Sophie O’Brien met Barney O’Brien when his family moved into the house across the road from hers.
They now live happily ever after with their own children in their home town, but decided to decamp from their native Cork to exchange wedding vows in Vegas.
“He was eight and I was six when he arrived in the neighbourhood. We still live in Youghal, with our three children, Sean and Derry, seven, and Barra, three,” says Sophie, a third-level tutor.
She and Barney, a metrology engineer, started dating as teens before Barney moved to Australia to travel and work.
“When he returned, within a month, we were back together at the ages of 19 and 22,” adds Sophie.Sophie O’Brien and Barney O’Brien got engaged in Paris and went to Vegas for their wedding
Barney whisked Sophie off to Paris, to pop the question, on the top of the Eiffel Tower, on July 9, 2016.
They originally planned to say ‘I do’ in Ireland.
“We were due to be married In Youghal In July 2022; I had always wanted my grandmother at my wedding, and her declining health meant we pulled the wedding planning forward,” says Sophie.
“Unfortunately, she passed away in March 2021 and within weeks we had cancelled the wedding. We had talked about going on a big holiday instead and then we decided Vegas. Elopement was our main vision and so we booked our elopement.”Sophie O’Brien and Barney O’Brien with Sean, Derry and Barra O'Brien
They were wed in Red Rock Canyon, Las Vegas, by celebrant Judy Irving.
“We got married on May 8, which was America’s ‘Mother’s Day’,” says Sophie.
The couple’s three sons were their pageboys; and Sophie’s sister, Melissa, was the maid of honour with Barney’s friend, Brian O’Neill, as the best man and Sophie’s parents, Angela O’Brien and Sean O’Brien travelled to the US for the occasion also.Sophie O’Brien and Barney O’Brien with Melissa O'Brien, Angela and Sean O'Brien, Sean and Derry, and Barra O'Brien
The day was not without drama.
“The morning of our wedding we all got alerts on our phones about a wind, dust and sandstorm that would be hitting the Las Vegas strip in the afternoon," says the bride.
"We thought we would be OK because we were going 40 minutes outside the strip. However, after getting to Red Rock, it had picked up and we got married in the middle of the storm.
“We have never felt wind like it, we couldn’t hear a thing. Thank God we are all light-hearted: We laughed through it — we still laugh at the fact that we flew halfway around the world to get married in 40°C heat and instead get married in a wind, sand and dust storm. But looking back we wouldn’t change a thing.”Barney O’Brien and his best man Brian O'Neill
The reception took place the following day in the Rainforest Café, Fremont Street.
“We went back to our hotel and had our speeches and headed down to Fremont Street,” says Sophie.
“People were playing music on the street. The best man and I started dancing and before we knew it there were close to 50, if not more, people joining in.
"Barney came over and we kept dancing and then people started coming over putting money into the straps of my wedding dress. I got giddy and wondered: Did they think I was entertainment and not just after getting married? But a woman came over and she said the money is a Mexican tradition — guests will ‘pay’ for a dance with either the bride or groom by pinning dollars to their clothing. This gives them some rare one-on-one time with the couple and an opportunity to wish them good fortune.
"I thought it was very special that all these people had taken time out of their day to dance with us and show us their wedding traditions.”Sophie O’Brien and Barney O’Brien
Further honeymoon plans are in the pipeline.
“Having had our 12 days in Vegas as a family we are now going to wait until our children are older and go somewhere on our own; for now, we want to focus on showing our children the world,” says Sophie.If you would like your wedding featured, email [email protected]
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