gold ribbon and a label personalised with “Jen & Jon 20th November 2021”. We had a combination of hurricane candles and candelabras as centre pieces on our tables, and the room was decorated with Christmas decorations as well as beautiful flowers from our florist Fussy Peacock.

Our cake was made by a very close friend and my parents’ goddaughter Kate Collins from Willow and Wild. Beside the cake, we had photographs of our parents from their wedding days. In the garden at the back of BrookHall where the Ballycrean brook river wraps around and you can hear the water trickling there were braziers lighting with marshmallows to toast. 

THEIR TOP TIPS
Enjoy the whole process as it goes by in a blink of an eye!

THEY WISH THEY HAD
There is nothing that we would change as we loved the whole celebration.

THEIR BEST MOMENTS

  • When my mum fastened the satin buttons on the back of my dress, this was very special as we had been through the whole dress-making process together and it was about to be seen by all our guests.
  • I will never forget when my dad saw me for the first time. I was waiting for him to come into the Bridal Suite and I was full of emotion, then he opened the door and said “WOW” with open arms and tears in his eyes, embracing me with a big hug.
  • A spine-tingling moment that I will never forget is when we stepped into the chapel and I saw Jon at the top of the aisle with tears in his eyes and all these people gathered there to celebrate our wedding. I remember thinking “we did it, we made this happen”.
  • We had a paddle arch made by our canoeist friends outside the chapel as we walked across the bridge. This is a tradition among canoeists when they get married and it was very special to us. We had many international athlete friends from the UK, Denmark, Austria and Canada celebrate with us on the day.

 

THE FIRST DANCE SONG
Perfect by Ed Sheeran.

THE CREW
Bride’s Dress: Kathy De Stafford. Bride’s Shoes: Prada. Bride’s Clutch: Jimmy Choo. Bride’s jewellery: Weir & Sons and Juvi. Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Dresscode. Bridesmaids’ Jewellery: Fields Jewellers. Groom & Groomsmen’s Suits: Moss Bros and Bonds Brothers. Groomsmen Gift Sets: Manly Stuff. Videographer: Emma Walkin, Edithouse. Make-Up Artists: Paula Callan and Lisa O’Brien. Hairdresser: Shakira Clohessy. Personalised Unity Candles: Wedding CreationsRentals: Budget Hire Rental. Wedding Confetti: Shropshire Confetti Petals. Florist: Fussy Peacock. Celebrant: Romy McAuley. Rings: Grace Diamonds. Music: The Dublin String Quartet, Ultrasound and Derek O’Connor. Cake: Willow and Wild. Invitations: Ruth Cahill, Duck Blue. Signage: Esmark Finch. Photobooth: Candy Lady.

See more photographs from Jenny and Jon’s wedding in the gallery below.

Photography and Videography by Jenny McCarthy.

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