Our Wedding Story: from housemates to soul mates

Wonderfully skilled family and friends – from Ireland to NZ – made the day sparkle

Katie Hamilton and Blake Richardson

Katie's plan to return home to Dublin after a stint as a physiotherapist in New Zealand changed when she moved into a flat in Auckland and met new housemate Blake. Seven years on, they're married and live in the beachside town of Raglan with one-year-old son Cooper Robbie Richardson.

Their wedding day was on December 30th, 2016 with a ceremony at Kilodiernan Church, Puckane, Co Tipperary.

"It was quite traditional, yet quite untraditional as we Christened our son at the same time," says Katie, whose parents are Judy and Stuart Hamilton. Her grandmother is Sheila Morrison. "My sister Jilly was the last person to get married in the church and my other sister Amy will be the next."

The area is close to the hearts of the Hamilton family as they spent many years sailing at Lough Derg Yacht Club where the reception was hosted – after the newlyweds led their guests to local pub Kennedy's for a pint.

Skills and thrills

Asked what parts of the day reflected them most, Katie and Blake – the son of Jan Thomson and Neil Richardson – say: "The involvement of family and friends and making use of all the wonderful skills people have."

Among the brilliant skills were those of Katie’s mum who made over 350m of lace bunting using old curtains (“we handmade reusable napkins from fabric picked up in shops”) and her cousin Amanda who designed the invitations.

Emilia Rowan, a friend, made the appetisers and mulled wine; brother-in-law Ross Staunton created the cheese board while soon-to-be brother-in-law Reg White made the cake and, with his fiancée, Amy set up hot whiskey for the drinks reception.

Katie’s uncle Derek was the chauffeur and, she says, “a group of wonderful local women did a flower arrangement each using flowers and greenery from their own gardens”.

On New Year's Eve, Teddy Knight took a few brave guests out for a chilly trip on his old Guinness barge and the talents of loved ones were once again employed "when we formed a wonderful band with guitars, a fiddle, ukulele and singing until the early hours".

In contrast to the New Year’s day swim that closed out the Irish wedding celebrations, “we did it all again in February in Raglan when we held a mini wedding festival”, says Katie.

“A very different party in 30 degree sunshine!”

Photographs: Jonny Somerville