Real Irish Wedding – Jennie Lee and Neil Allen

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26th May 2016. Ceremony and reception at The Tap Room at Hilden Brewery, Lisburn

A laid-back festival-themed wedding held in a brewery

Photography by Soul and Rise

The couple

“We first met through a mutual friend who took me to a gig that Neil was playing at in town,” Jennie begins, “I didn’t actually get to see him play however because it was a school night!”

Hilden brewery wedding

The proposal

“It was Valentine’s Day but as Neil isn’t usually the romantic type I was very surprised to come home to our flat and find it filled with candles and a lovely bath waiting for me,” Jennie recalls. “After a tasty dinner and bottle of red, he popped the question!”

Hilden brewery wedding


“We’d looked at a few venues before picking Hilden but it really stuck out for us as the one with the most character,” Jennie says. “We also really wanted a BBQ for our meal and loved the fact that our whole day would be in one place. Also, we loved the tipis and beer selection.”

Hilden brewery wedding


The couple opted for a loose festival/travel theme as they wanted a relaxed, fun feel to the day. “Our ceremony, dinner and dancing were held in tipis in the Brewery’s gardens and we had a BBQ for our meal, with the brewery’s beer on tap for our guests,” Jennie says. “I made little hot air balloons for our guests place names and each table was named after a different country, with a large multicoloured map for our table plan which Neil painted.”

Hilden brewery wedding

Wedding planner

“We planned a lot of the wedding ourselves but had a lot of help from family and friends in making our day the way we wanted,” Jennie says. “A special mention has to be made to Gill, our florist, who worked so hard to capture the style and theme we wanted. Our families also helped loads with decorating the day before and both of our Mum’s made some brilliant decorations. Frances Scullion who works at Hilden also helped make the day run smoothly and nothing was too much trouble for her in making our day what we wanted.”

Hilden brewery wedding

Wedding dress

The bride looked stunning in a Lusan Mandongus wedding dress from Paradise Collections, Armagh. “After trying on a few at Paradise Collections, the owner got a feel for my style and said she had one that had just came in that she thought I’d like,” Jennie says, “you guessed it, that was the one! I loved my lace sleeves, the back detail and the fit of the dress. I have to say I felt pretty gorgeous on the day and might have to throw a dress party in a few years just to wear it again.”

Hilden brewery wedding


“To say Neil is laid back would be an understatement and I think he picked his outfit about two weeks before the wedding – much to both our Mums’ panic!. The guys went for cream chinos, white shirts, green tweed ties and navy tweed blazers. They all looked great.”

Hilden brewery wedding

The bridesmaids

“We both LOVE the colour green and I knew the emerald green colour I wanted for months but took ages to find it anywhere,” Jennie explains. “I finally found the perfect dress from Whistles at House of Fraser. The girls are all very different body types and hair colour but the dress looked absolutely gorgeous on all of them.”

Hilden brewery wedding

Wedding flowers

The couple’s friend Gill Tate of Flowers By Mee supplied the wedding flowers. “We couldn’t have been happier,” Jennie enthuses. “Unlike some brides, I didn’t know any flower names or anything like that and all I really gave Gill to go on was, ‘bright colours, festival, wildflower style’. All of our bouquets were stunning and Gill even attached my Granny’s charm bracelet to mine. She also did a floral crown for me and hair pieces for the bridesmaids, table centre pieces, shepherd’s crooks with hanging flowers outside and a floral archway for our ceremony. Gill really made our wedding look beautiful and we couldn’t have done it without her.”

Hilden brewery wedding


Another friend, Ben from Angel and Anchor, designed the stationary. “Ben was really easy to work with and took our ideas – green/blue colour scheme, travel theme – and turned them into something beautiful,” Jennie says. “We had a simple ‘Adventure Awaits’ save the date and then incorporated a hot air balloon for our invites.”

Hilden brewery wedding

Wedding cake

The mother of the bride made a three-tiered wedding cake in three different flavours.

Hilden brewery wedding

Favourite moment

Neil: “The whole day was full of great moments, I couldn’t pick one in particular. But the music set a really good atmosphere for the day; from the Bradys & friends playing traditional Irish music to The Gents who absolutely jam-packed the dance floor from start to finish.”

Jennie: “There’s too many to choose! From walking in and seeing everyone I loved in one room, to our best man’s speech to our last dance of the night when Neil dipped me so close to the ground I thought I was a goner! The whole day was even better than I could have hoped for.”

Hilden brewery wedding



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