He hasn't looked back since.
The couple moved back to Australia together where they stayed for five years before returning to Ireland in 2014, and while back visiting Jeff's parents two years later, he got down on one knee and asked Katie to be his wife.
"I was mortified and told him to get up and sit down before saying yes to him!" said Katie.
The couple planned for a laid-back, fun wedding surrounded by their close friends and family in Brooklodge at Macreddin Village in Wicklow. Thirty Aussies travelled to the emerald isle for the big day, their efforts honoured by the couple when they integrated the places everyone had travelled from into their decor.
The wedding was documented by Katie Kav Photography.
Jeff and Katie viewed seven potential venues in total, with Brooklodge and Macreddin Village being the last. "Thank god we did [visit Brooklodge] as we both loved it," said the bride.
The couple loved how unique the venue was, commenting that it almost had an 'Aussie style' to it with its beautiful outdoor setting. "A great advantage of Brooklodge is having the little chapel on the grounds as well a little pub ’Actons Pub’" Katie noted. "Getting ready at the venue the morning of the wedding was so relaxed and great fun. We had some craic in the bride’s room looking out the window overlooking the chapel and whistling down at the guests arriving! We cannot wait to go back to Brooklodge!"
"If you don’t mind me saying so my attention to detail is second to none!" joked Katie about the wedding theme and decor, which the couple largely put together themselves, and with the help of family. Their travel theme was achieved with their table plan, table names and the sign post which displayed their guests' home cities.
Jeff, a carpenter, made the wooden decor himself, including the table names, post box, wooden pallet and sign post. Katie made the ceremony booklets and favours. She had help from her sister Lauren in crafting the table plan, and her sister Sarah did their stationery. "We really enjoyed planning it but couldn’t wait for it to be over too!" said the bride.
Katie purchased her dress in Belle Mariée Bridal in Athboy. It was by La Sposa Pronovias. "I hated wedding dress shopping," she said, "I never ever wear dresses so took me a while to settle on one!" However Katie loved her dress on the day, "it was so comfortable and I got so many compliments. It’s true what they say you don’t want to take your wedding dress off at the end of the day," she added, "even when you hate wearing dresses!!
The couple tied the knot in a humanist ceremony in the Macreddin Chapel on the grounds of Brooklodge and Macreddin Village. The ceremony was presided over by Emma Sides. "It was nice and relaxed but most importantly it was fun and personal," said the bride. "Emma the celebrant was great and the music by the Kooky Ukes also added to the relaxed atmosphere."
"The food was to die for, everyone complimented it," said Katie, "We had a four course meal, starters was a smoked chicken and red pepper roll, we went with the fillet beef for the main dish & the Macreddin Pot for desert was it was so yummy! The second course, after the starters, was a Poitin and Chilli sorbet. It was so different & had all the guests talking! A lot of them reckon it wasn’t the open bar that got them drunk it was the poitin in the sorbet!"
The Stand-out Moment
As for stand out moments, the couple say it's difficult to choose just one. For Katie, walking down the aisle with her father Senan was a particularly special memory, as everyone cheered as they walked. "And of course when myself and Jeff said our owns vows to each other and when we were pronounced husband and wife was certainly another highlight, she added, "[But] the main stand out moment was looking around and seeing how many people were there for us to celebrate our big day!"
"There were so many people at the wedding that I didn’t really get to speak to, thankfully we had a second day where most guests continued to party and it gave us a chance to catch up with them," said he bride, adding that she would also have loved to get a photo with each guest, but the time wouldn't have allowed for it.
"Get everything you can done well in advance of the big day and so you are left with very little jobs to do in the run up to the wedding" says Katie. "This will allow you to really enjoy the days leading up to the wedding with family and friends.
"The suppliers we chose were reliable, professional which helped make our day run so smoothly. Also full credit to the Wedding Team and Brooklodge - I couldn’t compliment & thank them enough, they were exceptional.
"If there are any mishaps on don’t worry once friends & family are there to share the day with you, that’s the main thing. And most importantly have fun!"
Jeff and Katie headed off on our honeymoon five days after the wedding. They visited New York for five nights, then onto Punta Cana, Dominican Republic for what was supposed to be nine nights turned into eleven nights due to Hurricane Irma hitting when they were there. They went on to Miami where despite the hurricane they had 'an amazing time'.