Destination wedding day at Sheen Falls Lodge

Champagne reception Sheen Falls Lodge

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Love at first sight

Last February Jueli and Yixuan decided that they really wanted a locally based Kenmare wedding photographer to capture their special celebration at Sheen Falls Lodge.  Both live and work in Dublin, but this was still to be a traditional Chinese wedding; they were convinced that Kenmare was the perfect location for their destination wedding and they fell in love with Sheen Falls Lodge at first sight. It was lovely that  both of their families made the long trip from China to join their celebration.  

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I was hooked

I love capturing weddings at Sheen Falls.  It’s a photographer’s dream – it’s a beautiful hotel inside and out.  The hotel itself is just topped off by the natural landscapes that surround it.   The fact that Jueli and Yixuan told me this would be a traditional Chinese wedding was the icing on the cake!

Pre-wedding photography shoot

We agreed to make the most of a pre-wedding shoot and met up a few days before the wedding. It’s an excellent opportunity for us to get to know each other and build up some rapport.  The photographs that my wedding couples love most are the ones where they are looking their most relaxed and enjoying the flow of their day.   

A pre-wedding shoot is also a great time to chat through creative ideas.  There are so many exciting possibilities with wedding photography, but ultimately the only thing that matters is what kind of experience the bride and groom want on their big day.  Seeing how couples react to the camera is always a big help for them and for me.  I don’t tend to spend a lot of time posing couples on the big day, unless they have indicated that they want something quite specific, but the experience is far better on the day if communication is relaxed and effective.  Even a small amount of preparation can go a long way. 

As it turned out it took about 30 seconds for me to determine that Jueli and Yixuan were going to be very easy to photograph.   They were comfortable in front of the camera, totally enjoying their session and really keen to try out ideas of their own.

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The wedding day arrives

One of my favourite things about Jueli and Yixuan’s wedding was the intimacy; just their two families were in attendance.   As ever, Sheen Falls Lodge provided an unrivalled wedding service.  They always seem to find the space to fine focus on the detail of complete hospitality. 

After wedding tea ceremony

Not one wedding dress, but two!

Jueli had chosen two dresses for her day; a white dress that reflected the traditions of the country she was living and working in and a red dress that had particular significance in Chinese culture.  From a photography perspective, this was great – the red colour throughout the day was striking – not just in the dress itself, but the decorations, party favours and many other little touches.

The white dress was designed by Que Va in Dublin ,  Jueli’s traditional red dress had come all the way from home and she looked terrific.   Her make up was by Lydia of Le Masque Studio .

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Touching moments

Being asked to record the single most important day of two people’s lives is always an honour. Every wedding is unique and I carry memories from all of them. With Jueli and Yixuan I loved capturing the parts of the day where I didn’t know exactly what was about to happen.  I’m thankful that on her big day Jueli was also operating as a translator and organiser as well as the bride, (no mean feat).

My lasting memories included a touching moment where Jueli’s grandmother decorated the bed with red rose petals at the start of the day, which I later found out it is a long established tradition.