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A Relaxed Engagement Shoot in the Mountains of Monaghan

Couple: Louise and Ruairi

Photographer: Colin Colleran



How we met

We met 12 years ago when we were 19. We were in our first year at university – I was in Liverpool, he was in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. The very first time we laid eyes on each other was a chance meeting in the kitchen of my flat-share one Sunday morning. Ruairi and his flatmate, Ross, had travelled down to Liverpool for the weekend and had been out the night before with my flatmate David and the pair of them had slept in our kitchen. We got chatting and realised we had lots of mutual friends since we’d gone to secondary school in the same town back home in Fermanagh. Later we worked out that we’d actually stood at the same bus-stop for a couple of years when we were at school, but never noticed each other! Anyway, that night, we were both out with friends in O’Neill’s (pub) in the city centre, and spotted each other from across the bar. Ruairi came over right away and we picked up where we’d left off. We were inseparable the whole night. It felt like we’d always known each other. Naturally, after O’Neill’s I dragged him to G-Bar and subjected him to a night of dancing to Proud Mary under a massive glitter-ball. At the end of the night, he went in for the kiss and that was it. The rest is history as they say!



The Proposal

We’d booked a weekend in Edinburgh for our ‘baby-moon’. I was 7 months pregnant with our first baby and we wanted to get one last trip away whilst I was still good for travelling. We were heading out for dinner on the second night of the trip and despite my protests (it was lashing rain / sleet and blowing a gale and I was starving!) Ruairi insisted we ‘swing by the castle’ since we hadn’t gotten a chance to see it during the day. When we got up there, there wasn’t a soul around (who’d be mad enough to be up there on a night like that!) – just the pair of us huddling together in the doorway to try to shelter from the elements. Ruairi said ‘go back there and take a photo’ so I took out my phone and started ‘reversing’ back to try to get a photo of him with the castle in the background. He dropped to one knee and pulled out the ring. The ring was stunning but it didn’t fit (I shoved it on anyway!). Ruairi had had the ring custom made after hand-picking the diamond in Hatton Garden. There were lots of happy tears!



The Shoot

Our shoot took place just before sunset on an evening in May in Bragan; part of the Sliabh Beagh mountains where Fermanagh, Tyrone and Monaghan meet. Our photographer was Colin Colleran from Glaslough, Co. Monaghan. The location was amazing. It was an expansive ‘bog’ which made the most perfect rugged backdrop for the relaxed photos we wanted, that focus on just us two with no distractions in the background. What we loved about the area was how secluded it was and its amazing views. It had been a horrible day / week leading up to the shoot with a lot of rain and wind, but when we got up to Bragan the weather was dry and skies clear. The sun broke through for us and we got the most incredible golden hour shots. Colin had us in stitches for most of the time we were with him. What a fun hour! There wasn’t one photo in our gallery of 50 that we didn’t love and we have had them all printed out for our guests to see at our wedding. The shoot has given us confidence about working with Colin on our wedding day which is now just a month away. We know we won’t be asked to pose awkwardly and that the photos will depict us just as we are when we are together. We are so excited for our wedding day now!



The Wedding

Our wedding is on Sat 26 June 2021. We are having our non-religious ceremony outdoors in the Rose Garden at Florencecourt (National Trust) and this will be Florencecourt’s first ever garden wedding. It’s a ceremony we’ve written ourselves and every bit of it will be a true reflection of us. We have bucked a few trends including having no bridesmaids or groomsmen, and we’re planting a rose instead of the traditional ‘lighting of a unity candle’. Our guests have been asked to ‘be our something blue’ by dressing in a shade of blue. The reception is at Tully Mill; an old watermill restaurant situated in Florencecourt. I have two wedding dresses – the second I plan to wear in the evening for sunset photos. We are having just over 40 guests (down from an original 120 pre-Covid). We were originally supposed to get married last June but postponed due to the pandemic. We’re honeymooning in Grenada (Caribbean) in August. 


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Kelly Jane Hartmann

Kelly is a former wedding planner and a lover of anything pink. She believes that any bride can plan her own wedding, with a few tips and helpful tools.

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