Real Couples

Blogging Bride: Rachel + Phils Wedding

May 18, 2015
Blogging Bride Rachel, Gracehall wedding by James McGrillis Photography

Way-hey, it’s our first Blogging Bride wedding of the year! If you haven’t been keeping up (why not?!) with Rachel and her lovely hubby Phil, why not head over to their love story, road to engagement, and wedding prep, before you head any further with their amazing handmade wedding?

Right, all up to date?

As we know, Rachel and Phil put a lot of effort into making their day very personal to them as a couple, choosing and crafting items they felt represented them and the life they share. Their day was a feast for the eyes, but like all great things, not everything went to plan!

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“We both played an equal part in the planning, including both families – it was a full on family affair of people collecting jars, tin cans, sourcing flowers, restoring motorbikes, putting together a ceremony band, drying hydrangeas, growing daffodils and stamping name tags among other random jobs! We both knew we wanted a relaxed feel about the day to suit our personalities so we very much focused on making and painting things ourselves while searching DIY wedding blogs! Every night there was something to do so we were so glad when it all came together so well,” explained Rachel.

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With a clear image of how their wedding would look, Rachel also had a vision in her head of how her wedding gown would look, and after a visit to Petticoat Lane Bridal, she found the dress.

“I had an idea of what I wanted in my head and the dress I got in the end was exactly what I was looking for and more! I had wanted something floaty, Grecian and with some type of pearl or lace element as well as cap sleeves. When at Petticoat Lane in Hillsborough I was shown one which you could add elements to e.g. belt, sleeves, lace skirt etc.by Charlie Brear and fell in love with it – it matched the image in my head! My mum’s friend Audrey was making my cathedral length veil so I wanted to go for the full floaty effect! The dress had a low back so I added my Granny’s pearl necklace with blue gem to the back to add to the detail so it was not as bare! As it was February I wanted something faux fur related to wear when getting photographs outside, my mum’s friend’s mum offered her vintage shrug which was perfect,” added Rachel.

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With the bridesmaids gowns sorted, also from Petticoat Lane in a cloudy blue shade Phil too the lead with the outfits for his grooms party.

“Phil wanted a tweed waistcoat for himself as well as a French blue coloured suit. This all blended in well and he found his dream suits at Groom Formal Hire in Banbridge who were very helpful. He went for a navy tie while his guys wore gold ties. For the page boys we used herringbone suits with braces from Next as well as converse style trainers and floral bow ties again for that relaxed feel,” added Rachel.

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After months and months of planning and dedicated DIY their wedding day arrived with a few mishaps along the way.

“Drama always tends to follow us and the day was no exception. Some minor dramas included bridesmaid shoes being left at the hairdressers and my bracelet snapping when I went to put it on resulting in a mad dash to find something suitable to wear from my mum’s jewellery box.  We had spent a few months along with Phil’s mum and dad making homemade ice lollies with fruit and sweets and lemonade for the evening guests. A small fraction of the guests were able to sample these before the freezer started leaking and the lollies all melted which was extremely frustrating! It turns out that someone had turned off the freezer by mistake. But the most major drama resulted in Phil being an hour late! 

We had hired a vintage bus to pick up Phil, his men and his family in Randalstown, drop them off at the church at 11.15, then come and get my bridesmaids and mum at Dundonald.  The bus broke down at Phil’s house but with further drama when the handbrake was left off by mistake and it rolled down the drive only to be saved by the Groomsman jumping in to save it! The bus got on the motorway but still was not right and could only travel at a very slow rate and ended up along the hard shoulder to let cars past. This resulted in it being pulled over by the police! After a scolding – the bus failed to start! They were stranded at the side of the motorway but Phil made some funny video diaries to document the moment. One of the best men phoned into Radio Ulster and Sean Coyle announced for me to hold on that Phil was on his way! Once we heard about the drama the bridesmaids remained calm and sorted it all and a taxi ordered, whilst another bus was arranged for the guys. We can see the funny side now but at the time it impacted so much. One of the best men was due to practice singing with my brother’s girlfriend before the service, his brother was usher yet didn’t get to do any ushering – my uncle Alan had to step in and Phil or his parents didn’t get the chance to greet the guests! The poor band at the church continually played their set lists to the waiting congregation – some of whom had been there for hours! The bridesmaids arrived before Phil and his family! I was sitting at home watching This Morning with my brother waiting for the call to say it was safe to come! All surreal but definitely a memorable moment!” explained Rachel.

Blogging Bride Rachel, Gracehall wedding by James McGrillis Photography

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Despite the hiccups and breakdowns their wedding was amazing from start to finish, with lots of personalised details for their guests to enjoy.

“Even with all the drama on the day nothing can prepare you for the day. I missed not getting to meet all the guests but when Rachael came down the aisle nothing mattered anymore and it was all about me and her. I was so glad that we were able to do some original aspects and I was so glad the speech/song and first dance went well. All the planning, late nights and hard work were well worth it to see Rachael so beautiful on the day and to get the opportunity to make her my wife for life,” said Phil.

Blogging Bride Rachel, Gracehall wedding by James McGrillis Photography

Blogging Bride Rachel, Gracehall wedding by James McGrillis Photography

Blogging Bride Rachel, Gracehall wedding by James McGrillis Photography

Blogging Bride Rachel, Gracehall wedding by James McGrillis Photography

Blogging Bride Rachel, Gracehall wedding by James McGrillis Photography

Blogging Bride Rachel, Gracehall wedding by James McGrillis Photography

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Blogging Bride Rachel, Gracehall wedding by  James McGrillis Photography

Finally, after all they had went through before and on the morning of the wedding, Rachel’s highlight from the day was sweet and simple;

“My highlight was seeing Phil after walking down the aisle especially after the drama that had gone before.  Seeing him was the realisation of what we had achieved over the years and how far we had both come to get to this moment of getting married. The service was really special. A highlight at the reception was Phil’s speech/song which took me by surprise! To be honest it really was such a happy day all round – you just get carried away in the moment and we would love to do it all again including the planning! I also enjoyed spending the day with so many people who were there to support us both friends and family and really appreciated everyone’s presence and support,” added Rachel.

Blogging Bride Rachel, Gracehall wedding by  James McGrillis Photography

Blogging Bride Rachel, Gracehall wedding by  James McGrillis Photography

Blogging Bride Rachel, Gracehall wedding by  James McGrillis Photography

Blogging Bride Rachel, Gracehall wedding by  James McGrillis Photography

Blogging Bride Rachel, Gracehall wedding by  James McGrillis Photography

Blogging Bride Rachel, Gracehall wedding by  James McGrillis Photography

Blogging Bride Rachel, Gracehall wedding by  James McGrillis Photography

Blogging Bride Rachel, Gracehall wedding by  James McGrillis Photography

Blogging Bride Rachel, Gracehall wedding by  James McGrillis Photography

Blogging Bride Rachel, Gracehall wedding by  James McGrillis Photography

Blogging Bride Rachel, Gracehall wedding by  James McGrillis Photography

Blogging Bride Rachel, Gracehall wedding by  James McGrillis Photography

Blogging Bride Rachel, Gracehall wedding by  James McGrillis Photography

Blogging Bride Rachel, Gracehall wedding by  James McGrillis Photography

Wedding Suppliers

Ceremony: Newtownbreda Baptist Church, Belfast.

Venue: Gracehall, Dollingstown.

Wedding dress: Charlie Brear, Petticoat Lane Bridal, Hillsborough.

Bridesmaids dress: Dessy, Petticoat Lane Bridal, Hillsborough.

Grooms wear: Groom Formal Hire, Banbridge.

Photographer: James McGrillis Photography, Belfast.

Cake: Handmade by brides cousin Susan Hutchinson.

Flowers: Arranged by brides Aunt Lynne and grooms family friend Colleen.

Bridal cars: White Rolls Royce, Rockin’Rolls, Belfast.

Vintage bus: Cross Country Coaches.

Videographer: Screencraft Productions,

Evening band: The Gents.

Hair: Wedding Hair NI.

Makeup: Carrie from MAC.

Stationery: Stephen Wolfe.

Wedding list: Wardens of Newtownards & House of Fraser.

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