Michael Heffernan and JR Stafford
September 1st – Coolbawn Quay
Photographs courtesy of Johannes Photography
By Tara Woods
Michael Heffernan, Self-Employed Business Consultant and Executive Coach, first met JR Stafford, New Look Regional Business Manager for South Ireland, at Spice gay night in Dublin in 2008 and sparks flew from the very start between these two. They shared their first connection and first kiss here, but it wasn’t until February 2009 that they had their first proper date. This was the start of a blossoming romance between the two lovebirds.
Michael brought the love of his life JR to Oslo, Norway in February 2017 for his birthday. It was here in this beautiful city, at the famous “Wheel of Life” sculpture in Vigeland Sculpture Park when Michael got down on one knee and asked JR to marry him in front of a crowd of on looking tourists. A gobsmacked JR said yes and the wedding planning began.
Michael and JR had their beautiful wedding day on September 1st, 2018 at the stunning Coolbawn Quay in Co. Tipperary. Here the scenery set the tone for their special day making it even more memorable. The photographs were taken by the hugely talented Johannes Photography. Johannes captured all those special moments perfectly so they could be treasured forever. He has a way of making everyone feel comfortable and completely natural in front of the camera and captures the feelings and emotions of the day with ease.
The little flower girls were looking like adorable angels dressed in John Rocha, and the handsome pageboy was looking absolutely dapper dressed in Louis Copeland.
The two immaculate grooms were dressed to perfection, looking like they had just stepped off of the red carpet thanks to Louis Copeland on Wicklow Street.
Perhaps one of the most special moments of the day was when Michael’s best friend from college, Lorraine Galvin Music got to finally sing them down the aisle. Lorraine had made a promise to Michael when they were in college that if same-sex marriage was ever legal in Ireland that she would be the ceremony singer for his special day. For the evening, Smash Hits absolutely rocked the place with the couple’s favourite 90’s dance tunes.
The couple opted to break tradition with the classic wedding cake and instead had a trio of delicious desserts to treat their guests with.
The magnificent flowers that decorated Michael and JR’s wedding day were provided by Crate Flowers Flowers and Coolbawn Quay which really added a sense of beauty to their special day.
The bridal party consisted of Rose Mills (Celebrant), Lucy and Mollie (JR’s niece’s), Lily & Bonnie (Michael’s niece’s) & Jack (Page Boy). Michael and JR didn’t have any Best Men but instead they had some Best Women, which included JR’s sister Emma by his side and Michael’s sister Kellie.
Michael wrote the service himself, which gave a very personal and intimate feel to the ceremony, a touch which the couple will cherish forever.
Michael and JR used the romantic and ancient traditional act of Celtic knot tying. The couple used their two favourite colours to tie their hands together, bonding them with their love for each other. The couple’s favourite food is tapas, and so they came up with the lovely idea of sharing their favourite tapas with their friends and family on their wedding day. Although it was the venues first attempt at a tapas menu, they did exceedingly well, and the tapas went down an absolute treat with the guests.
Perhaps one of the most special moments of their day was their first dance together as a married couple. Michael and JR shared their first dance surrounded by their loved ones and danced to the iconic Crazy for You by Madonna.
One of the couple’s favourite moments was when they received a rapturous cheer from their loved ones after they officially became “The Staffords”. The couple said that this was “the best moment for both of us as it was filled with so much emotion”.
The couple offer some kind-hearted advice for future LGBT couples who wish to get married, “Remember to steal away moments together, whether that’s back in the room or a little glance and talk about your day. It goes so quick so remember to smile and enjoy it.”