If you know me in real life, you’ve probably heard me mention (about a thousand times) that I used to live in Ireland. And you probably also know that my favorite place in Ireland (maybe in the whole world) is the Aran Islands. They are three tiny islands off the West Coast of Ireland and are part of the Gaeltacht, which means that Irish is the primary language spoken there. The first time I visited the “big” island, Inis Mor, I fell in love with it and returned many times, sometimes alone and sometimes to share it with my favorite people. So you can imagine that when D’Arcy Benincosa announced she was offering a 1:1 mentorship which included second shooting an intimate wedding on Inis Mor, I snapped it up pretty quickly!
Toni and Chris traveled to Ireland with their families and close friends for an elopement style ceremony on the Aran Islands, the ancestral home of Chris’ family. Their ceremony, at St. Ciarán’s Monastery on Inis Mor, was performed by Celtic Priest and Monk, Dara Molloy. It was without a doubt the most special and unique marriage I have witnessed. The marriage involved several “stations”, starting with the Holy Well. The Holy well celebrates the woman to be married and the groom circles around her in the same way that the earth circles the sun every day. The bride’s hands are placed in the well water while prayers focus on her as a wife and mother.
The second station, the Standing Stone, is a Celtic symbol of male fertility and here the man to be married is celebrated. The groom places his hand on the stone and prayers focus on him as a husband and father.
The next station is the Altar, which represents Divinity. The bride and groom stand before the altar facing each other to make their vows. Rings are exchanged and their hands are bound in a Celtic handfasting ceremony. Here they receive the blessing of the Four Elements from the Priest.
They next move to the Sundial station. The sundial is a carved stone with a hole, a circular dial, and a Celtic Cross. Here the couple faces each other and touches fingers through the hole as they confirm their marriage vows, which is a continuation of an ancient practice of using the Sundial as a contract stone. Then a silk scarf is passed through the hole in the Sundial three times while a wish is made by the couple and then by other witnesses. Finally, the Priest anoints the couple with oil and water, blessing their relationship. The oil placed on their hands symbolizes health and wholeness and the water from the sacred well sprinkled around them is a symbol of protection.
The ceremony is concluded by the bride and groom joining hands and walking around the sundial in a clockwise direction, which is a piece from an ancient Celtic ritual and is believed to bring everyone into harmony with the cosmic rhythms.
Toni and Chris are a couple so deeply in love, it was absolutely palpable during their wedding. They were completely surrounded by love as well, with each person in attendance so filled with joy for them. I felt like I had been given a beautiful gift, being there to document it.
P.S. You’ll also want to check out D’Arcy’s beautiful images from this day as well… They were just featured on Martha Stewart Weddings this week. And definitely click on the link to see Luke Lindgren’s amazing video of the day!
The information regarding the Dara Molloy’s Celtic marriage ceremony above was sourced from www.DaraMolloy.com.
All Images ©2017 Jennifer Corbett/As Ever Photography
Featured Photographs: As Ever Photography
Lead Shooter: D’Arcy Benincosa
Cinematographer: Luke Lindgren
Officiant: Dara Molloy
Groom’s Apparel: ASOS
Bride’s Apparel: Maria Luisa Rabell
Headpiece: Mignonne Handmade
Planning: Waterlily Wedding, LLC
Pony and Trap: Thomas Flaherty Tours
Ceremony Location: St. Ciarán’s Monastery
Flowers: Mulqueens Florists
Film Lab: The Find Lab