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Droplets of rain bring Karen and Brian lots of luck on their summer wedding day

Towering above the Gold Coast hinterlands, Australia in a gallant hot air balloon, Brian McNulty asked Karen Conway for her hand in marriage on the date of her 30th birthday.

With the world literally at their feet, this memorable occasion transformed into a beautiful summer’s wedding day which took place in the bride’s beloved hometown of Plumbridge just under two years later.

The pair, who both live in Sydney, were wed in a traditional service at the Sacred Heart Church, Plumbridge performed by Fr Brian Donnelly on June 1, 2018.

Their wedding reception took place at the Redcastle Hotel beautifully situated on the waters of Donegal, overlooking Lough Foyle and set among mature woodlands. Fittingly, Karen first met Brian in a quaint Irish pub called PJ O’Brien’s located in Sydney.

Karen used the grounds of her family home for a few portraits before leaving for church.

“I thought Brian had the cutest smile,” Karen said. “He also has a heart of gold.” The pair were together for just over four years, when Brian proposed on September 4, 2016 while enjoying a hot air balloon adventure in the Queensland skies.

Above mountain ranges and rolling valleys, the Creeslough (Donegal) man presented Karen with a glittering yellow-gold and diamond solitaire ring which she loved. “I was absolutely bursting with happiness,” Karen said. “Afterwards we went to a vineyard for a champagne breakfast to celebrate, which was very romantic. “It was the best day.”

Shortly after the pair became engaged, they flew back home to Ireland to look at wedding venues, and book the main elements of their big day. “However I had no idea what I wanted my wedding theme to be,” Karen admitted. “We just picked things we liked and hoped it would all come together in the end!”

Beautiful bride, Karen McNulty (née Conway), alongside her maid of honour, Aine Conway, and bridesmaids, Emma Harkin, Marina
McCullagh and Elaine Kerlin

As Karen didn’t find a wedding dress she really loved at home, she began her search again once she had returned to Australian soil. Alongside her sister and maid of honour, Aine Conway who came over to visit on holiday, the duo went to three different bridal stores before picking out the perfect gown.

‘The one’ was ivory in colour, and featured an A-line shape amass a flowing, feminine tulle skirt. “Dress shopping was great, everyone was so nice and helpful in the places I went to,” Karen smiled.

On the day before her wedding, Karen described feeling ‘so nervous’ – and these butterflies didn’t subside until an hour before she left for the church. “By then, I was very excited,” Karen said. “I was just buzzing to get married, and the sun shone all morning.”

Brian and Karen travelled to their reception at Redcastle Hotel and Spa on an old vintage bus.

Karen said that Brian is ‘car mad’, and organised two Ford Escorts to transport the bridal party to the Sacred Heart Church. “Our service was so lovely,” Karen said. “Our priest, Fr Donnelly really put us at ease and had us laughing throughout. “The beautiful voice of Niamh McElduff singing our hymns was amazing too.”

A vintage bus whisked the bridal party away to the wedding reception – but not before it made a pit-stop outside Redcastle so that beautiful photos could be taken among the rainswept countryside. “We had a bit of rain driving between the church and venue – but not too heavy,” Karen recalled. “But my favourite photos were actually taken in the rain – and that was thanks to our fabulous photographer, Jude Browne.”

Soon it was time for the newlyweds to tuck into their four-tier white wedding cake, decorated with gorgeous fresh flowers and baked by Karen’s very talented God-mother, Mary Mc- Crossan. Then the new Mr and Mrs McNulty danced until the early hours of the morning – or 5am to be precise!

“A few songs were sung in the resident’s bar – Mark Lagan and my uncle Gerard were in full swing,” Karen laughed. “We all had such a brilliant day. The only thing was… it went in far too fast!”

The bridal party wait to enter the reception. Pictured are newlyweds, Karen and Brian McNulty; maid of honour, Aine Conway; best man, Conal McNulty; bridesmaids, Emma days. Harkin, Marina McCullagh and Elaine Kerlin; and groomsmen, Patrick McNulty Brendan McGee, and David Wilkin.

• THE FINER DETAILS •

Wedding dress: Oleg Cassini.
Wedding band: The Rockits.
Hair stylist: Toni and Orlaith Kelly.
Make-up: Toni and Orlaith Kelly.
Bridal Shoes: Valentino.
Head piece/ Veil: Oleg Cassini.
Bridesmaid dresses: ASOS.
Groom’s/groomsmen’s suits: Evolve, Letterkenny.
Cake supplier: Mary McCrossan.
Florist: Nettles and Petals, Carrickmore.
Church: Sacred Heart, Plumbridge.
Reverend/ Priest: Fr Brian Donnelly.
Transport: Vintage Bus, Dublin.
Reception: Redcastle Hotel, Donegal.
Number of guests at reception: 220.
DJ/band: The Rockits.
First dance song: The One’ by Kodaline
Photographer: Jude Browne Photography.
Videographer: Mr and Mrs.
Honeymoon: South Africa for ten days