As if a wedding isn’t dramatic enough in its own right, Lydia Downing and Johnny Brackett chose a Disney theme for their big day, writes Eve Kelliher.
Ballincollig native Lydia and Johnny, from Rathcormac, met five years ago and their first date saw them swoop above Cork’s streetscape on the city’s ferris wheel.
From ferris wheels to jaunting cars, the following year, on Lydia’s birthday, November 11, 2016, Johnny surprised her by popping the question as they enjoyed a traditional-style trip around Muckross Gardens in Killarney.
He had another surprise in store as they were about to exchange vows in the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Rathcormac. The bride’s aunt, Ruth Downing, had secretly provided the groom with singing lessons in the lead-up to the wedding so that Johnny was pitch-perfect when he burst into a rendition of “This I Promise You” as Lydia walked up the aisle.
“She definitely got a surprise — as did everyone in the church,” said Johnny.
Ruth, in turn, took the couple’s breath away later in the ceremony when she performed a song she had composed especially for them.
Singer and pianist Sarah Magnier also performed during the Mass, which was led by Canon Michael Leamy.
The newlyweds’ first dance was to the song “Tale Old As Time” from Beauty and the Beast, and other Disney films featured as names of each table at the wedding reception in the Charleville Park Hotel, where the celebration also combined elements of an Academy Awards-style ceremony.
“Lydia loves Disney movies and I am very much involved in drama and film production,” said the groom, who is a member of Fermoy drama group Take 5, as well as film company JN Productions.
Also taking centre stage on the big day was the couple’s son, Callum Brackett, three, and flowergirls Lily Hickey, Lydia’s cousin, and Erin Irwin, the couple’s niece and godchild.
By her side as chief bridesmaid was Lydia’s sister Charlotte Downing with friends Laura O’Connell and Ciara Burke as bridesmaids. Johnny’s friend Shaun Donovan, best man, joined forces with his pals Adam Clarke and Kevin Hassett, groomsmen.
Toasting the newlyweds’ future were both sets of parents Anne and Eddie Downing and Jackie and Tom Brackett and the bride’s grandmother Nora “Nonie” Brackett.
Sending their best wishes were Lydia’s other grandmother Patricia Hickey and grandfather Michael Downing. It was using Patricia’s recipe that Lydia made the wedding cake for the big day.
Fiona Fuller captured the occasion on camera and Floral Sculpture, Innishannon, created the floral arrangements.
The bride was camera-ready in a stylish dress sourced in Diamond Bridal, Cork, and the groom and his party’s suits were purchased in Suit Distributors Cork.
Gemma and the Jets ensured the dance floor was full and the Charleville Park Hotel team was “a dream to work with” said Johnny.
Lydia, who works in childcare, and Johnny, who works with the HSE, divide their time between Rathcormac and Ballincollig.