The most epic wedding that ever was

The most epic wedding that ever was

There are lots of ‘wedding’ people in the world: People who keep scrapbooks full of bridal dresses and imbue napkin choices with the seriousness of global peace initiatives. We have never been those people. 

Don’t get us wrong — it makes us giddy to be around people in love and we both think the commitment of marriage is an extraordinarily beautiful thing. When I’m at a wedding, I inevitably end up wiping away mascara tears. We only say this so you understand we are reasonably neutral observers when we tell you about the most epic wedding that ever was.

Hang with us here for a second. If you were to brainstorm things that made a wedding epic, you would probably start with spectacular scenery, beautiful weather, gorgeous food, colorful outfits and great music. But if you continued thinking, you’d add in more important elements, such as an amazing guest list and a particularly impressive and deserving couple. If you really thought hard, you might add a special meaning to the event.

So let’s give you those things. Scenery: The tiny village of Ballyvaughn in Ireland (population 254) is located along the Wild Atlantic Coast, just across a sparkling bay from Galway and inside the Burren, an otherworldly landscape built on an ancient limestone foundation and sprinkled with 75% of all the wildflower species in the country.  Weather: The biggest heat wave to hit the country since the 70’s. (True story — in the middle of a rare 10-minute sprinkle, we watched a father bring his young son out to celebrate the rain. In Ireland.) Food: Incredible canapés and courses, drawn from gourmet local producers. Outfits: As colorful as the wildflowers — see photos. Music: Two rooms busting out the dancing vibe with interludes of professional dancers to show us how it’s really done.

Now on to the really important parts. To describe the guests and the meaning, we need to start with the couple: Kieron Crawley, the Irishman-turned-globetrotter, met Miguel Gonzales, the Spaniard-turned-globetrotter, in Johannesburg and have been growing their love for many gorgeous years. Their families included equally fun and fascinating people from Ireland, Spain, England, Scotland, Switzerland, Barbados, Brazil, New York (not to mention a certain California cousin or two). Their friends extended the global range to South Africa, Germany, France, Greece and Africa. And while the number of languages represented may have confused a UN interpreter, the shared universal tongue extended to all: Dancing.

As to the meaning, if you haven’t yet deciphered it, the couple was Kieron and Miguel. This was a gay wedding. In Catholic Ireland. Between two people who were old enough to have fully expected the impossibility of such an event ever happening in their lifetimes. To not only witness such a ceremony, but to see the depth of love and support by all their friends and family — many of whom were deeply Catholic — brought tears to absolutely everyone’s eyes. They were a fabulously unique couple. They were also a particularly powerful symbol. And everyone knew what they were experiencing was a triumph at all levels.  

The event began in the afternoon with a moving ceremony, and carried on through the evening with dinner and dancing in the guesthouse of Miguel’s sister (which happens to be in Kieron’s homeland). It didn’t end until we took our glasses up the hill to sit among the wildflowers, overlooking the Burren, and watch the sun slowly rise, bathing the valley in rose pink.

And there you have it — with apologies to every other bride and/or groom we’ve known — the most epic wedding that ever was. 

Our trip to Ireland included a prologue and an epilogue as we circumnavigated the island by car (right-hand-drive + ‘backwards’ stick + sidewalk-sized-roads = memorable), but the wedding was the beating heart that carried through the entirety of the experience. So rather than a travelogue, we leave you with photos — and a massive dose of love.

On our way to the big event. With me in this photo are Colin’s sister Pauline, her son Connor and her husband George, who were also our traveling companions throughout the always adventurous (and occasionally harrowing) road trip. 

On our way to the big event. With me in this photo are Colin’s sister Pauline, her son Connor and her husband George, who were also our traveling companions throughout the always adventurous (and occasionally harrowing) road trip. 

Ok, truth time. Looking at the love, happiness and meaning in this shot, you’re holding back a tear too, aren’t you?

Ok, truth time. Looking at the love, happiness and meaning in this shot, you’re holding back a tear too, aren’t you?

Didn’t We promise incredible guests?

Didn’t We promise incredible guests?

Colin is exceptional at many things, but he is an absolute genius at joy. One of my favorite things to see  him in his element.

Colin is exceptional at many things, but he is an absolute genius at joy. One of my favorite things to see  him in his element.

Even the walk of shame met the epic standard

Even the walk of shame met the epic standard

There are a handful of places on this planet that emanate an otherworldly, almost spiritual feeling about them. The Burren is one of those rare spots.

There are a handful of places on this planet that emanate an otherworldly, almost spiritual feeling about them. The Burren is one of those rare spots.

Coming home: Exploring Bangor, Colin and Pauline’s birthplace, an unspecified number of decades later

Coming home: Exploring Bangor, Colin and Pauline’s birthplace, an unspecified number of decades later

We got a little too used to Guinness and fish and chips for lunch. Re-entry has been a challenge.

We got a little too used to Guinness and fish and chips for lunch. Re-entry has been a challenge.

Clearly, we’ll be back

Clearly, we’ll be back