Getting married is one of the biggest days of a couple’s life, so it’s lovely to be able to look back and reflect on it, which is exactly what I’ve done with newlywed Cairmeal. A year since her An Grianan wedding day, she shares some of her favourite memories and inspiration behind the day, as well as her five top tips for anyone currently planning their own wedding.
Cairmeal, how did you both meet?
We met on Boxing night 2011 in Mason’s Bar in Derry. Rory and my brother Pól were friends and had a tradition of meeting up on Boxing night. Pól came to meet me for a few drinks and brought Rory with him. I’d never met Rory before but we chatted, then I asked him to dance and that was that!
Tell us about married life. How has your first year been?
Our first year of married life has been life changing. On Christmas day we shared the special news with our families that we were expecting our first baby. In June this year, just a little over a year after we married, our gorgeous son entered the world. We’re very tired but very happy!
What is your favourite memory of your wedding day?
I loved the entire day. It was better than I had hoped for and I have so many wonderful memories. I was so happy walking up the aisle to meet Rory whilst a beautiful air was played on the Uilleann pipes by Patrick from Dalba. They provided amazing traditional Irish music at the mass and drinks reception. The music created an amazing atmosphere which continued throughout the day.
What 3 words would you use to describe your wedding?
Happiness in abundance!
What was the overall vibe for your day?
The overall vibe of the day was a big family celebration. We both come from large families and we wanted to celebrate the two families coming together. Our brothers, sisters and nieces made up the bridal party. Our mums, Rory’s granny and my nephew had roles in the mass and my brother read the Seamus Heaney poem Scaffolding during the service. I love watching our wedding video and seeing our families having such a great day.
Tell us about the search for your dream dress
The search for my dress was on the spur of the moment. My mum and sister were visiting me and we decided to go for a nosey in Perfect Day without booking ahead. They had an appointment free later that day so I decided I would try on dresses to see what suited me. I wasn’t planning on finding the dress that day.
I spent most of the appointment trying on bohemian style dresses, all of which got the response of “that’s lovely” from my mum and sister, but I didn’t get a special feeling. Michelle, the bridal consultant brought in her wildcard – a very simple but elegant Ronald Joyce dress with a bateau neckline. As soon as I pulled the dress up around me I got “the feeling”. That feeling got stronger when I found out the dress had pockets! I knew it was the dress for me when I stepped out of the dressing room. My mum was speechless and my sister burst into tears. I didn’t want to try on anymore dresses after such an emotional reaction so I said yes to the dress on the spot.
And the bridesmaid dresses?
My bridesmaids dresses came from Very. Elaine McCloskey did a great job on alterations. She customised the dresses by adding embellishments to their belts. My bridesmaids are beautiful all the time but they were even more beautiful on the day!
Where did you honeymoon?
We spent two weeks on the Amalfi Coast in Italy. We visited Sorrento, Amalfi, Positano, Ravello, Capri and Naples. We loved every minute of it!
What 5 tips would you offer anyone currently planning their wedding?
1: Make a list of wedding priorities before you start planning.
2: Once you’ve decided what is important for your day get it booked. Even if you think it’s years too early, chances are it’s not!
3: Do things your way. Wether it’s traditional or alternative, it’s your day so make sure you’re happy with everything that’s happening.
4: Don’t stress over small things. Guests won’t notice if your bridesmaids forgot to wear their jewellery (been there, done that!)
5: Relax and enjoy yourselves. Everyone says it but it’s true, your wedding day passes so quickly.
What do you love the most about your wedding album?
I treasure our album as Donal really captured the total joy of our day. Our wedding took place on the wettest day in May but that didn’t bother Donal who stood out in the biggest rain shower to capture one of my favourite images of Rory and I standing under an umbrella in front of our wedding car. Not only are Donal and his team the best at what they do, they are also the nicest people to work with and put us completely at ease before, during and after our wedding day.