Siobhan and Tom Oriel House
Siobhan and Tom


A beautiful wedding timeline of friendship.

If you have read my previous blogs, then you will know just how honored I am to be chosen to photograph anyone’s big day. It is a blessing and a privilege to do so. The wedding of Siobhan& Tom was just that, an honor.
When Siobhan contacted me to shoot her special day, I was over the moon.
You ask the obvious questions, Where is it. What date is it on. How long would you require me for?

In doing so you get the client talking, breaking the ice, and opening up.
Siobhan while chatting, let me know they were down to earth, easy-going. A chilled out wedding, no fuss. Just come and take a few images.

“I’m not one for pictures now James.” Much prefer jeans and a T-shirt, you know yourself”

No worries noted Siobhan. Grand out I’ll see you on the day then, yea.

Oriel House.

The wedding took place in the beautiful Oriel House Hotel in Ballincollig. It was around Christmas time. So the Oriel was looking extra special, what with the fairy Christmas lights and Christmas tree and all that.
The staff at the Oriel, Go above and beyond for their guests. And also photographers looking to create amazing images. I had shot a few previous weddings there, so I knew the layout rather well.
I arrived early enough to grab some breakfast before strapping the harness and cameras on.
It was time to start work as the first guest arrived.


As the guest arrived and headed to the front bar. I was able to capture a few images, while also having a chat. Straight off the bat, the first thing that struck me as more and more of them arrived. These were good friends, know each other a really long time. The groom arrived with his two sons, greeted by the best men who were already there. Big hugs and handshakes. These were guys that knew each other from early school years.

As more and more of the guest arrived it was apparent that this was indeed a gathering of old friends. It just so happened to be Siobhan and Toms’s wedding also. The craic was mighty in the front bar, as I am hiding behind a pillar, shooting candids as they come in and greet one another. Old friends and new friends all coming together to celebrate a union of friendship.

You could hear the stories that go back decades starting. Followed by huge laughs.
Yea this is going to be a fun wedding.
I got talking to many of them, had them pose, and took images before it was time to head to the room where the ceremony was to be held. On doing so I set up two off-camera flashes and put my bag away. I made my way to the entrance of the hotel, where the bridesmaids were just pulling up. It was raining now heavily as I was quickly snapping the bridesmaids as they entered.

Bride’s arrival.

The fantastic staff at the Oriel were out with the umbrellas, sheltering the bridesmaids and the bride as she arrived. The rain wouldn’t let up much for the rest of the evening. On arrival, Siobhan stood at the entrance of the hotel with her bridesmaids. Taking a deep breath, she grabbed her bouquet of flowers and smile.
“Alright James”
Alright Siobhan, guys if I can just get all of ye to stand together for a quick picture before we head in, please.

After a few images of the bride and bridesmaids, I asked Siobhan to step to the side and took a few more of just her.
As she stood to the side she was cheered on by the bridesmaids, who drew a smile out of her for the pictures.


She took one more deep breath at the entrance of the hotel before it was time to head into the room where the ceremony was to take place. I had stayed as long as I could with her, before dashing inside the room myself.
The off-camera flashes I had placed earlier worked a treat, as the bridesmaids and bride walked down the aisle. the light hit them just right and made for amazing images.

Throughout the ceremony, Tom and Siobhan were giggling away to one another. I was moving from behind them to capture the look. That look between two people reading out their vows.
I enjoy capturing that, it is an amazing moment.
Tom and Siobhan have twins boys. Dylan and charlie. Each of the boys had a poem to do for their parents’ special day.

They Nailed it !!!

The first son up to the top of the alter read his part flawlessly, on doing so and leaving, Dad raised out his hand as his son was passing and a big high-five between them.

Well done son !!
When it was time for the second son, he made the whole room laugh.
“I’m here MUM” from the back of the room as he made his way up.
It was so precious this moment.
Kids at a wedding are perfect. They create so many amazing images.

High-five son


At all Weddings, it is really great when the couple includes a meal for the photographer. I had the privilege of sitting at a table with some amazing people. Of course camera by my side at the ready. But it is a great way to get to know people. Also watching the people moving between tables, and just snapping them from afar.

In fact, right next to me was a pilot. He was putting some of my landscape work to shame. He had these amazing images of sunsets and sunrises, Thousands of meters in the skies looking down. They were all done by phone but were amazing.

I was kind of jealous, not lying (lol).
As I sat at the table it was apparent, that altho this was a celebration of the wedding of Siobhan and Tom, It was also so much more. It was indeed a gathering of old friends.
Friends that go way back, that have the goods on each other. the stories that last a lifetime. You could see by the way they greeted and spoke to one another, that they have been through a bit in life. And have been there for one another.
It was pretty fantastic.


Bridal party images.

After a few drinks and some food. I wanted to use the beautiful stairs of the Oriel House Hotel, to gather the bridal party and have them stand on the stairs for images. In doing so, I learned some of these guys knew my Dad.
In fact, they told me my dad was the man who created the crest for the Ballincollig school. Not believing this, of course, I had to quickly phone my dad, while we were waiting for the others to join us at the stairs.

Asking my dad, who indeed confirmed he did. As you can see from the pictures of our time on the stairs. It was packed with fun. The groomsmen were cracking jokes with one another. Assembling them to stand still and pose, went out the window. It was better I didn’t. the fun they were producing there amongst themselves. Well, that was picture perfect.

Back inside the room, it was time for speeches. Again placing two off-camera flashes around the room. So that the light would bounce off the ceiling and softly land on anyone who got up to talk.

Creating an Image.

At the back of mind all day I wanted to create an image outside. using the Christmas lights and the beautiful entrance of the Oriel House Hotel. I just needed the rain to ease up a bit. Finally nearing the end of the evening for me, I popped outside and checked. It was down to a drizzle, the best conditions of the day. it was time. I popped back inside the room and grabbed my off-camera flashes and stands. I made my way outside and started to set up for the image I wanted to create.

I placed a purple gel at first on the flash that would at the back of the couple. And I placed a warm CTO gel on the flash in front with a grid.
I wanted to shoot purple light up at the entrance behind the newlyweds. And shoot warm light from the front, directed by the grid to just hit them.
Asking a couple of guests to stand in while I took a few test shots.

I was able to perfect the settings. but I noticed the purple gel would be a bit too much for behind them. So I quickly changed out the purple for green, before calling out Siobhan&Tom.

The rain had picked up slightly as Siobhan and Tom took their spot in front of the flash with the green gel.
I had everything prepared, so it wouldn’t take long and I would have them back inside in minutes. The image below is from that moment. What I did in this image was placed my phone in front of the lens. In doing so I was able to mirror the newlyweds onto the rain below.

The stunning bride
Mirror reflection
Mirrored reflections

Back inside.

Once back inside I wanted to create another image of the couple. A silhouette of them. By bouncing a colored gel of the wall while they stood in front of the flash. I made my way up the top table where Siobhan was chatting away with Mary.
“James you know we traveled the world together Mary and myself.”
Perfect, ye guys can help me set up the next shot.

I asked the two best friends to stand up and face each other. While I put a flash behind them aimed at the wall with a purple gel. Like two teenagers while facing each other they were giggling away. They were indeed very close.
Right Mary you can pop out. Let’s get Tom in here.
Creating the same effect using the newlyweds this time.

Best friends
Best Friends

First dance.

Sadly my time was coming to an end. It had been an amazing wedding. one where I actually forgot I was there to work. But one where I felt as tho I was a guest. A guest who also happened to take the images.

It was as Siobhan described it from the start. Easy going. Chilled out. relaxed. And I felt that the entire day. These guys were much more than guests at a wedding. They were family. A close net of friendship throughout the whole room.

Genuine Goodtimes. Big belly laughs, telling old stories. Just enjoying one another’s company. It was time for Van the Man to sing the newlyweds onto the dance floor.
The band played Into the Mystic by Van Morrison. Everyone surrounded the dance floor. It was a wonderful wedding.

Packing up my gear It was time to say my goodbyes.

I knew I had captured some amazing images. And thankfully the rain eased off ever so slightly for me to be able to create something special for this amazing couple.
I found Siobhan on the dance floor surrounded by family and friends. gave her a huge hug and thanked her for having me.
Found Tom close by chatting with guests. I shook his hand and again thanked him for everything. I went over to the table I spent most of the evening and thanked everyone.

Walked to the bar where I met Jim, I enjoyed his company all evening. He was great easy going down to earth fun soul. I shook his hand and thanked him for everything and made my way out.
Packing my gear into my car and sitting inside. taking a deep breath and quickly reflecting. Just taking this time to go over in my mind if I have done enough. I was happy.

Looking Back.

I enjoyed this wedding. I enjoyed the easy nature and relaxed approach. But for me it was everyone. The spirt of everyone who attended. The way they greeted each other and enjoyed each other company. The stories they told, happening decades ago and still to this day laughing about memories.
It was indeed a gathering of old friends.

You can read about Ken&Priscillas big day by clicking HERE.

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