Real Weddings

Beauty of the Glens on display as Emma and Gavin enjoy perfect autumn wedding

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The beautiful Gortin Glens is a place of many happy memories for newlyweds, Emma and Gavin Rodgers and their beloved furbaby, Jack. Not only did Emma and Gavin spend their first date dandering through the serene Gortin forests, but they also got engaged there, and on the day of their wedding, the couple returned for pictures underneath the autumn-clad trees of yellows, oranges and vibrant greens – with Jack, of course!

In a church decorated with warm rustic colours, the new Mr and Mrs Rodgers were wed by Father Kevin McElhennon at St Mary’s, Knockmoyle on October 12, 2018 – and a little sprinkle of rain fell shortly after the service for good luck. Their wedding reception took place at the family-run Four Seasons Hotel in Monaghan, chosen by the pair due to its close-to-home location, good food and friendly staff.

Emma (née McCullagh), who is a graphic designer, and Gavin, a software engineer, have been in each other’s lives for a very long time. The pair, who are both from Omagh, worked together in Sallys as floor staff when it was newly-revamped more than a decade ago, and their friendship blossomed as the years rolled by. “We were texting each other all the time as friends, and he came to my 18th birthday party,” Emma, now 27, recalled. “Back then, my family started to assume we were more than just friends, and after a while of being chased by him I gave in and went on a date with him.

Parents-of-the-bride, Kathleen and Barkley McCullagh, and parents-of-the-groom,
Yvonne and Brendan Rodgers alongside newylweds, Emma and Gavin Rodgers.

Now, nine years on, we are husband and wife.” The pair were together for six years before they began talking about marriage, and earnestly decided that they would get engaged on the same date that they began going out – October 4. In the spring of 2016, they decided to visit Lunns in both Belfast and Derry to look at engagement rings. Eventually, Emma, who just loved the sparkles, chose a gorgeous white gold piece which featured a studded diamonte band betwixt a trio of stunning round diamonds.

“I always knew what I was looking for, but when I saw all of the diamonds in the windows, I wanted to try all of them on!” Emma smiled. “But we were both glad to keep this a secret from everyone, as it gave us time to adjust to the next step we were about to take.”

October 4, 2016 came, and Emma, along with her lovely dog, Jack journeyed down to the Gortin Glens – and it was there that she enjoyed a truly unique and special proposal. “Gavin had set up a trail for me and Jack with post-it notes, directing us to a specific location in the Glens,” Emma explained. “When we got near where Gavin was, Jack ran ahead of me. I kept walking, and when I got down as far as one of the bridges, Jack and Gavin were both there waiting for me.”

And the Labrador-French Bordeaux cross, fully prepared for the special occasion, had a gorgeous sign draped around his neck which asked, ‘Mummy, will you marry my daddy?’ “It was very emotional, even though I knew we were getting engaged,” Emma reflected. “I think we felt a mixture of excitement and nerves as it was really happening.” She added, “After Gavin proposed, I phoned my family, and went straight to tell my granny as she is a big part of my life.”

Emma and Gavin Rodgers enjoy a stroll through the Gortin Glens as husband and wife.

As creative flair comes naturally to Emma, she was especially keen to design many of her wedding day elements, including her own wedding stationery, and she got stuck into the planning immediately. “I knew that I wanted a rustic themed wedding,” Emma said. “I spent many nights browsing the web and searching things on Pinterest to see what ideas I could get.

“I also spent a lot of time experimenting with different little elements to add to the the wedding, and sourcing different suppliers to help me. “Wooden Treats also played a massive part in making our theme come to life, and nothing was a bother for Donna and Patrick.”

Emma was introduced to the Four Seasons Hotel, Monaghan by her cousin, Anita Sharkey who was also one of her bridesmaids. “When we visited the hotel, we loved it and the staff were really friendly so we thought we would book our date there and then.” said Emma.

For Emma, finding the perfect gown was challenging as the style she always thought she wanted just wasn’t ‘her’. However, after visiting more than 15 shops across the country in search of ‘the one’, it was a satin number from Serendipity Bridal Boutique in Fivemiletown that won her heart. She paired the white dress, which featured a little sparkling belt, with an elegant lace-trimmed veil.

“I loved going dress shopping, but it was also an exhausting process,” Emma recalled. “The style I thought I was after didn’t really suit me at all, which was disappointing, and I started to wonder, ‘will I ever find the dress?’ “However I finally found a dress I loved in Serendipity in Fivemiletown, with the help of the girls who were so friendly.”

Newlyweds’ beloved dog, Jack was a very good boy and joined in with the wedding day celebrations at the Glens.

During the run-up to her wedding day, Emma recalled feeling ‘really excited and nervous’, and on the morning of her wedding day, who better to help her relax than her furry friend, Jack. “I think I was calm enough the morning of the wedding,” Emma recounted. “I took Jack for a wee walk around the field behind me, and I looked after my neighbour’s dog. The weather was windy, but thankfully it held up. I think I needed the time to myself to process what was going on, and I knew that on the wedding day there was nothing more I could do. “However as the time got closer to the ceremony, the nerves began getting the better of me.”

Happily, the pair’s personal wedding ceremony was filled with laughter and music, and they made memories that will last a lifetime. “There were a few emotional moments, especially when we exchanged our vows,” Emma said. “When we exchanged rings, and were pronounced husband and wife, it was like a weight was lifted of our shoulders and we were able to enjoy the rest of the day.”

When the pair left the chapel as man and wife, the pair were reunited with one guest who simply couldn’t wait to join in the celebrations – Jack. Indeed, the very good boy greeted both the newlyweds and the guests outside the chapel, and this was a moment which meant the world to Emma as he is a huge part of her life. “We both had the best day of our lives,” concluded Emma.

“The wedding was worth all the stress and tears, and the day couldn’t have gone any better. “We would like to thank our families for all their help and support, and to everyone who took part in our big day. We also want to say thank you to the people who made our dream come true.”

From left-to-right, Sean McGoldrick, Mark McCullagh, Michael Rodgers, Emma and Gavin Rodgers, Aideen Kelly, Anita and Nicole Sharkey all pose for pictures.

• The Finer Details •

Wedding dress/Veil: Serendipity Bridal Boutique, Fivemiletown.
Wedding/Engagement ring: Lunns, Derry.
Hair stylist/salon: Dyenamique Hair and Makeup, Omagh.
Make-up: Little House of Beauty, Omagh.
Bridal Shoes: Debenhams.
Head piece/ Bridesmaids’ jewellery: Parchment and Pearls, Omagh.
Bridesmaid dresses: Chantilly Lace Bridal Boutique, Enniskillen.
Groom’s/groomsmen’s suits: Red Groomswear, Cookstown.
Church: St Mary’s Church, Knockmoyle.
Priest: Father Kevin McElhennon.
Transport: Glendale Limousines, Omagh.
Cake supplier: Truly Scrumptious Cakes by Design, Omagh.
Cake design: Cake was decorated to look like tree trunks from a birch tree.
Cake flavours: Vanilla, raspberry and white chocolate and chocolate Malteaser.
Florist: Floral Temptations, Omagh.
Reception: Four Seasons, Monaghan.
Decor: Chapel – Love Blossoms; Wooden
Treats & Rustic Weddings – drinks reception and main reception room.
Number of guests at reception: 145.
Band: The Nooks.
DJ: DJ Q.
First dance song: Dreams by The Cranberries.
Photographer: Katrina Taggart Photography.
Videographer: Grá Films.
Other entertainment: James & Jack Mc-Shane provided chapel music; Sean Magee
Music played at drinks reception.
Honeymoon: New York, San Francisco and Las Vegas for 10 nights.