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Justin Alexander

Real Irish Wedding – Erin Kelly and Martin Hamilton

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Friday 5th August 2016. Ceremony at St. Eugene’s Cathedral, Derry, followed by reception at An Grianán Hotel, Burt, Donegal

This couple chose a Celtic theme for their special day

Photography by Mustafa Oymak of Yez Lifestyle Photography

The couple

Teenage sweethearts Erin and Martin first met ten years ago at school when they were just 17 years’ of age and went to the formal together.

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The proposal

Martin proposed by the lake at Lough Eske Castle, Donegal on the 22nd of April 2014. “He took me completely by surprise especially as he had asked my parents’ permission weeks in advance and I didn’t have a clue,” Erin says, “he had chosen the ring by himself and it was perfect.”

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“We chose An Grianán without looking at any other hotels because of their amazing circular function room,” Erin explains, “I had always wanted the hotel to reflect the Celtic theme of the wedding that I always wanted and An Grianán’s location and history represented this perfectly. They are also well known for their impeccable service and food so this was one of the easiest decisions for us. The hotel was brilliant to deal with and the day went so smoothly and without a flaw largely down to the hotel’s amazing service and professionalism. We are so glad that we chose An Grianán for our big day.”

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“I had always wanted a very elegant day but with subtle Celtic hints carried throughout the day and the venue played a big part in that,” Erin says. “The invitations were the first indicator of the theme. They were ivory with lace and a small Celtic knot button.  We had Irish traditional music during the ceremony and the musicians played the tin whistle, flute and guitar. The favours were also subtle indicators of the Celtic theme; the ladies got soaps inside a handmade (by my aunt) Irish linen favour bag and the men also got mini Baileys bottles in the same Irish linen bottle bags. As an Irish speaker I also wanted to incorporate this into the wedding.  So we had some the readings and blessings in the ceremony in Irish and I had three different Irish seanfhocail (proverbs) on the wine bottles at each of the tables.”

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Mustafa Oymak of Yez Lifestyle Photography Derry captured the wedding photography. “We have always loved his style of photography, it is very classy and stylish but still natural and this was exactly the style we wanted for our photographs and we are delighted with how they have turned out,” Erin enthuses. “The essence of the day was captured perfectly by Mustafa and that is just what we wanted.  I especially love all the natural shots from the ceremony, as we didn’t even feel like we were being photographed which is testament to Mustafa’s professionalism.”

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Wedding dress

Erin wore a stunning Rosa Clara wedding dress from Bridal By Seven, Newry. The dress was similar to one worn by the bride’s grandmother was inspired by traditional style of icons Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn. Erin recalls, “When I tried it on I knew it was the perfect dress for me.  It was a brocade design and so light as it was made from a silk Mikado material.  It had three-quarter length sleeves and the detail was just beautiful.  The train was a cathedral length train and the Rosa Clara veil was the same length as the train.  I loved that it was so timeless and classic yet still a little different at the same time and I will forever be indebted to the ladies of Bridal by Seven for finding me my dream dress!”

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The groom and groomsmen all wore the same three-piece black suits with silk piping from The Black Tie Showroom, Derry accessorised with soft grey ties to match the bridesmaids’ dresses. “They were so well fitted and were also a great timeless and classic choice,” Erin says, “Martin was gifted a pocket watch from my mother to wear on the day with the same Celtic knot on the front of it as was on the invitations.”

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The bridesmaids

The Bridesmaids wore steel grey Harmony dresses from the True Bride’s collection from Elite Brides, Letterkenny.  “The dresses were a beautiful fit and they had the most beautiful detail on the belt and the V shaped back matched the back of my own dress perfectly,” Erin says, “they wore hair combs from Sparkle by Elle on Etsy which was smaller version of my own Celtic hair comb from the same place.”

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Wedding flowers

Pat Monteith of Pat’s Pots in Derry created the wedding flowers.  “Pat was amazing as she completely understood the theme and got all the tiny details covered perfectly,” Erin says. “One of my favourite parts of the flowers was my bouquet.  Pat made a trailing bouquet of ivy, ferns and white roses which reached the floor and was even more beautiful in real life! She also surprised us with a hand painted sign which was displayed in the hotel foyer and which was such a lovely personal touch.”

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Ryan Patrick Design, Limavady designed the wedding stationery in keeping with the Celtic theme. “We had so many people commenting on the quality of the invitations and how perfectly made they were; their eye for detail was amazing and this was shown in their quality of work,” Erin enthuses.

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Wedding cake

Kiera Duddy of Pretty Elegant Cakes in Derry designed and made the wedding cake and in flavours Victoria sponge, chocolate Baileys and carrot cake. “Kiera also made our cupcakes for the champagne reception with flavours ranging from lemon drizzle, banoffee and raspberry ruffle – to say these went down a treat would be an understatement and Kiera displayed the cupcakes beautifully also,” Erin says.

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Top Tip

Martin: Always agree with the bride! (Lol)

Erin: No matter what style of wedding day you chose just make sure that it is exactly what you want, as it is your day and you should enjoy every single moment of it!

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