Real Irish Wedding – Jacqueline Mc Laughlin & Kevin Grant

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Ballyliffin Lodge and Spa Hotel wedding

30th December 2015. Ceremony at Star of the Sea Church, Buncrana followed by reception at Ballyliffin Lodge and Spa Hotel, Donegal

Photos by Jay Doherty Photography

A winter wedding in North West Donegal

The couple

“We met 10 years ago through mutual friends,” Jacqueline begins, “that evening Kevin played a song on his phone – Coward of the County by Kenny Rodgers. He couldn’t believe I knew every word, I heard my Daddy sing it enough times to know it! We just hit it off and started to go out shortly after that.”

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The proposal

Kevin brought Jacqueline away for a surprise birthday trip to the Slieve Russell Hotel, Cavan as a birthday treat. “I never suspected a thing,” Jacqueline says, “I even insisted on taking the baby along but he convinced me to let her stay with his parents. When he first showed me the hotel where we were going, I looked through some of the photos and came across ‘the secret garden’. He later told me he knew right then that was where he was going to propose. We saw the gorgeous big door in the middle of the gardens and he told me to close my eyes… when I opened them, he was down on one knee with the most beautiful ring!”

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“It was very easy for us to choose the Ballyliffin Lodge and Spa Hotel for our wedding reception venue; it is a stunning hotel and had everything we wanted,” Jacqueline says. “The staff went out of their way to help and the service was outstanding. It is situated on a height, overlooking the most beautiful sea views.”

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“We didn’t really have a theme as we just wanted to keep it simple and timeless, although I suppose if anything there was a bit of a winter theme with my cape, the cake, the trees in the room, and of course all the fairy lights and Christmas decorations in the hotel.”

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Wedding dress

The bride looked amazing in a Paloma Blanca wedding dress from Tomorrows Wedding Emporium, Derry/Londonderry. “It was covered in French Lace and had a tiered ruffle skirt,” Jacqueline says, “the belt was added separately and I got the dressmaker to sew it on, as if it was all in one. The dress was actually strapless but had a beautiful delicate lace bolero over it. I honestly felt like this dress was made for me. The first time I tried it on I felt like I was ready to walk down the aisle. The gown made me feel like a bride… not just someone who was getting married!”

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Kevin wore a three-piece suit in a rich royal navy colour accessorised with a dickie bow, and the two groomsmen wore the same suits with spotty ties.

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Wedding flowers

Iconic Flowers supplied the wedding flowers. “I wanted to keep the flowers simple and classy; we decided on soft arrangements of white roses and babies breath,” Jacqueline explains. “My bouquet had pearls and diamante designs throughout and Lilly Rose’s was a smaller version of it. The bridesmaids had babies breath bouquets with one single large rose.”

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Wedding cake

“Our wedding cake was three tiered and pearly white. It was made by a local lady, Ann, she decorated it in a blanket of snowflakes keeping it nice and wintery,” Jacqueline says. “I wanted a keepsake from our cake so I got a bride and groom snow globe which we used as our cake topper. At least now it can come out every year with the decorations and celebrate our anniversary!”

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Favourite moment

Kevin: “My favourite moment was seeing Jacqueline walking down the aisle. Everything was kept secret so I had no idea what she was going to look like, but I knew she would be beautiful.”

Jacqueline: “My favourite moment was mid first dance, when I forgot that everyone was watching us. I just couldn’t believe Mike Denver was playing our song… neither could the guests!”

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Flowergirl’s outfit

“Our daughter, Lilly Rose played the part of flower girl on the big day. She stole the show in a beautiful John Rocha dress and Paul Costelloe headpiece. She was like a miniature bride and she even had a mini bouquet of mine.”

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Top Tip

Kevin: “Please yourself, don’t try and please anyone else.”

Jacqueline: “Stay relaxed, even when others are stressing. Everything will fall into place.”

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