Real Irish Weddings

Real Irish Wedding: Jaime Bennett and Dave McGookin

Real Irish Weddings
Real Life Wedding

Saturday 6th July 2013. St John’s Parish, Church of Ireland with a reception at Killyleagh Yacht Club.

Saturday 6th July 2013, Killyleagh Yacht Club

Dave surprised Jaime the night before her birthday, telling her that the fairies had left her a present under her pillow…

“I lifted the pillow and saw the box and I was slightly overcome,” she reveals. “As soon as I opened the box and saw my ring I just burst into tears and before Dave could even ask me I said ‘Are you really asking me to marry you?’ He said YES and I said YES and cried some more.”

Reception venue

Wanting to break away from the tradition hotel wedding, Dave and Jamie started looking at alternatives and their search led them to Killyleagh Yacht Club. “My family have been members for generations and Dave and I also have our own sailing boat, so the venue means a lot to both of us,” explains Jaime.

“Set on Strangford Lough overlooking Portaferry, it  has spectacular views as well as being right on our doorstep and within walking distance from the church.”

Real Irish Wedding Killyleagh Yacht Club

Wedding theme

With a bride who’s mad for sailing and all things nautical it seemed inevitable that the theme would be elegance meets nautical. “I met with Annette from Look Crafty and knew she would be the perfect venue stylist for my wedding as I loved her creativity and variety of themes she has carried out for weddings,” recalls Jaime.

Using a cream and navy colour scheme, the couple incorporated everything from the wedding favours (silver boat name card holders) to the bridesmaids jewellery, (knot tied silver bracelets) into their theme.  “We added lots of intricate details,” Jaime continues. “We had wooden boat bunting at the top table, lots of shells, sand, lanterns and ivory draping and lace complimented by soft white fairy lights. The nautically themed stationery was entitled ‘Dave & Jaime are tying the knot.’ We even had the napkins tied with rope and a polo in the middle like a life ring!”

Real Irish Wedding Killyleagh Yacht Club 2

Wedding dress

Grecian inspired, Jaime’s beautiful layered dress was by Novia Dart from Forever Bridal. “It wasn’t what I thought I would go for,” she confides. “It was very detailed with lots of glistening sparkle on the skirt but I absolutely fell in love with it as soon as I tried it on. I felt like an elegant Grecian goddess in it.”


Dave wore a navy Remus Uomo suit from Hire Class, an ivory waistcoat and navy and ivory striped tie.

Real Irish Wedding Killyleagh Yacht Club 3

The bridesmaids

The maids wore Dessy Twist dresses in shades of midnight navy and sapphire blue. “They worked superbly as our bridesmaids were varying ages and the dresses twisted in different ways to suit their styles.” As an extra treat the girls were dressed by Maureen Martin and had their hair expertly styled by international hair dresser Stephen McCusker.

The flowers

Flowers & Frills did all the flowers including Jaime’s  ivory bouquet made up of roses, hydrangeas and jip. Other flowers included 6ft candleabras and pew ends in the church and high table candleabras in the venue.

Real Irish Wedding Killyleagh Yacht Club 4

The stationery

Darling Stationery designed the couple’s bespoke themed stationery. The beautiful design incorporated two shades of cream stripe and a navy centre emblem with ‘Jaime & Dave are tying the knot’ and the wedding date on the outside and a knot tied rope inside.

On the menu

Outside catering company Mange Tout did all the catering for the day – from the homemade ice cream, to the four-course meal.  “The food was out of this world,” enthuses Jaime. “To cook over 50 rib eye steaks to perfection deserves a medal.”

Favourite moment

Dave: When we got to the yacht club and were able to spend time with all our guests. That’s when I could relax with my wife and get the party started.

 Jaime: During Dave’s speech I looked round the room and I saw how happy everyone was – they were all grinning from ear to ear and t I felt like the luckiest girl in the world as we shared our wedding day with them.

Photography by Digital Bride


Real Irish Wedding: Amy Best and Adam McCausland

Real Irish Weddings
Real Life Wedding

Glenarm Castle on 1st June 2012

Real Irish Wedding: 1st June 2012, Glenarm Castle, Ballymena

Yeah sure, a big white wedding is nice. The Wedding March is nice. Flower petals up the aisle are nice and dancing to Michael Buble is nice but Adam and Amy didn’t want a nice wedding. They wanted an unforgettable one.

“We knew quite early on we wanted something to suit our unusual styles and interests,” said Amy. “So went with a twist on a ‘Steampunk’ wedding theme, with Victorian/Explorer elements.”

Deciding upon the wedding venue was easy for the bride who had long fantasised about saying ‘I do’ within the atmospheric grounds of Glenarm Castle. Securing it, however, required a little more effort.

“I contacted the Estate,” recalled Amy. “But they said they’d never actually hosted a wedding reception in the gardens and suggested I try to write to Lady Dunluce personally and ask permission. It worked!”

With their dream wedding venue in place, the pair then realised their innovative vision with Magnakata Tipis, which hosted around 130 wedding guests, in the explorer style they wanted.

Amy’s wedding dress had to complement the individuality of the day and was the main focus from the start. With her bespoke skills in corsetry, designer Lynne Gregg was chosen by Amy to bring her dream wedding dress to life; a striped corset made of raw silk with copper satin piping, a silk skirt with cocoa lace inserts and a detachable bustle in the fishtail.

Incorporating ‘Steampunk’ elements, Lynne stitched pearls, cogs, little keys, buckles, ribbons and feathers into the bridal gown.

Although there were no major hiccups on the day, Amy recalls a particular memory that stands out. “As we were clearing out the tipis the next morning, Adam and I happened to see Lady Dunluce in the Gardens and decided to go and thank her in person.

 “I gave her my sister’s bridesmaid bouquet as a gesture, we had a few words and that was that. Ten minutes later when my sister arrives to help, she has her bouquet in her hands having taken it off Lady Dunluce, not realising who she was, thinking a tourist had stolen it!

“I had to force her to try and find Lady Dunluce again, apologise and give it back, needless to say she was incredibly embarrassed but said Lady Dunluce just laughed it off!”

The little details

Venue: Glenarm Castle,

Wedding dress and bridesmaid dress: Lynne Gregg

Groom’s wear:

Catering: Jane’s Kitchen, Broughshane,

Flowers: Reid’s Florists, Belfast,

Photography: Big Glass Eye,

Tipis: Magnakata,

Vintage car: from Glenarm Castle

Real Irish Wedding: Laura Graham & Mark Nolan

Real Irish Weddings
Real Life Wedding

6 October 2012, Ten Square Hotel, Belfast

Real Irish Wedding: 6 October 2012, Ten Square Hotel, Belfast

Mark and Laura’s first date in Grace Neill’s in Donaghadee was the beginning of something magical and the couple got engaged on Mark’s 30th birthday in the private dining suite of Malmaison in Belfast.

When searching for their wedding venue they visited Ten Square and fell in love:  “We felt it really suited our style and it’s the kind of hotel we would stay in,” explains Laura. “We love the chandeliers in the ceremony room, the spiral staircase, the beautiful views of Belfast City Hall and its boutique and contemporary style.  The idea of having a cocktail drinks reception also won us over!”

For their wedding theme Laura and Mark went for simple and contemporary.  “We made the day personal to us rather than sticking to a theme.  We had our favourite cocktails at the drinks reception, Mark wore Converse and we used Jenga as a guest book as we always have fun playing it when friends are over.”

Mood Event Decoration draped the pillars in the ceremony and reception rooms with draping and fairy lights.  They also provided an LED dance floor which went down a storm with the guests.

Victoria Gault Florist provided fish bowl centre pieces and a floral display in the ceremony room.  She also made the beautiful bridal bouquet made up of ivory roses, ranunculus and hydrangea.  Laura chose wrist corsages for the bridesmaids as they fitted in better with the city wedding.

“The hotel were fantastic as they supplied black chair covers and lots of candles, so we felt we didn’t need to do much more to the room – we loved it just as it was” Laura reveals.

Laura’s wedding dress was by Jenny Packham and featured ruffled fabric shoulder details and a ruched bodice with two crystal sequined accents. “I felt like a million dollars as soon as I put it on.  I loved the fact that it was different to all the other dresses I tried on and couldn’t wait for our guests and my husband to see it – I knew it probably wasn’t what they were expecting!”

Mark wore a tuxedo suit with a black tie, accessorised with a pair of custom Converse trainers with ‘hitched’ stitched on them.  He also wore custom made cufflinks with the wedding date on one and Laura on the other.

The bridesmaids wore navy one-shoulder dresses from Coast.  They had a silver clutch bag each to carry down the aisle as they didn’t have bouquets.

Although Laura recalls walking down the aisle and seeing Mark for the first time as her best part of the day, there were lots of highlights.

“I played the saxophone in school and Mark bought me one for our first anniversary so I surprised him and our guests by playing Summertime along with our pianist as he had never heard me play!

“We also gave our guests daffodil bulbs wrapped in tissue paper in an organza bag.  The reason we chose these was because we wanted to remember my Granny in some way and I have done a lot of fundraising for Marie Curie Cancer Care in her memory and their logo is a daffodil.”

Laura’s top tip?

“Don’t feel you have to stick to tradition – don’t ever have any regrets about the day and do the things that will make it special for you.”

Real Irish Wedding: Lawrie Needs & John O’Reilly

Real Irish Weddings
Real Life Wedding

30th November 2012, Templeton Hotel, Templepatrick

Real Irish Wedding: 30th November 2012, Templeton Hotel, Templepatrick

Following a holiday proposal in Portugal in August 2011, Lawrie and John weren’t long in choosing a wedding date – 30.11.12 The couple’s wedding was in the Templeton Hotel in Templepatick where they were joined by 100 guests during the day and a further 100 in the evening.

“We chose the hotel mainly because the grand room upstairs is very plain and all wooden floors and beams.  This meant we had a blank canvas without any carpets or curtains to cover and we could decorate our room as we wanted,” explains Lawrie.

“Our wonderful winter themed rooms were decorated by Barbara from Fairytales in Antrim. She is a close friend of ours and did an amazing job. We chose every single detail and also bought some bits and pieces ourselves like the bird cages and candles you see in the ceremony photos.”

“We wanted our guests to enjoy the day as much as us,” Lawrie continues.  “All our little extras such as Jagerbombs, chocolate fountain, photobooth, personalised converse, football tops etc were all for our guests and bridal party to enjoy. We even had little guest baskets in the bathrooms so anything they needed throughout the day was there.”

Lawrie’s stunningl Mori Lee gown was from Wedding Perfection in Templepatrick.  “I wanted something beautiful but also quite plain as I really don’t like everyone looking at me – I’m terrible!  Wedding Perfection was the second shop I went to and I found my dress almost straight away.”

John and the boys wore black slim fit suits from Red Groomswear in Carrickfergus. “We bought the guys all some new shoes for the day – the two smaller boys in the bridal party wore Converse style shoes and all the guys had comfy black smart shoes. So comfy in fact that one of our best men Mark Allen decided to wear them to his snooker competitions this year – he’s won all his matches so far so counts them as his lucky shoes!”

The two bridesmaids wore dresses from an online company, Your Bridal Wear.  “They made the dresses to measure and I picked a beautiful royal blue colour for them which were stunning on my bridesmaids as they both have dark hair.”

The couple’s amazing flowers were from Budding Designs in Randalstown.  “I asked for something plain white and really wintery,” explains Lawrie.  “Nuala came up with these beautiful bouquets that were out of this world.  She sourced some gorgeous silver gems and silver glitter to give the roses a sparkle as well as frosted pine cones.  We also had a single white rose with a sparkly gem and silver glitter on every seat in the aisles at the ceremony.”

A complete surprise until the wedding day, the couple’s wedding cake as made by John’s mum Isabel.  “I loved that it was one of the only real surprises I had and I was so pleased with it,” gushes Lawrie.  “It was a surprise because we just gave Isabel basic details on the sort of cake we would like and she did the rest!  We loved it and it tasted delicious!”

But the surprises didn’t end there as Lawrie reveals: “Me and the girls surprised the guests and my husband with our version of the “gangnam style” dance. We’d practiced for weeks before in the hall at my work place and straight after the first dance the band (who we’d sorted it out with previously) played our song. It was fantastic – not step perfect mind you but brilliant all the same! The look on John’s face was priceless!”

Venue: Templeton Hotel, Templepatrick

Dress: A Morie Lee gown from Wedding Perfection in Templepatrick,

Groom’s suit: Red, Carrickfergus,

Photographer: Steven Hanna,

Room styling: Fairy Tales,

Flowers: Budding Designs,

Real Irish Wedding: Deirdre Gannon and Stephen O’Shea

Real Irish Weddings
Real Life Wedding

26th October 2012, St Patrick’s Church, Kilkenny and reception at Langtons House hotel.

Real Irish Weddings: 26th October 2012, Langtons House Hotel, Kilkenny

When it comes to Saturday jobs, the most we usually earn is a couple of extra quid to spend on a night out but for sweet sixteen-year-old Deirdre Gannon, things were different. When she started her part-time job in Argos over a decade ago, she found the man of her dreams.

Seven years after first locking eyes in the Argos storeroom, Stephen O’Shea proposed to his childhood sweetheart Deirdre. Three years later, the couple said ‘I dos’ in St Patrick’s Church Kilkenny, where her grandparents and parents had married 56 and 29 years earlier. “Being the third generation of my family to marry there was an honour,” said Deirdre.

“I will never forget when Steve and I first set eyes on each other as I walked up the aisle, a moment I will cherish for the rest of my life.”

Being a member of the Kilkenny Wedding Singers, Deirdre was proud to be serenaded by her band mates at the wedding ceremony, and couldn’t help but join them for a song in the church.

Afterwards, the wedding party relocated to Butler House for photos. With the windy weather, some shots made for amusing viewing, with Deirdre’s veil standing vertical above her head!

With its elegant ballroom and renowned food menu, Langtons House Hotel, Kilkenny was an obvious choice of reception venue. The fish and chips main course was a highlight for the hungry wedding guests but it was the couple’s wedding cake, made by Maria’s Cakes, which was the ultimate talking point. It was touchingly sentimental with four tiers that told the story of their relationship.

When the party got started, the dance floor didn’t empty all night. The O’Dwyer Brothers belted out classic after classic during a three-hour set. This was followed by a thrilling Riverdance routine and ended with a DJ set from Mattie Boyle.

Looking back on her big day, Deirdre said: “I can honestly say, that my wedding day was the best day of my life. It was such a relaxed day, and this in turn made it all the more enjoyable. I wouldn’t change anything about the day, I am just so glad I can carry those wonderful memories with me for the rest of my life.”

The little details

Venue: St Patrick’s Church, Kilkenny

Reception venue: Langtons House Hotel, Kilkenny,

Singers: Kilkenny Wedding singers,

Cake: Maria’s Cakes,

Photography: Hotshotz,

Hair: Kapelli Hair Studio, Kilkenny

Real Irish Wedding: Jude Nabley and Rob Rea

Real Irish Weddings
Real Life Wedding

22nd September 2012 at Ballyduggan Mill.

Real Irish Wedding: 22nd September 2012, Ballyduggan Mill

Being the marriage of two models, Rob and Jude’s wedding was sure to look like fashion shoot straight from the pages of a glossy magazine…

And the pictures delivered. In her Kathy De Stafford wedding dress, Jude posed confidently as if she’d just stepped off the catwalk. She said: “My wedding dress was amazing! I can’t say enough good words about Kathy! It was head to toe lace with cap sleeves, a sweetheart neckline and an open back. I loved it from the first fitting and felt like an angel wearing it.”

The groom didn’t disappoint either. In a three-piece houndtooth suit by Hackett of London, Rob looked dapper, but effortlessly on-trend.

With the leading lady and her prince charming in the foreground, the breathtaking Ballydugan Mill served as the perfect backdrop for their stylish wedding photos and hosted 115 guests for the wedding ceremony and reception. “As soon as we went to see the Mill we fell in love,” Jude enthused. “The laid back style was exactly what we pictured and we fell in love with all the staff and were made to feel right at home.”

For the wedding reception meal they were served warm bacon salad to start, followed by roast beef with Yorkshire pudding and apple crumble: “All very traditional Irish food,” remarked Jude.

After dinner, the happy newlyweds took to the floor for a romantic first dance. Serenaded by Brian Houston and his band to ‘All I want is you’ by Barry Louis Polisar, the couple “just danced like no-one was watching!”

“Everything at our wedding went so great and smoothly,” recalled Jude. “It was the perfect day from start to finish. I was so emotional, but in a good way. I thought the ceremony would be just something you get through and then go and party. But I absolutely loved it I would love to bottle it up!”

The little details

Reception venue: Ballydugan Mill, Downpatrick,

Wedding dress: Kathy de Stafford, Dublin,

Bridesmaids: Designer Jayne Martin

Grooms wear: Hackett of London and Gowdy’s, Belfast,
Flowers: A mixture of pastel roses with lavender by Fiona Newell

Transport: VW van and beetle convertible from Star Car Hire,

Photography: The very talented Khara Pringle and Bradley Quinn,

Real Irish Wedding: Mai Goodwin and Navid Gornall

Real Irish Weddings
Real Life Wedding

15th May 2012, Larchfield Estate

Real Irish Wedding: 15th May 2012, Larchfield Estate, Lisburn

When Navid proposed to Mai on a picturesque mountaintop, there were fireworks – quite literally. It was bonfire night 2011. Navid drove his confused girlfriend to the foot of a mountain and suggested they climb to the top where he had conveniently left his camera.

Mai said: “I reluctantly began walking up the incline when I started noticing roses placed all the way up, and it became clear something was going on.  When we arrived at the peak, we were surrounded by a rose-garden. The moon was full to one side, and the sun surrounded by a pink sky was on the other! He got down on one knee, said some very lovely things, and proposed!”

Grand and scenic was a recurring wedding theme, as they picked the stunning Larchfield Estate, Lisburn, as their wedding ceremony and reception location. The barn wedding setting posed as a blank canvas for Mai who laced the venue with a vintage essence and personal touches, such as parents’ and grandparents’ wedding photos.

Musical entertainment was another unique aspect of their day and came courtesy of Mai’s bridesmaid and good friend, who just so happened to be Emeli Sande. The soulful singer, along with a cellist, guided the couple up the aisle and also lent her vocals to their first dance; a soft rendition of Muse’s starlight.

Mai said: “It was the song that was playing when Nav kissed me for the first time. I just felt so much love.”

The little details:

Ceremony & reception venue: Larchfield Estate, Bailliesmills Road, Lisburn, tel: 028 9263 8025,

Wedding dress: By Suzanne Neville

Groomswear: Groom’s suit from Jaegar

Bridesmaids: Zara, French Connection & vintage

Catering: Corriander Catering provided a mix of traditional Persian cuisine and western dishes.

Wedding flowers: R Lamont, Lisburn

Photography: Naomi Campbell Photography,



Real Irish Wedding: Lili Forberg and Ian Downes

Real Irish Weddings
Real Life Wedding

24th August 2011 at Moyvalley Estate, County Kildare.

Real Irish Wedding: 24th August 2011, Moyvalley Estate, County Kildare

Lili Forberg transformed into a real life Audrey Hepburn when boyfriend Ian presented her with an engagement ring, right outside Tiffany’s in New York.

“As we passed Tiffany’s on 5th Avenue,” begins Lili, “I said jokingly, “Look Ian, this is where you have to buy me lots of jewellery!” to which he replied “It’s funny you should say that…” and pulled out the famous blue Tiffany’s ring box and proposed right there on the spot!”

Renowned fashion photographer Lili, got to work immediately on her picture-perfect wedding day. Moyvalley Estate in Co. Kildare was quickly secured as the wedding location. A little stonehouse on its grounds hosted the intimate civil ceremony, whilst Balyna House; a bespoke country mansion at the estate, accommodated 100 wedding guests at the reception.

In lieu of a specific theme, the bride and groom choose to represent and mix their cultural heritages. As well as Irish dancing and some Jewish glass-breaking, the Israeli bride’s childhood friend serenaded the couple with a traditional Israeli song as she graced the aisle.

With Ian being a restaurateur, the wedding reception was sure to be a sumptuous feast of culinary wonders. After indulging in a five course meal consisting of beetroot and goats cheese salad, champagne sorbet, rack of lamb and an assiette of brown bread ice cream, warm chocolate brownie, strawberry charlotte and crème brulee, the couple took to the floor for their first dance as man and wife.

“It was ‘You Are The Sunshine of My Life’ by Stevie Wonder,” said Lili. “It was so emotional as that song means a lot to both of us. The whole day was amazing, but my favourite memory has to be walking down the aisle.”

The little details:

Venue: Moyvalley Hotel & Golf Resort,

Dress: Bonzie Crotty,

Groom’s suit: Alexandre Savile Row in House of Fraser

Hair and Make up: Aimee Murphy, and Sheena O’Brien,

Photography: Magda Lukas,

Videography: Best Day Productions,

Flowers: Wedding Centrepieces,

Entertainment: Manilla String, and Celtic Rhythm,

Real Irish Wedding: Shivani Tandon & Jason Scott

Real Irish Weddings
Real Life Wedding

5th July 2012, Solis Lough Eske Castle, Co. Donegal

Real Irish Wedding: 5th July 2012, Solis Lough Eske Castle, Co. Donegal

A surprise trip to New York in January 2010, turned out to be even more special for Shivani when boyfriend Jason proposed in Central Park.She takes up the story:

“We walked further into Central Park to a picturesque space where Jay proposed, it was snowing and the sun was setting, it was very beautiful. He gave me a platinum princess cut diamond ring, which I love! Afterwards we celebrated in Times Square in a rotating restaurant with amazing views.”

The couple spent two years planning their wedding, starting with the perfect location, Solis Lough Eske Castle.

“We chose Solis Lough Eske Castle for both the ceremony and reception venue,” reveals Shivani. “The second we arrived at the venue we knew it was the one as it has a mix of contemporary and old.”

We knew from day one that we would like to incorporate both Indian and Western themes into our wedding. We decided on an Indian ceremony followed by a civil wedding ceremony and as it was such a long day for guests, we planned an Indian lunch for them.”

200 guests were invited to attend the wedding, which began with an Indian wedding ceremony at 11am. Shivani looked stunning in an Indian Lengha and Jason wore an Indian suit. The bridesmaids wore beautiful white sarees for both weddings.

Pictures were followed by Indian lunch, before Jason and Shivani slipped away to change outfits for wedding ceremony number two!

“I wore a traditional white wedding dress and Jason wore a suit,” says Shivani. “My wedding dress featured a soft sweetheart neckline with A-line silhouette, lace bodice, hand beaded Swarovski crystals and precious stone detail on empire waist.”

The ceremony was performed under the mandap (a canopy which was used for the Indian wedding) and the room looked amazing decorated in a navy and silver colour scheme.

Entertainment took the form of a Dola player (an Indian drum) who ushered guests into the room for the evening reception where guests enjoyed speeches and dinner followed by a band and an Indian DJ.

“The whole day was elegant and relaxed,” recalls Shivani. “We loved every minute of it.”


The little details

Wedding dress: Alter Images, Bridge of Allan

Groomswear: Bought in India

Bridesmaid dress: Designed by Shivani and made in India

Flowers: Pollock’s Flowers, Castlederg

Cake: Made by Jason’s Granny – Noleen Loughlin, Castlederg and Iced by Karen Hannigan, Omagh

Room dressing: Simply Divine, Donegal

Photographer: Erica Irvine, Omagh


Real Irish Wedding: Collette McMullan and Jonathan McCabe

Real Irish Weddings
Real Life Wedding

3rd September 2011, Croatia.

Real Irish Wedding: 3rd September 2011, Croatia

During an intimate ceremony of just 45 guests, Collette and Jonathan exchanged vows in Croatia, soaking up its’ intoxicating allure. As both had a natural affection for the sun kissed paradise, a destination wedding in Croatia had long been in the pipeline. With that in mind, the location was swiftly booked, but left just eight months to secure the remaining details – a time frame that would send shivers down the spine of any other bride!

Nevertheless, the couple began wedding planning efficiently, enlisting the help of Collette’s brother Mark and his partner to organise and put the final components into place.

A romantic church wedding was imperative but realising this required effort, Collette said: “We wanted to get married in the beautiful Church-St Euphemia in Rovinj and had to send Baptism and Confirmation documents as well as Permission to Marry documents to the Priests and Bishops – these also had to be translated into Croatian.”

The day itself had a traditional backbone and seamlessly intertwined essence of both Ireland and Croatia. Collette soaked up the Croatian heritage by walking through cobbled streets of Rovinj before entering the church to Enya’s “To go beyond”.

After a fifteen minute boat ride to the Red Island, guests arrived the Hotel Istra to unwind in the splendour of the reception venue, which looked onto the picturesque seascape. Collette said: “We had three different sections to the reception; the Summer Garden terrace firstly for champagne and strawberries, the middle terrace for light buffet and refreshments and the upper terrace for the five course meal.”

The bride was breathtaking in an ethereal white strapless wedding gown with iridescent beading, custom made from Joanne Ferguson Bridal in Newtownards. Likewise, her bridesmaids dazzled under the sun, in striking pink gowns created by a friend’s dressmaking mother.

The day was magical but the couple were especially touched by the effort made by guests to attend the celebration. Collette said: “It meant so much to see everyone enjoying themselves and I won’t forget the happy feelings Jonny and I had looking at our family and friends with all our dreams coming true as we celebrated becoming Mr and Mrs Mc Cabe. It was so romantic.”

The little details

Wedding dress: Joanne Ferguson Bridal, Newtownards,

Groomswear: Debonair, Lisburn,

Bridesmaid dress: Craftswoman Fabrics, Carrickfergus. Made by a friend’s mother

Flowers: Croatian florist , Gordana

Cake: supplied by caterers at Hotel Istra.

Transport: Private boat organised to the wedding reception on Red Island from Rovinj.

Room dressing: Hotel Istra, manager and staff

Photographer: Croatian photographer from Zagreb


Real Irish Wedding: Leah Conway and Jack Bothwell

Real Irish Weddings
Real Life Wedding

Leah and Jack’s vintage inspired wedding was utterly draped in romance; from the bride’s princess worthy bridal gown to their fairytale wedding location at the Clandeboye Lodge Hotel.

Real Irish Wedding: 16th July 2012, Clandeboye Lodge Hotel

Leah and Jack’s vintage inspired wedding was utterly draped in romance; from the bride’s princess worthy bridal gown to their fairytale wedding location at the Clandeboye Lodge Hotel.

What’s more, an already blissful day was made even brighter by an unexpected burst of sunshine, emphasizing the picturesque beauty of their setting.

The perfect day was just in keeping with the smooth course of their romance. The pair, who met through mutual friends, hit it off straight way. Three years ago, they had a beautiful daughter and on Leah’s birthday, in November 2010, the couple got engaged.

Although wedding plans began quickly, it took some back and forth for Leah to settle on their pink and green vintage inspired theme.

She says: “I purchased a lot of bridal magazines and searched the Internet for ideas and themes. I changed my mind so many times through family and friends’ opinions, throughout planning, but eventually stuck to my first original plan and colour scheme.”

Complementing their romantic theme with personal touches, Leah and her mum designed hand made wedding favours and Leah created her own retro sweetie table to appease the children, but admits it was a hit with the older guests too!

Jack and Leah intimately exchanged vows in front of 65 guests in the Clandeboye Lodge Hotel, where they also enjoyed a fun filled reception. Evening entertainment came in the form of a “stars in your eyes’ game, giving guests the opportunity to dress up and hit the dance floor.

Maintaining the vintage vibe, Leah wore a classic diamante adorned, A-line wedding gown by Mark Lesley from White Butterfly Bridal in Belfast. The bridesmaids were dressed in romantic pale green, one shoulder dresses and the couple’s daughter wore a traditional ivory flower girl dress with a quaint pale green sash.

The groom and his party were kitted out in suits from RED Groomswear, Carrickfergus, fitted with silver waistcoats and coordinating ties to match the bridesmaids.

“Although the entire day exceeded expectations, Leah credits her husband’s speech as the highlight of their wedding. She says: “I had never heard or seen him speak in public before and he was by far the best I had ever seen, he made jokes and gave me the best compliments. I really was so proud and felt so loved by him.”

Wedding dress: White Butterfly Bridal, Belfast

Groomswear: RED Groomwear, Carrickfergus

Bridesmaid dress:

Flowers: Norma- Country Bumpkins, Bangor

Cake: Julie Cambell Cakes, Larne

Transport: David Andrews, Belfast

Room dressing: Norma from Country Bumpkins and I Do weddings, Bangor

Photographer: Jonny Pickering and David Dunn, TC Photography, Lisburn

Real Irish Wedding: Gerry McBride and Joe McGlinchey

Real Irish Weddings
Real Life Wedding

October 2011.

Real Irish Wedding: 30th October 2011, The Phantom House, Galgorm Resort & Spa

Last orders were being called when Gerry and Joe met in a Belfast nightclub. Little did they know, this brief closing time encounter would lead to a lifetime of love, as they tied the knot in October 2011.

Gerry and Joe got engaged on 19th May 2010 and swiftly began planning their October 2011 wedding. They researched the legalities of civil partnerships and flipped through wedding magazines and websites for ideas.

The right venue was critical. For Gerry and Joe the focus was on finding somewhere comfortable and experienced in hosting same-sex civil ceremonies.

Of Galgorm, Gerry said: The staff were so welcoming and knowledgeable and we felt at ease straightaway. We couldn’t praise them enough. Our registrar was also familiar with the venue and had officiated at a civil partnership at this venue before.”

Reception at the same venue made perfect sense and alleviated planning stress. Similarly, to reduce the fuss over finer details, they chose Orchid Bridal Studio in Portadown, to oversee the flowers, cake, table dressing and bridesmaid’s gowns.

The day’s traditional and minimalist theme was tailored to the venue, so as not to compete with the ornate décor. Accessories and finishing touches were mainly white, with linen, white roses, lilies, ivy and crystal.

Gerry and Joe wore matching royal blue suits with white ties from Groom Formal Hire, Banbridge. To neutralise the palette, the groomsmen wore grey and their four bridesmaids were draped in elegant sheath dresses but in white, to add an unconventional twist.

Gerry said: “We thought that having white bridesmaid dresses would be something rarely seen at wedding before. Joe and I are also in the tanning business – so it gave us an opportunity to have the girls show off our spray tans!”

Music by Armagh singer Cathy Kelly personalised the ceremony along with poems and speeches from guests and cards read out from those who couldn’t attend.

About their highlights, Gerry said: “We enjoyed every minute of our day, but for us the ceremony was beautiful. The Phantom House is so intimate and having all our closest friends and family watching us make our commitment to one another was the highlight of our day.”

Pretty Little Details

 Groomswear:               Groom Formal Hire, Banbridge

Bridesmaid dress:       Orchid Bridal Gallery, Portadown

Flowers:                      Orchid Bridal Gallery, Portadown

Cake:                           Orchid Bridal Gallery, Portadown

Transport:                    Own

Room dressing            Orchid Bridal Gallery, Portadown


Real Irish Wedding: Gina Blacker & Neil Thomson

Real Irish Weddings
Real Life Wedding

14 April 2012, The Old Inn, Crawfordsburn.

Real Irish Wedding: 14 April 2012, The Old Inn, Crawfordsburn

Gina and Neil got engaged in August 2011 on holiday in the coast of Spain. On their return they started planning their wedding day with Gina describing the process as being ‘very easy’!

“We simply went to the Old Inn wedding fair and were very impressed,” she begins.

“We liked the fact it was very quaint and as we had a lot of visitors from Scotland we thought they would enjoy the location.

“The hotel told us what dates they had available and we went home and thought about them. We then secured the 14.04.12 date the following day. We were on a strict budget so there were items, such as cars, that we felt were an unnecessary expense. Everything else just slotted into place nicely and considering we hadn’t much time it was just as well!”

After booking their wedding date the couple soon realised that they shared the day with the centenary anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic and so their wedding took on a memorable theme.

“Discovering that our wedding date was the anniversary of the titanic, was very exciting, especially as Neil’s father was a sea captain. I decided to walk down the isle to James Horner ‘Hymn of the Sea’ which is featured in the titanic film. This was a very personal touch,” Gina explains.

For her wedding dress Gina choose a vintage style ivory dress with an embellished bodice and a long train from Belfast Bridal, Holywood Arches.

Neil and his brother (best man) David wore charcoal grey suits with matching purple cravats.

Gina’s bridesmaid wore a purple gown with matching bolero.

Talking about their wedding day Gina said: “The wedding was very relaxed which is just how we wanted it.

“The highlight of my day was when our room was changed and ready for our evening party. Everyone was in the room and I came down. Neil asked me to sit in the middle of the dance floor on a chair and he brought out his guitar, and sang a song he had written especially for me in front of all our guests. I was absolutely delighted and there was not a dry eye in the place.”


Reception: The Old Inn Crawfordsburn

Wedding dress: Belfast Bridal Company, Holywood Arches, Belfast

Grooms wear: S D Kells, Larne

Bridesmaid dress: Belfast Bridal Company, Holywood Arches, Belfast

Wedding Flowers: Country Bumpkins, Bangor

Wedding Cake: Marks and Spencer

Photographer: Retro Sight Photography (Amy Millar), Belfast

Real Irish Wedding: Sarah Brady & Julian Crothers

Real Irish Weddings
Real Life Wedding

7th July 2012, Lusty Beg Island, Fermanagh

Real Irish Wedding: 7th July 2012, Lusty Beg Island, Fermanagh

Six years ago, Sarah and Julian met on a night out in Hillsborough in their local bar. The pair hit it off instantly and never looked back, getting engaged on holiday in Gibraltar in May 2010.

When it came to deciding where to host their wedding, the choice was easy as Sarah reveals:

“We had been to two weddings in Lusty Beg and loved the relaxed and friendly atmosphere there. We also have a holiday home in Lakeland Lodges Boa Island, so when it came to choosing a wedding venue, that was an obvious choice for us,” she explains. “The staff are so friendly and the resort offers a lovely relaxed and informal atmosphere, great food and a beautiful setting in Lough Erne.”

Choosing vintage James Bond as their wedding theme, and Black Tie as the dress code, the couple set about panning the details of their wedding day.

“We both knew exactly what we wanted for the wedding – black tie and vintage theme – so it was easy to plan and everything came together smoothly,” Sarah recalls.

We had vintage birdcages on tables with pastel coloured roses and ivy inside. Cath Kidston wedding favours for women and tuxedo sweet boxes for men.

“My Uncle Edward Gorringe married us which made the ceremony extra special and personal. A family friend, Richard Yeaman, provided a Silver Shadow Rolls Royce for our transport complete with a bottle of champagne, which was a lovely treat.”

Sarah wore a stunning Cymbeline dress from Isobel Love in Lisburn, which she fell in love with just a few months after getting engaged. “It featured delicate Chantilly lace and was the prefect dress for me.”

The bridesmaids were also dressed to impress in dusty silver/grey dresses from Quiz in Tempest, Lisburn.

Not to be outdone, the men looked dashing in tuxedos and bow ties from Debonair in Lisburn.

“Our wedding day was relaxed and fun, we both enjoyed every minute of it,” says Sarah.

“Highlights included the speeches from the Best Man and Groom which were very funny. They decided to walk around the room as they spoke for a change and everyone loved it. But our favourite parts were definitely the evening reception with music from The Untouchables and the time we spent alone together getting photographs after wedding.


Wedding reception: Lusty Beg Island, www.lustybegisland.comWedding dress: Cymbeline Paris from Isobel Love

Groomswear: Tuxedos from Debonair Lisburn

Bridesmaid dress: Quiz from Tempest Bow Street Mall Lisburn

Flowers: Rosalind Haire, Hillsborough

Cake: Angel Cake Bakery, Coleraine