A beautiful Beara bride, a gorgeous West Cork setting, picture-perfect outfits and a hilarious mishap in the church, all resulted in a national title for one lucky couple
BY HELEN RIDDELL
A CASTLETOWNBERE bride has won the RSVP magazine Wedding of the Year competition, beating 40 other brides to take the title.
Rachel Martin-Sullivan, youngest daughter of Mary and Michael Martin-Sullivan from Castletownbere, married Evan Kennedy, from Aghada in East Cork, in a ceremony held in Castletownbere, last July, with photographs taken by Cobh photographer Dominic Dunne.
RSVP Magazine, an Irish magazine covering celebrity news, features a weekly section on readers’ weddings. At the end of each year readers are invited to vote via an online poll for their favourite wedding.
Speaking to The Southern Star, Rachel said: ‘Towards the end it was neck and neck with us and two other weddings, so we were absolutely thrilled to hear we had won.’ The couple’s prize is a two-night break in the 5 star Muckross Park Hotel in Killarney and €500 to spend with a personal shopper at Debenhams.
And the couple have more to celebrate, as they are expecting their first baby in May.
Rachel and Evan first met in 2009 when they were introduced by a college friend of Rachel’s, whose boyfriend was best friends with Evan. It was six years later, in December 2015, at the height of Storm Desmond when Evan proposed to Rachel.
Having originally planned to propose at Pulleen Harbour, a picturesque inlet just outside Castletownbere, which was also one of the main locations for the Neil Jordan film ‘Ondine’, Evan had to rethink his plans when he discovered it wasn’t possible to access Pulleen due to the storm.
Instead, he brought Rachel to the nearby Dinish Island, which overlooks the harbour ‘to listen to the wind howling and the waves crashing against the shore’ before he went down on one knee and presented Rachel with the ring.
Along with the ring, Evan also gave Rachel a pendant he’d had engraved with the date of the wedding proposal, and her future initials ‘RK’ on the reverse.
The couple were married in the Sacred Heart Church in Castletownbere by a family friend of the groom, Fr Donal Hogan, assisted by Fr Gearóid Walsh. The bride, who wore a white, full skirted bridal dress with a sparkling corset top from The Moderne in Cork was assisted by her bridesmaids who included her sister Aisling Pearce, Elaine Martin-Sullivan, Pauline McCarthy, Aoife Heslin and Linda Kennedy.
They were joined by flower girls Sadie Martin-Sullivan, Isla Pearce, both nieces of the bride, and page boys Donncha Pearce and Rhys Martin-Sullivan. Groom Evan, was supported by his brother Ronan Kennedy who was best man, and groomsmen Alan Creedon, Rory Cocking, Colin Aherne and Micheál Murphy,
The couple held their reception at the Beara Coast Hotel, and the day after the wedding hosted a South African themed barbecue at Berehaven Lodge. Rachel said the entire day from start to finish was ‘just perfect, especially the surprise fireworks display at the end of the night that my parents organised for us.’ They were also delighted to be joined at the reception by both their grandmothers, both of whom are in their 90s.
Rachel said there was a funny moment when her veil was taken off her head by a guest who stepped out to take a photo, as she walked down the aisle after the ceremony!
The couple spent their honeymoon in Villamoura Portugal and Seville, Spain and are now living in East Cork where Rachel works at Brammer and Evan works for Eli Lilly.