Real Irish Weddings – Ciara Cullen and Declan Coulter

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bride and groom

1st November 2014. Ceremony at St. Patrick’s Church, Killygordon, followed by a reception at The Villa Rose Hotel & Spa, Co. Donegal

Real Irish Wedding - Declan and Ciara Vila Rose Hotel

Photos by Epic Love Photography

The couple

“We first saw each other when we were representing Ireland at a shinty/hurling competition in November 2006,” Declan begins. “Less than a week later we both attended the GPA Awards ceremony ball in The Citywest Hotel. As luck would have it, neither of us brought a date and we instantly recognised each other. After a smile and a shy wave from Ciara, I knew it was my chance to finally find out who she was. What happened was one of the most fun and memorable first dates, which even included meeting both sets of family and friends that same night we met!”

 Real Irish Wedding - Declan and Ciara Vila Rose Hotel

The proposal

“We had planned a cinema date and had got as far as the car when Declan said he had to run back to get a jumper,” Ciara recalls. “Ten minutes of me waiting impatiently in the car, a faked injury, a trail of notes and a room full of tea lights later, I found Declan down on one knee in our apartment where he proposed with a beautiful engagement ring.”

Real Irish Wedding - Declan and Ciara Vila Rose Hotel

The reception venue

The couple were attracted to Villa Rose Hotel & Spa by its reputation for excellent service and beautiful ballroom.

Real Irish Wedding - Declan and Ciara Vila Rose Hotel

Wedding theme

As illustrated by their photos Ciara and Declan chose ‘fun, love and laughter’ as their wedding theme. “We had family and friends travelling from different parts of Ireland and around the world so we wanted to make sure they had a fun, memorable day,” Ciara explains. “While the band were playing we gave out lots of inflatable instruments. We had a surprise silent disco; watching our family and friends, young and old, dancing and singing different songs at the same time while wearing headphones was definitively one of the funniest parts of our day.”

 Real Irish Wedding - Declan and Ciara Vila Rose Hotel

Wedding dress

Ciara’s wore a stunning Dalia dress by Pronovias from Kathy De Stafford, Dublin. “The dress had everything I wanted,” Ciara smiles, “a full skirt, a beautiful embroidered lace bodice and a plain sash to accentuate the waistline. I felt amazing in it, as soon as I tried it on I was able to picture it on my wedding day so I knew it was the right choice.”

 Real Irish Weddings - Declan & Ciara, Vila Rose


The suits were from River Island. “The boys all wanted something modern and it was nice gift for them to keep,” Declan says.

 Real Irish Wedding - Declan and Ciara Vila Rose Hotel


The bridesmaids wore amethyst lux chiffon dresses with draped V-neck and a shirred detail skirt by Dressy Collection.

Real Irish Wedding - Declan and Ciara Vila Rose Hotel 

The stationery

Ciara’s “very talented mother-in-law” gave the couple a helping hand to design the invitations and mass booklets. “We went for a photo booth style photo strip, with signs of our wedding date and a handmade label with the ceremony and reception details,” Ciara explains.

 Real Irish Wedding - Declan and Ciara Vila Rose Hotel

Wedding flowers

Ciara carried a bouquet of baby pink sweet avalanche roses from Funky Flowers, Letterkenny. The bridesmaids’ bouquets contained purple and pink cool water roses with lavender status, sweet avalanche roses and eucalyptus to bring out the amethyst colour of the dresses. The flower girls had little wands with a pink rose attached. 

Real Irish Weddings - Declan & Ciara, Vila Rose

Wedding cake

“Again we wanted to incorporate a personal, fun touch with the wedding cake which was designed and made by Claire McGlinchy,” Ciara says. “Our cake topper was a bride and groom dressed in the jerseys of our two home clubs in Armagh and Donegal. The cakes were made up of three layers; chocolate biscuit, carrot and fruit cake.”

 Real Irish Wedding - Declan and Ciara Vila Rose Hotel

Favourite moment

Declan: Getting a sneak peak of Ciara as she walked up the aisle. I tried to imagine how I was going to feel but nothing prepared me for the real thing.

Ciara: It might sound predictable but holding hands on the altar and saying our vows surrounded by our family and friends was the single most overwhelming, yet amazing feeling I have ever had and will always treasure.

Real Irish Wedding - Declan and Ciara Vila Rose Hotel

Top tip

Declan: Having the speeches before the meal meant we could relax and really enjoy our meal.

Ciara: Don’t worry too much about the little things and just enjoy every minute!

 Real Irish Wedding - Declan and Ciara Vila Rose Hotel

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