And just like that it’s Monday again and after almost three weeks of slow, lazy, mornings my littles are all back to school, and with that some semblance of work and routine has to return to my life. I had the best Christmas and New Year. For the first year in probably all of the kids lives, David (Mr Promise) had 11 days off work, he usually goes back on the 27th but this year things worked in our favour, and we enjoyed every single day.
Today I am delighted to share Eve and Neil’s family focused wedding. I adore Eve and Neil, they are pretty much like myself in that their summer wedding was centred around their children and their family unit. After 14 years together and three kids they said I Do last August in Downpatrick. The day was captured by Ciara McKevitt from About Time Photography, a new local photographer who is destined for great things – thanks for sharing your beautiful work with us, Ciara!
Couple: Eve + Neil Obank
“We met where all good love stories begin – the pub. We had known of each other for a while but met on a night out in Murphy’s bar in Downpatrick. I was 18, Neil was 19 and as they say, the rest is history.”
The Proposal: We both knew the relationship was for life not long after we met. We fell pregnant with our son Harry (now 13) only a few months into the relationship. This was the ultimate test! The road was never easy but we came through the obstacles and we were determined that it would be for life! By the time we got engaged our precious twin girls Evie & Lottie had come along (they were 2, Harry was 8). We had been to a friends wedding the day before and had planned to go out for a Chinese the following evening, just the two us, however I had woken up slightly hungover and decided I didn’t want to go out, much to Neil’s horror. He persisted all day and had a babysitter organised so I gave in. We went to the Chinese we had our first date in eight years earlier (it was only after the proposal I realised we sat at the same table) we ordered our food, the sides came out first, I lifted my rice bowl and underneath was a sparkler, turned to my left and Neil was on one knee, probably the most nervous I have ever seen him (until the wedding day!).
Wedding date: Thursday 3rd August 2017
Ceremony: St Patricks Church, Downpatrick
Reception: The Mill at Ballydugan, Downpatrick
Our Planning: I have always been the eternal procrastinator and have always known what way I wanted my wedding, but putting it into action was another story! I didn’t find it as stressful as Neil and my Mum, they were stressed at the fact that I didn’t seem to be doing anything - true enough, everything was left to the last minute, it now has become my signature style! I don’t fuss over things, when I see something I like, I just go with it. We didn’t actually set the date until October 2016, so after all the years we were engaged, we gave ourselves a tight enough deadline. We had done all the wedding shows a year previous when my sister was getting married so I didn’t do any of this again for my own. I contacted most people through Facebook and Instagram and organised things that way. Most of the people were local and recommended by friends. We didn’t set a budget as such but we tried to do everything as cheaply as possible, we didn’t spend crazy money on anything, we were saving that for our ‘familymoon’ in Florida. Our photographer, Ciara, is a very good friend of mine. Her presence was one of the best things about our day, I had worried about how stressful it would be trying to get all the moments and people I wanted captured but she made everything stress free. I had slight regret not having a videographer in the days following, that was until I saw her pictures, every moment and emotion was captured perfectly.
Our Style: Like a lot of weddings this summer we went for pale pink teamed with vintage metallics, mostly rose gold. Sweetheart Vintage Weddings NI dressed the church and the Mill for us, I spoke to them at the beginning of the planning process and went through all my ideas and colours etc, I was very set on the way I wanted things but I just wanted the stress of setting up taken away. With our three children in the bridal party, a major theme of our day was family. For the 14 years we have spent together, only one and a half of those were spent on our own so we wanted them incorporated into the day as much as possible, that was very important to us, the wedding was a day for them to celebrate as much as it was for us, they loved every minute. With both Neil’s parents no longer with us we also wanted to be sure they weren’t forgotten, we had their pictures on the top table and a little tribute featuring photographs of them and Neil and our own children just outside the door as the guests arrived in. My dress was by Sottero and Midgley was bought from Cathedral Gowns in Downpatrick, on my first and only dress appointment. It was about the tenth that I had tried, one of the girls in the bridal shop had picked it off the rail for me. As soon as I put my legs into it I knew I was going to love it, it was a very classic style with no detail, I know it’s the most cliché saying in the world and I didn’t expect it to happen but when I put it on I just knew it was the one! Then I came out to my entourage and they were in tears, this cemented by decision (this and the fact that it had pockets, I mean what more do you need?). This was the one, I didn’t need to try any more. Neil is very particular about his style, we had tried a few places before visiting Red Groomswear in Belfast. He had found the first few places quite outdated. A bit like myself, he knew exactly what he was looking for. He settled on a classic navy three piece and a floral Cath Kidston style tie. He differentiated from his groomsmen with a varying style waistcoat and these were teamed with oxblood shoes and flower pins.
Our Highlights: There were so many but the two that stand out the most were the speeches and family dance. All the speeches were beautiful but two in particular. After my Dad spoke, Neil’s sister took to the microphone, this was a surprise to Neil, she had asked me a few months before the wedding could she speak on behalf of their parents. Before she had even started their wasn’t a dry eye in the house, it was a perfect tribute to two wonderful people who lived for their children and grandchildren, she spoke so well and spoke about Neil and his childhood, the only one in the room really qualified to do so, it was perfect. After this our son Harry spoke, if everyone’s make up wasn’t ruined by this stage, it certainly was now! He thanked us for letting him be part of our day, for all the things we do for him and his sisters and included a few very witty lines too, his voice never faltering, Neil and I were filled with nothing but pure pride, it will be something that I will remember forever. The other highlight was our family dance. Over the last few years Pink’s “Raise your Glass” has become a bit of a family anthem for us so we saw it only fitting to do a family dance routine, just the five of us. We had met with a local dance instructor twice, she ran through the routine with us and we filmed it on the iPad. We had rehearsed a few times only in the days leading up to the wedding, around the house and at Neil’s gym. The children had been sworn to secrecy, not even my parents knew. After the wedding party danced to Footloose the dance floor cleared but we stayed on (Neil and I were quaking by this stage!) the song started to play and we started into the routine and loved every minute of it, the kids all had their own solo parts and we came together for the chorus. The guests loved it, lots of tears and laughter, I think it was the highlight of their day too.
Our Advice: Easier said than done but just enjoy it!! The day is about you, don’t get stressed over making everyone else happy. The day itself just goes by in a flash, soak up every moment, I would do it all again tomorrow!
Venue: The Mill at Ballydugan, Downpatrick.
Dress: Cathedral Gowns, Downpatrick.
Bridesmaid Dresses: Forever New at Next.
Accessories: Style Story, Saintfield.
Groomswear: Red Groomswear, Belfast.
Photographer: Ciara McKevitt, About Time Photography, Saintfield.
Cake: Crew Cakes, Ardglass.
Bouquets: Petals and Pots, Downpatrick.
Church & venue flowers: Sweetheart Vintage Weddings NI, Newtownards.
DJ & Band: The Manouche Boys.
Hair: Hair Flair, Dundrum.
Make up: Lauren Montgomery MUA.