As the Phoenix Park was very important to Emma and John, it made sense for us to go there to do their portraits. We chose distinct monuments and routes that John adores to pass on his daily run.

Emma and John chose to do things a little differently to the norm for their marriage. They wanted only their very nearest and dearest attending the ceremony of their big day. They had recently bought a brand new family home in Dublin and wanted to tie the knot soon after. It made sense to have a small intimate affair followed by a lush dinner in the Shelbourne Hotel. I was instantly intrigued by the way the wedding would unfold and I couldn’t wait for this romantic day.

When arranging to meet Emma and John for their engagement shoot, they presented me with a lovely surprise that Emma was expecting their first baby. I was delighted for them and my photos – I knew Emma would look just beautiful as an expecting bride. (You can see their fabulous engagement photos in my Love Shoot section.

Before I begin my story, I just want to say it was honestly the hottest, most beautiful day I had ever experienced in Ireland! Roasting it was! Not a cloud in the crystal blue sky. If I am honest this is not very good for photography as the bright light can be quite challenging to work with but I am a South African and I will never curse a sunny day as long as I live.

We started at Emma’s parent’s house. Her maid of honour and father and mother were present. Everyone was so calm and collected. The sunlight was beaming through the windows. I asked if I could go outside to shoot some details. Emma brought me into what can only be described as a fairy wonderland. The love and attention put into this garden is astounding. Footpaths, fairy doors, plant walls, trees, a greenhouse, the list goes on. We literally could have had the whole wedding day at this very spot!

John and his family were getting ready at John and Emma’s house not too far away. I was greeted with an Irish salmon breakfast, tea and a spot of football. Again, so relaxed and calm.

Emma and John married in McKee Barracks in Dublin. Not everyone can do this you know. You have to have past connections to the army to be able to use the church at the barracks. So this was quite special. As there were only 15 of us, the priest brought everyone right up to the front of the altar, the family and guests were literally on the altar. It was intimate, close and romantic. A completely different experience to the conventional wedding ceremony. I felt very much a part of it too, which was quite extraordinary.

The light was soft and yellow, beaming through the windows onto the altar. The church itself quite spectacular in its own right with army memorabilia all around. The proximity that the small group were at really put a romantic feel to every moment. We could feel the love these two have for each other emanate around us. Emma was just a stunning mother and bride to be – she was glowing. The three of us were then chauffeured to The Phoenix Park for our portraits.

The afternoon ended with a beautiful dinner in the Shelbourne. Class at its best. Congratulations Emma and John. And now, congratulations on the birth of your beautiful baby girl, Kate. I wish you guys the very best in this exciting new chapter in your lives.

Dena xx



Ceremony: The McKee Barracks

Portraits: Phoenix Park

Dress: Ciara Bridal

Flowers: Kane’s Florist

Suits: Debenhams

Rings: McDowdalls O Connell Street