“We just wanted to have a party and where better to do that than your Mam and Dad’s gaff?!”
The couple: Helen Keaney and Pete Drugan
Length of engagement: 7 months | Wedding date: 6th July 2013
Wedding venue: Sandyford Church and Helen’s family home in Churchtown, Dublin
Photographer: Fiona Morgan Photography
We met… On the cruise ship the QE2 in September 2008. My brother worked on the ship and I was availing of the free family travel! Pete was working as a ship’s engineer and we met in the officer’s bar. Pete is from Glasgow and while he continued working on ships for the following few years he made Dublin his base three years ago. He came ashore permanently last year and managed to land himself a job quite quickly! While we live in Dublin, we try to get over to Glasgow as often as we can.
Our proposal… It was a very low key, lovely proposal at our home. Pete had been away working for a few days. We were having a lazy Saturday afternoon on the couch. He told me he had gotten me a present and asked if I wanted it now or at Christmas. Obviously I said now and before I knew it he was down on one knee with a ring! He must have been fairly confident I wouldn’t have wanted to wait until Christmas!
My hair and make-up… Our hair was by Caroline Heavey. She managed six heads of hair in one morning! Having never met any of the bridesmaids before I was stunned by the amazing up styles she created! Our make-up was by Ruth Lawlor. I found Ruth online and was delighted with her. I think she has gone travelling for a year so I got in there just in time!
My dress… A gem of a find at Smart Brides in Portlaoise. I had it altered slightly by adding the straps with some vintage lace that I also got in smart brides and changed it into a sweetheart neckline.
His suit… In true Scottish fashion Pete donned the kilt! He travelled home to Glasgow for the authentic experience and rented them from a shop called MacGregor MacDuff.
Our wedding theme… My lovely green-fingered aunt offered to grow flowers for us for the wedding. She planted whatever she thought would grow and so because of this we were never quite sure what colours we would have on the day. This suited me fine as neither of us had any idea what colours we wanted! The bridesmaids wore navy, I knew that this colour would complement whatever grew. My aunt produced an incredible selection of flowers. For me, this will always be one of the strongest memories……the jars and jars of flowers she delivered on the morning. The colours were breathtaking! We made our own pew ends and after watching a tutorial on You Tube I put the bouquets together!
Our bridesmaids wore… Simple, yet gorgeous navy dresses that I found in Debenhams.
Our ceremony… We married in St. Mary’s Church in Sandyford Village, Dublin. We were so blessed to have my uncle Joe fly over from Zambia to perform the ceremony. A truly amazing man, he went to so much effort to make the service so personal for all of us. We could not have asked for anything more on the day. Having him perform the ceremony was something I always hoped would happen and he did not disappoint. I can honestly say… he does a good wedding! Joanna Charles sang in the church. Music was important to us. We worked with her to create a personal selection of songs. She has a truly gorgeous voice.
We chose our photographer because… We both kept saying that all we wanted for the day was to have a big party. What we wanted from a photographer was someone to capture that party for us in photos. I had been to a wedding where Fiona (Fiona Morgan Photography) was the photographer a few years previous. Her casual, friendly manner put everyone at ease. Upon seeing my friend’s album I knew she was exactly what I wanted. She captured the whole atmosphere of that wedding. She did the same for us. She produced a story of the day for us, from start to finish. Her informal style is coupled with a creative edge. We are finding it near impossible to select the photos that will make the album. I could not recommend Fiona highly enough. She was wonderful.
We chose our wedding coordinator because… As a result of deciding to have our wedding at home, we discovered the company Weddings at Home (recommended by a good friend). With this company came a man called Flor. Weddings at Home offered the complete package, from teaspoon to tablecloth, from drink to dancefloor… everything was included. Flor’s motto was ‘anything you need’ and to be honest… it was exactly what you got. I can honestly say we had the most stress free, enjoyable day and it was all down to this one man and the impeccable operation that he runs. I miss having him around organising my life!
We chose to have our wedding at home because… We just wanted to have a party and where better to do that than your Mam and Dad’s gaff?! They thought I was joking when we first suggested it but once we met Flor, it all came together without too much difficulty. The plan was to have a bit of a drinks reception in the house but we got so lucky with the weather that people ended up outside in the front garden. We were lucky to have this space because the marquee took up the whole back garden! Having it at home was amazing. Both Pete and I spend a lot of time there. It made the day extra personal and meant that we could call the shots.
“We had a lot of DIY elements (thanks to so many crafty friends and family). One of my best friends and bridesmaids Clare hand drew the invitation design. Closer to the time, the reception took on a bit of a ships theme. All the tables were named after a ship. The name tags (made by my sister-in-law) were sailboats and the table plan was displayed on a ship themed poster! We also had a few bunting parties and produced a couple of miles worth of the stuff!”
Our honeymoon… It took us a while to decide on a destination. Having worked on ships for years, there are not a lot of places that Pete hasn’t visited. We eventually decided on three weeks in Vietnam and a few days in Hong Kong on the way back. We didn’t just want to lie on a beach for a few weeks. We got the best of every world here. Amazing beaches, several stops and the bit of culture too!
Our menu… A served starter of a trio of seafood. We had a buffet of Beef Stroganoff, dressed salmon, cold turkey, coronation chicken (and lots more) with a wide selection of salads and breads. Dessert was another trio which was served to the tables.
My piece of advice for other brides… Make the day as personal as you can to both of you. I was surprised at the amount of talent among my friends and family! Between the invitations, the flowers, the priest, the band and the talented craft makers, we put our own stamp on the day. Ask around to find those hidden talents. It made the day extra special!
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Former editor, current contributor, (she just can't let go!) Karen enjoys writing fashion but is known to dabble in decor from time to time. Her favourite section on the site is the Real Wedding section, followed closely by the Health & Fitness forums.