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An Intimate Autumn Wedding With 25 Guests


“Even though our original vision of a wedding of 300 changed to a wedding of 25 it was so special and intimate and we had our nearest and dearest present.”


Names: Brendan & Sarah Jane Martin
Engagement length: 15 months
Wedding date: 2020-10-24
Wedding location: Markree Castle Hotel
Photographer: We are soulful – Tony Thompson


Brendan and Sarah Jane went to the same school and crossed paths a few times. Then one evening they were both at a gig and shared their first kiss on the bumpy bus ride home.


For their 10 year anniversary, they arranged a trip to Amsterdam. Sarah Jane had arranged most of the trip, so she never expected she would get engaged that weekend! On their anniversary day, they decided to go to the zoo together.


“We strolled around the zoo for hours because Artis Zoo is huge. Apparently, Brendan had attempted a few times to pop the question but I kept running off to see the next enclosure. He even said he was on the knee at one stage and I had walked away. HA! Then it came to the gorilla enclosure and when I was admiring a lovely gorilla, the next thing I turn around and see Brendan on the knee asking me to marry him. OMG, was I shook! Of course I said yes and we were just book so happy. I will never ever forget the feeling and shaking looking at the stunning ring, he really did so well with the ring. The ring fitted perfectly.”




They chose a berry, gold and pink theme for their wedding to complement the Autumn season. The bridesmaids dresses were mulberry, the wedding cake had lots of gold in it and the decor in the dining room was gold too! They had a real elegant, romantic style wedding.





Sarah Jane wore a stunning Essence of Australia gown which she purchased in Pearls & Lace Donegal. The detail of this dress was just stunning. It was a full a-line dress in ivory with a deep V neckline. It had delicate floral details throughout the dress with a mix of leaves, vines and flowers. It was such a romantic dress with the most stunning train, perfect for the grand staircase in Markree! Her court ivory and pearl shoes were from Lace and Favour and were very comfortable. Sarah Jane wore my hair down and curled, with it clipped back to the side and finished with a quiff at the front.

“I kept my jewellery simple with a simple floating pearl necklace and matched with “my something old” pearl earrings which were my nanny’s.”

Brendan wore a stunning suit by Benetti with a checked navy and blue jacket and waistcoat and navy trousers. Brendan then broke up the navy by wearing a burgundy brogue by GOR.


The bridesmaids wore beautiful mulberry Bardot style lace dresses. The detail was just stunning and they complimented Sarah Jane’s dress so well with the lace detail. The girls wore pearl earrings and a floating pearl necklace.  The girls picked their own silver heels.

The groomsmen wore navy suits with a checked waistcoat by Benetti. They wore dark tan GOR brogues.



“We had our ceremony in my beautiful home village Coolaney and the church was Sacred Heart & St. Joseph Rockfield. The ceremony was just beautiful. The sun was shining through the stain glass windows. Due to covid restrictions, we were only allowed 25 people but it was beautifully intimate. We had my brother and Brendan’s sister do the music, my brother Gavin on guitar and Brendan’s sister Nicole sang. It meant so much that we had them play at our wedding.

It was a very emotional ceremony as the weeks leading up to our wedding were full of uncertainty and whether or not it would be able to go ahead. You could see that both Brendan and myself were beaming with relief and delight that we finally got our day. Everyone was so so happy for us which was evident from the photos and video.”



They absolutely adored their wedding venue, Markree Castle!

“The castle is absolutely stunning. It has such class and elegance and a real uniqueness about it. We felt like royalty and after seeing Bridgerton, it was like we were in a real-life episode. What made Markree so appealing was that it was exclusive to us and it was our home. The grounds around the castle are simply stunning. To be able to say we had our wedding in Markree Castle is just amazing.

Everyone was in awe of the castle. All the guests were delighted to be met with some hot whiskeys as it was a nippy day out and the appetisers were delicious. We were blown away by the food, we could not fault it. Our guests are still raving about the beef! The wine was always flowing and there were no big gaps between courses, everything ran so smoothly.”



“We were blessed that the rain held off and we got to have our first dance in their courtyard under the twinkling lights and everyone surrounded us with sparklers. This was just breathtaking. We then all went back upstairs to dance the night away. We actually don’t have enough words to thank Markree and all the staff at the castle. When our wedding was hanging in the balance Deirdre and her team took it on and gave us the most magical weekend and made our dream wedding come to life. Everyone has said we have set the bar so high for any future weddings. We really wouldn’t change a thing. Even though our original vision of a wedding of 300 changed to a wedding of 25 it was so special and intimate and we had our nearest and dearest present. Everyone has said they felt safe all weekend and couldn’t fault the service.”



For wedding favours, they gave each guest personalised hand sanitisers which had their initials on them and a little tag that said “Be wise, Sanitise” or “Spread Love, Not germs”. They didn’t bother with a basket for the bathrooms as it wasn’t suitable due to covid. Instead, they opted for the flipflops and even with 25 guests they were all gone at the end of the night.

“My brother had arranged video messages from loved ones that could not be at the wedding due to covid. These were shown after the dessert. It was such a lovely surprise and it was very emotional, all of which was captured by the photographer and videographer.”



Following the speeches myself and Brendan were taken to the Billiard room where we could spend 30 minutes with one another, just us as husband and wife for the first time. The views from this room are just amazing and the evening sun was shining in. We were so grateful to have this time together. Then when the call came for dinner we were applauded by all the staff as we came down the stairs before entering the dining room. It looked exquisite with twinkly lights and the gold decor.”



“Just to take time in your wedding day for yourselves. When we think about it now, we were so happy with our small intimate wedding. If we had the wedding we originally wanted of over 300 guests we would not have had the opportunity to spend quality time with each other and our nearest and dearest.
Don’t let covid take from the most magical day of your life. It’s about getting married to your best friend at the end of the day. You can always have a party again. I think personally intimate weddings are the way forward.

Try and get the opportunity to have a pre-wedding shoot-so worth it!



Ceremony venue: Sacred Heart & St Joseph Rockfield, Coolaney, Sligo | Wedding venue: Markree Castle, Collooney, Sligo | Photographer: We are soulful – Tony Thompson | Videographer: Foreverendevour films – Darragh Haddock | Planner/Coordinator: Deirdre Ryan, Markree Castle | Musician/Band: The Suite band, Folksy Gerry for drinks reception | Hair: Flair Hair salon, Coolaney, Co. Sligo | Makeup: Caroline Wimsey Makeup | Male grooming: Local in Ballymote | Couple’s outfits: Pearls and Lace Donegal and Lavins Menswear Ballymote | Wedding party outfits: JJsHouse and Lavins Menswear Ballymote | Cake: Gabrielle Doyle | Jewellery: Wherlys Sligo, Pearls and Lace and Etsy | Accessories: Shoes – Lace and Favour. Bride’s nanny’s old clip-on pearl earrings, blue garter on Etsy | Flowers: All about Weddings Ireland | Wedding signs: Keepsakes by KB | Decor: The Range

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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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