Wedding of the Week: A celebratory duck race for Danielle and Christopher's wedding

— "After a month of wet weather, we got the most beautiful day"
Wedding of the Week: A celebratory duck race for Danielle and Christopher's wedding

Danielle O'Rourke and Christopher Hayes with Nicola O'Rourke, Catherine Noble Iepureanu, Éamon Hayes and Jonathan Keohane. Pictures: Kornel Szolcsanyi/Kornel Photography

From Formula 1 to duck races, Danielle O’Rourke and Christopher Hayes’ love story set pulses racing.

Danielle, from Skerries, County Dublin, and Christopher from Rosscarbery, County Cork, first crossed paths on Cork’s Washington Street one night in November 2013. “We got chatting in the takeaway across the street from Rearden’s,” said Danielle.

Danielle O'Rourke and Christopher Hayes met in Cork in November 2013
Danielle O'Rourke and Christopher Hayes met in Cork in November 2013

Christopher, a carpenter, had for a number of years been spending the first three months of the year working with the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix, so went to Australia in January 2014. Christopher was part of the team building the track barriers ahead of the start of the F1 race in March. “This meant our first few months were spent mostly apart,” said Danielle.

Danielle O'Rourke and Christopher Hayes married at St Fachtna's Church in west Cork
Danielle O'Rourke and Christopher Hayes married at St Fachtna's Church in west Cork

But in more recent years Danielle joined him for the three-month stint in Australia, in 2018 and 2019. “We decided then that it was time to settle down,” said Danielle, who works in The Maritime Hotel, Bantry.

Danielle and Christopher, who now live in Rosscarbery, got engaged at the Baltimore Beacon on Danielle’s birthday, August 9, 2019. “After a birthday lunch, I decided we would go for a walk to the beacon in the rain — Danielle took some persuasion!” said Christopher.

Danielle O'Rourke and Christopher Hayes were married by Father John McCarthy
Danielle O'Rourke and Christopher Hayes were married by Father John McCarthy

“It was so wet we couldn’t get a photo so we went back a week later for the engagement photo.” But the sun smiled on their nuptials, just over a year later, on September 5, 2020.

Danielle O'Rourke and Christopher Hayes with David and Amanda O’Rourke and Chris and Liz Hayes
Danielle O'Rourke and Christopher Hayes with David and Amanda O’Rourke and Chris and Liz Hayes

Having worried for several months about whether the wedding would go ahead at all with the Covid restrictions, the couple were married in their local church, Saint Fachtna’s, by Father John McCarthy, and held their reception in The West Cork Hotel, Skibbereen. “After a month of wet weather, we got the most beautiful day,” said the groom.

“The fact that it had been six months since anyone had had a night out meant everyone was so happy they were able to dress up and go out and meet friends and family, everybody was on the floor dancing, even to the songs they didn’t really like!” 

Danielle and Christopher with their friend Willie Joe Hayes
Danielle and Christopher with their friend Willie Joe Hayes

Barry Looney of The West Cork Hotel suggested holding a celebratory duck race, in the River Ilen, after the meal. “The more we spoke about it the more we loved the idea,” said the bride. “There was a personalised race programme, written by Christopher, that included everyone that was in attendance, so it really got everyone involved. There was live commentary and it was the highlight of the evening.” Among those celebrating were both sets of parents, Amanda and David O’Rourke, and Liz and Chris Hayes.

Danielle's dress is from Vows in Cork
Danielle's dress is from Vows in Cork

The bride’s friend, Catherine Noble Iepureanu, was her maid of honour. “Catherine had also trained me in my first hotel job, in the Clarion Hotel at Dublin Airport,” said Danielle.

Her sister, Nicola O’Rourke, was her bridesmaid while Christopher’s friend, Éamon Hayes, was his best man, and his pal, Jonathan Keohane, was his groomsman.

Danielle looked stunning in a dress sourced in Vows in Cork and the bridal hair and makeup were by Rebecca Connolly Makeup and Linda Lane of BeGlam.

The groom and his party were kitted out by Denis Deasy suit hire Rossmore, Cork. Kornel Szolcsanyi of Kornel Photography captured the big day on camera.

Danielle O'Rourke with David and Amanda O’Rourke and Nicola O'Rourke and Catherine Noble Iepureanu
Danielle O'Rourke with David and Amanda O’Rourke and Nicola O'Rourke and Catherine Noble Iepureanu

West Cork Flowers created the floral arrangements. Willie Joe and Agnes Hayes, family friends, organised a surprise drinks reception for the newlyweds at a photoshoot location in Millcove. The newlyweds honeymooned in Spanish Point, Westport, Ballina, and Killaloe.

If you'd like to see your wedding feature in the Irish Examiner, please email eve.kelliher@examiner.ie

Danielle's hair and makeup were by Rebecca Connolly Makeup and Linda Lane of BeGlam
Danielle's hair and makeup were by Rebecca Connolly Makeup and Linda Lane of BeGlam

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