Irish singer Olivia O'Hanlon

Wedding Talk

'It’s busy all year round' - Mother of three who left bank job to pursue career as wedding singer reaps rewards

Olivia, who can sing up to five weddings per week during her busy season, said she has 'no regret's changing career

A Sligo singer who left her job in the bank to pursue her love of singing has said she has 'no regrets' changing careers, and is enjoying her life as an in-demand wedding singer.

Olivia O’Hanlon, who is originally from Abbeyville but now living in Ballisodare, has always had music in her heart, coming from a musical family.

Both Olivia's mum and sister Avril were in bands, with Avril being part of popular group Deja Groove for many years.

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Olivia and Avril started singing at family and friends' weddings from the age of 13, and Olivia sang in choirs including the Mercy School Choir, as well as doing musicals from a young age.

She said it’s been wonderful working in the music business full-time now for more than three years, and has 'no regrets' about her drastic change of career.

“I was in the Bank of Ireland for 15 years on Stephen St and after my third child I decided to leave that job and take go singing full-time," said Olivia.

"I’m busy with the kids who are 11, 8 and 5 but thankfully they are all very musical too. Shane, the eldest is doing his piano exams and Caoimhe and Kyran all sing really well together, they could be the next Von Trapps!,” she laughed.

“I have no regrets. I started my singing business and Donal Gray joins me on piano for weddings and there’s other musicians too and harpists.”

She sings at a lot of funerals and the most popular song requested for funerals in The Voyage. “It’s requested a lot at weddings too. The most requested hymn is probably Lady of Knock.

With more than 300 songs in her repertoire, Olivia covers a wide range of genres, which she says is important for couples trying to plan something unique for their special day.

“I think in terms of wedding songs, every bride wants something different,” said Olivia.

She said regarding popular songs in church, once the religious parts are adhered to from the psalms, offertory and Communion then generally priests are fine with popular songs being sung.

“I think the most popular wedding song I sing is A Thousand Years by Christina Perry from Twilight, that comes up a lot as does This I Promise You.” One of her favourites to sing is Songbird. “I love it because it’s more of a classic, more my age group!”.

Olivia was recently crowned Church Singer of the Year at a prestigious awards ceremony for the Irish wedding industry.

The mother of three said she was thrilled to win at the weddingsonline awards after having won 'Best Newcomer' a number of years ago.

She now enjoys a busy career that works well with her family life.

“With the kids and all that I don’t travel too much outside Sligo, keep within an hour’s radius or that. It’s busy all year round, January is quiet enough but from Valentine’s onwards it’s busy especially in August when I could be doing four to five weddings a week.

“It’s mental in August but it’s good. Christmas and New Years is another busy time for weddings it can be nuts with something everyday but it’s nice to have family time too.”

Olivia said being asked to sing at weddings is really special to her.

“I love being a part of it and I take it so seriously. To sing on the day of someone’s wedding sets the tone for a happy and romantic day.”