If you want to fill your heart with warmth and love then you are definitely in the right place, as the golden light at this rustic winter wedding is simply magical. Plus our gorgeous couple couldn't be anymore in love. The portraits captured by The Lou's of them embracing and generally enjoying being newlyweds are off the chart adorable, and SO incredibly romantic. Joanne looks the picture of elegance wearing her stunning Naomi Neoh gown, teamed with a delicate flower crown and oversized red rose, blush & foliage bouquet. The absolute perfect hues and colour scheme to complete the Christmas theme at the incredibly gorgeous Carriage Rooms on the Montalto Estate in Northern Ireland. I also adore the Bridesmaids tulle skirted gowns and jumper combo. Such a stylish look, and perfect for keeping the chill off. I haven't even mention all the decadent decor yet, and trust me when I say there's a dessert table of dreams.....

The Dress

Joanne the Bride: Finding my dress was one of the most exciting parts of wedding planning I even enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I went round the all best bridal boutiques that I believe N.I has to offer and tried on some absolutely amazing dresses, however, none really felt like the one dress I actually wanted for my wedding day. I had a vision in my head of what I wanted my dress to be and no dress I had tried had matched it so far. I was beginning to lose hope so booked an appointment with a dressmaker, before that appointment came around I had one last bridal appointment made with Ivory & Pearl and seen my dress nearly as soon as I had walked in, it had everything that I wanted in my head –long sleeves, low back and I adored the relaxed skirt that moved beautifully any time I moved. It was also the one dress my mum had leaped out of her seat for when I walked out in it. Even after wearing it all day on my wedding day I didn’t want to take it off! Kate, in Ivory and Pearl couldn’t have been more helpful or welcoming and made the whole process an absolute breeze even sorting out my dressmaker for me! I found a veil in my local bridal shop. I always wanted a cathedral length veil with a bit of lace around the edges. My veil was perfect as the lace started half way down so it didn’t take away from all the lace on the top of my dress and complimented the plain skirt of my wedding dress. My shoes added a wee bit of sparkle and were very similar to the Emmy shoes I had been eye-balling. I wanted my hair and make up very soft and natural and Olivia Muldoon created my perfect bridal look I absolutely LOVED my relaxed hair finished off with my flower crown by floral earth. Olivia also did all the beautiful hair and make up for my bridesmaids too.

The Grooms Fashion

This proved quite difficult due to the fact that my groom is 6ft6 tall and is therefore very fussy about having properly fitting clothes, so I let him decide on his suit - as long as I liked it too! We were so happy to find Red Grooms, which had a brilliant selection of suits. They measured the suit to fit Conor perfectly so he felt comfortable all day. We chose navy suit with a grey tweed waistcoat for Conor and tie for the groomsmen as I really wanted tweed for the time of year. I also picked a pair of Loakes in red also for Conor to wear with his suit as part of his wedding present.

The Venue

Conor and I met in Fisherwick church during our student days therefore it was very important for us to get married there – it helped that it has an absolutely beautiful church with beautiful stained glass windows and an aisle that is made for a wedding ceremony! We signed the register in the very spot that we first set eyes on each other. I was in love with The Carriage Rooms even before I had seen it! Any other venue we looked at just could not compare. I can’t fault anything about it and Charlotte who helped us organise everything was so brilliant in the run up to the wedding and also on the day itself making everything a breeze. It was the perfect venue for our cosy Winter wedding with its roaring fireplaces and beautiful nearly 20ft Christmas tree in the main room. Our unusual sunny wintery day let us make the most of the beautiful gardens and greenhouse sipping our hot apple juice while The Lou’s took full advantage of the beautiful surroundings in our photos. We were able to stay in Montalto House itself which was an extra treat to look forward to after the wedding day – it was magnificent with each room decorated completely differently and they provided a huge feast for the morning after and even a tour of the house!

Colour Scheme/Décor

I had no real colour scheme and I described my wedding to my bridesmaid as “everything I love” which she laughed at but it absolutely was. I wanted a warm Winter wedding, not too Christmassy, and given the fact that it was Winter I had a great excuse for sparkles, twinkly lights, beautiful warm winter colours and flowers. I decided on a winter wedding after my brother and sister got married in the two previous summers so I thought it was a bit of a change for the third wedding in three consecutive years in our family. I also LOVE that time of year and had so many ideas that I filled a scrapbook with. Thankfully I was able to show my scrapbook and spill all my ideas to Grace from Grace and Saviour and she was able to put them all into life – she absolutely got exactly the look I was going for. From the sparkly tablecloth on my cake table to my table plan, all the signage, Christmas baubles for each of our guests and cosy blankets, which were wrapped up in ribbon to keep everyone cosy at night. I organised take away cups for after the church service and little paper bags that Conor and I stamped with our initials and wedding date before the wedding to accompany our homemade mince pies and shortbread, provided by our yummy local bakery back home – Mallard Home Bakes. These were designed so that our guests could take them with them on their journey to The Carriage Rooms and to get there to see it in all its glory before the Winter sun set! We were able to hire some items from our venue aswell – they provided a beautiful decoration for above the top table which really added to the room and the overall look of the wedding.


I could not recommend our florists at Floral Earth highly enough. I have always loved flowers and wanted them to be a big part of the day. Tim was an absolute gem to work with and really understood the look I wanted with my flowers and was able to provide a few styling elements of the day also. I wanted lots of Winter greenery and wanted to incorporate the ruby colour of my invites in with my flowers instead of traditionally with the bridesmaid dresses. Tim also spray painted some of our greenery gold to add a little extra Winter sparkle. I wanted a large bouquet alongside my flower crown, which I didn’t want too big or fussy. I went for similar smaller bouquets for my bridesmaids with a few flowers in their hair. Conor and the Boys had similar pinholes and my Mum and Conor’s Mum got slightly larger versions for their jackets or bags. Tim filled the church with flowers with two beautiful huge arrangements at the front, and smaller arrangements tied on every other pew end alternating with candles on the ground. They then transferred all our arrangements to the carriage rooms for the tables and reception. I will never forget walking into the reception room before dinner; I think I was speechless when I set eyes on it for the first time. Floral Earth created the most beautiful table centres of logs, candles and small arrangements of flowers and the most beautiful greenery lining our whole top table and cake table with candle votives dotted through – I absolutely LOVED seeing it all come to life.

The Wedding Party Fashion

I found bridesmaid dresses very difficult to choose. I found the most gorgeous tulle skirt and top on an American website but it wouldn’t have got here in time for the wedding and delivery costs were slightly over budget! However, I was very happy when we found our belsoie dresses in Petticoat Lane. The top was lace which matched in with my dress with a floaty skirt – I didn’t decide on the colour until we were in the shop, when we all seen the taupe colour we all fell in love with it, it was so unusual and fell into the colour scheme perfectly. It has a beautiful gold shimmer and I found glittery shoes in Next exactly the same colour. I wanted jumpers for the bridesmaids as I don’t like the typical pashminas and thought they would be cute. I found the perfect cropped ones on Pure Collection website – our dressmaker then helped finish the look with a silk bow wrapped round them which also matched the bow on my dress.


Our bridal entrance and exit was played on the majestic organ in our church by a friend which was Pachelbel’s Canon and Joy to the world. Our friend Michael joined by two other friends led the praise which was fantastic. My sister in law Katie Duncan and her sister sang while we signed the register ‘oceans’ by hillsong – a song that is very close to us.


I left Conor to organise the wedding band and he did a very good job –when searching for wedding bands we soon realise that many were booked up for Christmas parties with it being two Fridays before Christmas! We were so glad to hear that Freefall were free, they were fantastic on the night, great music and great energy encouraging lots of people to get up and dance all night. They even played our first dance ‘The One’ by Kodaline with us giving them very late notice!


Yellow Door were absolutely fantastic in so many ways. Siobhan who we worked with in the run up to the wedding was brilliant answering every annoying question and dealing with my constantly changing ‘final’ guest numbers. She invited us to a tasting evening providing a range of dishes to help us decide our menu (which we were told could be absolutely anything we wanted!) this made planning much easier. With Siobhan’s guidance with incorporating our favourite foods and our budget we decided on a range of wintery canapes, followed by our wedding breakfast consisting of leek and potato soup with ham hock fritter, shorthorn pot with buttery mash and orange glazed carrots and crispy parsnips followed by our assiette dessert including carmelised pear and bushmills whiskey tart which was so tasty, crème brulee served in an egg shell and honey ice cream followed by our delicious wedding cake. Lisa from yellow door was also there all day on our wedding and made sure everything worked like clockwork which it did, which made us 100% stress free on the day, their work was so professional and really first class.


Cake Couture created an absolute show stopper with our cake table. I met up with Catherine to discuss what I wanted and picked six different flavours for my double tiered cake, single tiered frosted cake, naked cake, mini cakes, cupcakes and cake pops (you can tell I love my cake too!) I told her I wanted to include a bit of gold sparkle and a small bit of the ruby colour and fresh flowers and what she created was even better than I could have imagined – I couldn’t stop staring at it sitting opposite me when eating dinner!


For me, there was never any choice for my photographer it had to be The Lou’s. Knowing Louise and Louis personally and their amazing work, all I had to do was to convince Conor, needless to say it didn’t take any convincing whatsoever. They are so lovely and were full of ideas and never-ending advice, I felt like I was able to email Louise any concerns or questions, not just to do with our photos, but any wedding advice in general. We had our engagement shoot up a mountain on a typical September day in beautiful fields of heather and they completely put us at ease, this really made a difference on our wedding day as we felt more natural in front of the camera. They are full of ideas and really strive to do their very best to get you the photos you have always dreamed off, really going above and beyond. They got us outside to get photos in the Winter moonlight and even set up our whole sparkler tunnel for us. Our wedding photos speak for themselves with how amazing they are, they really captured every single emotion, laughter and precious moment of our wedding day.


I absolutely love wedding videos and used to watch them all the time and knew I had to have one. After searching through many great videographers, Soul & Rise stood out a long mile for us. His videos were always beautiful and I got so excited whenever I saw a new one online. His package suited me perfectly – a 5min video clip, 20 min highlights video which we were able to share on Facebook and it got such an amazing response (and I still watch all the time!) and also a 90 min video including our vows and speeches which captures absolutely every detail of the day and allowed us to relive it all again. Both cameramen fitted in seamlessly around our guests and The Lou’s. Also, Ross was an absolute pleasure to work with. Conor never seen the point in videographers before and now he is completely converted saying he would defiantly advise other couples to invest in them and I would 100% recommend Soul & Rise to anyone I know.
Lorna Shaw

Written by Lorna Shaw

Dress Designer: Naomi Neoh | Bridal Boutique: Ivory and Pearl | Bridal Shoes: No 1 by Jenny Packham at Debenhams | Veil: Serendipity Bridal Couture | Hair & Makeup: Olivia Muldoon | Venue: The Carriage Rooms on Montalto Estate | Styling: Grace and Saviour | Caterer: Yellow Door Deli | Florist: Floralearth | Bridesmaid Dresses: Petticoat Lane Bridal - Belsoie, | Pure Collection - Jumpers | Groomsmen: Red Grooms | Stationery: The White Letter | Entertainment: Freefall | Transport: David Lyttles Wedding Cars | Videographer: Soul & Rise

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