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Simon Zebo & Elvira Fernandez A Love Story

Simon Zebo & Elvira Fernandez A Love Story

By Cathriona Murphy

A teen’s first love that ran deeper than the ocean separating them, strong enough to bring them back together as adults, Simon Zebo and Elvira Fernandez on their story of falling in love and finding their happy ever after in each other.

You have both encapsulated the very meaning of “Childhood Sweethearts”. Can you tell our readers a little about how you met?
Elvira told me “I came to Ireland first when I was 15 years old. My parents wanted me to learn English properly, so they sent me here to do a full school year and live with an Irish family during that period. I arrived on a Wednesday at the end of August and two days later, I met Simon just outside a chipper, “Denny’s”. There was an instant attraction from both sides. He sent one of his friends to find out my name and see if I would like to kiss him, I said, well, if he wants to know my name, he will have to find out himself! He came towards me, and we start talking, just a little bit, as my English was very poor and I almost understood nothing. I didn’t kiss him because even if I felt attracted to him I didn’t know him…time passed and we secretly became boyfriend and girlfriend for a few months until I had to go back to Spain for good”

Little we knew back then, we didn’t have any expectations, we just lived the moment, and those moments lived were the ones that brought us back 7 years later. And the rest, is history.

You married in Summer 2022 in our beautiful kingdom of Kerry, was there a particular reason why you chose to marry here and in Sheen Falls Lodge?
We both love Kerry, we wanted to be surrounded by water and for some reason we feel very connected to Kerry so we decided to find a venue that would suit us there. Sheen Falls was perfect for our small wedding and its surroundings are stunning. we also wanted to get married outside in nature, and their boat house was just perfect in case it rained, which is something you need to think of when getting married in Ireland, even if it is summer!

When we hear of a wedding, the curiosity surrounding the brides dress is always anticipated. Elvira, can you tell us where and how you chose your dress, the designer etc?
I was pregnant with Isabella, so I could not go dress shopping…so I just got them made and hoped it would fit after giving birth. I received the dresses one month after I had Isabella and they fitted perfectly, one month later I made small adjustments as I lost a little bit of weight and that was it. I didn’t make much fuss about the dresses to be honest.

Simon, can you describe the moment you saw Elvira walk up the aisle towards you, it can often be an emotional time for the men!
It was a little bit emotional. She was my childhood sweetheart. I have been with her for so long since we were teenagers, sometime apart and then back together again. So seeing my one true love walking down the aisle was incredible special. Something I’ll never forget.

What advice would you offer our readers who are starting the process of choosing their own dress? Did/would you budget for a ‘splurge’ item such as designer shoes etc?
My advice is to not stress much about it. Try to find something you like and you feel comfortable in, something that reflects part of you for that moment. At the end of the day, nobody will remember which designer you wore or how much it cost, so spending more that you can wouldn’t be the smartest thing. There are very nice dresses at reasonable prices, so I would suggest to find a dress and shoes that suit you and your budget.

Your pictures truly epitomised the meaning of a family wedding. Was there great excitement amongst your children around the day and did they have special roles in the ceremony/day?
They were over the moon, They still talk about it sometimes, they (Jacob and Sofia) even remember when Simon proposed to me by the Eiffel Tower.

They had to walk in before I entered the boat house, they had to bring the rings and they were part of the sand ceremony, which basically was a ceremony to unite the family in our special day. Each of us had a glass with sand of different colours that we had to pour into a big jar simultaneously. Sofia also sang over the rainbow after we had food at the venue, it was very romantic and intimate.

A lot of couples can have fear’s around inviting/including children in on the guest list perhaps due to behaviour etc, what advice would you offer to keep children entertained and happy throughout the long day or more so, what worked for you?
Yeah, to be honest I never heard of the “no children rule” at weddings until I came to Ireland. I understand that being child free is much better as you don’t have to be minding anyone and you can just enjoy yourself, but sometimes, you have babies, not children, that can’t just be left for a night or few nights, if the wedding is abroad, especially when they’re used to spending all day with you, or if you are breastfeeding them. So, I can understand the view of people that prefer to have no children at their weddings but I come from a place where children are brought with you everywhere so the first time I heard about it I was like, what?

Spanish people are generally very family orientated and I have always brought my children with me almost everywhere I went and go, which is not an easy thing…but that is how they learn how to behave in public and in certain occasions. Before it was very hard to meet up with a friend just for coffee without being stressed, but now they know how to wait, be more patient and just be part of whatever is going on. So on the day, they were just part of it. The ceremony wasn’t too long and they were involved in it, afterwards it was food and fun time with us and their cousins. they were singing and dancing with us until

So I think that if you want your children to behave, you need to teach them how to, you need to take them to places with you so they can learn how to behave on social events or public, to us, there is no better way. Our wedding was pretty small so we didn’t need much, but for a larger wedding I would recommend to get entertainment for children so they can be minded and have a good time as well. Have a bouncy castle, face painting and people to look after them will probably be something we will do for our wedding in Spain so everyone can enjoy themselves.

Irish weddings can become events of outlandish proportions, you kept your guestlist small, can you tell us why you chose to do that and what it meant to you to have such an intimate ceremony?
We felt like it was about time to get married but we didn’t have time to organise a big one, specially being pregnant and having another 3 kids and business to run at the same time, so instead of just signing a paper we wanted to do a small wedding with our closest family members so they could celebrate with us our love and make it more special. We will have a bigger wedding in Spain next year with all our friends, which we need to start organising now…

Reflecting back on the day now, what was your own favourite memories of it?
Walking in the boat house, the moment in which we were saying our vows and the after party in the lodge were our favourite parts of the day.

The wedding came after your relocation back to Munster. Simon, how has it felt to come back home to play the game you love?
It felt fantastic coming back to Munster, coming back to the club I played for so many years with some of my old friends and new faces.

It is great to get to play in front of my family, friends and Munster fans. The incredible crowd at Thomond Park, it is all just pretty special.

Moving house can be stressful but an international move, how was it on your family and have you settled back in since?
Moving back it was easy, apart from all the packing and unpacking part. We came back to our house, which is the same one we were living in before we left, so we felt like coming back home. Simons family is close by which is great and the kids loved their school as they made friends straight away. I find it harder myself sometimes because of the weather and not having too many friends I can talk to or do things with. I find Irish people very nice people but very close doors at the same time. Also, having Simon as a partner it is hard to trust whether people are being nice because they really like you or just because you are his partner, so I have trust issues and I don’t fully open to others either.

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They say behind every strong man is an even stronger woman (sorry Simon!). In this case, Elvira you are an absolute powerhouse, proving woman can in fact have it all! If it wasn’t enough to raise 4 children, support your husband with his career that would be demanding enough, you have gone on to start your own business! Would you tell us about that please?
If I only did house work I would actually go insane to be honest…I’ve a gifted mind, which I only found out in my 20s, my parents kept it a secret and I don’t know why! If I don’t put it to use I fell unhappy and unfilled, so I’m always thinking of projects and business and once one thing is almost done, I’m already thinking what to do next.

After having Sofia I had some money saved from some modelling jobs and companies so I decided to do something with it. I wanted to be able to be there for my kids and raise them while being able to provide for the family too. I came up with the idea of a skincare brand, firstly because I could never find something that would suit my skin, serums would not be hydrating enough or they would cause me break outs, so most of the times my skin was quite dry as I was afraid of putting something that would cause me acne. Then I also wanted to help Irish people to improve their skin so they could have more confidence in themselves and wear less makeup. I think that when our skin is good, we look better, therefore, it makes us feel better and have more confidence. More confidence in oneself equals success and that’s what I want. I want to make people happier, more confident and successful because they’re all interconnected. So Sofia Juliette Paris, skincare brand was named after our first daughter. Sofia Juliette, is also a wellness brand where you can book spiritual sessions. Soon buy an eBook on holistic recipes and articles to help us grow inside out.

Being in the cosmetic circle made me think of becoming a distributor of beauty and aesthetics machines for beauticians, salons and aesthetics centres, so I created Sofia Juliette Aesthetics Supplier company just a couple of months ago.

I also designed and got made our wedding rings, which made me create a brand for Jacob. He always said to me, why does Sofia have her brand and I don’t have mine? And I said to him, you are right, one I have a good idea and the budget for it so I will. And that is how JJewels Official came to live. Jacob loves jewellery and I love designing it, so it was the perfect project. JJewels Official is an online store where you can buy any ring on the website or where you can ask to get one customized with any requirements. We offer all type of materials of metals and stones so everyone can have their dream ring adjusted to their budget. We offer fractionated payment too, so people don’t have to pay it all at once and make it easier for them to get what they want without stressing over it. So, for now, these are the 3 companies I’m working on at the moment. I want to grow them, and once I do, I’ll be onto the next projects.

Marriage is a mutual relationship that requires team effort and work throughout. With 2 demanding careers at play and 4 children, how and when do you make time for just you two, what is your secret to a lasting relationship?
Once our kids go to bed is our “us time” . Every day we chat about things and watch something together before bed. We also try to do things on my days off. It is all about making time for each other!

But really, the most important thing is love. If you love everything is possible. If you love there is respect, if you love you try to understand the other person, if you love you want to help the other person, if you love you want the other person to be happy because if that person is not happy neither of you are. Love is the key for any relationship to work and for everything in life too.

For more information on Elvira’s business’s you can visit and

Simons latest Rugby news can be found on

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