Real Irish Wedding: Laura Graham & Mark Nolan

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Real Irish Wedding: 6 October 2012, Ten Square Hotel, Belfast

Mark and Laura’s first date in Grace Neill’s in Donaghadee was the beginning of something magical and the couple got engaged on Mark’s 30th birthday in the private dining suite of Malmaison in Belfast.

When searching for their wedding venue they visited Ten Square and fell in love:  “We felt it really suited our style and it’s the kind of hotel we would stay in,” explains Laura. “We love the chandeliers in the ceremony room, the spiral staircase, the beautiful views of Belfast City Hall and its boutique and contemporary style.  The idea of having a cocktail drinks reception also won us over!”

For their wedding theme Laura and Mark went for simple and contemporary.  “We made the day personal to us rather than sticking to a theme.  We had our favourite cocktails at the drinks reception, Mark wore Converse and we used Jenga as a guest book as we always have fun playing it when friends are over.”

Mood Event Decoration draped the pillars in the ceremony and reception rooms with draping and fairy lights.  They also provided an LED dance floor which went down a storm with the guests.

Victoria Gault Florist provided fish bowl centre pieces and a floral display in the ceremony room.  She also made the beautiful bridal bouquet made up of ivory roses, ranunculus and hydrangea.  Laura chose wrist corsages for the bridesmaids as they fitted in better with the city wedding.

“The hotel were fantastic as they supplied black chair covers and lots of candles, so we felt we didn’t need to do much more to the room – we loved it just as it was” Laura reveals.

Laura’s wedding dress was by Jenny Packham and featured ruffled fabric shoulder details and a ruched bodice with two crystal sequined accents. “I felt like a million dollars as soon as I put it on.  I loved the fact that it was different to all the other dresses I tried on and couldn’t wait for our guests and my husband to see it – I knew it probably wasn’t what they were expecting!”

Mark wore a tuxedo suit with a black tie, accessorised with a pair of custom Converse trainers with ‘hitched’ stitched on them.  He also wore custom made cufflinks with the wedding date on one and Laura on the other.

The bridesmaids wore navy one-shoulder dresses from Coast.  They had a silver clutch bag each to carry down the aisle as they didn’t have bouquets.

Although Laura recalls walking down the aisle and seeing Mark for the first time as her best part of the day, there were lots of highlights.

“I played the saxophone in school and Mark bought me one for our first anniversary so I surprised him and our guests by playing Summertime along with our pianist as he had never heard me play!

“We also gave our guests daffodil bulbs wrapped in tissue paper in an organza bag.  The reason we chose these was because we wanted to remember my Granny in some way and I have done a lot of fundraising for Marie Curie Cancer Care in her memory and their logo is a daffodil.”

Laura’s top tip?

“Don’t feel you have to stick to tradition – don’t ever have any regrets about the day and do the things that will make it special for you.”

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