There are lots of ‘wedding’ people in the world: people who keep scrapbooks of bridal dresses and consider napkin choices with the seriousness of global peace initiatives. We have never been those people.
Don’t get us wrong—it makes us giddy to be around people in love and we both think the commitment of marriage is an extraordinarily beautiful thing. When I’m at a wedding, I inevitably end up wiping away mascara tears. We only say this so you understand we are reasonably neutral observers when we tell you about the most epic wedding that ever was.
Hang with us here for a second. If you were to brainstorm things that made a wedding epic, you would probably start with spectacular scenery, beautiful weather, gorgeous food, colorful outfits, and outrageously good music. But if you continued thinking, you’d add in more important elements, such as an amazing guest list and a particularly impressive and deserving couple. If you really thought hard, you might add a special meaning to the event.
So let’s give you those things.
Scenery: The tiny village of Ballyvaughan in Ireland (population 254) is along the Wild Atlantic Coast, just across a sparkling bay from Galway and inside the Burren, an otherworldly landscape built on an ancient limestone foundation and sprinkled with 75% of all the wildflower species in the country.
Weather: The biggest heat wave to hit the country since the 70s. True story—in the middle of a 10-minute sprinkle, we watched a father bring his young son out to celebrate the rain. In Ireland.
Food: Incredible canapes and courses, drawn from gourmet local producers.
Outfits: As colorful as the wildflowers—see photos.
Music: Two rooms busting out the dancing vibe with interludes of professional dancers to show us how it’s really done.
Now on to the really important parts.
In attendance: We need to start with the couple: Kieron Crawley, the Irishman-turned-globetrotter, met Miguel Gonzales, the Spaniard-turned-globetrotter, in Johannesburg and have been growing their love for many gorgeous years. Their families included equally fun and fascinating people from Ireland, Spain, England, Scotland, Switzerland, Barbados, Brazil, and New York—not to mention a California cousin or two. Their friends extended the global range to South Africa, Germany, France, Greece and Africa. And while the number of languages represented may have confused a UN interpreter, the shared universal tongue extended to all: dancing.
Meaning: If you haven’t yet deciphered it, this was a gay wedding. In Catholic Ireland. Between two people who were old enough to have fully expected the impossibility of such an event ever happening in their lifetimes. To not only witness such a ceremony, but to see the depth of love and support by all their friends and family—many of whom were deeply Catholic—brought tears to absolutely everyone’s eyes.
They are a fabulously unique couple. They are also a powerful symbol. And everyone knew what they were experiencing was a triumph at all levels.
The event began in the afternoon with a moving ceremony and carried on through the evening with dinner and dancing in the guesthouse of Miguel’s sister (which is in Kieron’s homeland).
It didn’t end until we took our glasses up the hill to sit among the wildflowers overlooking the Burren, and watch the sun slowly rise, bathing the valley in rose pink.
And there you have it—with apologies to every other bride and/or groom we’ve known—the most epic wedding that ever was.
Our trip to Ireland included a prologue and an epilogue as we circumnavigated the island by car (right hand-drive + ‘backwards’ stick + sidewalk-sized-roads = memorable), but the wedding was the beating heart that carried through the entire experience. So rather than a travelog, we leave you with photos—and a massive dose of love.
On our way to the big event. With me in this photo are Colin’s sister Pauline, her son Connor and her husband George, who were also our traveling companions throughout the always adventurous (and occasionally harrowing) road trip.
Ok, truth time. Looking at the love, happiness and meaning in this shot, you’re holding back a tear too, aren’t you?
Didn’t we promise incredible guests?
Colin is exceptional at many things, but he is an absolute genius at joy. One of my favorite things to see him in his element.
Even the walk of shame met the epic standard
There are a handful of places on this planet that emanate an otherworldly, almost spiritual feeling about them. The Burren is one of those rare spots.
Clearly, we’ll be back