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Real Irish Wedding: Amy Robinson & Jim Donaghey

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Real Irish Wedding Amy & Jim, Riverdale Barn (12)

17th May 2014, ceremony and reception at Riverdale Barn, Aghagallon

Photography by Lauren Rutherford

The couple

Amy and Jim first met at a gig in Portrush where Jim’s band was playing. He recalls: “Yes, the adage is true – punk rock saved my life!  Amy definitely stood out from the crowd, though to be honest, my initial reaction was that she was much too hot for me, so I wasn’t holding much hope!”

Real Irish Wedding Amy & Jim, Riverdale Barn (4)

The proposal

Despite being together for over a decade, Jim’s proposal came as a huge shock to everyone due to what he describes as a “previous outspoken aversion to marriage”.  But wanting to make a commitment to Amy, Jim popped the question during a picnic in Bradgate Park, near their home in England.

Real Irish Wedding Amy & Jim, Riverdale Barn (12)

The venue

“Riverdale Barn has a rustic feel with gorgeous mature gardens,” Amy explains. “When you are there it feels so special, almost magical. When we met with Oonagh at Riverdale she was happy to accommodate our vegan requirements. I actually provisionally booked the venue while Jim was on a research trip in Indonesia as I fell completely in love with it and was worried we’d miss out!  Thankfully he really liked it too!”

Real Irish Wedding Amy & Jim, Riverdale Barn (8)

The theme

“A lot of our ideas were non-traditional and our families and friends didn’t really understand initially,” says Amy. “We wanted to do most of the organising ourselves and to use recycled and handmade items where we could. The end result was what I’ve referred to as ‘Potting Shed’ – mismatched, handpicked and shabby chic.”

Real Irish Wedding Amy & Jim, Riverdale Barn (10)

Personal touches

Amy and Jim’s wedding was completely infused with their personalities; from their entirely vegan menu (including vegan beer) to their emotive state and religion free readings during the ceremony. Naturally, music played a huge role, with two punk songs in the ceremony. Jim even had a punk patch specially made and sewn to his trousers, with the words: “Jim and Amy 2014.”

Real Irish Wedding Amy & Jim, Riverdale Barn (2)

Wedding dress

Amy wore the ivory A-line ‘Diana’ wedding dress by Raimon Bundo, from Forever Bridal, Belfast. It featured lace over the bodice, lace capped sleeves and a floor length tulle skirt with a train.

Real Irish Wedding Amy & Jim, Riverdale Barn (6)

Grooms wear

With everyone anxious that he’d turn up in his ‘tatty punk garb’, Jim instead compromised between punk chic and respectable, with a dark grey jacket, white shirt, and pink tie (with his hair dyed to match, of course).  “I even got a pair of pink laces for my favourite old steel-toe boots, which Amy likes to stand on when we dance around the kitchen.”


The bridesmaids wore rose Dessy dresses from Ti Amo, Limavady.

Real Irish Wedding Amy & Jim, Riverdale Barn (7)

Wedding flowers

Amy worked with Sharon at Occasions Floral Design, Coleraine to create wedding flowers in upcycled jars, a beautiful floral arch at the ceremony, flower centrepieces and bouquets all made from roses, carnations, gypsophila, wax flower, ornithagalum, hydrangea and veronica.

Real Irish Wedding Amy & Jim, Riverdale Barn (3)

Wedding cake

The three tier vegan wedding cake was made by Jim’s talented sister, Fiona.  The layers were chocolate, victoria sponge and lemon and poppy seed.  It was decorated with ivory frosting and roses and rosemary from Jim’s parents’ garden.

Real Irish Wedding Amy & Jim, Riverdale Barn (11)



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