“My dream venue has always been Breaffy House since I was a young girl attending family weddings there.”
The couple: Denise & David Parr
Length of engagement: 30 months | Wedding date: 19th August 2017
Wedding venue: Breaffy House Resort, Castlebar, Mayo
Photographer: Denlo Photography
We met… Back in 2008, at a young age of 18! David and I met just two weeks after I arrived in Liverpool to study to be a teacher. We lived in the same University campus apartment block but were on two different PE teaching courses. We were drawn to each other whilst on a night out with all of our mutual friends and before we knew it we were joined at the hip not knowing that 9 years later we would be tying the knot in Ireland.
Our proposal… Throughout our 8 year relationship, I of course told David that if I was to ever get married, my dream venue had always been Breaffy House, Castlebar, Co Mayo since I was a young girl attending family weddings there. I think it was the venue’s jaw-dropping drive to the front door and to a young girl at that time, it always looked like a stunning castle.
We took the ferry to Ireland as we do once a year as opposed to flying so that we could bring our dogs home. It was Valentine’s weekend and David organised a beautiful romantic dinner at Breaffy House as a real treat on our last night in Ireland. The grounds of Breaffy house are breathtaking so before dinner we went for a walk down to the pond that has a beautiful red wooden bridge across it. Here, whilst looking out onto the water, I heard my name being called and I turned around to see David bent down on one knee.
The rest is a little hazy as I found it very hard to concentrate on his words once I realised that he wasn’t tying his shoe lace and was instead proposing! After 8 years together, I can honestly say it was the biggest surprise of my life. Through the tears, excitement, shock and questioning whither he was serious or not, I of course, without one single doubt in my mind said YES!
My dress… I flew back to Donegal one weekend to come to McElhinneys Bridal Rooms in Ballybofey to check out their wide range of dresses. I took my Mum, Auntie and cousin to try on what they picked for me as well as what I thought but kept my secret weapon, a Ronald Joyce Robyn dress to the very end. Over a few glasses of fizz and trying on umpteen dresses I decided it was time to show them Robyn. I’ll never forget the look on their faces and it was that look that cemented my adoration for the first wedding dress I had ever tried on. There was not one thing I would change about the dress but more importantly the way I felt in the dress was the reason I had to go for it.
His suit… David always wanted to get married in navy and after trying on suits in all of the major providers we came across a small wedding suit boutique, SG Menswear in Leigh, the town we live in. We casually went in for a look and couldn’t believe how many variations of navy there actually were. David went for a dark blue morning suit rather than a deep navy that he thought he wanted. He had never worn a tailored suit before and he felt like a million euro!
My hair and make up… Organising an Irish wedding from the UK was exceptionally challenging. We organised everything through word of mouth and internet searches. Knowing that hair and makeup are one of the most important aspects of the day, I spent a lot of time researching various hair and makeup artists. Fortunately I came across Amanda Conlon, a mega talented makeup artist and I could not believe she was available for my wedding date! I then came across Lynda at LS Hair in Westport who specialises in bridal hair. They were not afraid to say what they thought would suit me and of course they were spot on! I cannot thank both ladies enough for making me feel so confident and for making my bridesmaids, Mum and Mother in Law look absolutely stunning.
Our ceremony… Just like Breaffy house, Ballintubber Abbey in Mayo was also another fairy tale venue that was always in the back of my mind. David and I visited here a few times before we got engaged and he was blown away by how beautiful both the inside and the grounds are. It was so different to any other wedding ceremony venue that he had seen before. There is a lot of historic background to Ballintubber Abbey as well as holding the wedding ceremonies of quite a few celebrities! Fr Charlie McDonnell married us and we are very grateful for his humour and wit throughout our ceremony, it created a very relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere that everyone appreciated, especially our family and friends from the UK.
We chose our venue because… As I said before it was a childhood dream, not one that I actually envisaged happening. Fortunately for me David wanted to get married in Ireland even before we got engaged and since I first brought him to Breaffy House he couldn’t picture getting married anywhere else.
We chose our photographer because… Our only opportunity to see wedding suppliers was at a wedding fair 18 months before our wedding. It was held in Breaffy House and it was here that we discovered the stall of Denlo Photography. Denis and Lorraine made us feel so comfortable and we just clicked with them instantly. We booked this fantastic husband and wife and felt so lucky to be able to get two photographers who could photograph every aspect of our day including the morning preparations for both of us. Denis and Lorraine wanted to get a feel for us and find out what style of photographs we wanted from our day. Lorraine, Denis and our videographer Michael Clarke’s professional input and ideas have left us with the most stunning photographs and footage that we and our families will always treasure.
We chose our wedding coordinator because… After booking our wedding in Breaffy House we were contacted by Maureen who introduced herself and Denice as the wedding coordinators. They were able to get us thinking about things that we never even considered. They were able to make our day so unique to us and we felt like complete royalty because of them. Denice left no stone unturned for us. She gave us the best wedding package that suited us, arranged for us to have a couples pampering spa treatment the day before the wedding and was extremely accommodating of our endless list of questions and requests. Denice had everything planning, organised and executed down to the finest detail and everyone at our wedding commented on how phenomenal the venue and its staff were on the day.
Our menu… We went with my Dad to a menu tasting evening at Breaffy House where we had to decide on the food. Being an Irish wedding, I knew how important the food is to the guests who have taken the time to celebrate our special day with us so for them, we wanted the food to be perfect. We opted for a four course meal and our guests had three choices per course to choose from. It was real hearty Irish food that most of our English guests had never experienced before… and may never experience again. Seeing everyone happily enjoying and endlessly complimenting the food was a real testament to the fantastic food on offer in Breaffy House.
My favourite part of the wedding day… It has to be when every person at our wedding was on the dance floor doing all the moves to proud Mary having the time of our lives! A very close second was after the meal when we decided to take all of the family and friends photos. This was the time we were able to see each individual at the wedding and felt very fortunate to have so many loved ones there to share our day with us.
My piece of advice for other couples… Just take a moment in the madness during the meal. The day is chaotic from the second you wake up and it goes by so fast you have to just stop and be thankful for everyone that is there. During our meal we took a few minutes to sit back and look at all 130 of our closest family and friends enjoying each other’s company, smiling, laughing, eating and drinking. We know it’s very rare to have everyone we love from both families and sets of friends in the one place at the one time and it was at that moment all the stress and sleepless nights became so worth it.
Venue: Breaffy House Resort, Mayo | Photographer: Denlo Photographer | Videographer: Michael Clarke | Irish Dancers: Moffat School of Irish Dancing | Makeup: Amanda Conlon | Hair: LS Hair | Cake: Noel Lavin | Photobooth: John Staunton, Galway Photobooth | Band: Perfect Day Wedding Band | Ceremony Music: Brenda Grealis | Church Decoration: Heather Fair – Candlelight Events
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Pamela enjoys writing about all things decor (she loves buying it too) and has a not so secret addiction to stationery.