Take a look inside Ryan Andrews and Michaela O’Neill’s wedding day

Pic Dominic Lula

Their love story is a special one, it’s the type of romance you see in movies and read about in pages of books. It’s sweet, and comforting, and warm. What’s rare is wonderful – and this most certainly is. Childhood sweethearts, Ryan Andrews and Michaela O’Neill have been together for their entire adult life.

After getting together at 15 years of age, their stories are intertwined with moments laced together – both the happy, and the heartbreaking. Celebrating their love, the pair tied the knot in front of just 55 of their closest friends and family members during a heartfelt and intimate ceremony at Son Marroig; a mansion along the idyllic coastline of Deià, Mallorca. Even before they got engaged, this venue was on Michaela’s wish list, and so, Ryan – Fair City actor, Panto star, and script writer – got to work with his new job, becoming a destination wedding planner.

“I wanted to make it the best day of our lives, the day Michaela deserved. I don’t always know how to describe the love I feel so I show it in actions instead. It was a lot of work, and it was a lot of stress but it was worth it. I’m on cloud nine now and I’ve never felt as happy.”

The couple officially signed their wedding papers in Dublin earlier this year, but saw this one in Spain as their official wedding. Putting the final touches on their table plans, picking the flowers and packing their suitcases, they were ready to head off and say ‘I do’.

A few days later, we caught up with Ryan and Michaela who were still abroad, enjoying their time as newlyweds. Chatting from the beach in their ONLY interview, they filled us in on every incredible detail of the most special day of their lives, and well, we couldn’t be happier for them!

Pic Dominic Lula

Ryan and Michaela, huge congrats to both you! How are you feeling?

Ryan: We’re amazing! It’s probably the most satisfying, the most proud, the most overwhelming couple of days we’ve ever had. We’ve dreamt about our wedding for years and years and now, we’re sitting on a beach in Port de Sóller, reflecting on it all. I just can’t get over it.
Michaela: Aw, I’m great too. Brilliant, buzzing, delighted! I was thrilled with everything. I haven’t come down from it yet and it hasn’t really hit me. It was beyond what we could have ever hoped for. It was just amazing. We’re still having a ball and loving every second of it.

What was it about Spain, why did you choose Mallorca and why that particular venue?

R: We had no affiliation with Mallorca, but it was always going to be abroad. We loved the feeling of being away and both said this place at the same time. Son Marroig is the only place in the whole of Mallorca where you can get married on the coastline. It’s very special. Michaela had this venue saved for years before we were ever engaged!

M: I saw it online while scrolling and saved it to my phone. It was only when we started talking about doing it abroad that I remembered I had seen a place and it popped back into my mind. We booked flights to come see it straight away and it speaks for itself. It’s unbelievable, just out of this world. I think we made the right choice! All the planning and organising, for  everything to happen as we wanted was incredible. Ryan did absolutely everything. R: I was basically the wedding planner. I picked every chair, every napkin, every light. The venue is a palace and you’ve to take it over for the day, bringing in every single thing as it’s otherwise empty. It was a big undertaking but worth it.

Take us back to the morning of the ceremony, Ryan. How were you feeling, were there any nerves or was it all excitement?!

R: Michaela was getting emotional at the start of the week and on the morning of the wedding, I started too. I was a nervous wreck and I wasn’t able to eat. I went for a sea swim and was in the water for an hour, just with my thoughts. It’s very, very overwhelming.

Pic Dominic Lula

Did taking that time out by yourself help you unwind?

R: Oh it was the best! Michaela and I stayed with each other the night before. We were already technically married! We got a hotel together closer to the venue, we went away from the marina and didn’t see anyone. We just took some time for ourselves. Then when her bridesmaids and mam arrived, I told her I’d see her in a few hours and went to get ready separately. Putting on my suit made me feel so good. It was from Louis Copeland and it fit perfectly – I felt really confident.

M: Yeah, I couldn’t have imagined being with anyone else on the morning of the wedding either. My mum is my best friend, but I think if I was with anyone else, I’d have been trying to hide the nerves or pretend I wasn’t feeling anything. It also meant that when we did see each other at the aisle, I was able to be in the moment instead of rushing down because I missed him. I’m thrilled we made that decision.

Tell us about your morning in the bridal suite, Michaela. Was it just a load of fun with your mam and bridesmaids?

M: Oh, so much fun and so relaxed! We had champagne and were laughing and joking. My friends had flown in from Dubai and Canada and we hadn’t been together in the same country for so long so we were having a ball. And my two sisters as well, we just soaked it all up. It was so easy!

Your dress was beautiful. Did it take you long to find it?!

M: I like to make decisions quickly and I’m not someone who goes back and forth about things. I bought it in Verona Bridal in Belfast, and had gone up with my mum and my aunt to get the ball rolling and see what styles I might be interested in. I was in the dressing room and my mum had been going through the rails and picked this one out. I put it on and before I even walked out of the dressing room, I knew that was it. My mum was crying, my aunt was crying, I was crying. As luck would have it, it was my exact size and I took it home that day.

Pic Dominic Lula

Ryan, you must have been blown away when you saw her coming down the aisle! She looked absolutely spectacular.

R: It was kind of overcast for a while but the sun came out and she lit up the whole aisle. Everyone was in floods of tears. It was her, she didn’t try to be anyone else. She was beautiful, elegant and just incredible. Her mam Maria walked her down the aisle as the string quartet played in the background and it was such a special moment.

And Michaela, what about you? How did you feel when you saw Ryan?

M: You couldn’t draw a more perfect groom. He’s just so handsome, he was like a movie star!

Walking down with your mam, Michaela, must have been a bittersweet moment for you…

M: Oh yeah. That’s the moment people are hesitant about if your dad has passed away or isn’t in your life for one reason or another. It’s very difficult for brides and it’s something that’s in the back of your mind from the moment you get engaged – well it was for me anyway, as my dad was so important. Equally, my mum is my best friend and she’s the most amazing woman ever so it was just brilliant for her to be there regardless. Dad would have been absolutely thrilled to see my mum doing that. I can feel my dad around me and I know he was there with me.

Did you honour him during the ceremony in any way?

M: I didn’t want any empty chairs or symbols of his absence, I wanted to acknowledge that he was there in every aspect of what we did. I had a small photo of him on my table though, right beside me. That was the only physical thing. In a little coincidence though, as we were saying our vows three eagles flew over our heads and everyone said it was dad. It was nice.

R: Michael was a big part of all our lives until he passed five years ago. He was mentioned in every speech throughout the night and it was really, really beautiful.

Pic Dominic Lula

With the ceremony itself, we’re sure there wasn’t a dry eye in the house!

R: Aw, it was so emotional in every way. It was very spectacular, we were on the edge of a cliff with a string quartet… it was epic. When it came to the vows, she wrote hers and I wrote mine – but I wrote mine in the van going up to the wedding because it was the one thing I forgot to do! It came straight from the heart and I didn’t have time to overthink.

Had you said your vows or exchanged rings at the initial ceremony in Dublin or did you keep those moments for this one?

R: In Dublin I asked the registrar what was the quickest time they’ve ever done a ceremony in and we were told five minutes, so I asked her to do it in three [laughs]. We had a song going in, a song going out and signed our papers. It was very much the legal part. This one was what we’d classify as our big wedding day.

Entertainment and music is such a big part of your lives, so it’s no surprise really that it played such a vital role in the wedding!

R: Oh, it’s everything! It was the most important thing for us. We had different aspects throughout the night; we had a string quartet for the ceremony because we always wanted that moment of sophisticated elegance; at cocktail hour we had someone playing a saxophone and guitar and when it came to the night, we went to another level as The Event Band from Dublin rocked for four hours straight!

M: I loved every minute. It was all down to Ryan and I don’t think you could pay the world’s best wedding planner to put together what he did. The music was unbelievable from start to finish. We never once sat down.

Pic Dominic Lula

And from looking at the pictures, there was a choreographed dance routine?!

R: Yeah there was! That was something which happened over a few drinks here – it was very impromptu! It was myself and Michaela, three bridesmaids and Ciaran who was the choreographer. The routine was to Freed From Desire to get the party started after our first dance which was the Lyra version of I Only Want To Be With You.

Obviously your career is very much in the spotlight, but was it a star-studded bash or did you want to keep it lowkey?

R: Lowkey, but my best man was James Patrice. He’s been my best friend for years, I’ve known him since I was ten and he’s also Michaela’s best friend. He helped me plan the engagement, helped me pick my suit in November. He’s a massive part of our lives. Apart from that, there was nobody from Dancing with the Stars or Fair City just because it was an intimate wedding. We had 55 guests but that was enough because the more you have, the less time you have to go around to people. Everyone came together and just had the craic!

Looking back on the whole thing, what was your favourite part?

R: This is something we’ve dreamt about and worked so hard for, so to see it come together and to experience it with everyone was a really special moment. Another proud moment for me was my mam walking me down the aisle. It was really nice! I didn’t tell her until five minutes beforehand. My mam was very sick a few months ago and there was a point where we worried if she’d even make the wedding, and so for her to walk me down the aisle was great.

M: I think mine has to be walking down the aisle too. But, I loved walking up towards him too and I relished every second. I also loved giving a speech, standing and looking at the faces of everyone we loved.

Pic Dominic Lula

Will you both be sticking around in Spain for a while or do you have any further plans for a honeymoon?

R: So we’re actually at the beach now, some of our guests are heading home but a lot of them have actually booked to stay another few days. Then we’re heading on a cruise around Europe. I don’t want to think of anything, anymore! I want to eat and drink and not plan a single thing, just take it all in! [laughs] I loved every single second of it though, it was the wedding of my dreams and Michaela’s dreams and everything went the way we wanted it to. I couldn’t be any happier.

The last few years have been so busy for you both with big milestone moments between buying the house, then planning the wedding, are you looking forward to just being able to relax now, and take a breath?

R: I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do that! [laughs] Partly yes, but then in a few weeks or months I’m sure there’ll be something else. When I go back to work, I’ll be thinking what’s the next project?

M: Oh, for the rest of this week and the rest of the summer holidays, I’m just going to sit back and take it all in! I’m going to enjoy the now and relax. We’re excited for whatever happens next, we’re together and so happy.

Look Ryan, if the whole acting thing goes sideways you’ve a great future as a wedding planner!

R: No, absolutely not! [Bursts into laughter] I am retiring from wedding planning, I’ll never do it again and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone else!

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