Beautiful blooms and shining sun at Laura and Stephen’s wedding
Walking down the aisle alongside her mother and grandfather in a church filled with beautiful flowers and music gave Laura Connolly (née Nixon) the best day of her life.
As the sun shone high in the sky, Laura wed Stephen Connolly during a traditional, emotional service performed by Fr Declan Boland at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Strabane on April 27, 2018.
Their wedding reception took place at the Ballyliffin Lodge and Spa – a place Laura has loved ever since she was a little girl, as she used to play at the fabulous beach there. Keen to point out that the venue also boasts beautiful and relaxed vibes, Laura further said that the staff are incredible and the food is equally of good quality.
Laura, an optical dispenser, recalls fancying Stephen, a barber from Strabane, for years, but admits that she didn’t really know him. However, as if by fate, she met him on a night out in Strabane while going for a Paolos in June 2010. “Stephen is kind, generous and is so funny,” Laura said. “He keeps me laughing all the time – I like everything about him.”
Together for just over three years, it was on November 25, 2013 that Stephen got down on one knee and asked the Derry girl for her hand in marriage. “We went to the Clarion in Sligo for a birthday weekend away for me, but little did I know that I was getting proposed to,” Laura explained.
“When he asked me, I burst out crying with happiness and was smiling for about three weeks straight.” Laura’s engagement ring featured a glittering white gold band with diamonds cascading around the band, and a bigger diamond perfectly set in the middle. “I couldn’t have picked better myself,” Laura said. “I absolutely loved it.”
Adamant that she wasn’t going to be a ‘bridezilla’, Laura took her time when planning for her traditional wedding. She loves flowers, and had her heart set on a day which featured a wealth of blooms – something which her best friend, Aoife Doherty was on hand to help her with.
For Laura, wedding dress shopping was ‘so exciting, and made everything feel so real’. “It was so much fun getting to try on all different kinds of dresses,” she described. And even though she tried on around 25 gowns in five different shops – some of which were only for ‘the craic’ – one particular champagne number from Fairytales Bridal Boutique captured her heart. “The dress was backless, lacy and fitted – it was so gorgeous,” Laura said. “I wish I could wear it every week. “I chose that dress because it is so true what people say – you know the feeling of ‘the one’. “I loved it so much, and I knew that was the dress I wanted to wear on my wedding day.”
Even though Laura was so calm leading up to her wedding, on the morning of it, she felt nervous – but not because she was getting married, she clarified, but because of the thought of everyone looking at her and Stephen. “However, I couldn’t wait to get ready and walk down the aisle,” she said.
“The weather on our day was also amazing. I couldn’t believe it – we struck it so lucky. Strabane isn’t known for the sunshine, so we were buzzing with how the day turned out.”
Whisked away to the chapel in a Rolls Royce, Laura said her service was simply beautiful. “It was a mixture of emotions from start-to-finish,” she said. “My granda and my mammy walked me down the aisle as my daddy passed away years ago, so that was quite emotional.
“The music that I chose was bits and pieces of everything me and Stephen liked, and Ave Maria is my mammy’s favourite song so I included that also. “Our priest also made it so amazing,” she added. “He had everyone laughing from start-to-finish. He well and truly made the service for us. “Happiness the whole way through was the main emotion that Stephen and I felt.”
The pair, who are both currently living in Melbourne, Australia, later danced until the last song played at their Ballyliffin wedding reception, and they chatted until the early hours. And while they were ‘wrecked’ at the end of their 18 hour day, Laura said they both had the best day of their lives. “It’s a cliché, I know, but it was amazing,” the 27-year-old concluded. “I wish that we could do it all again.”
• THE FINER DETAILS •
Wedding dress: Essense of Australia.
Hair stylist/salon: Rachel McIntyre.
Make-up: AMG Make-Up.
Bridal Shoes: Dune.
Head piece/ Veil: Sass & Halo, and Bridal Boutique Melbourne.
Bridesmaid dresses: TFNC London/Asos.
Groom’s/groomsmen’s suits: Asos.
Cake supplier: Funky Cakes, Craft Village, Derry.
Florist: Caroline’s Florist, Springtown.
Church: Church of the Immaculate Conception, Strabane.
Reverend/ Priest: Fr Declan Boland.
Reception: Ballyliffin Lodge and Spa.
Number of guests at reception: 180.
First dance song: ‘With or Without you’ by U2.
Photographer: Northern Sky Photography.
Videographer: Aine and Gareth Thompson.
Other information: Bride and groom will be returning to Ireland from Australia at the end of the year, just in time for Christmas.