Weddings and Kissing Stones in Ireland

Just 2 weeks after our weekend in Switzerland, we boarded a plane to Ireland to celebrate our friends’ wedding. We arrived in Cork, got into our rental car, and drove through the Irish country side to a cute little coastal village called Skibbereen.

The wedding was held at Liss Ard Resort where we also stayed. It was a gorgeous property with tennis courts, lots of little trails to walk, and the Sky Garden.

Liss Ard

Liss Ard

Liss Ard

Matt was on Best Man duty along with Jono so while they were off making sure the groom got to the ceremony on time (he did, good job boys), Cath and I got to spend the morning napping and watching trashy TV while lazily getting ready.

Cath and I

The ceremony was beautiful and I loved how they were able to have a couple minutes after Gerrie walked in to talk to each other while the band finished the song. You could just see their nerves calm and they were just so happy. I have very strong opinions of taking photos during wedding ceremonies (that’s the photographer’s job) so I didn’t take any but you can see some here: Gerrie and Craig’s Wedding by Liam Kidney Photography.

After the ceremony, the boys and bridal party went to have photos taken so Cath and I were left to drink prosecco and eat yummy appetizers…and I think we did a very good job at that. I was very aware that this was the last wedding I’d be at before my own so I took full advantage of not having any responsibilities!

Guests

With the happy couple

Soon it was time for dinner and it was clear that Gerrie had put a lot of thought into the Kiwi/Irish menu. All the food was delicious and I even tried black pudding for the first time! It wasn’t bad, but I don’t think it would be something I’d willingly choose to order. It was at this point that things started to get a bit silly thanks to the prosecco, wine, and an unexpected hot and sunny day.

Table settings

Matt and Cath

Dinner turned into speeches which turned into dancing until the wee hours of the morning.

Dancing

Dancing

When I looked over my photos the next day, I found that I had only taken a couple which didn’t involve Matt dancing with Gerrie’s little niece. Excuse me while my heart (and ovaries!) explodes.

Dancing

Dancing

Dancing

All in all it was a very fun and amazing wedding which we all paid for the following day. Good on Jono for being able to drive us to Kanturk while Cath and I hung our heads out the car windows…it was not a fun couple hours but we made it without any incidents. Little did I know, the night after a wedding is actually a bigger night for drinking in Ireland but I was definitely not up for the challenge. Instead, I sipped my water and ate jaffas, whittakers and other kiwi treats while listening to the Irish band.

P5170076

The only picture I managed to take on the drive.

On our way back to London, we realised we were very close to Blarney Castle so we had to make a stop to kiss the stone!

Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle

We rushed to the airport and made our flight in the nick of time. It was a very long 3 days that caught up with me on the flight and in the hazy blur that was my brain, I left my passport on the airplane. I noticed pretty quickly, raced back to the gate and told the security guard who then told me the gate was already closed and the flight was gone. Again, in the haze, I had told him the wrong gate number and after a few nerve racking minutes, in which I told myself I was not leaving the gate until I had my passport, the security guard came sauntering back with my passport in his hands.

And with that, the weekend came to an end but that didn’t mean we were able to relax because the following weekend was our trip to Norway…

How I proposed to Dayna

So I guess the best place to begin this is, well, the beginning.  And the beginning for a proposal story starts with a ring.

I had been in to a few different jewellery stores and had studied and learned all about the 4 C’s of diamonds and knew pretty much what I was going to buy.  Only issue was that this was back in NZ and we were planning on quitting our jobs, going travelling and moving to the UK.  We also didn’t have any idea how long it may take us to find a job in the UK.  All things considered it was probably not the best time to make a substantial deposit in to a jewellery store’s bank account.

No surprises from an Accountant, I decided to bide my time and parked the ring shopping for awhile.

Fast forward a few months to our new life in the UK and we suddenly found ourselves with completely joint finances and no way for me to make a purchase without giving it away to Dayna.  One of my life’s great pleasures is surprising Dayna or making her laugh hard enough that she does her crazy banshee shriek so it was key to me that she was surprised.

I eventually decided I would buy a simple little “placeholder” ring that would give me something to propose with.  This also had the advantage of giving Dayna some input in to buying the ring that she will hopefully be wearing for the rest of her life (plus it got me off the hook trying to find one by myself!).

I found a small kiwi company (Wilshi) that sells exactly the type of ring that I wanted and the kiwi connection was a nice bonus.  They also had a nice little necklace to go with the ring after it’s replaced by the proper engagement ring – perfect.  So the ring was chosen.

Next thing I needed to do was figure out a plan to actually propose.  I didn’t think finding a place to propose would be too hard since we now live in London and get to travel around to romantic European locations every few weeks.  Sure enough, we booked a long weekend away in Pisa and Florence and my first plan was hatched – the Italian plan.

I spent quite a bit of time researching and settled on Boboli gardens as the best spot.  I figured it was big enough to give me some time where it was just the two of us around plus views over Florence and Tuscan hills would surely be romantic, right?

Wrong.  As those who have spent time with Dayna outdoors would know, Bugs love her.  Specifically they love to bite her.  After 30 minutes of all the bugs in Florence gorging themselves on her, Dayna finally lost it and was in tears in frustration at the bugs ruining her day.  I meanwhile was relatively bite free though I was awkwardly trying to conceal a large engagement ring box in my pocket and had been for the last 5 hours so it wasn’t exactly stress free for me either.

Gardens

At Boboli gardens where we nearly got engaged…

Having given up on Boboli gardens I went on to Plan B – a romantic dinner with some italian wine , stroll over to get some Gelato, sit and eat the Gelato on Ponte Vecchio bridge listening to the local buskers sing before a stroll along the Arno river where I would suggest we pull up and sit for awhile before taking the opportunity to pop the question.

All was going to plan until the stroll along the Arno river where Dayna decided, as she is wont to do, that it was past her bedtime and she wanted to be in bed as soon as possible.  So Plan B was foiled and the Italian plan was abandoned altogether.  It was probably a good thing as Dayna later pointed out (after I told her of my old failed plans) that she didn’t think the groups of stumbling drunk people walking along the river would have set a good back drop to a proposal.  Fair enough.

I recovered from my failure after a few weeks and hatched what I guess I should now be calling Plan C.  Plan C came in to play when we left for Reims in the Champagne region of France for another long weekend.  I learned my lesson this time and wasn’t going to try engineer an opportunity to propose.  Instead the plan was just to carry the ring around when I thought there might be an opportunity that day and then hope we would stumble in to a perfect spot.

So on our second day in Reims we were going to a cellar tour and Champagne tasting at Veuve Cliquot in the morning.  Proposing after some Champagne tasting sounded like a good idea so I snuck the ring in to my pocket along with the necklace and off we went.  Only issue was having to hide my bulging pocket from Dayna again (for potentially a whole day).  Trust me, it was harder than it sounds.  Luckily it didn’t take the whole day…

Veuve Clicquot tasting

A clueless Dayna having some morning Champagne before our little stroll

After our tour of Veuve Cliquot and glass of their Grande Dame we were keen for more champagne.  Luckily there was another cellar nearby called Ruinart so we headed in that direction.

On the way we walked past what I thought looked like a really nice park.   It was covered in beautiful trees with red and orange Autumn leaves covering the ground and there was a cute little hill in the middle.  I pointed out the park to Dayna by saying “that park looks really nice, do you want to walk through it?”

Dayna replied with “that’s not a nice park, that’s a creepy park”.  And so we stayed on the road and I spotted the potential to propose in the creepy park just to annoy her/prove my point that it was really a very nice park.

Our visit to Ruinart didn’t last long.  We had one short lived conversation with the guy at the door who only knew one sentence of English “You need to make booking at least 24 hours in advance”.  So around we turned, back in the direction of the creepy very nice, romantic park.

I suggested very subtly to Dayna that maybe we could walk back through the park.  She reluctantly agreed.  At this stage we had walked a lot and it had been awhile since we had eaten so, unsurprisingly, Dayna was getting a tad cranky and wanted (as she informed me) a drink, some food and a seat.  So she did not greet my suggestion to walk up the hill with much joy.  But up we went to a chorus of “This is not what I meant by sitting down” with me arguing the point that there will definitely be seats at the top.

There weren’t any seats at the top.  My plans were failing again despite the fact that it was really nice up at the top and we had the whole place to ourselves.  Dayna pretty much walked straight across the top of the hill and started to head down the other side while I wandered around taking in the view.  I managed to convince Dayna to, reluctantly, come back up and hang out for a bit longer.  I knew I didn’t have long so decided to distract her with something shiny – her “belated birthday necklace”.

At this point I knew this moment was about as good as Dayna would ever give me so I decided to dive right in.  Dayna was distracted with her necklace and then it pretty much went like this:

Me: “…and since you’re never going to give me a good time to do this…”

*pulling the box out of my pocket*

Dayna: “What are you doing?!”

*Me getting down on one knee*

Me: “Dayna, you frustrate the hell out of me but I want you to frustrate the hell out of me for the rest of my life…” (rather eloquent for an unplanned line I would like to think)

Dayna: “OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD”

Me: “Will you marry me?”

Dayna: “Yes!, yes!, yes!”

Thankfully the answer came quickly!  Magically Dayna went from being cranky and tired to shaky and excited with a huge grin on her face.  Unfortunately I think I only get to play this card the once.

I really don’t think it could have gone any better in the end.

And with that we get to add number 74 to our 100 Things List:

Get married.

After we got engaged

The spot where we got engaged