Debra and Paul’s wedding is an absolute stunner and I just know that each and every one of you will utterly love this colour pop explosion. For a start the pair said their vows in the ultra romantic Mussenden Temple which is perched precariously on the edge of a cliff. How about that for atmosphere??
Secondly Debra’s bridal gown brief is definitely the most original I’ve ever come across – a cross between Tim Burton’s The Corpse Bride and Audrey Hepburn – and she’s absolutely nailed it. And can we just take a moment to appreciate the super bright florals – Debra’s amazing floral crown and the oh so pretty bouquet. I particularly love the clash of the red against the pink sweet peas. I am also very much loving the table plan and the first dance and the confetti shots too. Right I’m off to pin…who’s joining me?
The Bride’s Fashion
Debra The Bride: Wedding dress shopping was not something I found enjoyable. I tried on many dresses and none of them made me feel like me or really fitted with the idea of what I wanted to look like on my wedding day. Not surprising really when that idea was a cross between Tim Burton’s The Corpse Bride and Audrey Hepburn. Try telling that to the dress shop assistant! Luckily, I did stumble across my dress on a second-hand wedding dress website. It wasn’t for sale in my size but I was able to find a stockist of the designer, Tara Keely, at Les Trois Soeurs Bridal shop in London. When I tried it on, it took me about two seconds to decide it would be my wedding dress. It was so floaty and feminine; I knew I would have such a fun day wearing it. And it actually did come very close to fulfilling my Corpse Bride/ Audrey Hepburn remit!
My shoes were sparkly little numbers by Betsey Johnson from the BHLDN website. They were so pretty. I’ve been wearing them at every available opportunity since. Who says grocery shopping can’t be glamorous?!
My hair was done by Kathy McClean who created a simple, natural look, perfect for a windswept, coastal setting. My make-up was done by Claire McEvoy who provided me with the rosy lips and eyeliner with a feline flick that made me feel very glam.
The Groom’s Fashion
Paul is not a man with any sort of interest, however vague, in fashion. When discussing what he wanted to wear, his response never varied from or elaborated upon “a suit”. This approach worked a treat though as the suit he picked was simple, sharp and stylish. And it came from Next!
The Venue & Colour Scheme
Paul and I love hiking and are especially drawn to coastal paths with dramatic seascapes. It’s where we both feel most free and happy. We got engaged on such a coast line in Cornwall and we knew that a coastal setting was a must for our wedding. Mussenden Temple on the North coast of Northern Ireland has always had a special place in my heart. It sits precariously on the edge of a cliff and is such a breathtaking and dramatic setting. And just a tad romantic! It is owned by the National Trust who were such a great bunch to work with and have so much passion for the places that they take care of. Laura and Toby were especially brilliant.
We had our ceremony in the temple itself and had a marquee reception a short walk away in the walled garden of the National Trust site where the temple is situated. We LOVED having a marquee as it meant that we had a blank canvas to get creative with. We wanted everything to look as relaxed, informal and fun as possible.
Jason and Louise at Oldtown Marquees and Victoria at The Wedding Room were so fantastic with helping us to achieve this look, sourcing trestle tables, rustic chairs, festoon lighting and about a billion fairy lights, amongst many other items. We also researched Etsy and Ebay with wild abandon, sourcing items such as the colourful bunting, the deck chairs, the fire pits, a glitter ball and jam jars for candles.
We also hired some massive light up letters (our initials) from Electric Alphabet, which looked so awesome on the dance floor. The whole ensemble made for such a great party atmosphere!
All of our stationery, including the invitations, menus and orders of service were created by the extremely creative Ger at Feel Good Invites. We loved the natural look of the kraft paper and the sweet, informal lettering. Some of our guests commented that our orders of service were “keepers” which we thought was a good sign.
Awh, the flowers. My knowledge of flowers is very limited but I knew that I wanted lots of colour and for the arrangements to look as natural and unfussy as possible. Kind of like I’d just gone out and picked them in a meadow myself. Only much nicer. Jil at The Stables Flower Company took my suggestions and carried them to a whole new, exuberant level, creating arrangements that I couldn’t have imagined would look so intricate, beautiful and vivacious. I especially loved my vibrant floral crown which contrasted so well with the simple style of my dress.
The Wedding Party Fashion
My bridesmaids picked their dresses themselves from Pianta Bridal and I didn’t see them until a couple of days before the wedding. I trusted their style and to be honest it was nice to delegate some responsibility to someone else! It worked out as they picked two beauties and the natural, muted colour combined perfectly with the colourful bouquets.
We had a civil ceremony officiated by Elaine, a registrar from Coleraine Council. She was the loveliest lady, calming Paul down before I arrived. He had gotten so nervous that his mouth went completely dry and he had to shamefully steal a child’s fruit shoot in a moment of panic.
I was driven to the ceremony in a vintage Citroen DS (dream car!) and my bridesmaids in a convertible VW Beetle.
I walked up the aisle to Nick Cave’s Into My Arms. His voice and those words give me goosebumps and, for me, sum up so simply how you feel when you love someone. The ceremony was focused upon love and our commitment towards each other. We had two readings, one from Louise de Bernieres and one from Rainier Maria Rilke, read beautifully by our friends Bronwyn and Becky. We walked back down the aisle to Belle and Sebastian’s Boy with the Arab Strap, a song we do silly, happy dances to at home.
Music is very important to us and we struggled to find a DJ in Northern Ireland who would play the type of music we like. That is until we found Ricky and Scott at Essential DJs (NI). They were the loveliest, funniest guys and couldn’t have done enough to make sure we had a playlist we were happy with. They had a very easy to use website where you could create your own playlist from their extensive range of music. There was nothing too obscure for these guys. And boy, what an awesome indie/rock party we had!
Barry and his team at Arbutus catering did such a fine job creating a sumptuous three course wedding meal of locally sourced, traditional Northern Irish food. And true to form with Northern Irish food; everyone was stuffed by the end of it! Our well-stocked bar was supplied by Liquid Crew, who also, excellently, provided some wonderful cocktails to choose from.
Our wedding cake was created by Kathy at the Angel Cake Bakery. Oh my goodness, in addition to looking gorgeous, it was so delicious! And Kathy cleverly suggested that we cut our cake straight after our ceremony so that the guests could eat the cake with their tea and coffee at the drinks reception. This worked brilliantly instead of serving the cake after dinner when often guests are too full to enjoy the cake.
If we have one piece of advice to give to any other brides and grooms, it is this: take time to choose the right photographer. Now that the dust has settled and our wedding seems like a distant memory, the importance of our wedding photos cannot be emphasised enough. We received ours a few weeks after our wedding. We’d returned from honeymoon, were back at work and were feeling a little gloomy. THEN, we received the prettiest little parcel in the post with the biggest, most awesome gift inside.
Gillian and Tim of Gather and Tides captured moments and memories that we’d even forgotten about or had been too overwhelmed on the day to see fully. All the emotion, happiness, love and laughter came flooding back when we saw our photos. We could not have chosen anyone better to capture such an important day for us and if we made one good decision in the coordination of our wedding, it was choosing photographers who could make sure that our wedding day stays fresh in our minds forever. And continues to bring a smile/raucous laugh to our faces!
Photography by Gather And Tides
- Bridal Gown Style 2161 by Tara Keely
- Boutique Les Trois Soeurs
- Shoes Betsey Johnson at BHLDN
- Venue Mussenden Temple at Downhill Demesne
- Marquee Oldtown Marquees
- Florist The Stables Flower Company
- Hair Kathy McClean
- Make-up Claire McEvoy
- Decor/styling The Wedding Room
- Decor Hire The Vintage Style Hire Emporium
- Light Up Letters Electric Alphabet
- Catering Arbutus
- Cake Angel Cake Bakery
- Bridesmaids Pianta Bridal
- Bar Liquid Crew
- Groom and Groomsmen Next
- Stationery Feel Good Invites
- Entertainment Essential DJs