Leah-Anne Bourke & Stephen O’Neill
February 9, 2018 – Bunratty Castle Hotel
Photos courtesy of Tony Clancy Photography
By Ann Cronin
Leah-Anne and Stephen O’Neil first met at a mutual friend’s wedding in Tralee. Stephen was seeing someone at the time so their spark was one of friendship, until their freind’s first wedding anniversary when the couple re-connected over Facebook.
“Our mutual friends’ put up their Facebook one-year wedding anniversary status, and we both commented our obligatory congratulations. That’s when I got a friend request from the one and only Stephen O’Neill. I decided to send him a private message, which is something I would normally never do, especially when I didn’t know if he still had a girlfriend. As it turns out, Mr O’Neill was back on the market, and thousands of messages were sent over and back”, Leah Anne said.
Soon after Stephen and Leah-Anne moved to Limerick together in 2015. “It really taught me the value of true love and how you never know where you will find it as we had met a year previous. At that time, neither of us were in a position for a relationship but we reunited exactly when it was the right time for us.”
In 2017, Stephen and Leah-Anne went for a weekend away in Dublin. They stayed in the hotel in which they had gone for a drink on their first ever date and Stephen popped the question over a bottle of wine. “Stephen had gone all out and got a beautiful diamond ring for my daughter Alannah, from a previous relationship, and he ‘proposed’ to her too, promising to love her and support her. We were a package deal.” The pair set the date for February 9, 2018 and had no doubts in deciding on Bunratty Castle as their dream venue.
The Brides of Limerick Team
Photographer Tony Clancy Photography
Venue Bunratty Castle Hotel
Hair & make-up Make-up and Hair by Catherine Hickey
As a unique alternative to lighting candles, the couple had sand jars for their ceremony, which they now hold as a permanent keepsake. Each jar was engraved with the initials of a significant family member and filled with a different colour of sand, to symbolise the joining of two families.
The couple had memorial plaques and pictures present for those who had passed away, such as Leah-Anne’s mother. “I also included a picture of my mother in my sisters’ and daughter’s flowers. All of the bridesmaids’ bouquets included little tags with a personalised sentiment.” The couple even got a personalised license plate for their wedding vehicle, which now hangs in their hallway.
How was your experience with Tony Clancy Photography?
“I would have no hesitation recommending Tony. Both Stephen and I aren’t ones for fuss and Tony made us feel comfortable right from the get-go. You wouldn’t even have known he was there. He didn’t order us about or tell people where to stand – it was all so natural. Everyone commented on how amazing Tony was at his job. The photos were outstanding. There were so many to choose from when we went to print them. It helps that he is a lovely person too, so easy-going and wonderful to work with.”
How was your experience with Bunratty Castle Hotel?
“I cannot say enough about David and his team. The professionalism and efficiency were second to none. There was no fuss and organising a wedding here was a dream. Everyone commented on how amazing the food was and the grounds were incredible for photographs. We are so glad that we chose Bunratty Castle Hotel.”