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Real Weddings: James and Lewis wed in a secret garden in Co Meath

Real Weddings: James and Lewis wed in a secret garden in Co Meath


by Shayna Sappington
29th Jun 2024

The happy pair tied the knot at the beautiful Boyne Hill House with plenty of personal and fun details, like custom house cocktails, tables named after queer anthems, and a post-dinner drag show.

THE COUPLE
James, vice principal, and Lewis, lawyer.

THEY LIVE
in London, UK.

THE VENUE
Boyne Hill House, Co Meath.

PHOTOGRAPHY
Elaine Barker Photography.

THEY MET
In Southend-on-Sea, Essex, UK. James emigrated to Essex to teach science, and I returned home to Essex after finishing university. Despite it being the generation of online dating, we met on a Friday night in the local Wetherspoons pub in 2014.

THE PROPOSAL
It was the summer of 2020, after the first Covid-19 lockdown. Like everyone else, we were delighted to be back out even with social distancing. During an unplanned mid-week meal out, I thought James was particularly funny that night and asked him to marry me.

The proposal was unplanned, and at that moment, I just had an overwhelming feeling to ask the question. I did buy a ring the following week in time for a trip back to Ireland to tell James’ family in person.

THE DRESS AND THE SUIT
Both suits are Tailor Made by Moss Bros. Tailor Made allowed us to customise our suits, going for a French Connection material with wide lapels and turnups on the trousers. We had personalised messages embroidered on the inside of the jacket and went with contrasting waistcoat styles and ties.

THE CEREMONY
Our ceremony took place in the secret garden at Boyne Hill House, and it was led by the incredible celebrant Romy McAuley.

THE RECEPTION
Our reception was held in Boyne Hill House and had a few personal details that were special to us. For example, our table names were after famous queer anthems (e.g. Smalltown Boy, I’m Still Standing, Believe, etc.).

In addition, we had little touches like house cocktails: “The James” and “The Lewis” and, as fans of a good messy drag night out, we had a surprise drag show after dinner. 

THE ENTERTAINMENT
After dinner, we had the fabulous drag queens Regina George and Carrie Deway perform, followed by the fantastic wedding band The Moogs.

THE DECOR
The reception decor and flowers were all provided by Boyne Hill House themselves. We gave minimal guidance to them other than spring colours for the flowers (white, pale blue and yellow). The flower bouquets for our best woman and the boutonnière for best man and grooms were from Petals and Pressies in Navan.

THEIR TOP TIPS

  • Make it personal! Your guests are there to attend your wedding, and personal does not need to be expensive. We asked our sisters to surprise the guests by opening the ceremony with personalised stories. We also wrote our own wedding vows and had a guest vow so all our guests were included in the ceremony. 
  • Take time during the evening reception to come back together as a couple, have a quiet drink in the corner, look around and absorb the energy and love in the room. This part of the night will go so fast and we wish we could go back and soak that in a bit more.
  • At the ceremony stand on the opposite side of your immediate family. We didn’t have sides for guests to sit on, but inevitably your closest family members will sit on opposite sides of the altar in the front row. If you stand in front of your future in-laws, your family will be able to see your face the whole way through the ceremony.
  • Schedule time to plan your wedding. We found spur-of-the-moment wedding planning conversations often stressful and unproductive. For us, we scheduled two-hour windows for wedding planning (often in the pub) and got down to work researching, making decisions, contacting suppliers, etc.
  • Your celebrant and photographer have the ability to set the tone of the day so take your time picking them. We did a lot of research in both these areas and for us, we clicked with Elaine and Romy so well, no one else could compare. They understood us and our vision; they never said no to anything but did guide us using their knowledge and experience. As people who normally hate having their photograph taken and who didn’t want to be away from the guests for too long, Elaine instantly knew how to make us comfortable, and we never looked better! Romy’s calming and upbeat energy is still talked about by our guests today; everybody needs a Romy in their wedding!

THEY WISH THEY HAD…
We would’ve loved to have the ceremony an hour earlier, so we could’ve had more time to join the drinks reception.

THEIR BEST MOMENTS

  • The sun shining during the ceremony
  • The best men and women speeches
  • The guest participation during the surprise drag show

 

THE FIRST DANCE SONG
The Water Boys by Whole of the Moon.

THE CREW
Celebrant: Romy McAuley. Suits: Moss Bros. Food & Flower Decor: Boyne Hill House. Cake: The Handy Baker. Bouquets & Boutonnières: Petals and Pressies. Band: The Moogs. Drag Queens: Regina George and Carrie Deway.

See more photographs from James and Lewis’s wedding in the gallery below.

Photography by Elaine Barker Photography.

Want to see your Real Wedding on IMAGE.ie? Email [email protected] with the subject line ‘Real Wedding’.

This article was published in the IMAGE Weddings 2024 Ultimate Venue Guide, read the issue here.

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