A Wedding On A Shoe String

A Wedding On A Shoe String

Rosemarie Meleady first met her husband through a mutual business interest meeting. “Our first meeting lasted an hour, after which I went home and told my brother that I had met the man I was going to marry. Ronan had gone home and told his brother that he had met the woman he wanted to marry.” Yet it took five months before they gave any hint that either was interested in each other.

“We would meet every week to discuss business and end up talking for hours and hours on end about everything and anything, I suppose we didn’t want the other to know of the attraction in case it would ruin the possibility of a great friendship” explains Rosemarie.

They started working together and other work colleagues paired them off. “A group of us were out for drinks one night and a work mate made the remark that myself and Ronan would be the first to get married in the company. Ronan wasn’t there, but I’m sure I went red thinking I was so obviously attracted to him.”

The next evening Rosemarie decided to bite the bullet and asked Ronan out for a drink.

“After a bit of Dutch courage I casually mentioned the remark our friend had made about us being the first to get married and Ronan replied ‘well when are you available?’ I said, ‘July’ and he said ‘right then, we’ll get married in July’ and then he kissed me. So he proposed before we had ever even kissed!”

And so it was to happen, although not for another three Julys.

Both Rosemarie and Ronan practice Transcendental Mediation (TM) and opted for a wedding with a difference. Neither wanted to spent vast sums on the wedding preferring to save the money for a significant holiday instead. They also did not want a church wedding. In the end, they organised a very special wedding, although not without its fair share of hiccups. Hiccups which only made the day all the more special.

Rosemarie decided to make her own dress. A laudable intention but days before the wedding it was still not finished. At her hen party, her friends asked for a preview. Rosemarie held up different bits of material, some draped over her shoulder and others pinned around her waist. ‘This is what it’ll look like’ she said proudly. At which point her aunt, a professional dressmaker, took control and finished the job in time.

She also made her bridesmaids dresses and these were finished in time. However, one of the flower girls was Ronan’s niece from Holland, whom he hadn’t seen in years. Rosemarie requested her measurements over the telephone in advance but when she converted from millimetres to inches found the sizing all wrong. Luckily the family travelled over in advance for a holiday and Rosemarie found to her amazement the 11-year-old niece was 5′ 9”. ‘My flower girl was head and shoulders taller than the bride,’ laughs Rosemarie.

“I used a photo of my grandparents wedding for the front cover of my invites. I did them in the style of a postcard so it was a straight forward black and white printing job so it didn’t cost much”.

Rosemarie was lucky in that her mother did floristry as a hobby. On the morning of the wedding, they travelled together to the Flower Market in Mary Street Dublin and collected a vast array of beautiful flowers. Rosemarie opted for a sheaf bouquet with irises and grasses. A flower wreath of Tibetan poppies made her headdress.

Then Rosemarie had commissioned another friend to do the photography. Waiting anxiously at the Registry Office, he finally turned up with minutes to spare. However, the Polaroid in his hand soon explained his delay. His wife had gone into premature labour and he was a father. Rosemarie and her fiancee naturally sent him back to the labour ward but not before commandeering his camera. Rosemarie’s brother took over the role of official photographer but without experience, cut off most of the heads.

‘It didn’t matter in the end,’ said Rosemarie, ‘as I created my wedding album from my friends’ photographs. It means we have a lovely mix of styles.’ She continues, “It’s strange, the photographer didn’t make it to my grandmother’s wedding either so it’s starting to turn into a family tradition!”

After the official ceremony, the wedding party returned to Rosemarie’s parents’ home. “My parents had their wedding reception in the same house 35 years previous so that was nice.” In the sunshine of the back garden they had a Puja (a Hindu ceremony of thanks giving).

Flowers were offered and a blessing given. ‘It was a very lovely ceremony,’ said Rosemarie: ‘Very intimate and very special.’

In order to provide a party for the rest of their pals, Rosemarie booked the Portmarnock Leisure Centre for £60. A local caterer provided ham, salmon and chicken buffet for around £3.50 per head. A Ceili band was booked and they played so energetically that everyone was up dancing by the end of the second bar!

‘All up the wedding cost Ronan and I under £1,000,’ says Rosemarie. ‘We saved the rest of our savings for a trip around the world, but despite saving so much on the day, seven years and two children later we still remember our truly magical day.’

Write to us should you have any interesting stories on your wedding day.