- Josh and Andee Constine wanted to create a fairy-tale weekend for their family and friends when they decided on a destination wedding in Dublin, Ireland.
- They decided to have an adults-only wedding ceremony and reception, which meant they needed to get creative when it came to their ring bearer.
- Josh decided to use a hawk as his ring bearer, and the bird flew across the aisle to deliver the rings to him and Andee on their wedding day.
- Luttrellstown Castle, where Josh and Andee tied the knot, has a falconry establishment that trains falcons and hawks to act as ring bearers during wedding ceremonies.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Their first kiss was in a San Francisco nightclub surrounded by people in tutus. Their second date was in Barcelona, in between an interview with Edward Snowden. Their proposal involved a recreation of Heath Ledger’s infamous dance number from “10 Things I Hate About You.”
So when it came to their wedding day, Josh and Andee Constine were never going to have an ordinary “I do.”
And still, both the guests and Andee herself couldn’t hold back their surprise when a hawk suddenly soared down the aisle – with her and Josh’s rings hanging by a string from its talon.
It was just one of the incredible moments during Josh and Andee’s destination wedding in Dublin, Ireland, and Insider learned the story behind it all.
Josh and Andee Constine met at an after-party for TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco in 2014.
Josh, TechCrunch’s current editor-at-large, told Insider that he thought it was “a bit of a nerdy party,” so he whisked Andee away to a nightclub that hosts “Tutu Tuesdays.”
Eight months passed before their first official date, which took place at a 200-person dance party by the ocean.
“I had to leave for Barcelona the next day to interview Edward Snowden,” he recalled. “I asked her to come with me, so that was really our second official date. It’s been magic ever since.”
Josh proposed to Andee in November 2017 with a recreation of Heath Ledger’s iconic dance number from “10 Things I Hate About You.”
Josh arranged for a string quartet to meet him and Andee at the Legion of Honour Museum in San Francisco.
As the string quartet played “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” Josh said he “danced around the lawn and proposed to her.”
“She made what seemed like a fairy tale possible,” he added. “My destiny wouldn’t be the same without her.”
Josh and Andee wanted to transport their guests to a fairy-tale wedding.
The couple immediately knew they wanted to tie the knot in Ireland, where both of Andee’s parents were born.
“Some of our friends have had the most spectacular Northern California weddings with the fairy lights and mason jars,” Josh said. “They had done those so well, we knew we could never top them. So we wanted to do something completely different.”
“We’re both tech people and spend so much of our time connected and floating from one thing to the next, so we wanted to really capture our friends and give them an excuse to escape and come live this fairy tale of a weekend.”
And Josh knew he wanted to have a falcon ring bearer for the wedding ceremony.
“I wanted elements to the wedding that felt truly unforgettable,” Josh said. “So I had this idea that, what if the rings could actually be attached to the legs of a falcon and fly down the aisle with me?”
“I had practiced a little falconry at a retreat a few years back and really enjoyed it and loved the connection with nature and the feeling of fantasy,” he added. “It gives me ‘Lord of the Rings,’ ‘Harry Potter,’ and ‘Game of Thrones’ vibes.”
Andee and Josh also knew they were going to have an adults-only wedding, so they wanted something unexpected as their ring bearer.
“We decided that we didn’t want to have kids at the wedding,” Josh said. “So what else are you going to do for a ring bearer if you don’t have some adorable toddler to waddle down the aisle?”
The couple told Insider that they offered babysitters to any guests who brought their children to Ireland but wanted to make sure their relatives and friends could enjoy the night without feeling like they had to leave early.
“It was going to be a very late night,” Andee said. “We wanted it to feel like a very adult experience.”
“The dance party went until 4 a.m. and we were still up with friends at sunrise,” Josh added. “We thought, this is a time to bond with friends and we have plenty of time in the future to have lots of backyard barbecues and other celebrations with kids there.”
Josh and Andee held their wedding at Luttrellstown Castle, which also has a falconry establishment that trains falcons and hawks for weddings.
On the morning of his wedding, Josh and his best man got to meet the castle’s falconry master and practice flying the birds back and forth to each other.
“They’re very well-trained, and just gorgeous animals,” Josh said. “We really wanted to make sure it was done in a way that was safe for the animal, and that there was nothing about this that felt exploitative to them.”
“We thought it would be something that would really set the wedding apart,” he added. “And make people think, ‘Wow, I’ve really been transported back to the medieval era.”‘
On the day of the wedding, a falcon and a hawk were both brought to the castle.
The falconry master used wind measurements to determine which bird would fly during the ceremony.
On Josh and Andee’s wedding day, a Harris’s hawk delivered the rings.
Josh’s best man quietly slipped away during the ceremony to retrieve the hawk, wowing guests when he appeared at the aisle with the bird on his arm.
Josh said the guests were immediately “awestruck” at the unexpected sight of the majestic creature.
The hawk suddenly swooped down the aisle.
Josh was wearing a leather gauntlet, also known as a falconry glove, to protect his arm from the hawk’s talons.
Josh said it “never really felt scary” as the hawk flew straight toward him.
“It felt exhilarating,” Josh added. “I was most nervous about the fact that, sometimes, they just don’t feel like flying – they’re animals, they’re unpredictable. But it went off without a hitch.”
“As the photos show, I look extraordinarily excited and Andee looks a little pensive and uneasy,” he added with a laugh.
For a brief moment, Josh did worry that the hawk could fly off before he got the chance to retrieve the rings.
Andee told Insider that she had also been apprehensive about the idea at first, especially because the falconry does not offer insurance on wedding rings.
“They said they have never had that happen before,” she added.
The hawk spread its wings and flapped them in Josh’s face for a few seconds, but the rings were retrieved without any trouble.
After the rings were retrieved, Josh said the hawk flew up to the spire at the top of the castle and watched over the rest of the wedding.
And the hawk was just one of the many elements Josh and Andee added to make their wedding extra magical.
On the final day of their wedding weekend, Josh and Andee hosted a slew of activities on the castle grounds, including archery and skeet shooting.
Andee gave Josh a sword with their motto, which was also featured in the festivities.
Andee had the custom sword engraved with the following: “Poetry. Love. Adventure. Honour.”
The sword played a special part on the very first night of the festivities when Josh and Andee greeted their guests at the rehearsal dinner.
“We came in and greeted our guests on the rehearsal night and gave a toast to all our friends,” Josh recalled. “And as we shared a kiss, I unsheathed the sword and thrust it into the sky.”
They also used the sword to cut their wedding cake.
“We really made people feel like they were part of a royal court in the days of old,” Andee said.
Josh said he and Andee set out to create a “music festival” for all of their friends.
“If they were going to come across the world, we needed to make it really special,” he said.
The couple flew in DJ Dials – one of their favourite DJs – to keep the party going, along with 100 Levain Bakery cookies that they had a friend deliver from New York City.
“We passed those out at 1 a.m. to keep people fired up for the rest of the evening,” Josh added.
All in all, it was definitely a wedding to remember.
“There was a running gag through the weekend to see if Andee would do more costume changes or I would give more toasts,” Josh recalled. “I think we came out about tied.”
And the magical evening ended with fireworks, of course.
“The night concluded with all of our friends surrounding us,” Josh recalled. “Singing ‘All My Friends’ by LCD Soundsystem.”
- Read more:
- A couple got married in the middle of the California wildfires, and their photographer calls it the ‘new normal for wine country’
- A couple’s attempt to re-create a picture-perfect engagement photo with a bottle of Champagne totally backfired, but the result is going viral
- A wave crashed over a couple during their beach wedding photo shoot, and now the stunning picture is going viral
- A bride and groom ordered $US450 of Domino’s pizza for their wedding meal because they ‘couldn’t decide on food’
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.