Written by Paula Jones Last updated: August 8, 2006
photos by xxxxxxx Photography
On Des’ birthday at the student’s union disco; we were both second years at university. He came over to chat and the rest is history.
Every year on the date we decided to ‘go steady’ we go away somewhere. So in Feb 04 we went to Prague for the weekend. On the Saturday Des said we’d go somewhere nice for dinner so I should dress up. I was very reluctant to do this as it was snowing so my ‘dressing up’ ideas were 40 layers of clothing. Anyway, we were walking over the Charles Bridge and Des was slowing up but then we saw a guy get down on one knee right in the middle of the bridge to propose to his girlfriend! Turned out later this is where Des had intended to propose but the stranger beat him! So we walked onto the old town square and, in front of a Cathedral, which I’d told him looked like something out of a fairytale, Des asked me to marry him. My romantic answer for a few moments was "You’re taking the mick!" (I had been waiting 8 years!) But eventually, through many tears, I said yes.
Des went to Galway on a bus with his friends. The same weekend I went to a health spa in Kilkenny, followed by a night on the tiles with my girlfriends.
Mostly by making the money to pay for it! Also with guest lists, venue, music, food. He was very good at contributing.
I used the chat room constantly for both advice and support when the stress got too much! Am still a bit addicted.
I bought some items online such as glass charms and favours. I was most impressed by the speed with which I received my orders.
My dress was white silk, overlaid with lace and encrusted with crystal. It was a figure-hugging gown with a puddle train. Amazingly it was the first one I tried on. Only 5 weeks after getting engaged, a girlfriend and I were bored one day and went to have a nosey at dresses. I fell in love with the first one, but obviously wanted to shop around to be sure. However, this dress was no longer being made; it was the only one and I had until 5 o’clock (fitting was at 2) to decide if I wanted it and to leave a deposit; otherwise they couldn’t guarantee keeping it. After much hair-pulling and nail-nibbling I put the money down and never once regretted it, despite trying on several gowns after the purchase!
I had four bridesmaids: my two sisters and Des’ two sisters. They wore pale blue, strapless gowns from the Debut range at Debenhams.
Des chose his four brothers to be his attendants. (My mother-in-law was very pleased as it meant the entire family was in the wedding party. Ronan was his best man, the others were groomsmen. They wore hired suits of black tail coats with ivory waistcoats, shirts and ties. Des’ tie was blue to match the bridesmaids.
We had a religious ceremony in my local Catholic Church. Both my parents and grandparents were married there and it is the church where I was baptised.
St. Eugene’s Catholic Church, Moneyneena, Northern Ireland.
The Tullyglass House Hotel, Ballymena.
We hired a white, open top Daimler.
There were 90 guests at the day ‘do’ and a further 25 invited to our evening list.
It was all ivory and pale blue.
Blue vases with lilies and ivory place cards that were typed in blue with blue ribbon.
Yes, mini packets of love hearts.
My bouquet was made of white orchids and roses. The bridesmaids’ bouquets consisted of white and lemon roses.
The venue handled our catering. The menu was as follows: melon boats, French onion soup, turkey dinner, profiteroles or fruit salad, wedding cake.
We had a three-tier cake of lemon, chocolate and madiera. It was covered in white icing with a pale blue trim. A neighbour of Des’ family kindly made it for us.
In the evening we had a ceilidh band and disco – fantastic fun.
We had a gift list at Debenhams
Our first night (all 4 hours of it by the time we got to bed) was spent in the hotel’s bridal suite. Our honeymoon was booked through Trailfinders and we went to Mauritius and Cape Town, for 3 weeks in total.
Saying our vows before our families.
I got badly sunburned a week before the wedding (first sunburn of my life). I had put sun cream only on my shoulders and this resulted in a horrible streaky tan – I had a strapless dress. Thankfully you can’t see it in the photos. I was so worried about it and tried many things to cover it up but on the morning of the wedding when I got up I couldn’t have cared less. My man was going to marry me no matter what and that’s all that mattered.
I would do it all the same. My only advice is to keep it all in perspective. A lot of people commented on how relaxed our wedding was and I feel that’s because we were relaxed. The wee things don’t count. People don’t remember flowers or table settings, only if they had fun! Enjoy your day.