Philip didn't mind of course, and the two dated before one Saturday morning in a very low-key manner, he asked her to marry him over brunch.
They tied the knot in a sweet and personal ceremony presided over by celebrant Caroline Hamill in summer 2017, where friends and family members took part with poems and readings. They played songs by their favourite musicians including Flaming Lips, Rory Gallagher and Edward Sharpe.
They wanted a no stress, no fuss wedding from the get-go, and decided to forgo a 'theme' for a relaxed and natural 'feel' instead. They had no bridal party, they met each other before the ceremony and had a drink together and the bride wore pink...They did however include some DIY elements to the day, creating centrepieces from beer bottles, a timetable from an old wooden palette, and a beautiful photo display between two cherry blossom trees.
Their priorities at Rathsallagh House were the food, music and treating their guests - and treat them well they did, putting mini bottles of champagne with a note in each guest's room, and serving up fresh wood-fired pizza later into the night. Sounds like a win to us!
Their wedding photos are by Livia Figueiredo.
In lieu of a big hen or engagement party Gemma and her mother and sister took a trip to New York to do some dress shopping. Gemma hadn't any idea of what type of wedding dress she wanted to wear on the day but wanted to stay 'open minded'. "I tried on absolutely every style and colour out there and we had the best craic trying everything on," she said. "I wanted to be really open-minded about the dress but after trying on so many dresses without any of them jumping out at me, I decided to look for something a bit different. I eventually found my pink Pronovias dress in Frock and Fabulous on Wicklow Street in Dublin; I never thought I’d get married in pink!"
The Bridal Party
Like a lot of couples lately, Gemma and Philip decided against having a wedding party, as they felt it would add to the more casual feel they were trying to achieve with the day.
"Like most people we have a lot of friends and family living abroad so when we initially got engaged we started stressing about who we would have as best man, maid of honour etc., so we made the call to just not do it. This suited us because we wanted the wedding to be as casual as possible and never liked the formality of having a big wedding party," said Philip.
Instead, they asked friends and family members to be involved in the wedding in different ways; "At the ceremony both our sisters and Gemma’s godmother read a poem, and five of Gemma’s friends each read out a piece of advice that had been submitted anonymously by friends and family through their wedding website. Instead of following the tradition of long speeches by the father of the bride, the best man etc., we had Gemma’s mother, my brother and a couple of our best friends say a few words each."
Philip and Gemma tied the knot in Rathsallagh House in Wicklow, choosing the venue for its welcoming atmosphere and reputation for good food.
"Catherine, the wedding planner, was fabulous," said Gemma. "She was so relaxed and so open to our suggestions. The venue itself was beautiful but also felt like a home so it just felt warm and relaxed. They also had a great reputation for food, which was important to us."
The couple wanted the ceremony to be 'quick and personal'. "We asked friends and family to submit pieces of advice through our website and had friend’s read them out during the ceremony, it was a lovely mix of very funny and very sweet."
"From the very beginning we were agreed that we wanted absolutely no fuss and no stress," said Gemma. "Being from Waterford, Phil wanted large bottles of Guinness available, which Rathsallagh provided with no hassle. We also managed to book the band that we went to see on our very first date seven years previously. "
The Stand-out moment
The couple made the decision to see each other before the ceremony, and have a drink together in their room. "This stood out for us because it gave us a few minutes to be alone together before the whole thing kicked off. It also meant neither of us were particularly nervous walking down the aisle," said Gemma.
"Our menu was incredible and Rathsallagh went out of their way to accommodate guests," said Gemma. "Our dessert was an apple tart tatin with walnut ice-cream that was unbelieveable. Instead of a wedding cake we had bought tray-bake brownies, lemon and carrot cake from Bretzels Bakery, and we then had Dave’s wood-fired pizza arrive at 11pm to serve fresh pizza which people loved. We’re both mad about seafood so we brought in fresh oysters for the reception. We also had various other canapes that Rathsallagh provided."
"Enjoy it because it goes so quickly," said Gemma. "Make sure you look at each other during the ceremony. It’s nerve-wracking but remember that it’s a rare thing to have everyone you love in one room, so enjoy it!"