Our Wedding Story: A treasure hunt that ended in a proposal
A City Hall ceremony was designed to include as many family and friends as possible
The big day at City Hall: Andrew and Thomas with their families. Photograph: IG Studio Photography
Vows: the wedding ceremony conducted by friend and HSE registrar Myles. Photograph: IG Studio Photography
Andrew Martin and Thomas Byrne
“There’s a nice feeling about it. I think the wedding ring is the thing you notice the most. We’ll be out for drinks and you look over at him and catch a glimpse of the wedding ring on his finger and just smile to yourself, knowing that he is yours.”
That’s how Andrew, an accountant from Ardee, Co Louth, describes life since he married Thomas on July 8th, 2016.
When they met through a friend in 2012 at the Dragon Bar in Dublin, “it was very evident that there was an instant attraction there”, he says. “We got on so well that we planned a date the very next day. We went to Powerscourt Gardens in Wicklow and I then made Thomas climb the Sugarloaf. If that isn’t putting you through your paces on the first date, I don’t know what is!”
On Valentine’s Day 2015, Thomas proposed.
“It was truly romantic and very Thomas,” Andrew says.
Every Easter, Thomas, an IT developer from Co Offaly, plans a treasure hunt around Dublin city for Andrew.
“That Easter, I was busy working, so we decided to do it on Valentine’s Day instead. Easter eggs were replaced with little hearts,” Andrew says. “But this time, at the very end, when we reached the Garden of Remembrance, Thomas proposed as the finale to the hunt – Anneka Rice, eat your heart out! It was just amazing as I was concentrating so hard on getting the clues right I had no idea what was to come.”
And the plan for their wedding?
“For it to be the biggest and best party we have ever thrown,” Andrew says.
Thomas and Andrew were married – by their friend Myles, a Health Service Executive registrar – in a ceremony with a vintage glamour feel at Dublin City Hall, where both men were given away by their mothers, Catherine and Dolly.
“We really wanted our day to include as many friends and family as we could and we used our ceremony to do this,” Thomas says. “Andrew’s brothers, Richard and Niall, stood as best men and my friends Suzie and Aimee were groomsmaids. Our friends Kerstie, James and Mary recited readings we had specially chosen and we had a hand-fastening ceremony where both our dads, Peter and Tommy, represented our family and Siobhan and Rob represented our friends. Andrew’s sister Caitlin and her boyfriend, Ken, provided the music, and Ken and our friend Ronan took on the duty of ushers.”
The couple did away with some wedding traditions, including that of not seeing each other before the ceremony. In fact, Thomas’s favourite part of the day was standing on the steps of City Hall before walking up the aisle together. He remembers Andrew going first “and looking back with a smile. It was just the best feeling.”
Andrew’s favourite moment came later on, when they were finally married and all their guests had headed off to the reception at Tulfarris.
“We got into our little vintage MG convertible that we’d had hired, and travelled in together . . . The excitement and emotion, it’s something I’ll never forget,” he says.
And there’s one top tip from the couple who say that “planning can be stressful . . . you could be the most organised person ever and stuff which is out of your hands can still go wrong . . . When your big day arrives, let all worries and stress go . . . .You need to be prepared for some things to not go according to plan. A couple who are enjoying their day really comes across to guests.”