HOW THEY MET
This love story begins fourteen years ago, in sunny Marbella. Carmelo originates from the north of Spain and had been out with a couple of friends for a drink when he first spotted Danielle across a bar. He couldn’t take his eyes off her, so with a little persuasion from his pals, he plucked up the courage to make the first move and buy Danielle a drink. Danielle’s family holiday to Marbella was quickly drawing to a close, so she was initially hesitant to start anything, knowing she was going to be back in Belfast in a few short days. But after one drink it was clear there was definitely chemistry. They randomly bumped into each other the following day, so agreed to meet for a drink that evening, that led to a few more little holiday dates, before Danielle had to return to Belfast. On their final rendez-vous in Spain, with their blossoming romance on tender hooks, Danielle invited Carmelo to visit Northern Ireland. A week later he arrived, and any worries of it just being a summer romance swiftly passed, they both knew they were starting to fall in love. After one year of long distance, Carmelo moved to Belfast, before moving back to Spain together five months later.
Thirteen years later, after relocating a couple of times and starting a family together with three beautiful children, Carmelo and Danielle decided to take a well-deserved Easter holiday. Spain plays a a huge part of their lives, so Carmelo knew he he had to propose in Barcelona. He decided the best location to ask such a special question is the top of the Sagrada Familia. From the glittering stained glass windows, to the towering column and arches to the intricate details in the architecture, every aspect of this church takes your breath away. Carmelo booked a date and time slot months in advance, however when it came to it, Danielle couldn’t face the balcony. With Danielle’s crippling fear of heights and vertigo, Carmelo had to get down on one knee on solid ground, back on the bottom floor. And of course, Danielle screamed YES!
When it came to decide where to hold their wedding weekend, there was only one suggestion, The Old Inn Crawfordsburn, Bangor. This was the first place Danielle took Carmelo on their ‘first date’ in Belfast, they had a bite to eat and went for a walk through the beautiful summer gardens and along the beach. ‘The Old Inn offered both a traditional ceremony room , with high ceilings and stunning Georgian furnishings and a more modern banqueting suite downstairs. We don’t live too far away so it was quite handy being near-by, especially for meal tasting and wedding planning. We regularly visit the Old Inn for food and drinks with friends and family, the fact that the venue has a connection to us, and my family was a complete bonus. Our guests raved about the Old Inn the entire weekend, Carmelo and I both agree it was the most perfect setting for our day.’
Danielle hired the fabulous venue stylist Sarah from SBD Events, Banbridge to help transform the banqueting suite at the Old Inn Crawfordsburn. She also hired David McConkey of Exquisite Wedding Designs; David won Wedding Florist of the Year at the 2018 Wedding Journal Reader Awards. When initially bouncing ideas off each other, Danielle had mentioned a romantic theme with elegant pastel colours, therefore the flowers, draping and accents were blush pink and ivory. Sarah designed a mammoth flower wall that ran along the wall behind the top table, ‘this was an instant hit with our guests, everyone wanted to get photographs and selfies in front of it, ‘ commented Danielle.
David and Sarah transformed the Old Inn into a floral haven, from the intricate floral details on the chairs along the aisle, to the grand glass vases filled with an abundance of blossoms in the reception suite. David picked scented stock for Danielle’s big day, ‘I used pale hydrangeas, sweet avalanche roses and peony roses, simply because they are all beautiful, smell fabulous and fitted Danielle’s colour scheme.’ The SBD team provided Chivari chairs for the ceremony room, which were perfect for creating a simple yet elegant look, downstairs had richer blush tones, with the inclusion of their new Dior chair collection. David designed and built every display in his studio in Ballynahinch, he then transported everything the morning of the wedding. David tells us his process, ‘when walking though each venue, I try to visualise where I could put floral displays, I noticed a space beside the sweeping marble staircase just underneath the crystal chandelier. I had seen a 15ft tree at a show in Birmingham and I knew we had to use it, we simply dressed with hanging tealights and it looked amazing.’
WHAT THE BRIDE WORE & THE REST…
Danielle had spotted a beautiful dress on the catwalk at Belfast’s Wedding Journal Show. She had her heart set on a beaded Badgley Mischka gown from Petticoat Lane Bridal, Hillsborough. When Danielle went to visit the boutique and try on the same dress from the show, it didn’t exactly suit her style. Fortunately, the wonderful staff at Petticoat Lane were on hand., with their expertise advice on all things bridal. A new Mischka collection had just come in that morning, and there was a beautiful V-neck fitted silhouette dress with embroidered floral lace and jewel-encrusted spaghetti straps. Accessories completed Danielle’s summer bridal look, with a simple sterling silver and pearl necklace with matching earrings.
Danielle had her daughter Amy, her sister Jennifer and her best friend Ewelina as her bridesmaids. She knew what colour of dresses she wanted, but asked them each to pick a style they felt most comfortable in. It just so happened that both her daughter and sister picked the same one – a nude ball gown with lace details and halter-necks. Her best friend opted for a beautiful Grecian style nude dress, they were all from Marie Me Bridal, in Randalstown.
Danielle’s mum ordered a bespoke mother of the bride outfit from the award-winning Irish designer Ruedi Maguire. They designed a soft pink, drop shoulder, figure flattering peplum dress, accessorised with an on-trend colour clash of res heels and red lips.
A lifelong school friend name Bianca was on hand for the weekends celebrations, she has been styling Danielle’s hair for over 19 years. She knew exactly what Danielle wanted, ‘it was so nice having a familiar face that morning to help ease my nerves.’ Rebecca Ferguson was Danielle’s professional make-up artist on the day. Danielle trusted Rebecca’s handiwork and was so pleased her make-up lasted all day, even in the summer heat.
EATING AND DRINKING
Incredible food played a huge part in Danielle and Carmelo’s wedding weekend. From a summer BBQ on the Thursday evening, to the wedding day feast and Saturday morning breakfast of champions. Carmelo had over 40 guests flying over from Spain for the big event, so he wanted to mix both families traditional cuisines for a taste sensation. Carmelo adds, ‘my family fell in love with Ireland during that weekend, they were obsessed with the traditional food the Old Inn provided us with, everything we tasted the entire weekend was delicious. Everyone was so well looked after, we honestly can’t thank them enough.’
After the wedding ceremony there was a Prosecco and Beer Garden Party with canopies and a traditional leg of ham on a spit; this went down a treat with Carmelo’s Spanish family. There was a traditional three course dinner at the reception, followed by a buffet for the evening celebrations. Danielle and Carmelo broke tradition and crafted their very own ‘cheese’ cake for their wedding cake, they hand selected their favourite flavours to construct a tower of cheese, with fresh fruit and crackers also. For those guests still partying into the early hours, there was a member’s bar after 1 am, dishing out the leftovers from throughout the day; the leg of ham, the buffet, and the cheese cake. All served with twelve magnum bottles of the couple’s personal favourite Rioja wine.
CAPTURING THE DAY
Phil Smyth is a friend of Danielle and her family, so he felt like the natural choice. ‘We wanted the day to be all about family, we didn’t want to take time out of the day for a long photo shoot. We had pictures taken just around the corner at the Crawfordsburn Country Park, then a quick 10-minute walk back up to the Inn for our garden party. Phil was fast and strategic, and we love our album he produced, it means a lot to us.’
HIGHLIGHT OF THE DAY
Danielle’s most memorable moment was her garden party, she atmosphere was electric. ‘We had The Manouche Boys perform at our garden party and they were amazing. They have such an amazing energy, they played music for all ages, some golden oldies and more modern hits for the kids. Everyone was singing and dancing along to them in the summer sun, they asked if anyone wanted to join in with them, and who says no to karaoke? The boys were so much fun, I wish we could do it all over again.’
Danielle also loved the speeches during the reception, with the wedding being multi-lingual; speeches were both in Spanish and English. ‘It was so lovely seeing the entire room laugh to a joke or funny story, knowing they are all sharing in our day and no one felt left out.’ Carmelo’s personal favourite moment from the day was the secret singer. ‘Danielle’s mum arranged a few little surprises throughout the day and this was one of them. We were about to finish our desserts, when a ‘waiter’ tripped to the floor, one of our guests politely got up to help the poor guy out. The next thing we hear this incredible Italian voice start to sing an opera song, and the room was filled with laughter. It was so unexpected, and his voice was insane, it completely picked up the mood after our meal, it lifted our food comas, we still smile thinking about it.’