HOW does a father feel, walking his daughter down the aisle to embark on another stage of her life?
John (Johnny) Aylward, father of five, who recently did the honors for his eldest and only daughter, Kelley, summed up: “In an instant, it’s huge. It’s so moving. It’s amazing and brilliant.
“It’s 100% positive. For me, it was like seeing her open a new chapter,” he says.
“You find yourself having flashbacks – you almost go back to her first day of school. All those memories are coming back to the surface.
Johnny, from New Ross, Co Wexford, supported Kelley as she exchanged vows with groom David Foley on April 15 at Barnabrow House, Co Cork, in a humanist ceremony followed by a reception at the same venue.
Kelley and David, who are both from Clonmel, Co Tipperary, had been together for 13 years.
They spent two in Vancouver, Canada, before returning to Ireland two and a half years ago to settle in Cork.
Kelley, who has four brothers, has always been close to his father.
“The wedding was even more special because I was diagnosed with motor neuron disease. [MND]“, explains John. “Kelley almost cared about me more than I cared about her.”
Bride disagrees: ‘We had a moment where he literally shook my hand as he walked up the aisle. We shed a tear at the start. Dad sat behind me throughout the ceremony, just to my left, so it was nice to have him so close.
Kelley and David’s son Fionn, who turns two in August, was the pageboy.
Johnny, whose story touched the hearts of the nation when he and his family appeared on the RTÉ show DIY SOS: The Big Build Irelandwas diagnosed with MND just after Fionn was born.
“Fionn’s arrival was a good distraction,” he said.
Kelley adds, “Fionn loves Dad’s wheelchair. He always presses the buttons just to turn on the lights. Dad loves watching him and his boldness.
Did planning a wedding strengthen the father-daughter bond?
“We were always close,” Johnny says.
Kelley adds, “Dad was excited but probably nervous because he knew he would walk me down the aisle in his wheelchair.
“It was very emotional and special for us just to have him there and to have this opportunity while Dad was still well and capable. We have photos that we will cherish forever.
There were tears and laughter from start to finish. “I had to tell dad to slow down as we walked up the driveway because he uses a motorized wheelchair and can press the button to speed up. My dress almost got caught in the wheel – I practically ran down the aisle,” Kelley explains.
Catriona Moloney not only shared this special walk down the aisle with her dad Sean, but also invited him to her hen weekend.
Catriona, of near Beaufort, Killarney, Co Kerry, married Jamie Johnson, of Gap of Dunloe, at St Mary’s Church, Beaufort, on April 22.
“Because I only have one brother and I’m so close to my dad, I decided I wouldn’t have a hen – I would have a ‘sten’, so boys and girls can all come, including dad, my mother Kathleen, my brother and Jamie, ”says Catriona.
Catriona and Jamie’s three daughters, Katelyn, Grace and Maisie, also celebrated at the ceremony and later at the reception at the Kenmare Bay Hotel.
Sean helped plan the big day. “I was completely flat on the mat,” he says.
Catriona clarifies: “My dad has a van and I exhausted him dropping stuff off at the Kenmare Bay hotel.”
Women surrounded him on the morning of the wedding.
“He came to my house and was outnumbered, stuck there with the three bridesmaids, my mom, myself, the four bridesmaids and my nana Joan, my mom’s mom. But he had a lot of craic, which he loves.
“Growing up at home, I had a lot of friends in my parents’ house and my dad is one of those gentle giants.
“I’m daddy’s girl and I always will be, but since my children arrived, they took over.
“I work two days a week and he picks them up from school. The three girls are her best friends. He is everything you want a grandfather to be.
Of the father-daughter bond, Sean says, “It’s completely unreal. When we entered the church, I said to Catriona: you will always be my baby.
The bride adds: “He then made me cry and I was crying as I climbed the altar.
However, just before the tears started to flow, wedding photographer Breda Daly captured their smiles on camera en route to the ceremony. “I have the photo and can’t wait to give it to Dad for Father’s Day,” Catriona says.
Kacie Dillane and Darren Clarke, both from Cobh, Co Cork, were married in a spiritualist ceremony at The Heights Hotel, Killarney, Co Kerry on May 13.
The father of the bride, Billy Dillane, says he felt like he was traveling back in time as he took Kacie’s arm to walk her down the aisle.
“There are no words to describe the pride I felt on this walk,” says Billy.
“It’s close to the pride I felt the moment the nurse took Kacie from her mother Deb and placed her in my arms for the first time.
“The nurse then said, ‘Relax, she won’t break. I hugged her to my heart then and I still do.
How was Billy seeing his daughter get married?
“The day I thought about it, I was a little sad thinking that I would lose Kacie a little bit. “Then the more I thought about it, the more comfort I was knowing that Darren would take great care of Kacie and do a wonderful husband,” he said.
When the wedding day finally arrived, it was unforgettable.
“It made life worth living, that’s what life is for – days like this,” he says.
For Kacie, arriving at her wedding venue with Billy was one of the moments she had long thought about.
“I was living with my father when my parents separated and we became very close. As cliché as it may seem, I dreamed of this ride with him since I was little.
“The few minutes before we walked down the aisle will stay with me forever. It was just my dad and I, and we could both see how proud we were of each other.
“I was very proud of both my parents and loved that they had their moments in the spotlight that day too. They raised us, welcomed Darren with open arms and we know we can always turn to each other. to them for help.
Billy adds: “We are still close, she is my best friend and she will always need me to do crafts around the house.”
Kacie chose Kerry as her wedding destination, further proof that she was daddy’s girl.
“I was born and raised in Cobh, but my father is from Tralee, Kerry. He moved here to Cobh when he joined the gardaí and has been here ever since.
“When we chose Killarney over Cork, he wasn’t so secretly thrilled that the Kingdom beat Cork for our choice. In fact, he came out at the ‘Welcome to Kerry’ sign on his way to the wedding and took a photo with to send it to everyone.
“Luckily we didn’t have the typical Kerry weather.”
It’s traditional for the father to walk his daughter down the aisle, but as an only child, Helena Brosnan wanted her mother Madeline and father Denis to be on either side.
Denis says: “Some people would say we were ‘giving her away’ — we weren’t handing her over but supporting her to move on to the next chapter of her life. It wasn’t really a question of losing a daughter but of gaining a son-in-law.
Helena, from Banna, Co Kerry, exchanged vows with Niall Donnellan, from Kilmane, Co Mayo, in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Currow, Co Kerry on May 21.
The Galway honeymooners hosted their reception in Great Southern Killarney.
“I’m a daddy’s girl, so it was a very emotional day, but such a great trip,” says Helena.
“My mum and dad shared everything about it, from preparing for the wedding itself – they were involved in the planning and even the DIY, and both came with me when I bought my dress. bride.
“When they walked me down the aisle, it was a nice feeling of security and comfort.
“My parents are my best friends and on my wedding day it was such a comfort to have that little push of the hand or a nod from them.”
Helena and Denis say they share similar personalities – and both refer to how much they enjoy watching quiz shows together.
“We’re both quizz and puzzle enthusiasts, both calm in temperament, and very deep thinkers,” says Helena.
Denis adds: “We have always been close.
Being part of his daughter’s wedding was a joy, he says.
“It was wonderful to be able to give my speech and say how much his mom and I love him,” the proud dad concludes.