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Wedding dresses, sunglasses and scorching weather… A day to remember for Shauna and Dean

Shauna McNamee (née Rafferty) says that she must be the only person ever to put the Child of Prague out on the doorstep to pray for cooler weather on her wedding day!

Indeed the Killyclogher woman married Dean McNamee on June 29, 2018 – a month so beautiful and swelteringly sunny that it ended up being the hottest June on record for Northern Ireland. As the sun beamed through the windows of St Mary’s Chapel, Killyclogher, the pair were wed in an elegant and personal ceremony officiated by Shauna’s second cousin, Father Frank McManus.

Their wedding reception was held in the Villa Rose Hotel, Ballybofey – a venue chosen by the newlyweds due to its homely feel, its good food and its bright and fresh decor. Shauna was also keen to point out that the venue’s wedding co-ordinators, Rhonda and Shannen were absolutely fantastic and ensured the smooth running of the day.

Sheep played a big part in Shauna and Dean’s wedding theme.

Ironically, Shauna who is a teacher from Killyclogher, first met Dean at the wedding of his brother, Conor on Saturday, September 14, 2013. “I was invited to Conor’s wedding as I worked with the bride and Dean was the best man,” Shauna said. “He asked me for a dance during the evening and bought me a few drinks, and in return I gave him my number. “We began dating a few months later and I loved how witty and comical he was; Dean was always making me laugh. “Now what I love about him the most is that he will do anything for anyone, he has a heart of gold and will always help someone in need,” Shauna added.

Before Dean, a plasterer and farmer from Newtownstewart, got down on one knee, he asked Shauna’s father, Neale for his permission first. Then on Christmas Day 2016, Shauna got the surprise of a lifetime. “Dean gave me all my Christmas presents in the living room in my house when we were on our own, and said he forgot one out in the car,” Shauna recalled. “He went out to collect the last present and walked in with a wooden box in his hand, and I knew straight away what it was.”

Dean then presented Shauna with a beautiful white gold ring, featuring a tapered diamanté band and with a raised setting of seven round brilliant cut diamonds which he picked out himself from Bogues, Omagh. “I was very overwhelmed; I wasn’t expecting a proposal for another few years as Dean is always working so hard,” Shauna described. “However the proposal was perfect.

I told my mum right away and she screamed the house down. “My ring too is absolutely perfect for me. It’s very sparkly and timeless.” Shauna, being a self-confessed ‘extremely organised person’, began searching for a venue within days, and inside three weeks she had her entire wedding planned.

“I initially wanted an autumn wedding, however being a teacher it was not practical for me, and a spring wedding wouldn’t work with the lambing season,” Shauna said. “So we both agreed with June as neither of us wanted July or August in case the weather was too hot… Quite ironic considering our wedding ended up being on one of the hottest days of the year.”

Dean and Shauna were married on one of the hottest days of the year during the June heatwave, visiting the scenic Barnesmore Gap for their photographs.

Shauna said that she was a big believer in ‘less is more’ – so instead of dressing up her bridesmaids in bright or bold colours, they wore ivory wedding dresses instead. “I wanted my wedding to be timeless, fun and young with a hint of modernism,” Shauna said. “I am also a renowned magpie and wanted to make sure a little bit of glitz and sparkle was added throughout the day as well. “My favourite colour is pink so I did ensure some pale pinks made an appearance too.”

Even though Shauna found the idea of wedding dress shopping ‘daunting’, she ended up having a lot of fun with her mum, Helen, her friend Maria and bridesmaids when the time came. It took Shauna around three months to find her perfect gown, and as it was nearly three times over her budget, her mother very kindly purchased it for her as a special gift.

The gorgeous dress, from Marie Therese Bridal in Coleraine, was custom- made by Israeli designer, Riki Dalal. It flaunted a high-neckline, embellished with sequinned lace design of vines and flowers. It also featured an intricate back of handmade appliqué, and its skirt was filled with a combination of lace and tulle cut-outs to create a mermaid shape. “I chose this dress simply because it was special: It had sparkle, it complimented my shape, it had a train, it had romance, and it was modern with a traditional twist,” Shauna said. “It was perfect.”

While Shauna was very nervous in the lead-up to her wedding – she was worried about things being forgotten – when the day came her nerves subsided and all she could feel was excitement. “I had my favourite people in the whole world around me enjoying the morning which was a special memory for me,” Shauna said.

Shauna is driven to church by her daddy, Neal, in his restored classic Beetle.

The beautiful bride was whisked away to the chapel in her father’s vintage convertible Beetle – a very special moment for Shauna as her father has always loved Volkswagen cars and drove her around in Beetles when she was younger.

The newlyweds’ service, too, was very personal – particularly so as the pair are religious, and being married in a chapel was of utmost importance to them. “Ciara Fox sang my favourite song, ‘Red is the Rose’ while I was walking up the aisle and I found myself holding back a tear or two,” Shauna reflected.

“It also meant a lot to me that my second cousin, Fr McManus delivered the ceremony. “Our wedding day was everything I wanted and more. My mum actually booked a secret singer during the reception which was a particular highlight.”

The 25-year-old concluded, “A lot of people have asked me if I’m sad it’s all over and I’m not, because everything was perfect and I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Shauna and Dean with their bridal party Daryl McNamee, John McCullagh, Conor McNamee, Aine Collins, Laura Quinn and Naoise Devlin.

• THE FINER DETAILS •

Wedding dress: Marie Therese Bridal, Coleraine.
Wedding ring: Murray & Co, Belfast.
Hair stylist/salon: Laura Jane Owens from Del Loughran Hair and Make-Up.
Make-up: Bailee McCann from Del Loughran Hair and Make-Up.
Evening hair and makeup: Joanne Mullan.
Bridal Shoes: Kurt Geiger.
Head piece: Ella Rose Handcrafted Jewellery and Millinery.
Veil: Marie Therese Bridal, Coleraine.
Bridesmaid dresses: Monsoon Bridal Boutique.
Groom’s/groomsmen’s suits: SD Kells, Omagh.
Cake supplier: The Wee Cake Shop and mother-of-the-groom, Liam McNamee.
Cake design: White, three tiered cake with chocolate fudge, lemon, and carrot cake flowers, and topped with fresh flowers.
Florist: The Daisy Chain.
Church: St Mary’s, Killyclogher.
Priest: Fr Frank McManus.
Chapel music: Ciara Fox.
Decorations at Chapel: The Daisy Chain.
Transport: Father-of-bride, Neale Rafferty and Glendale Limousines.
Reception: Villa Rose, Ballybofey.
Decorations at reception: Ultimate Touches.
Number of guests at reception: 280.
DJ/band: The Rockits.
First dance song: ‘Ho Hey’ by The Lumineers.
Photographer: Jude Browne Photography.
Videographer: KD Imaging.
Other entertainment: Reception band, The Drunken Lullabies; photobooth from Rentabooth; Singing Waiter from Singers Secreto.
Honeymoon: Mexico, Miami and a Caribbean cruise for 16 days.