For so many of us here in Northern Ireland, family holidays were spent by the coast. Carefree days, weeks and even months were whiled away making friendships for life and building up our memory bank for the future, hoping that one day we will repeat what our parents did for us with our own little ones. Todays couple, Christine and Jamie McKendry met in Portnablagh, Co. Donegal both their family holiday destination, year after year, when they were 12. After finding romance some years later (after Uni, when Jamie became friends with Christine’s sister, and stole her number from her sisters phone, to be precise!) the couple chose to head West to County Donegal for their September wedding. We are so delighted to share this beautiful wedding with you today, not only did the wedding mark the beginning of their married life, it also planted the seed of what is now a booming business! Family friend, Andrew Paton from Photovision Photography, Enniskillen captured the fun filled day, which started with a fresh morning swim!
“Jamie and I knew from the outset that we wanted to get married in Co. Donegal and we really appreciated that our family and friends supported us and were willing to travel in order to share our day. Once we’d spoken to the Church and decided on our reception venue, we found that everything else really just fell into place! We were both keen that the day would be fun and not overly formal and we took the same view when it came to the planning and really enjoyed the whole experience.”
“We tried to use a mixture wedding suppliers from both Donegal and Belfast as well as people that we knew would fit in with our vision for the day. We asked Donald who runs the local surf shop in Dunfanaghy to play the guitar during the afternoon as we had heard him play in the pub a number of times before and knew that he’d be perfect. Our photographer was a family friend who we knew from growing up in Donegal and we chose J Bird Bakery in Belfast to make the cake after enjoying their cake at a good friend’s wedding.
The owners and staff at Rathmullan House were amazingly helpful throughout the planning stages and also on the weekend of the wedding. I arrived with boxes full of decorations and my sleeves rolled up ready to get to work but Mark and Mary who own the hotel took everything off my hands and wouldn’t let me lift a finger! “
“We were keen to make the wedding as personal as possible by doing as much as possible ourselves and calling on family and friends for assistance. My mum spent hours on her sewing machine making beautiful bunting and Jamie’s mum made the stunning floral arrangements to decorate the church and reception venue. My gran grew the tomatoes for our secret recipe ‘McKendry Russian Roulette Chilli Jam’ favours and my Dad helped to build the illuminated letters for the dance floor which I’d seen on an American wedding blog and fell in love with.”
Christine wore a bespoke gown, which infact started life as three different wedding dresses!
“I ended up mixing and matching features from different dresses to make ‘my dress’ in the end, choosing the lace top from Logan’s and the dress from La Boda Bridal. The diamante belt was from a third dress also in La Boda. It was a bit of a gamble but I think everything worked well together and I found the most amazing lady called Tip who did a fantastic job with the alterations.”
“Yes! The cake collapsed in the car on the way up to Donegal and the bottom tier required a bit of help from the hotel chef. It definitely didn’t look as pretty as it had done when it left Belfast but it still tasted great! Also the weather was horrendous and we woke up in the morning to a gale blowing outside and rain battering the windows. We had borrowed a lovely little convertible vintage Alfa Romeo as our wedding car and as my Dad and I were driving to the church I was shouting that I could feel water coming in around my feet and my Dad was shouting back that there wasn’t anything he could do about it! After Jamie and I came out of the church, the car had leaked even more and there were puddles on the seats so we had to abandon it as the reception venue was about 40 minutes drive away. Thankfully Jamie had driven himself to the church so we jumped into his car and drove off only to find that it was out of diesel! We then had to stop at the local garage to fill up where we were photographed by lots of locals on their phones, it was all very funny!”
To keep the day rooted to its special location, Christine chose Donegal tweed for the grooms party ties, named the tables after local places and accessorised with navy and white grosgrain ribbon, which worked stunningly with the overall colours of navy, mint and gold.
Highlight of the day
Christine: I have too many – looking around on numerous occasions and seeing all of our friends and family together and enjoying themselves, having my grandparents there and hearing my Dad and Jamie’s speeches, they were both very nervous but did a really great job – I was crying and laughing at the same time!
Jamie: The conga during the dancing which involved the majority of the 140 people at the wedding! We said from the outset that above all we wanted the day to be really good craic so it was fantastic to see our family and guests enjoying themselves so much from start to finish. Even the minister was still dancing with a glow stick round his neck at 2am!
Now, hands up who wouldn’t had wanted to be at that wedding?!
Since their wedding Christine and Jamie have gone on to start Electric Alphabet, the first company of it’s kind in Ireland! If you fancy seeing your name in lights stay tuned, we have a feature about this cool business coming very soon! And if you can’t wait visit Electric Alphabet now!
Venue Dunfanaghy: Presbyterian Church and Rathmullan House, Co. Donegal.
Bridesmaids dress: Coast.
Makeup: Kerry Harvey, Donegal Town.
Dress Alterations: Tip To Toes, Holywood, Co. Down.
Photographer: Andrew Paton at Photovision Photography, Enniskillen.
Cake: J Bird Bakery, Belfast.
Flowers: Tiger Lily, Letterkenny.
Friday Night Entertainment: Live Jazz by The Murray Twins, Falcarragh, Co. Donegal.
Saturday Day: Acoustic Guitar by Donald Craig, Dunfanaghy, Co. Donegal.
Band: The Goodfellas, Limavady.
DJ: Paschal O’Hare, Belfast.
Honeymoon: Australia and New Zealand.