Bride makes it to the church in time - in the back of a squad car

Second couple tie the knot in hotel after church’s insurance company advises against opening

Couples in Trim and Monkstown didn't let a status red warning stop their big day plans. Video: Alan Betson/ Patsy McGarry

 

The bride arrived in the back of a squad car and just 10 minutes late. It was hardly how Brazilian woman Ione Porto had ever dreamed her wedding day would be. Then she had probably never dreamed of snow either.

A limousine had been hired to take her to Monkstown parish church in Co Dublin six months ago but cancelled on Friday morning due to the hazardous conditions.

Earlier, inside the church, the wedding party was at ease, particularly groom-to-be, West Cork man Glenn Cooper. “I’ll wait as long as it takes,” he said.

“We met three years ago in Dalkey Church at my brother Gavin’s wedding and today is our three-year anniversary and it also happens to be our wedding day.”

He was not going to be put off by a mere national emergency.

“We’ve been both determined and defiant to keep this wedding going.”

His best man Brian Keenan had made it there at last. He had set out walking in the blizzard from Sandyford, about six kilometres away. “We had a lot of snow so I had to head out on foot and made it as far as Leopardstown.” There “a kind stranger picked me up and left me safely at the church”.

He did not come dressed in his best man’s outfit. “Hiking boots and fluffy jumpers and T-shirt. Everything’s in there now in a little dirty bag,” he said pointing to the church porch.

It’s nice to see the weather here. It’s different.

Bridesmaids Juliana Martins, Gizele Porto and Renata Freitas arrived by taxi and picked their way delicately in high heels through the snow to the church door.

Snow was “impossible in Brazil,” said Juliana, “but it’s nice. It’s nice to see the weather here. It’s different. It’s a surprise.” And who could disagree with that?

Not the father of the groom, Philip Cooper, from near Clonakilty, Co Cork. He feels indebted to the blizzard of 1947.

“That’s when I was conceived,” he declared, although he could not be exact. “That snow lasted a long time. It lasted in West Cork until June, I think,” said Philip (born March 1948).

He posed for photographs with his other son Gavin, who is married to Ione’s sister. Gavin admitted it was “unusual to have two brothers marrying two sisters anyway, but having two brothers and two sisters marry 6,000 kilometres apart is quite unusual”.

Eventually, the waiting was over and Canon Roy Byrne welcomed the squad car’s arrival. A gentlemanly young garda stepped briskly from the passenger seat to open a back door. Out stepped the bride to loud cheers from onlookers.

She wasn’t the only bride to brave the elements on Friday, however. What is believed to have been the first Catholic wedding to take place outside a church in the Trim area was held in the Trim Castle Hotel.

Some of our guests arrived by tractor. I’m not kidding

Bride and groom Claire Doggett and Gary Conroy had hoped to marry in the nearby St Patrick’s church, but on Friday morning Gary was told that the church’s insurance company had advised them not to open the building.

Fortunately the staff at the Trim Castle Hotel, where the reception was planned, immediately moved into action and quickly set up a beautiful wedding ceremony venue complete with stunning view of the snow covered Trim Castle (of Braveheart fame).

Of the more than 200 guests, 70 were unable to attend, including a number from the UK. However, many were determined to attend with one guest leaving Woodford, Co Galway at 9.30am, arriving in Trim at the tail end of the wedding Mass at 2.30pm.

Many others had taken the precaution of travelling on Thursday, staying in Trim and nearby overnight, including the groom’s father who organised a neighbour to care for his beloved horses.

“Some of our guests arrived by tractor. I’m not kidding,” said Claire.

“Everything fell into place in the end. We weren’t without anything… other than a church!”

Her maid of honour Tracey Lynch also stepped up to the plate doing everyone’s hair, including her own.

Gary had great praise for the staff of the hotel. “They pulled out all the stops to make our day special.”

Claire drove through snow for an hour on Thursday to collect her gown and those of her bridesmaids while Gary also struggled through the snow - on foot - carrying six suits for he and his groomsmen.

“We’re just delighted that we were able to go ahead and that our friends and family were able to get here,” said Gary.