On the 2nd of September 2009 I was lucky enough to tie the knot in the beautiful surroundings of Lake Garda in Northern Italy.
We arrived there late in the night of August 31st but I have to say I was disappointed at first. The darkness of our late arrival meant we couldn’t see any of the majestic scenery that we had been promised.

However, upon waking up the next morning and drawing the curtains, I let out a yelp of awe. Before me was the most stunning view imaginable. I immediately decided I was in the perfect spot to get married.

The wedding itself took place in Castelleto in a tiny church outside Riva Del Garda. The guys from Italian Weddings ensured everything went smoothly. The only discomfort I felt was my designer wedding suit, by Wilvorst, was making me swear profusely. A mocha coloured 3-piece suit with a 2-ply cotton shirt is probably not a sensible thing to wear on a sweltering September day in the Italian sun.

Nevertheless, everybody complimented me on my choice of wedding suit. I chose to have it made to measure because I wanted something different. I never wanted the wedding suit that everybody else wore. Having designed wedding suits for many customers before, I decided to treat myself to a similar experience. The fabric I chose was a silk blend and the style was 5/8 length, a little longer than a short jacket and a little shorter than a Prince Edward. Having submitted my measurements and choice of fabric, I only had to wait 6 weeks for it to arrive. It would have ended up retailing at €600 (well I won’t tell you what it really cost me – the joys of working in the suit business).

The rest of the wedding party wore Chocolate brown lightweight suits hired by (you guessed it) Tom Murphy’s in Patrick Street. The choice of brown suits was purposeful as it sat harmoniously alongside the bridesmaids coffee coloured dresses. And speaking of the bridesmaids, didn’t they look beautiful, oh and what about the bride. I better give her a mention or I’ll suffer the consequences when she reads this.

Our Groom of the month competition began in mid April and ended in mid May. The idea is simple, get your photo taken with you in your wedding suit from Tom Murphy’s and then get your friends to vote for it on our Facebook page. Who ever garners the most votes wins a €500 voucher off their suit hire from us. We decided to run the competition to generate a fan base, so that the name Tom Murphy’s would be associated with generosity and leave a positive image in customer’s minds. We expected/hoped to gain a few hundred fans to add to our fanbase which was modest at the time. The majority (damn near all) of our fans were following us because they were either friends of Tom’s or mine. I had suggested the page to all of my friends……. and not even all accepted. What we weren’t expecting was the PR work of the fans of Paul O’Connor and Dave Dunton, who were the original contestants of the April/May Groom of the Month. With just over 600 votes each, our fans grew to over 2000.

Special mention has to be made of Valerie O’Mahony who was assisting Paul. As I was running the competition, the efforts of Val were outstanding. I was shocked to hear that Val O’Mahony was not the fiancée. I’d imagine she was rewarded all the same though. Her relentlessness went as far as hassling the postmen to vote. The competition was neck and neck right up until the final few days where Paul O’Connor finally stole it and was the eventual winner by a slim 3 votes. Enough to claim the €500 voucher. We were delighted with the efforts of Dave and his fans as well so we decided to reward him with a consolation of €250.

The popularity of the competition spilled over into the June Groom of the Month Competition. Cobh’s nice guy of the year, Adrian Curtis, achieved success in earning the voucher. He almost doubled 2nd place PJ’s votes. With the 2 competitions over, our fan base has grown to 2,778. The success of the previous months has been phenomenal. I didn’t know how many fans we were going to get at the start of the competition but if you had said it was going to reach this figure, I would have found it hard to believe. It seems as though we can’t get away from it. Current owner Michael was leaving the store to go for a wander when a woman approached him asking him was this the store that ran the Groom of the Month Competition. Michael wasn’t sure, as he isn’t a fan of technology, so he politely said yes and listened to the rambles of how this woman and all her friends had been voting. Even Tom was hassled as he was having an innocent pint in Killeagh. He let slip that he ran Tom Murphy’s Online Store when a woman over heard. She said that the whole of Killeagh had been aware of the Groom of the Month competition. People have already inquired about next month’s competition and the contestants we have lined up are chomping at the bit to get the voting under way. So be sure to follow us on Facebook and get your votes/entries in for the July Groom of the month.

Tom and Grace in a Las Vegas Chapel

Tomand Grace in a Las Vegas Chapel

After 3 days in the cultured city of  San Francisco; Grace and I jetted into the debauched desert that is Las Vegas. When we arrived, we knew we were in for a mad few days. After booking into the Planet Hollywood, we went upstairs into the casino and prepared ourselves for the unknown (I have never been to a casino and must confess that I have no real gambling blood in me what so ever).

The first mistake I made was that I ordered 2 drinks that came to $20. We quickly figured out that no one else was paying for drinks as the bunny girls would bring you free drinks constantly in return for a small tip. In typical Paddy fashion, we milked the system and got stocious drunk.

Because of the tragic death of Graces’s brother, JP, on the night of our wedding in Lake Garda, Grace and I decided to renew our vows in a small chapel in the Las Vegas suburbs. We were picked up from the hotel in a limousine and dropped off at this cute chapel called, ‘A Special Memory’. My designer suit by Wilvorst was clean enough as it was a dark colour but Graces dress was filthy at the ends but I didn’t bother telling her.

Upon entering the chapel, we were placed in a queue of couples waiting to be married. The guy next to me was a young Belgian and he was a bag of nerves. There was sweat pouring down him, and his voice quivered. You’d swear he was marrying Mary Harney or something. He couldn’t understand why I was so calm (I didn’t bother telling him we were just there to renew our vows). It was all a bit surreal but we both enjoyed the experience and if I were getting married again, I’d consider it as a first option for a wedding…only joking Grace!