Marie Condon, a physiotherapist from Ballinascarthy and Conor O’Donovan, an engineer from Mallow met while both were on a J1 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in 2009. Together for over 10 years, the couple got married on July 27, 2019 in Timoleague Church and had their reception at Inchydoney Island Lodge and Spa. The celebrations continued with a BBQ the following day in Phairs Pub, Shannonvale.
Conor got down on one knee after a hike to the top of Coumshingaun Loop in Waterford overlooking the lake on a sunny day in July 2018.
Why did you choose Inchydoney as a wedding venue?
Conor: We were lucky enough that Marie’s local church in Timoleague is so beautiful and has amazing views. We always wanted to get married in the area (Marie grew up in West Cork and Conor also has strong West Cork roots, his dad is from Leap and his mother is from Skibbereen). Having met in Myrtle Beach, we really wanted a summer wedding by the sea so Inchydoney Island was the ideal setting. Bringing our friends and family to West Cork, we wanted to make sure they got to taste the amazing local produce. We were able to have Clonakilty Black Pudding, Bushby’s Rosscarberry Strawberries and local crab all on our menu at Inchydoney. We were so happy with the venue. All our guests were raving about the delicious and plentiful food and wine. We were spoiled by the staff throughout the weekend and in the build up to the wedding.
Did you have anything out-of-the-ordinary planned for the day?
To help fill the time between the dinner courses and speeches, we had a table quiz based on how well the guests knew the bride and groom. This added extra excitement and brought out the competitive edge in many of our guests with people scrambling from table to table in search of the right answers.
Most enjoyable and most stressful parts of the wedding planning experience?
Most enjoyable: Being able to include so many of our friends and family as part of the wedding. We have so many talented friends and family and it made the day really personal to have them help us tie the knot. We had people involved in all parts from the flowers, decorating the church, making signs, providing the church music and throwing confetti on the day.
Most stressful: We didn’t find any one thing particularly stressful but turning everything around in less than one year from our engagement we found certain periods extremely busy. This was a little overwhelming at times, as we were both trying to balance this with busy work lives and sporting commitments.
Did you have equal input into the planning?
Yes, everything was a joint decision and we shared all the jobs from choosing the bands, music and photographer to designing the invitations and mass booklets, and making table favours. We really were a team through it all. We are even writing these replies together.
What was your favourite part of the day?
There were so many highlights it is hard to choose but obviously saying our vows and walking down the aisle as husband and wife in front of all our nearest and dearest. The great thing was it wasn’t just one day. We had a lovely meal in Monk’s Lane in Timoleague the night before the wedding and a BBQ in Phair’s Pub in Shannonvale the day after. This allowed us to spend plenty of quality of time with all our friends and family who travelled from near and far for the weekend.
Any funny stories from the wedding planning experience or day?
Marie: I bought my wedding dress in the US. Conor collected it and carried it back while on a work trip to Chicago. Unfortunately after several delayed and cancelled flights on his return journey, he ended up travelling home via Canada and the UK unexpectedly, all the while hand carrying the dress, taking ultimate care of it and managing not to sneak a peek at it. At times he was tempted to leave it behind but it was all worth it when he saw me at the top of the aisle.
Where did you go on honeymoon?
We went on a ‘mini-moon’ following the wedding but we are going to New Zealand in the Spring for our Honeymoon.
What are your hopes for the future?
We hope to build our family home in West Cork and live a long and happy life together.
Advice/tips for other couples about to tie the knot?
Start ticking off the jobs as early as you can. We had a shared online spreadsheet for managing all the jobs and logistics for the big day. Being organised and not leaving everything until the last few weeks will allow you to enjoy the lead up even more and soak it all in.
We stayed in Inchydoney the night after the wedding. We would definitely recommend staying in your venue for an extra night. Not having to rush away or worry about checking out of the hotel the morning after the wedding allowed us to spend valuable time with friends and family reflecting on our special day.