Unrivalled views of Lough Swilly, a reputation for fine food and service, not to mention amazing packages for couples, ensure the Inishowen Gateway Hotel proves a popular choice for all wedding types.
Here, we catch up with the team at the hotel who share what makes the venue so special. Plus, Donal reveals his top photo locations at Inishowen Gateway Hotel, for unmissable additions to your wedding album.
Tell us about Inishowen Gateway – what makes the hotel a popular choice with couples for their wedding day?
It has to be a combination of a fantastic setting along Lough Swilly, an excellent reputation for food and service, plus great value wedding packages available to appeal to our bride and grooms, which include all the elements they will need to make their day everything they dreamed of.
Add to this our recent renovations in both our banqueting suites, plus the great partnership we have with room décor companies that can offer our couples an amazing choice of great value room dressing options.
What makes the venue different from other hotels?
Our team of staff that have worked with us now for over 20 years means we bring a wealth of experience to weddings. Our team have seen every possible situation arise on a wedding day and always know how to handle anything that may come up. This is something that greatly reassures our couples when choosing their wedding venue.
We also work with an excellent entertainment company, which sources great bands, which we can include in our wedding packages, so that couples get great value when they choose the Inishowen Gateway. We also offer wedding cakes in our Winter and Summer packages, which again ensures fantastic quality at a great price.
One thing we know that makes us stand out from other venues is the setting of our banqueting suites. The view of Lough Swilly and Lisfannon Beach from our ballroom is just breathtaking.
What wedding options are available at the venue?
We have two banqueting rooms here in the Inishowen Gateway Hotel, which can cater for between 80-500 guests. We promise only one wedding per day so couples have the choice of which ballroom to go with depending on their numbers.
How do you ensure couples get the wedding of their dreams?
It comes down to paying attention to what is important to each individual couple. Is it the room dressing that they want to be completely unique and a real wow factor for their guests? If so, we work with companies who will provide exactly what they are looking for. Or is it ensuring we have their guests seated with dinner served at a specific time to ensure no hungry guests are left waiting longer than they should? If so, then we have a separate kitchen for our weddings with a team of chefs, overseen by our Head Chef Michael Killoran, just to look after the wedding guests and ensure their meal is served prompt to the highest standard.
Every couple is unique and our award winning Wedding Co-ordinator, Sinead Bradley ensures that every detail and wish is tended to. In 2018 Sinead won the prestigious award, Wedding Co-ordinator of the Year at the Irish Hotel Awards.
What tips would you offer couples to ensure a stress-free wedding?
Your wedding will become more stressful the more detail you go with and the more you decide to take on yourself, so delegate as much as you can. Let guests book rooms with the hotel and not through you. You may not think this is a stressful thing to take on but the week of the wedding you will end up having to deal with phone calls about rooms you were supposed to book or cancel. We provide couples with an online code to direct guests to rooms reserved for them which takes the pressure of the couple.
Be sure what your venue is providing for you. We include the room dressing option of white chair covers, matching bow and centrepieces but yet some couples choose to source their own and then the week of the wedding they either have to make or amend them to fit their look, plus be health and safety compliant.
Be sure to touch base with your band/entertainment and co-ordinate the start and finish times so they don’t land at the hotel before you are ready for them. We can guide any couple on timings.
Ensure and agree your photo locations in good time prior to the day and visit it together so you are familiar with distance etc from church to location to hotel. This will ensure your meal time is booked to suit as you don’t want to arrive to the hotel only to have no time to spend with your guests before dinner.
We always ask our couples to come in and meet with us one month prior to the wedding to run through the final details and this tends to relax couples who may be anxious about certain details coming together.
Most importantly it is only one day you get so try not to stress too much. Relax and take some moments through the day to check in with each other. It really will be a day you will look back on forever with cherished memories.
What is the most unique wedding day request you’ve ever honoured?
Honestly, every wedding we host is unique. We can’t say one stands out more than another. Each couple that are wed and celebrate with us are unique in their taste and how they want their wedding day to be remembered. Every wedding will have an element or two that is unique to only that couple that we will cater for. Requests that come to mind include arriving by helicopter (when we don’t have a helipad) and filming the bride and groom’s arrival prior to the day to show via video to guests. Our wedding team here will ensure it happens at the couple’s request.
TOP PHOTO LOCATIONS FOR YOUR INISHOWEN GATEWAY HOTEL WEDDING DAY
The Inishowen Gateway is nestled by the water overlooking some of the best views in Donegal. Here are just a few of my favourites for your Inishowen Gateway wedding.
Their are a range of churches nearby including St Mary’s Oratory and St. Mary’s in Cockhill, as well as a number of churches in around nearby Fahan. You can also choose to hold a civil ceremony in the hotel which is becoming more and more popular.
St Mary’s which is right in the heart of Buncrana.
St Mary’s Cockhill is a really beautiful church.
In the grounds of Inishowen Gateway there’s a garden which can be nice for family photos.
The golf course and further on down closer to the water is so amazing for sunset photos.
A number of beautiful beaches are nearby including Lisfannon, Fahan Marina and Stragill.
Fahan Marina offers beach views and the ruins of the jetty look fantastic. The location also benefits from the marina, so you can get shots with the boats behind.
Lisfannon Beach is right next to the hotel and it’s a pristine beach with sand dunes which are a beautiful setting for photography.
In Fahan you can also find St Mura’s Church, the ruins of which are a great backdrop for an epic shot.
In Buncrana, the bridge at Swan Park is a perfect backdrop.
You have two options for holding your wedding reception with space to suit different guest numbers and the rooms always look great.