Real Weddings

Sarah and Eunan wouldn’t change a single moment of their traditional winter wedding

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A beautiful winter wedding filled with traditional elements gave Sarah Muldoon and Eunan McCloskey a perfect day from beginning until end. Surrounded by their beloved family and friends, the pair were wed at St Michael’s, Lissan by Father Seamus McGinley on November 30, 2018. The church was especially poignant for Sarah, as it was the place where she was baptised and confirmed and made her first Holy Communion.

The pair’s reception took place at Ballyliffin Lodge and Spa Hotel, one of the most famous family-run hotels in Inishowen, Donegal, and on the day of their wedding, the venue was wonderfully decorated for Christmas. Not only did the hotel’s friendly and helpful staff go above-and-beyond in the lead-up to Sarah and Eunan’s wedding, but they also prepared a perfect tea reception, wedding meal and supper-time buffet.

Sarah, who works in the laboratories of the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, met Eunan, a compliance officer in Citi Bank, Belfast, while studying at university, and they began dating in May 2012. Together for four and a half years, it was during a romantic holiday in Prague on November 29, 2016 that Eunan from Dungiven, surprised Sarah, from Lissan, with a special proposal.

Sarah and Eunan say their vows in Saint Michaels Church, Lissan with Fr Seamus McGliney.

With the whole of Prague at their feet, Eunan got down on one knee while at the top of the Petrin Lookout Tower and presented Sarah with a solitaire diamond ring on a shimmering platinum band. “I couldn’t believe it,” Sarah smiled. “It felt surreal as I had no idea he was going to propose. “My legs were like jelly and I wondered how I was going to get back down all the steps we had just climbed. “Both our phones had died while we were out that day, so we couldn’t contact anyone until later that evening.” Sarah added, “Eunan picked the engagement ring himself and I loved it. It suited my finger perfectly.”

Beginning their wedding planning right away, the pair decided they wanted a special winter wedding, and one which would take place two years from their date of engagement. But perhaps the most important aspect of their day was that it was celebrated among family and friends, with emphasis on traditional elements. “The traditional thread ran through our whole wedding day,” Sarah said.

“We booked Lissan Chapel, where I had been baptised, made my First Holy Communion and Confirmation. “We had a vintage style wedding breakfast using a Royal Albert tea set my parents had been given as a wedding present when they got married 30 years ago. “The lovely food was provided by Wyse Bites, a company ran by a local lady, who caters for all types of events,” Sarah added. “Our wedding transport was provided by C4 cars, another local company. Their cars are absolutely stunning, black and ivory 1920s vintagestyle, but with all the modern conveniences.

For their wedding photographs, Sarah and Eunan booked the beautiful Lissan House Trust.

“The venue décor was provided by Happy Ever Vintage, and we were in the very capable hands of Orlagh. “Our cake table was a vintage singer sewing machine table draped with lace and decorated with tea lights and flowers. “Centre pieces were vintage books with tea lights, scented candles and posies of flowers,” she continued.

“Eunan wore a navy suit with a tweed waistcoat and a plain navy bowtie. and his groomsmen wore navy suits with navy waistcoats and tweed bow ties.” And when it came to booking their wedding photographer, the pair only had one lady in mind – Jude Browne. “We had looked online at different photographers and their styles of photos,” Sarah said. “When we saw Jude Browne’s website, we were really impressed and we booked an appointment. “From the minute we met Jude we built up a rapport. She has a really relaxed and calm manner, and we knew we would be in good hands and we weren’t disappointed. “Her photos turned out beautifully, and captured the day perfectly.”

After researching different dress designers and wedding gown styles online, Sarah made appointments to visit a number of local bridal shops before travelling further afield. Alongside her sister, cousins and mum – Ann Marie, Sarah visited Creative Ideas in Cookstown for appointment number one. “We were welcomed by a very friendly assistant and made to feel very relaxed,” Sarah said. “I tried on a few dresses in different styles and colours just to narrow down what suited me.” Then, the assistant brought out a Ronald Joyce ballgown featuring delicately beautiful ivory lace, and diamante detailing on the sweetheartshaped bodice – a gown that had made Sarah’s online shortlist.

Lissan House was a perfect choice for photographs.

“The minute I put it on, I absolutely loved it and so did everyone else,” Sarah recalled. “But because we had other appointments booked in other bridal shops, we decided we would go to them and see what else was available. However, everywhere else I went I was comparing the dresses to the one I had fell in love with. “The minute I tried it on again, I knew that it was the one and my search was over.”

When Sarah and Eunan’s big day finally arrived, the pair described feeling ‘surprisingly calm and relaxed’ – something that they attributed to the great team of people ‘looking after them’. “From our chauffeurs, to our photographer, priest and hotel staff, we were in safe hands,” Sarah said. “Jude arrived to the house that morning and was very unobtrusive. She took photos both formal and informal and kept us all calm and on schedule.”

She added, “All our married friends had told us beforehand that the day goes so quick, so we were determined to enjoy every single minute and we really did!” Sarah and Eunan’s traditional wedding service was conducted by local priest, Father McGinley, who the pair say was ‘extremely helpful and offered invaluable input’ from the pair’s initial appointment to the wedding day itself. “Even at our wedding rehearsal, he made us all feel relaxed,” the 28-yearold said. “On the day itself, he was great. He made the whole service personal to us, and made all of our guests feel welcome.

“The singing in the chapel was provided by Maeve Glackin, who has the most wonderful voice. That was the one moment I think I was emotional, standing with my dad waiting to go up the aisle and hearing Maeve singing ‘This I promise you’. “Everything went perfectly from beginning to end,” the new Mrs McCloskey concluded. “We had an absolute ball, and if we were to do it again, we wouldn’t change anything.”

Sarah and Eunan with their bridal party l-r: Shauna, Megan, Anna, Katie, Patsy, Niall, Tiarnan and Cathal.

• The Finer Details •

Wedding dress: Ronald Joyce Dress from Creative ideas, Cookstown.
Engagement ring: Beaverbrooks, Belfast.
Bride’s wedding ring: Murray and Co, Belfast.
Groom’s wedding ring: D&K jewellers.
Hair stylist/salon: Victoria McShane and Caroline Kelly from A Cut Above, Cookstown.
Make-up: Noeleen McKenna, Swatragh.
Bridal Shoes: Benjamin Adams, House of Fraser.
Head piece/ Veil: Veil from Creative Ideas, Cookstown.
Bridesmaid dresses: Dream Weddings, Coleraine.
Groom’s/groomsmen’s suits: Dapper Dudes, The Wedding Centre, Randalstown.
Cake supplier: Jill’s Cakes NI.
Cake design: Three tiers of lemon, raspberry and white chocolate, and Malteser, decorated with fresh flowers.
Florist: Stephen Mallon.
Flowers: Roses and navy berries.
Stationery: Ryan Patrick Design, Limavady.
Church: St Michael’s Church, Lissan.
Reverend/Priest: Father Seamus McGinley.
Church music: Singing by Maeve Glackin.
Transport: C4 Wedding Cars.
Reception: Ballyliffin Lodge and Spa Hotel, Donegal.
Number of guests at reception: 183.
Decor: Orlagh Kelly from Happy Ever Vintage, Kilrea.
DJ/band: Hype.
First dance song: ‘Hold my Girl’ by George Ezra.
Photographer: Jude Browne Photography.
Honeymoon: A week in New York.