Real Irish Wedding – Laura Beck & Neil McKnight
~ Real Life Wedding
20th December 2014. Ceremony at Mourne Free Presbyterian Church, Kilkeel, followed by reception at Slieve Donard Resort and Spa, Newcastle, Co. Down
Santa Claus and his reindeer made an appearance at this Christmas themed winter wedding
Photography by Steven Hanna
“We first bumped into each other at a fancy dress party in October 2009 but didn’t get speaking again until a night out that Christmas,” Laura begins. “At the time, due to our previous costumes, we didn’t even realise that we had met before. But this time Neil chased after me for my number and the rest is history!”
Neil and Laura had planned a trip to go Christmas shopping in Manchester in 2012. “Unbeknown to me Neil had secretly organised a trip to Paris,” Laura recalls. “I only found out on my way to the airport and was told that it was an early Christmas present. He got down in one knee in a beautiful ornate gazebo in Disneyland. Neil had even organised a photographer to take our engagement photos in Paris.”
“Laura lives fairly close to Newcastle and we would often head there for an ice-cream, and find ourselves wandering in the grounds of the Slieve Donard,” Neil says. “The majestic setting of the hotel and it’s warm, inviting atmosphere has always appealed to us both.”
The couple went for a Christmas themed winter wedding. “We brought this into our day by having blue, silver and grey hues in our dressware and stationery and added the warmth of Christmas with flowers in reds, pinks and purples,” Laura explains. “We had holly on the tiebacks of each chair, silver twig trees, lanterns and a Christmas tree for wishes to be written on little wooden baubles.
We arrived at the hotel on a reindeer and sleigh, and Santa Clause made a special appearance during the evening reception. Add a little Sparkle helped us to drape and dress the room with fairy lights in all the backdrops and entrances, to enhance that magical Christmas feeling and they also provided a beautiful, silver mirror for the table plan.”
Your wedding dress
Laura wore a stunning lace fishtail wedding dress with a cathedral length veil by Enzoani and a customised Mia Mia Jacket by Alan Hannah, all bought from Petticoat Lane Bridal, Hillsborough. “I loved the dress from the moment I first put it on,” Laura says. “I can remember going into the shop and losing hope that I would ever find ‘the one,’ but when I described what I wanted the girl immediately knew and selected this stunning dress. I completely fell in love with it. The intricate lace detail was interspersed with Swarovski crystals, a chiffon waist and scalloped lace train. The dress had a beaded halterneck which could be removed. For my day look, I wore the dress with the Mia Mia Jacket and a feathered bolero.”
The groom and groomsmen wore three-piece tail suits in charcoal grey with vintage grey top hats from McCartan Brothers, Newry. Neil had specially made cuff-links from Loving Spoonful.
The bridesmaids wore navy floor-length satin dresses with scooped lace neckline and navy buttons by True Bride, from Creative Ideas, Armagh. The dresses were accessorised with grey fur stoles with an icicle brooch, grey satin shoes and Alan Hannah jewellery.
Charlotte’s Web in Newcastle created the wedding flowers. “My bouquet was teardrop with lots of lilacs, purples and pinkie reds intertwined with pearl beading,” Laura says. “My bridesmaids had similar round bouquets and my flower girl carried a heart shaped pomander. We had pillars of roses at the doors of the church in the same colourings with lots of foliage and little lanterns filled with roses placed alongside. The entrance of the church had antique silver vases filled with more flowers and foliage, further flower arrangements adorned the front of the church and hanging on each pew was a pinkie red rose, in a test tube on navy felt. Charlotte’s web also provided our Christmas tree for our wedding wishes.”
The wedding stationery was by Jingle Jangle, Armagh. “The stationery incorporated our grey winter colour scheme with icicles placed on the front alongside a thick grey satin bow,” Laura explains. “Jingle Jangle were superb and also provided our place names, table names and orders of service to co-ordinate with the invitations.”
Airy Fairy Cakes’ Lisburn designed the four-tiered cake, groom’s cake and cupcakes in flavours; Red Velvet, Mint Chocolate Chip, Raspberry and White Chocolate, Carrot and Vanilla.
Your favourite moment
Neil: “My first glimpse of the bride and arriving at the hotel on a reindeer and sleigh. Our second dance was also a great moment – we had our official first dance and then did a comedy dance routine to ‘Little Bitty Pretty One’ by the Jackson 5.”
Laura: “Our wedding ceremony was very personal and a true highlight of my day. Walking back down the aisle as husband and wife to the Christmas Carol ‘Joy to the World’ was just the most amazing feeling.”