You might describe it as a “match made in heaven” — one church is so popular with couples getting married that it has taken on a former hotel manager to specifically look after the matrimonial end of things.
This “best man” at the historic Holy Trinity Church in Adare is John Shovlin, who now has the job of ensuring that everything in the church goes smoothly for couples on their big day.
The local parish priest, Monsignor Daniel Neenan, made this unusual move as the village’s three hotels, Adare Manor, Dunraven Arms, and The Woodlands, have made Adare the wedding capital of Ireland.
Mr Shovlin has plenty of wedding day management experience, having worked as a manager at the Dunraven Arms for 35 years.
He said: “It works a dream and we’re the first church in Ireland to offer this level of professional church catering for weddings.”
Mr Shovlin, 62, a native of Ardara, Co Donegal, said: “For years I welcomed couples at the Dunraven Arms for their receptions.
“Now I’m taking charge of the church end of things. I had been looking for something new to do after I finished up at the Dunraven and the parish priest, Mons Dan Neenan, approached me about being administrator for weddings, and this really dovetailed with my years in hotel management.”
He explained that with 75 weddings booked for the rest of this year, this means that the church has to be constantly prepared for each big day, and for the associated rehearsals.
“I often step in as the priest for the rehearsal. I ensure everything is spot-on for the big day in the church and choreograph the ceremony, from the moment I welcome the couple and their guests on arrival,” said Mr Shovlin. “I liaise with the couple, the various professionals they book, such as musicians, florists, video/photographers, and also ensure the necessary paperwork is ready.”
“It takes a huge amount of pressure off the couple. Once the parish office is contacted and a wedding booked, I take over from there.”