I know, I know. I said I would post regular blogs featuring hotels and venues from recent weddings I have shot and nothing new has been published on this subject for quite a while now. Well today is the day to do something about that and I have decided to write a little piece on a local wedding I shot back in December last, just after christmas. To be honest the reason that spurred me on to feature The d Hotel in Drogheda was the fact that I was there recently when the Drogheda branch of Comhaltas put on a great night promoting their bid to bring the Fleadh Ceoil na hEireann to Drogheda in 2014. Check out their website www.droghedacomhaltas.com for more information on this if you are interested. Anyway that reminded me what a good location The d Hotel was and what a great wedding I attended there back in December...
The couple in question were Sinéad Taffe and Keith Crilly, living in Duleek now but originally from Coolock in Dublin. I met with Sinéad and Keith a few months earlier and we all seemed to just click immediately. They had a lovely laid back attitude about them which complimented my style and approach to shooting weddings so right from the start we were all singing from the same hymn sheet.
The big day arrived anyway on December 29th and I was up at Sinéads house bright and early to get all those candid shots of herself and the girls getting ready for the day ahead. Ben Garry of Ben Garry Hair & Beauty, based in Navan and Trim was there well before me and hard at work on five women all demanding his very best. At around 11am Sinéad ordered the biggest spread of breakfast I have ever seen! Breakfast rolls, sausages, fried eggs, rashers, big mugs of tea, the works. Like I said, one laid back couple! Suitably fed and watered and with plenty of shots in the bag, it was then time for me to leave the women to their own devices for a while and so I headed to the Church in Duleek just to get a few exterior and interior shots before the crowds arrived.
I was expecting Keith and the lads to arrive at the church any time now and was starting to worry for them when there was still no sign of them at 1:15 as they were aiming to be there around 1ish. It turned out though that they had arrived just before 1pm and had actually gone straight to the pub across the road. I hadnt spotted them arriving as I was in the church at the time. Anyway I eventually caught up with the lads and we got some great shots of Keith and the guys having a quiet pint in the empty pub before I had to scurry back to the house to get the last shots of Sinéad before she left for her wedding. It was at this point that the weather turned nasty. A biting wind picked up and the rain was always an imminent threat. We got a few more last minute pictures in the house and then I nipped back to the church to get shots of the bride arriving. There was only a mile between the house and the church so this gave me great scope to get shots at both locations.
On arriving at the church the wind was now really misbehaving and there were dirty big drops of rain falling as well causing Sinéad to make a dash from the limo to the shelter of the church porch. If nothing else it made for some great action shots anyway. :-). The ceremony itself was lovely and forty minutes later the new Mr and Mrs Crilly emerged from the church into a still windy but drier churchyard. We had originally planned to do the couple's photoshoot in the nearby St Marys Abbey ruins but we had to switch to plan B as the weather was just not playing ball with us at this point in time.
Plan B was by no means a less preferable option as we had The d Hotel's magnificent Penthouse suite with its panoramic views over Drogheda available to us so the entire bridal party piled into the lifts and headed skyward. As the rain had stopped we decied to get some group shots out on the balcony with the Viaduct in the background and the bridal party enjoying champagne all round. Unfortunately the light was starting to fade now and to say it was a little chilly would be the understatement of the year so we headed back inside and got some great group shots as well as fab shots of the bride and groom as they sat around on the beautiful white leather couches and plush red rugs. The d Hotel is a very modern building and has a great cosmopolitan feel to it. This is evident from the lobby right the way through the hotel all the way up to the stunning penthouse suite. Once the bride had thawed out and the rest of the bridal party had retreated back to the bar myself Sinéad and Keith then settled in to a very funny and laid back photoshoot, making the most of the beautiful room, the rose petals laid out on the huge bed and the floor to ceiling glass walls, offering stunning views over the town with its streetlights blending perfectly with the christmas lights.
Having kept the Bride and Groom away from their guests for long enough we returned to the bar area where everyone was enjoying tasty warm nibbles and drinks. I had often wondered in the past how The d Hotel would work as a wedding reception location as it has just the one main bar and resturant area. To be honest I was surprised how well it did convert into a very chic and stylish yet intimate wedding venue. The whole ground floor area to the right of the main entrance was simply closed off using very plush curtains giving the bride and groom and their guests ample space for, well everything really. The bar was at the centre of everything and was well manned by excellent and very friendly staff and the resturant area was decorated beautifully for the meal. The seating arrangements added to the sence of intimacy at one end of the area while at the other end a stage and dancefloor was effortlessly installed to ensure a great night of entertainment later in the evening. Laura O'Donovan was the banquetting manager on the day and both she and her team did a fantastic job looking after the happy couple from the minute they arrived at the hotel right throughout the entire event.
From a photographer's viewpoint The d Hotel is an excellent location for photographs especially if the weather is any way decent. Obviously the best location is the penthouse suite rooftop terrace. This location has been used by many photographers and tv crews as the backdrop and views it provides are spectacular. But there is also the riverside promenade and the nearby pedestrian bridge to give a very modern and stylish photoshoot and close by are some very famous landmarks including St Lawrances Gate and Millmount Tower to provide a more dramatic background. I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised at how well The d Hotel worked as a wedding venue and I would have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone checking out wedding locations. It has a central location in a busy town, has ample accomodation for even the largest weddings and has an excellent and friendly team of staff all well capable of ensuring that a wedding at The d Hotel in Drogheda will be a very special and memorable occassion for all. Check it out, www.thedhotel.com and tell them Barry sent you...