Hayes & Jarvis
Justin Alexander
Crawfordsburn Inn
couple and horse drawn cart

Real Irish Wedding- Alan & Maureen McCraken

~ Real Life Wedding

17 November, Hugh McCanns, Newcastle, County Down

bridal party

Photography by Aurora Photographic

The couple

bride and groom

Alan and Maureen met in work back in 2002 and their relationship was cemented with a proposal from Alan in June 2011.

Wedding planning

group wedding shot

Alan and Maureen were the lucky winners of a £15,000 wedding competition that ran in the Sunday Life newspaper, in association with The Wedding Journal Show, back in September 2011. The couple won an amazing prize that included a wedding reception from Hugh McCanns in Newcastle, room dressing from SBD Events, wedding flowers from Ferguson Flowers, wedding photography by Aurora Photographic, rings from Gardiner Brothers and hair by Stephen McCusker from Stephen International.

Winning the wedding

wedding reception sparkles

“We had just built a house and had planned to put our wedding off until 2014,” Maureen explains. “But I saw the competition to win a wedding in the Sunday Life and decided to enter.  A couple of weeks later, I opened the paper and there we were, pictured amongst the finalists, I couldn’t believe it!

Not expecting to win, Maureen describes the moment she heard she had won a wedding: “I was in work when my phone went and when I heard I had won, I nearly passed out with shock, it was just fantastic.”

Reception venue

wedding reception cutting the cake


Despite having visited Newcastle a few times, neither Maureen or Alan were familiar with Hugh McCanns but after visiting, they were delighted with their reception prize: “The hotel has this most amazing setting, right on the seafront. The reception room has beautiful views of the Mourne Mountains and from the other side, you look out onto the promenade. It’s idyllic,” reveals Maureen. “Janet and Maggie from the hotel were so welcoming and lovely to work with and everything matched in perfectly. The place looked incredible on the day and our five course meal was truly five star.”

Wedding theme

bridesmaids and bride

The couple colour co-ordinated their wedding day around the beautiful honeysuckle coloured bridesmaids dresses from Dessy. Maureen then worked closely with the girls from SBD Events and Hugh McCanns to style the beautiful reception room using white linen, chair covers, fairy lights and window drapes.

Wedding flowers

pink wedding bouquet

The flowers were by Lisa at Ferguson Flowers and were a gorgeous mix of roses, hydrangeas and ivy greens. “The whole room was filled with flowers including beautifully decorated candelabras on the tables,” says Maureen. “Lisa really went out of her way and the over all effect was wonderful – the flowers were a real talking point of the day.”

Wedding dress

wedding dress

Maureen wore a beautiful gown by Ella Bridals from LA Bridal House in Carrickfergus. “I loved the long train embroidered with diamantes and the sweetheart neckline.”



Alan and his groomsmen wore grey Remus suits by Hire Class in Lisburn.


wedding hair

Maureen and her maids had their hair styled by one of Ireland’s leading hairdressers, Stephen McCusker from Stephen International; “Stephen was just fantastic,” enthuses Maureen. “Not only is he an incredible hairdresser, but he was a really great help on the morning too –he even helped me with my dress as I hadn’t a clue how to put it on!”



Paul from Aurora Photographic looked after the couple’s wedding photography and ensured he captured the mood of the day – from the formal family portraits to the informal shots that showed the fun behind the scenes!

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