Carmel and Cullen
How and when did you meet?
I went to visit an old friend in Plymouth where she was studying and Chris lived in the same house as her. The first time we met he was playing a computer game and I barely noticed him. The second time, suffice to say we took a little more notice of each other! That was at the beginning of November 2001.
How old are you both?
Where, when and how did he (or you!) propose?
He proposed on the 24th of September 2004 in a hotel room in Edinburgh. He planned a surprise weekend for me to Edinburgh, booked a really nice hotel, a very swanky restaurant (in the Hilton) and brought me shopping for a new outfit to wear. The only thing was he proposed to me the night before we went to the restaurant because he was so nervous. He had asked my dad and all!
Did you have hen and stag celebrations? If so, what did you do?
Yes, Chris went to Bristol with about 10-15 lads for paint balling and general drunkenness. I went to my hometown in Ireland where my sister and chief bridesmaid organised a BBQ and drinking in all our old haunts with about 10-15 girls. It was brilliant and so much fun.
How did your groom help with the wedding planning?
He organised the cake, but as he said in his speech, my sister who helped organise most things made up for him not being involved at all.
Did you use confetti to plan your wedding? If so, how did the website help you?
Yes, I used the forums a lot to get advice from people. I also used the magazines for ideas and got my cameras for the tables.
Did you buy any confetti products for your wedding? If so, did you visit a store, buy online or by mail order?
Cameras for tables and I bought them online.
Tell us about your outfit, and where you bought it
I had a very slim line dress which was an Amanda Wakeley dress. I bought it off the Internet for £105, dress and shawl.
Did you have bridesmaids? If so, who did you choose and what did they wear?
I had my three younger sisters, Michelle, Sharon and Clare. They wore black dresses from Debut at Debenhams. I also had my niece, Chris’s sister and my nephew as flower girls and pageboy. The girls wore Tigerlily dresses from Debenhams and Eoin had a hired suit like the rest of the male bridal party.
Who did your groom choose for his best man and ushers, and what did they wear?
He chose his best friend, Rhys, as his best man, and his two friends, Ross and Olaf, as groomsmen. They wore suits from a local hire shop.
Did you have a civil or religious ceremony?
I had a very short Catholic ceremony which didn’t include the Eucharist as Chris isn’t Catholic.
Where did you hold your ceremony?
Our ceremony was in the Church of the Assumption, The Heath, Portlaoise, Ireland.
Where did you hold your reception?
The reception was at The Dolmen Hotel, Carlow.
Did you have any special wedding transport?
We had a 1966 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow. It was dark grey and absolutely gorgeous. It really made my day!
How many guests did you invite to your wedding, and did you have a separate evening guest list?
We had 77 guests to the dinner, and invited more people to the evening but I can’t remember how many turned up in the end.
Did your reception have a particular theme in terms of colour or style?
The hotel set up the room for us. They had yellow chair covers and black and white tablecloths but that wasn’t something that I was too worried about.
Describe your flowers (bouquets and table decorations). Who was your florist?
My florist was a company called All Occasions in Portlaoise. My flowers were amazing – I had orange and yellow Gerberas with black centres to tie in with the black dresses for the bridesmaids. I had a hand tied bouquet with black beargrass sweeping down which added a bit of drama to the flowers and looked amazing in the photos. My flower girls carried little golden holders with gerberas in them. The lads all had a yellow rose as a buttonhole and the floral arrangements in the church were fabulous.
What did you choose to have on your menu? Did you have an outside caterer or did your venue handle the catering?
The hotel did the catering. We had chicken Caesar salad, vegetable soup, stuffed Chicken wrapped in bacon or peppered sirloin, and a toffee ice cream gateau. It was delicious.
What did you choose for your wedding cake, and who made it?
We had a three tiered cake made by a local woman in Portlaoise. The bottom tier was fruit, the second tier was chocolate biscuit and the top tier was strawberry shortcake – yum yum.
Did you have any entertainment during the day or evening?
We had singers for the ceremony and in the evening we had a DJ.
Did you have a gift list? If so, who did you have your list with?
We had a very small list with Debenhams. It was quite good and we were very happy with the service from them.
Where did you spend your first night and honeymoon? Who did you book your honeymoon with?
Our first night was in the Dolmen. The next night we stayed in the Great Southern Hotel in Dublin Airport and then we flew with First Choice to Kenya. We stayed in the Severin Sea Lodge in Bamburi. It was gorgeous.
What was your most memorable moment of the day?
The most memorable thing for me was the best man’s speech. It was absolutely brilliant and everyone loved it.
Did you experience any ‘nightmare’ moments in the run up to your wedding or on the day?
The Thursday before was when the whole terrorist thing kicked off and Chris was still in England. It didn’t affect us that badly – people were very delayed but that wasn’t so bad. The other thing was one of the groomsmen pulled out the week before but we replaced him easily enough so that was ok.
Is there anything you would do differently, or any advice you would give to other brides?
I’d appreciate all the work other people put in more, and say that yes, it is your day, but so many people have given up time, money and energy and for that, you should be thankful.