Renowned for their annual Eurovision bash, super-social Andrew Martin and Thomas Byrne wanted to make their Real Weddings celebration their biggest and best party ever, so they pulled out all the stops.
Real Weddings: Andrew & Thomas was originally published in the February 2017 Issue of GCN (Issue 326) which is available to read online here.
Five years ago in the now defunct Dragon, Andrew Martin and Thomas Byrne walked into each other’s lives, as they both put it, “the good, old traditional way”. According to Andrew: “About ten minutes into the conversation at the bar, Thomas started to walk off, saying, ‘I’ll see you later, I’ll give you a kiss then’. I said, ‘You’re going nowhere, you’ll kiss me now’.”
So began a relationship that’s as steeped in romance as it is in shared activity. Every Easter Thomas creates a treasure hunt for Andrew, placing clues that lead to one another, taking him across Dublin city. Two years ago, because Andrew was working during Easter, Thomas arranged the treasure hunt for Valentine’s Day. It gave him the perfect opportunity to propose.
“I’d given him a Valentine’s card that morning saying, ‘Best Boyfriend in the World’,” Thomas remembers. “The clue at the end, which he found in the Garden of Remembrance, said, ‘Happy Valentine’s Day, husband… will you marry me?’”
Real Weddings – Planning Shared 50-50
“It was a complete shock,” says Andrew. “I got very teary-eyed. Thomas had hidden a bottle of Prosecco in the bushes, and from there he’d booked a table in the Westbury for afternoon tea, where we nished off with champagne.”
After their engagement the couple got heavily involved in canvassing for marriage equality. “We were out every single night for six weeks,” says Thomas.“A nice part of that was to be able to tell the people at the doors that we were actually getting married.”
Planning their wedding was a 50-50 affair, with the pair’s compatibility coming into play. “I tried to be the creative one, to come up with the ideas, and Thomas is really good at making those ideas work,” says Andrew.
“We did a lot of DIY stuff, we made our own invites, we made our own menus, we were out digging up palettes to make signs with them, and all sorts of things. We love entertaining, we love having people around, so we felt this was the biggest party we were ever going to have, and we put absolutely everything into it.”
Keep reading to see what venue Tomas and Andrew chose for their Real Weddings celebration!
Thomas and Andrew chose Tulfarris Hotel in Wicklow for their reception. “We knew we wanted an old manor house, with a big enough ballroom, where people could stay if they wanted to, but we quickly realised we wouldn’t be able to tick all the boxes perfectly in one place. We didn’t love the décor of the ballroom in Tulfarris, so we got a company called Events in Bloom and Event Central in to decorate. Jen did an amazing job, she really got what we wanted.”
Real Weddings – Best Men & Groomsmaids
The couple had their legal ceremony in the salubrious surroundings of Dublin City Hall, arriving in style in a little red convertible they’d rented for the day. They wanted a ceremony that would involve as much of their friends and family as possible, so their mothers walked them up the aisle, two of Andrew’s brothers were best men, and two of Thomas’s best friends were groomsmaids. Their fathers were involved in a hand-binding ceremony, and one of their best friends, a registrar with the HSE, did the official honours.
“He recommended that we write our own vows, and that we read them to each other beforehand, because a lot of people get overly-emotional reading them for the first time,” says Andrew. “We did it the night before, and it was a really lovely moment.”
Andrew and Thomas drove to Wicklow in their convertible for the reception, where emotions ran high during the speeches, for Thomas at least. “Usually Andy is the emotional one,” he says. “But there were all these people in the room who are in our lives, and it was amazing opportunity to say how we feel about each other, and how we feel about our friends and family.”
Real Weddings – “We’re About To Get Married!”
Andrew, Thomas and their guests partied late into the night, dancing to the stylings of a band called Good Times, followed by a DJ set, and then Andrew’s sister’s boyfriend led a sing-song until about five in the morning with his guitar. “It was a good old Irish wedding,” Andrew laughs.
His favourite moment of the day was driving to City Hall in their red convertible. “It was so nice for the two of us to spend that time together. We were driving in, saying we couldn’t believe that it was actually happening, talking about who was going to be there at City Hall waiting for us. It was really exciting.”
Thomas’s most memorable moment was when they were waiting to walk up the aisle. “Andy and his mum were on the step ahead of us, me and my mum were behind, and I remember Andy glancing back at me. All I could think was, ‘It’s here! We’re about to get married!’”
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