Writer and podcaster Stefanie Preissner began a new chapter in her life on Friday when she married Noel Byrne at a small and intimate ceremony in Dublin.
As a result of Covid-19 restrictions, just 30 guests attended the wedding, which had been organised almost entirely by Mr Byrne, a political adviser at Leinster House.
“All these bells and whistles are lovely but I am very laid back about the whole thing and just wanted to be married,” Preissner said.
She spoke of “feeling nervous” but “very happy” to be getting married and being reunited with many of her friends and family who she had not seen during the pandemic.
“What works is that Noel and I are so compatible: we are like two little jigsaw pieces that just fit together because his strengths complement my weaknesses; my strengths complement his weaknesses.
“I don’t like gatherings of any description but I am happy to see people I haven’t seen since 2019. I definitely want to be married but getting married is a bit of a stressful process,” she said.
The Sunday Independent Life magazine columnist met her husband on Instagram in February 2019 after she reviewed the best-selling book Once More We Saw Stars by Jayson Greene about the power of love in the face of unimaginable loss.
She says she knew “very early on” they were going to get engaged and decided to set up a secret email account, which she filled with memories, pictures and “funny in-jokes” for 18 months.
“The first email I sent to it said, ‘Noel if you are reading this – you’ve just proposed to me.’ When he gave me the ring I gave him this email and password. There were 150 emails in it.”
Dressed for the big day in an ivory dress that cost “half the price of Noel’s suit” and Adidas high tops trainers, a content Preissner beamed: “I knew this was the guy who was able for me”.
She described their relationship as like “two Venn diagrams overlapping” and explained how Covid-19 has “shifted perspectives and showed us what our real values are”.
“My priority is home and family. The fact I can gather together all the people I love and who love me to show them that I am introducing a new person to my family and for Noel to introduce me to his family is what our wedding is all about.
“This is like the release of a pressure cooker of 18 months of restrictions, lockdowns and loss — it has rejuvenated us all,” she said with a smile.