A Classic Irish Wedding at Lough Eske Castle in Donegal, Ireland
A Dubai-based media personality and an Irish primary school teacher walked into a bar at the Ritz-Carlton in Dohan, Qatar – and there was an instant connection.
Chris Flanagan was on contract to teach at an International British School, while Lucas Raven was visiting on business from Dubai. Despite the mutual attraction, Lucas was only visiting for the week, so the two men were hesitant to pursue anything more than a new friendship and a few causal dates.
“HE DECIDED MAYBE I WAS A ‘KEEPER’ AFTER ALL, DESPITE THE MANY MILES BETWEEN US.”
“After one lovely evening over dinner, I offered to collect Lucas from his hotel the next morning and drive him to his business meeting,” Chris shares. “Lucas was touched by my gesture and started to think that maybe he had found someone special. But the next morning, I called Lucas to tell him I was delayed due to very heavy traffic. For some reason, this translated in Lucas’s brain as ‘I’m not coming and I’m really not that bothered,’ so Lucas immediately went into self-preservation mode and decided to not only delete my number but also block my number from his phone. Just as Lucas left the hotel to get his Uber and was putting his bags in the taxi, I literally pulled up in my car. Lucas then realised that I was someone he could rely on; and at that moment he decided maybe I was a ‘keeper’ after all, despite the many miles between us.”
It was a few weeks before Lucas and Chris met up again, although they stayed in touch after Lucas returned to Dubai. Six months later, Lucas moved his business to Qatar and the couple began a new chapter, living together. Eventually, Lucas proposed to Chris while they were on holiday, relaxing poolside at a private villa in the Seychelles.
Chris took the lead during the wedding planning process, putting together a destination wedding in Ireland. With the two grooms wanting a fun atmosphere and a location where most of Chris’ family lived, a classic Irish wedding at Lough Eske Caste in Donegal was the perfect pick.
“On the day of the wedding, Lucas got ready at the castle,” Chris recalls. “He had been very ill the night before, but he put his brave face on and got ready with his entourage. As two men, we decided that we would both walk down the ‘aisle’ (more of a long pathway, coming down from a forest at the top of a hill – very movie like!). I had been completely fine all day, busy being the perfectionist, making sure the reception hall was exactly the way I wanted it, that I didn’t have too much time to let it sink in. But walking down that pathway, it definitely sank in. Seeing Lucas for the first time and all my friends and family sitting there, emotion just came over the both of us and the tears started rolling down both of our cheeks.”
The wedding décor included timeless white florals and a vintage travel theme. Tables were named after countries the couple had visited together, and the cake was another highlight of the celebration. As anyone would expect from a classic Irish wedding, everyone danced the night away and the party continued into the wee hours of the morning.
For their honeymoon, the newlyweds embarked on an epic seven-country tour that lasted for the rest of summer. Their stops included Mexico City, Tulum, Cuba, Peru, Chile, Buenos Aires, and Rio de Janeiro.
Location: Lough Eske Castle Donegal, Ireland; Planning, Floral & Event Design: Simon Petka
Cake: Cupcakes and Counting Weddings; Cinematography: Luguna Wedding Films Ireland; Engagement Ring: Tiffany & Co.; Honeymoon: Belmond Hotels & Resorts South America