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One Year Later Interview: Maria + Darren’s Redcastle Hotel Wedding

On the 4th of November – a beautiful autumn day – Maria + Darren were married at Sacred Heart Church, Omagh before holding their reception at Redcastle Hotel. I recently caught up with Maria who reflects on their special day and shares some amazing words of wisdom for anyone currently planning their own wedding.

Maria, how did you both meet?

We met on a night out in our local nightclub in Omagh in 2005. We had been chatting for a few minutes and I went home early because I had to work the next morning. One of my friends gave him my number and that was that! He asked me out on a proper date! And here we are 13 years on, married, with our little boy Rory who is 7 years old! It was just meant to be.

Tell us about married life.

Married life for us was exciting and new as husband and wife but family life wasn’t any different as we had our son Rory before we got married and now our family is complete. Being together for more than 10 years has made us strong as a couple and we most certainly look forward to what married life has to bring to us!

What is your favourite memory of your wedding day?

My favourite moment would be walking down the aisle and seeing Darren, my friends and family come together. It was especially lovely to see my dear granny Theresa who was very sick just a few weeks before, sitting with the biggest smile. It just made it more special to us as unfortunately she is no longer with us.
I also loved my husband’s speech at the top table. The words and the way he spoke with delight at our lives together just made me think how lucky we were to find each other.

What 3 words would you use to describe your wedding?

Overwhelmed, thankful and blessed.

What was the overall vibe for your day?

Love, shared with our family and friends

Tell us about the search for your dream dress

My beautiful wedding dress was above and beyond what I wanted! It was a Justin Alexander dress that I had seen firstly in a wedding magazine. I looked up stockists to see that Pronuptia in Belfast was having a preview of Justin Alexander so I booked my appointment.

I was greeted by the lovely Michelle who showed me all the dresses in the collection and said to have a look and pick a few ones that I liked. I choose about 5, all of which were different from each other. I tried them all on and there wasn’t one that I didn’t like. When I was wearing the last dress, as I was looking in the mirror and asking my mum what she thought, I noticed this gorgeous dress on the wall on display. It was it – the one I seen in the magazine! I had very little time left with my appointment so I asked to try it on and that was it – I knew it was my dress.

And the bridesmaid dresses?

My bridesmaids’ dresses were from Pronuptia too. They were cappuccino in colour as I wanted to go with a golden brown theme.

Where did you honeymoon?

We went to the amazing Cancun, Mexico! Wow… it was something else! I was recommended by a member of TUI staff that Mexico is one of the most popular destinations for honeymooners so we looked at a few hotels and went with Riu Palace Peninsula, Cancun and it was all and more that we imaged. I would highly recommend it to other couples!

What 5 tips would you offer anyone currently planning their wedding?

1)  Remind yourself what your wedding is really about – you marrying the love of your life! Do what makes you both happy! Enjoy every moment as it goes in too fast.

2) When you set the date, plan early to avoid disappointment as good suppliers book up fast.

3) Research a good photographer! And book as soon as possible. I would highly recommend Donal – he was amazing!!

4) Set a realistic budget that won’t stretch you too far. Don’t forget to account for additional costs like dress alterations, gifts and beauty expenses. These can all add up!

5) Give yourself enough time to find the right dress. Research what you like and styles to suit the season of the year you are getting married. It’s never too early to start trying on dresses as it will give you an idea of what you like and what suits you.

What do you love the most about your wedding album?

My wedding album tells the story of our day. I love the layout and how each photo brings me right back to where we were on our wedding day. The front cover is great as it features one of our favourite photos of the day. Our story book album is modern and beautifully designed.

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