“We thought they might think we were nuts, but they said yes".
For generations, weddings in Ireland have largely followed the same format. A church, followed by a hotel that needs to be a minimum of a 40 minute drive away. Third cousins you've forgotten the name of, work colleagues and primary school friends coming together to embark on a three day session, centred of course around the obligatory beef-or-salmon dinner.
In recent years, you'd see the odd few couples boldly breaking away from tradition - posing for nuptial snaps in Stephen's Green or on a Temple Bar-adjacent lane, before heading to their swish city centre afters at Smock Alley or MOLI. Trailblazers in their own right, but a wedding in Bewley's is definitely a first.
The couple who broke the mould are Sarah Brittain and Luke Carton from Perrystown, who met as children when both of their families were adopting children from Romania.
“We really wanted to do something special for our wedding and we rang Bewley’s more in hope than expectation after a friend said they might go for it,” said Sarah, a social worker.
“We thought they might think we were nuts, but they said yes and within a short space of time the plans were being laid for the first Bewley’s wedding.”
The landmark Grafton Street café hosted the ceremony and reception for 90 people in their upstairs space - it went so well that Bewley's is now taking bookings for further weddings and other private events.
The location for the wedding wasn't picked at random - Bewley's was also the location of Sarah and Luke's first date in 2003.
Reflecting on a time long before oat milk flat whites and nitro brews, Sarah recalled “we each had a mocha which was a first for both of us. The place was buzzing, and it has been magical for us ever since".
Sarah and Luke first met as children in the early 90s when both of their families were attempting to adopt Romanian children.
“My parents had seen the horrors of Ceausescu’s orphanages on TV and decided they wanted to adopt another child,” said Luke, an IT sales manager.
“Sarah’s mam ended up sitting beside my dad at the assessment, and both families became friends through the process, which took a few years.
“We were always the older kids at the special meet ups for families who had adopted. I was always looking out for Sarah, and eventually I plucked up the courage to ask her out.”
And if you're wondering how the Bewley's menu for the event compared to regular wedding fare, Sarah confirmed: “The food was unbelievable – a lot of the guests said it was the best wedding food they ever had.”
Header image via Bewley's / Andres Poveda