By Annette Condon

Our wedding day was certainly memorable but not for the usual reasons. My fiancé, Richie and I had decided to get married quietly – this was back in 2000, the dawn of the new millennium. We chose Rome. Apart from its historical significance, I knew the location would soften my mother’s disappointment of being deprived of a big splash at home.

To compensate, I borrowed Mammy’s engagement and wedding ring to ensure that she and Daddy were with me in spirit on the big day. My something old was my veil, first worn for my Holy Communion.

We arrived in the Eternal City on Friday the 24th of November. The Rector of the Irish College, Father Fleming had invited us to a meeting at the Irish College on Sunday evening to discuss arrangements for the next day nuptials. We discovered that five other couples from Ireland were planning to tie the knot at the same ceremony.

Monday dawned bright. I enjoyed a glass of champagne and waited for the hairdresser to arrive. As the morning wore on, I was forced to accept that she was a no-show and set about washing my own hair and applying my make up. I had only thirty minutes to get ready, all the while cursing the missing hairdresser through gritted teeth.
I had to draft my soon-to-be husband into fixing my tiara and veil. I remember Richie’s hand shaking with the stress of getting it right.

Ready to go, I glided down the stairs, feeling shy and hoping nobody would see me. My flowers had arrived and our carriage, a Mercedes car, was outside.

All seemed to be going to plan, except the driver was unwell and at one stage had to stop the car as he felt dizzy.

In the grounds of the Irish College, Mario, the photographer, placed us in position: me leaning against a bush, Richie holding my hand and looking “adoringly” into my eyes, both of us standing on the steps of the college.
Mario directed the next waiting couple to follow suit, making it feel a bit of an assembly-line wedding.

Richie kept walking at his normal pace and I was trotting to keep up with him, laden down by a full length dress, new shoes, a veil and my floral bouquet.

At one stage, my veil flew off and I shouted, “Richie, for God’s sake slow down.”

I had to later ask the videographer to remove that bit as I looked too much like the nagging wife, shades of Hyacinth in the sitcom, Keeping Up Appearances, who permanently barked at her long-suffering husband, also ironically called Richard.

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own