Love on Lough Ree – Wineport Lodge Real Wedding by Insight Photography

Real Weddings

“The boys changed out of their tails and into their Lycra and went for a row on Lough Ree before rowing into the jetty at the Wineport!”

The couple: Bernadette Connolly & Dean Cowens
Length of engagement: 16 months | Wedding date: 22nd August 2013
Wedding ceremony: Sacred Heart, Roscommon
Wedding reception: The Wineport Lodge

Photographer: Patricia Fitzpatrick from Insight Photography




We met… when I moved to the UK to work in 2007 (Dean is a Geordie). We met through mutual friends on a night out. The rest is history!




Our proposal… was quite low key. Dean got down on one knee after dinner when we were out celebrating our anniversary. He was so nervous about popping the question at one point during dinner he was holding onto the wall in the restaurant. He didn’t have the ring at the time so we went shopping together in Glasgow to find our engagement ring.



The suits… were from Most Suitable in Newcastle. They were dark grey three piece morning suits. Dean wore a white shirt and ivory tie and the groomsmen wore the same suit but with a dark purple cravat and pocket square to match the bridesmaids.



My dress… was an Essence of Australia dress. I bought it from a little bridal shop in Castlerea called Dinagh Modes. Pamela, who runs the shop, is an amazing dress maker so we made a lot of alterations to the original dress. We added straps, deepened the back and added a sash. I absolutely loved it. It was so comfortable and fitted me perfectly. (Thank you Pamela!)



My hair and make-up… was done by Attracta Brennan in Galaxy, Roscommon. I found the style in a wedding magazine and with lots of back combing, a couple of extensions and thousands of clips it was exactly what I wanted. My make-up was done by Denise Harlow from Beauty Secrets, Roscommon. Denise came out to the house on the morning of the wedding which made the whole morning quite relaxed. I wanted a fairly natural, soft look.




Our wedding theme… we didn’t really have a theme. We just wanted the whole day to be relaxed and laid back. The colour theme was a dark purple. Our Chief Bridesmaid – my sister Sarah – chose it. The bridesmaids wore dark purple Dessy dresses, chosen by Sarah!




Our ceremony… was a traditional church wedding in the Sacred Heart church, Roscommon.





We chose our photographer because… we had seen Patricia’s (of Insight Photography) slideshow of photographs at a friend’s wedding. We thought that it was just such a lovely touch on the day and her photographs were stunning and so natural looking. Trish was amazing to work with – it was like having your photos taken by an old friend. She really puts you at ease and was so professional. She accommodated lots of the little requests we had for the day.






My favourite part of the day… was when Dean and the groomsmen arrived to the wedding reception in their boat. They row on the Tyne in Newcastle up to six times a week and had organised to borrow a boat from Athlone Boat Club. It was a surprise for all of the guests. We stopped just before reaching the Wineport on a little beach where we had set the boat up. The boys changed out of their tails and into their Lycra and went for a row on Lough Ree before rowing into the jetty at the Wineport. We were really lucky with the weather, it was really sunny, no wind. Perfect for a row.


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Our honeymoon… we were really lucky and had two! Immediately after the wedding we went to Dubrovnik for a week to chill out. Then we went to New Zealand for three weeks in November. We hired a 1966 VW camper van and travelled around both islands. On the way back we stopped in Sydney for three days. We had the best time and are dying to go back already.




We chose our venue because… the setting is so beautiful. The Wineport sits just on the side of Lough Ree. We both row and Dean wanted to incorporate rowing into the wedding day if he could so that played a big part in choosing a venue. Also, the food is delicious and the service is impeccable in the Wineport. They know the wedding industry inside out so we felt that we were in very safe hands there.




Our menu…

Champagne & Canapés on Arrival

Duck Confit or Spanish Tapas

Main Course
Fillet of Beef or Fresh Cod

A Trio of Desserts featuring Fruit Crumble, Chocolate Soufflé & Crème Brûlée




My piece of advice… Don’t stress! Once you choose to work with people who have lots of experience working on weddings, they keep you organised and make sure your day runs smoothly for you. The day itself goes by so quickly so you don’t want to spend any of it stressed.