Our Wedding Story: Mississippi proposal leads to Slane ceremony

Emma Toner and Ken Ottley had decorations of gold spray-painted pineapples and pink flamingo fairy lights

Emma Toner and Ken Ottley

Emma, content manager for Groupon and Ken, a self-employed gardener, met five years ago on Derby day at the Curragh, Co Kildare.

Last June, the couple took a road-trip though the American South and got engaged on the steamboat Natchez on the Mississippi river.

On September 4th, 2015, Ken and Emma were married in a spiritualist ceremony at the Millhouse in Slane, decorated with gold spray-painted pineapples and flamingo fairy lights.


Emma, daughter of Peter and Anne Toner, walked up the aisle to I Can't Help Falling in Love with You, sung by her friend Nuala, who also sang Moon River, and XO by Beyoncé.

The married couple walked out to The Reel in the Flickering Light, by Christy Moore – a favourite song of Ken's late mother, who was also remembered in a gift from the groom to the bride; a peridot necklace made from her wedding ring. Ken's father is George Ottley.

Emma describes the whole event as "very much a community affair". One future sister-in-law Mary Scott, engaged to the bride's younger brother, Leinster rugby player Devin, made the cake, while Sinead, fiancée of the bride's brother Darragh, carried out the bridal party beauty treatments.

Emma borrowed her veil from Bethann Reilly, who runs the couple's local pub, Fagan's in Moynalvey (where second day celebrations were had); the invitations were printed by family friend Joe Wall; and flowers were by Lorcan Burke of Absolutely Fabulous flowers, another family friend.

During her speech, the bride played a video she made which featured one second a day from the year leading up to the wedding day. The bride and groom's first dance was to Bring Me Sunshine, sung by The Springsteens.

The couple, who spent their honeymoon in Orlando, Miami and on a Caribbean cruise, live in Kilcloon. They agree that “possibly the best thing that happened since the wedding is that best man Niall and bridesmaid Orla are now an official item”.

Photographer: Elisha Clarke