Laura and John were married on the 9th December 2017, in a ceremony at St Finlough’s Church, Ballykelly, before hosting their reception at the always dreamy Drenagh Estate, Limavady. With her wedding day now a few months behind her, Laura reflects on the day, sharing the inspiration behind it, as well as some fab advice for all you couples currently planning your big day.
Laura, how did you & John meet?
No romantic love story here as we actually met through work. There are a lot of friendships at Unilever as teams work closely together and everyone is super nice. Inevitably, we are in a long line of Unilever couples. Mind you, I did have to put the effort in to chase down my man.
Tell us about that proposal!
We went on holiday to Portugal and just like all the evenings on that holiday, we ate great food and drank plenty of wine. I drunkenly joked about when John was finally going to propose. We got back to our apartment, put our PJs on, and as we were drinking tea on the terrace, John got down on one knee with the sparkliest diamond ring I’d ever seen, which had been hidden in a shoe. It’s all a bit of a blur due to the heady mix of excitement, love and Merlot.
What did you love most about planning your wedding?
The best bit about planning the wedding was how much time and how many fun things we did with our family and close friends.
From hen parties to brunches, discussing plans to dress shopping for both me and the bridesmaids, spending more time with people was definitely a highlight and something I have planned to continue to do now the wedding is over.
Describe your dress. How did you find ‘the one’?
I knew I wanted a Maggie Sottero dress as I was completely drawn in by her marketing and how romantic her pictures were in magazines. I actively sought out a bridal shop who held a reasonable sized range of Maggie dresses.
I just grabbed a bunch of different styles to try on, and whilst I did, I kept coming back to the first one. The very first one.
The dress was ivory lace over blush, which gave it a warm glow, with some sparkle and a detailed back. It felt so alien to be in such a big dress and I must admit throughout all the process of sizing and fitting and so forth, I did start to panic if I’d made the right decision. But as soon as the tailor had finished, the style and silhouette was exactly what I had wanted and I was thrilled.
Who were your bridesmaids?
I had two bridesmaids; my sister, Paula and my oldest friend, Rachel. Both girls have different body shapes, styles and personalities so my main aim was to ensure they were happy and comfortable. I tried to search for dresses via the high street but the time of year didn’t add up, so we ended up back at the bridal shop.
The girls tried on a bunch they liked and they both settled on a Grecian style maxi dress. Originally, I was looking for a maroon colour, however the sample dresses they tried on were ‘celtic green’ and were a gorgeous rich, dark green which all agreed looked great on both bridesmaids. We were sold.
Tell us about your bouquet
We didn’t have one set colour theme, however with Christmas looming I wanted dark reds and purples. My florist (Sharon Peaker) did an awesome job and I had a huge bushy bouquet of red roses, purple flowers and trailing greenery. Sharon also added some blush flowers to ensure all the colours were picked out and not lost in a dark mass!
What did you love most about your wedding venue?
Everything. Drenagh is simply gorgeous. We decided on a house reception, with roaring fires and a huge Christmas tree in an intimate setting. The venue was just perfect for the small, Christmas wedding we wanted.
The staff at Drenagh were beyond amazing. From initial wedding planning all the way through to impromptu sing songs around the piano, every wish was catered for. Every now and then they spirit you away with the groom for a private drink and a breather. I couldn’t have asked for more.
Did everything go exactly to plan?
As far as I am aware yes! I feel like I became a weather man in the lead up with snow watch very much a part of the run up to the wedding.
What advice would you offer other brides?
Keep it simple and don’t over complicate things.
Drenagh has a great reputation, so we opted to use the majority of their preferred suppliers including photographer, ceilidh band and cars. We literally just ran through a list and it was all arranged. It was great knowing that everyone knew what they were doing and when. This mean no fuss or stress.
Splurge on the things that are important to you. I had the best day ever, and I probably only arranged around seven specific things for the day: The venues, harpist, florist, band, outfits, cars and photographer.
Finally, what led to you choosing Catherine as your wedding photographer?
I have friends whose wedding day memories had been ruined by bad photographers.
Catherine was on Drenagh’s preferred supplier list which meant we were pretty much sold! We had a look on her website and fell in love with the pictures she’d captured. I’d recommend Catherine and the service she offers to all brides. You seriously couldn’t want for more.