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A Fabulous Castle Wedding By The Sea

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bride and groom under veil

Rachael and Christopher tied the knot 25th March 2017 in a ceremony and reception at Ballygally Castle Hotel.

Photography by Eddie McDowell from EMD Media

The Couple

bride and groom in garden

Rachael and Christopher met in what they describe as a, ‘modern day fairytale’ on Tinder. ‘After swiping right we immediately organised our first date to Horatio Todds in Belfast, remembers Rachael fondly. ‘Then just four months later I moved to Exeter to join Christopher.’

The Proposal

groom lifting bride on beach

Chris proposed to Rachael on holiday in Lanzorote on New Year’s Eve. ‘We had been having a few drinks at a local bar and decided to walk along the beach just before midnight, says Rachael. ‘Whilst I was admiring the view, Chris was asking a group of local boys to take a photograph on his phone. Before I knew it, the clock turned midnight, fireworks began going off and Chris got down on one knee!’


Ballygally Castle Hotel

Choosing Ballygally Castle Hotel was an easy decision for the couple as Chris wanted a reception beside the sea and Rachael had visited Ballygally Castle many times, often thinking it would make the perfect wedding venue. ‘I can barely find enough words to express our gratitude to Norman and the team for the truly magnificent job they did before, during and after our wedding at the castle. Every single request we and our guests had was delivered to perfection and with a smile. Absolutely nothing was too much bother and it goes to show that finding the right venue takes a lot of the stress out of wedding planning.’


wedding party

Rachael and Chris opted for a classic theme with a formal dress code ensuring everyone looked very glamorous. They included lots of quirky elements into their wedding day including bespoke candles from The Elemental Company, lanterns, a whiskey and cigar bar, blankets for the smokers, flip flops for the dancers, and personalised sweets, to name a few.

Wedding Planner

As Rachael lives in England, she had a lot of help from her step-mum Julie, who in-between running her own Marketing and PR company was able to source various items, meet suppliers and organise hair (The Hair Pad) and makeup (Rebecca Saulters).  Rachael gushed, ‘She was so successful at everything she did that she has already been asked to be a wedding co-ordinator for two of our friends getting married next year.’ Charm Wedding Studio also provided lots of decor including chair covers and the dance floor.


bride holding bouquet

The bride looked sensational in a dropped waist, tulle wedding dress from Maggie Sottero that she purchased from a bridal boutique in Exeter called Pirouette. ‘I loved the heavy beading on the top, combined with the long, floaty skirt – it made me feel like a true princess. I added a petticoat underneath to give it the wow factor.’  The bride had not one but two wedding dresses and changed into a figure hugging glamorous gown with a deep v back, diamante zip and leg split to dance the night away in.



The groom wore a black tuxedo and shoes by Moss Bros. The page boy looked adorable in a matching tuxedo paired with black and white converse trainers.

The Bridesmaids

bridal party

Both bridesmaids wore the same chiffon dress with lace trim straps in aubergine and blush pink.

Wedding Flowers

bride standing under arch with groom in the distance

The bride and bridesmaids carried unstructured, vintage bouquets from A Flower Lady in Larne. ‘The bouquets were made up of deep aubergine helaboris, fifth avenue roses in vintage pink and cream, with eucalyptus leaves as foliage.’

Top Tip


bride crying during father of the bride speech

Groom: ‘Start the planning process early – the good suppliers get booked up fast!’

Bride: ‘Try not to stress too much about the small things. Trying to make everything completely perfect will only stress yourself and those around you. What matters more than the perfect shoes is celebrating your marriage and enjoying the day with those you love the most.’

Favourite Moment

bride and groom kissing in garden

Chris’s favourite moment was seeing Rachael for the first time on the day. He instantly got emotional and had to turn away to compose himself. Rachael warmly remembers exchanging vows, ‘We had written our own so everything was very personal and heartfelt – something neither of us will forget.’

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