01 – St. Eugene’s Catholic Church, Moneyneena, Northern Ireland The Tullyglass House Hotel, Ballymena
photos by xxxxxxx Photography
How and when did you meet?
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.
How old are you both?
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.
Where, when and how did he (or you!) propose?
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.
Did you have hen and stag celebrations?
Mostly by making the money to pay for it! Also with guest lists, venue, music, food. He was very good at contributing.
Did your groom help you with the wedding planning?
I used the chat room constantly for both advice and support when the stress got too much! Am still a bit addicted.
Did you buy any confetti products for your wedding? If so, did you visit a store, buy online or by mail order?
I bought some items online such as glass charms and favours. I was most impressed by the speed with which I received my orders.
Tell us about your outfit, and where you bought it.
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!
Did you have bridesmaids? If so, who did you choose and what did they wear?
I had four bridesmaids: my two sisters and Des’ two sisters. They wore pale blue, strapless gowns from the Debut range at Debenhams.
Who did your groom choose for his best man and ushers, and what did they wear?
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.
Did you have a civil or religious ceremony?
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.
Where did you hold your ceremony?
St. Eugene’s Catholic Church, Moneyneena, Northern Ireland.
Where did you hold your reception?
The Tullyglass House Hotel, Ballymena.
Did you have any special wedding transport?
We hired a white, open top Daimler.
How many guests did you invite to your wedding, and did you have a separate evening guest list?
There were 90 guests at the day ‘do’ and a further 25 invited to our evening list.
Did your reception have a particular theme in terms of colour or style?
It was all ivory and pale blue.
How did you incorporate this in to your table settings?
Blue vases with lilies and ivory place cards that were typed in blue with blue ribbon.
Did you give your guests favours?
Yes, mini packets of love hearts.
Describe your flowers (bouquets and table decorations). Who was your florist?
My bouquet was made of white orchids and roses. The bridesmaids’ bouquets consisted of white and lemon roses.
What did you choose to have on your menu? Did you have an outside caterer or did your venue handle the catering?
The venue handled our catering. The menu was as follows: melon boats, French onion soup, turkey dinner, profiteroles or fruit salad, wedding cake.
What did you choose for your 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.
Did you have any entertainment during the day or evening?
In the evening we had a ceilidh band and disco – fantastic fun.
Did you have a gift list? If so, who did you have your list with?
We had a gift list at Debenhams
Where did you spend your first night and honeymoon? Who did you book your honeymoon with?
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.
What was your most memorable moment of the day?
Saying our vows before our families.
Did you experience any ‘nightmare’ moments in the run up to your wedding or on the day?
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.
Is there anything you would do differently, or any advice you would give to other brides?
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.