Roisin & Conor’s wedding was a DIY spectacle, all of their friends and family contributed something and I have to mention here Roisin’s mum who made that stunning wedding dress!
Full of everything you could possibly want from a wedding we have amazing venue’s, laughter, tears, love, forests, a surprise morning ice-cream delivery… And then are a few surprises too… Santa Claus made an appearance but then I suppose why wouldn’t he if you hold your reception at Santa’s Cottage!
Roisin The Bride: I have always known since I was very young that I wanted my mummy to make my wedding dress for me, therefore, that part of the process was very personal for the both of us. We decided on a fully beaded gown, which meant not only did mummy have to decide on the design of the beading but she had to hand sew every bead on herself! It was finished a few days before the big day and for me, the dress was perfect, exactly what I wanted. To be honest it was the only element of the day that I was not worried about because I knew mummy would execute it perfectly for me. Needless to say, I’m a very lucky girl!
With regards to the venue, we flirted with the idea of going abroad, as we decided to get married quite quickly (1 year after our engagement) and we thought this would be more cost-effective. However, I soon realised that having everyone dear to us at our wedding was paramount and going abroad may prohibit this from happening. Thus, we looked around a few venues in Ireland that we thought were a bit different. They were all beautiful and offered great opportunities, however, I always left the properties feeling that they were a bit too ‘elegant.’ I know that sounds strange but we really wanted a relaxed affair, more like a big house party. This realisation led to me to think about my dream destination- The Mountains of Mourne, which is right on my doorstep. The only problem is there are no wedding venues in the area so I began researching venues that do not cater specifically for weddings. This brought us to think of Santa’s Cottage! It is an amazing little Irish cottage which has been restored to perfection, with beautiful grounds scattered with wild flowers and ponds and a wide array of animals from chicks to reindeer! Yes, Rudolf was there too! The venue also has an amazing underground ‘hobbit – style’ house where Santa comes down the chimney for his guests during the Christmas period. And in true Santa-style, he made an appearance just for us and gave out presents to the little ones. We also decided to hire a South African stretch tent for the dining area. I’m not a fan of traditional marquees and as the site is cut into the mountain with spectacular views, I thought a solid white structure would be too imposing on the landscape. The guys from Maverick Marquees did a great job putting the tent up, especially as there were gale force winds the day construction was scheduled to occur. I have to admit, everyone’s’ nerves, including mine, were tested quite a lot that day! In the end, the weather was glorious so the stretch tent on the mountain-top was a risk that definitely paid off! Randomly enough, our caterers Challas Roast were also South African. They supplied a feast of barbequed food which was cooked in front of everyone, and really tied in with the relaxed atmosphere that we wanted.
I took a lot of inspiration from Pinterest and wedding blogs (RMW included) during my planning. My theme was sort of theme-less in a way, as I wanted everything to be random, from the different coloured bridesmaids’ dresses to the mismatched tea sets. I decided on a rustic palette overall, with hay bales, ditsy print bunting, hessian table runners and authentic 1950s wooden tables decorated with an abundance of flowers in decorated jam jars. Friends and family members helped us collect hundreds of jam jars for this purpose and also for the jam jar cocktails which were served on arrival alongside my Auntie Jennifer’s legendary shortbread. I’ve been told these went down a treat!
We feel very fortunate to have found our suppliers and that definitely applies to our florist. Even though I knew my colour theme wasn’t exactly common, after one minute of meeting Jennifer from Lily & Lace, I knew she understood exactly what I wanted. I was particularly delighted with my half-crown floral headpiece that she made for me. Although it was my idea, it was something I had not seen before so I was a little wary of how it would turn out but when I saw it, it was love at first sight!
During the ceremony, a collection of my students from Newry and Belfast came together to provide the music in the chapel. This really meant a lot to me as they gave up their free time to rehearse and also put up with me, the slightly stressed bride/singing teacher! My uncle Des reunited with his old band-mate from the 1970s to provide a lively acoustic set for the drinks reception. He also recorded my little cousin singing our first dance song, as he had just immigrated to America. So it really was a family affair!
Conor’s mum Maura, made all the desserts for our dessert table- it was a feast for the eyes as well as the bellies! It was a crazy amount of work so we really appreciated it! We also asked a family friend, Clare, to make our wedding cake. It turned out even better than we hoped, and believe it or not, ours was her first wedding cake! My friend Ann-Marie also created very cool mini versions of us and our little dog Che for our cake topper. In addition, with the help of Conor’s father and cousin from USA, who is a carpenter coincidentally, we built a dance floor and stage for the band. It provided a great area where all of the guests danced the night away into the small hours to the sounds of local band ‘Up The Left’, followed by Conor’s friend Brian on the turntables. With Conor, being a DJ also, he couldn’t resist jumping on to play a few tunes as well.
We are not the most comfortable couple behind the camera but Chris Copeland, our photographer made us feel so relaxed and we were able to enjoy our day, without too much absence from the party! Chris, you are hugely talented and an absolute gent, so thank you so much for telling the story of our day! We would also like to thank Lawrence and Bernie for allowing us to take over their charming Christmas haven for our day- nothing was too much trouble for you! And finally, to our unbelievable families- from the bottom of our hearts, thank you so much, we know how lucky we are and we definitely couldn’t have pulled it off without you!
Words Of Wisdom
Just a bit of advice for future brides- if you want to DIY it, there is no need to spend a fortune. Choose suppliers who are competitively priced and don’t worry if they haven’t got a portfolio of the style you want, as good suppliers are excited by trying something new! We saw it as a great opportunity to make use of the very varied talents of people we know, although, it means we owe a lot of favours now! Nonetheless, if you are truly ‘DIY-ing it’ and you are anything like me, be prepared to be in your trainers with no tan or pampering completed, right up until bed-time the night before! But believe me, it is worth it!