Their relationship – and their marriage — began with a pint of Guinness.
Eschewing the traditional champagne toast, Aryana Ivey and her groom, Henrique Moraes, saluted their April 4, 2018, union with the popular Irish stout. The choice was fitting for a pair who met in Dublin, one of Ivey’s stops on a solo journey spanning five countries.
After a disappointing hostel experience during her 2016 trip, Ivey turned once again to Couchsurfing.com to find companionship in Ireland. A post to the website’s “hangout” feature drew a few responses, Ivey says, but her future husband “seemed like the friendliest face of the bunch, and least likely to try to kidnap a female solo traveler.” The pair met at the Spire, a monument in the center of Dublin, and didn’t part until almost 4 a.m. — drinking pints of Guinness at pubs across the city, walking and talking.
“We spent the entire four days I was in Dublin together and hit it off immediately,” Ivey recalls. “When I was leaving, he asked when he would see me again.”
Although she was smitten, Ivey assumed their acquaintance was over when she returned to Mississippi.
“I really liked him, and I was wrong, so wrong,” she admits, “and I’m so glad I was.”
They stayed connected via video chat, then rendezvoused in Denmark and Sweden for 10 days. About a month after Ivey had moved to Dublin, they commemorated Moraes’s 26th birthday with a road trip through the north of Ireland. During a meal at the Merchant Hotel in Belfast, Moraes proposed over dessert.
“A plate of profiterole swans arrived, garnished with a ring and a question written in chocolate sauce asking, ‘Will you marry me?’” Ivey says. We both cried as I said ‘yes.’”
Their wedding had to wait until Moraes’s visa was approved, and according to Ivey, the couple picked their date “because 4/4 would be the easiest anniversary date ever to remember.” Their union was sealed at the Enchanted Nature Trail in Pass Christian, and although they considered a larger affair, they opted for a simpler ceremony to avoid the chaos of international nuptials. Ivey walked down the aisle in a $50 dress while the venue provided the perfect natural backdrop.
“It turns out that the bare minimum is so much more meaningful and special because we were able to focus on ourselves and the love we have for each other, and to really embrace our marriage and the union we were making that day,” Ivey says.
The bride, who works as a manager and barista at Mockingbird Café, and groom, who works as a machinist in Slidell, Louisiana, have settled in the heart of old town Bay St. Louis. Given the trials their relationship has already weathered, Ivey is confident their love will endure.
“We have literally traveled across the world time and time again to be together,” she says. “We have always been there for each other through everything that comes our way, regardless of the distance.”
Photographer: Heather Rafferty Phillips of EJR Photography
Ceremony venue: Enchanted Trail, Pass Christian, across the highway from Henderson Point
Reception venue: 200 North Beach, Bay St. Louis
Florist: Martha Whitney Butler of the French Potager, Bay St. Louis
Caterer: Popeye’s drive-thru for lunch
Hair: Ashleigh Mayfield of L. Montella Salon in Long Beach
Shoes: ordered on Amazon
Wedding gown: ChiChi London online
Clergy/Officiant: Shay Coss, owner of Magnolia Antiques, Bay St. Louis
Cake: Friend Kat Mahaney, chocolate with strawberry filling