As a bride with a passion for sustainable living, splurging on her wedding gown was never likely to feature on the planning list.
Findabhair (Finn) Ní Fhaoláin, a Dublin-born marine biologist, found the perfect dress for €25 on Depop. “I love, love, love talking about sustainable and secondhand fashion, so my dress was a complete dream find!" she says. "For me personally, spending big on a dress was never something I was keen to do (I wanted to keep that budget for really enjoying our hotel, getting massages).”
Finn and Huib van der Aar, a musician, originally from Breda in the Netherlands, first met in Bundoran when Huib was playing gigs in the local pub.
They got engaged in summer 2019 on a surf trip to Clare and were married in February 2021. They had been living on the Portuguese island of Madeira for nearly two months before their outdoor nuptials there.
“Due to Covid, weddings weren’t allowed in the registry office. But the registrar allowed us to choose a location outside. We got married under some palm trees by the beach in Santa Cruz (a little town outside of Funchal, the capital of Madeira),” says the bride.
“Our wedding planner and translator (as the ceremony was in Portuguese) was the wonderful Anke Jokanovic of Weddings Madeira.”
As for the concept of a honeymoon destination? “We did it backwards!” says Finn.
“When travel restrictions to Ireland looked to be changing, we chose to come home months early and flew back just a few days after the wedding. But we were very lucky and had lots of time to surf, hike and scuba dive while we were there before the wedding.”
The newlyweds had a drinks reception in the rooftop bar of the Sé Hotel Funchal and dinner for just the two of them at the Tipographia restaurant in the Hotel Castanheiro.
The posed for the camera of Miguel Ponte on Santa Cruz beach and town square.
“Our wedding was even better than we could have imagined,” says Finn.
“We had the time and space to swim in the morning and have a relaxed breakfast. Huib went to grab a few last things while I made my bouquet and did my hair and makeup. We got married by the sea in the afternoon, did a short but very fun photoshoot around Santa Cruz, had our drinks with friends, dinner just the two of us, and spent the evening by the pool with a bottle of champagne.”
The bride did her own hair and makeup. “I don’t typically wear much makeup and Johanna from Seabu (in Bundoran) had done a few facials for me in the months running up to the wedding so my skin would be in good condition,” she says.
“I actually made my own bouquet with a mix of foliage from the flower sellers on the local square near our hotel, some blooms from Tulipa florist and the white roses I pulled out of the bouquet my dad had sent us! I stitched on the velvet ribbon to my dress in the morning before our ceremony.
“Huib already owned the boots and belt and we found the rest of his outfit from local shops in Funchal.”
One of the bride’s best friends lent her a charm necklace that has been in her family spanning generations and crossed continents with them so that was the 'something borrowed' and 'something blue' covered.
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