Well hello there Monday and how are you all? I hope you had a wonderful...
I am super excited today, as this evening, Nik, Dexter and I are going out for meal, INSIDE!! We are going to our favourite Tapas restaurant in town, it’s actually the last restaurant we went to in November before they all closed down, so it’ s been over 6 months since they shut! Crazy! Have you been anywhere yet? If so where? I would love to hear all your lovely news. Today’s wedding took place last year and is a great example of how a wedding can still go ahead despite Covid restrictions. The wedding took place in Northern Ireland in October, and despite the autumn weather they still managed to get married outside. Kim and Jonathan’s guest count went from 120 to 50 but it turns out this just made the wedding even more special. The day was super relaxed and filled with the most gorgeous decor, natural with a touch of glam. Such a delightful wedding, proving that a reduced guest count doesn’t mean you can’t have the wedding you want. Big thanks to Francis Meany Photography for the stunning photos.
Kim and Jonathan were married on 17th October 2020 at Hillmount House, Larne in Northern Ireland. ‘It was 5 minutes from where we live- along the lovely coast- felt like home. We initially had 120 booked but due to covid restrictions we had to narrow this down. We had just under 50 in the end- and to be honest, it was a perfect number because it was more intimate. We got engaged in July 2018. Our original wedding date was 30th May 2020 so would have been 1.5 years from our engagement. I (the bride) was super relaxed when planning it though. I knew the vibe I wanted and wanted to be as relaxed as possible so it didn’t feel like it was too long at all. I’m sure we had most things booked by the end of 2018. We enjoyed the “engagement period” and I wasn’t too fussed about booking everything asap.’
How they met
We met in 2014 when I had come home for the Summer (I was living and working in Glasgow) through mutual friends and a game of touch rugby in our local club. He was my opposition of course. We both were in different relationships at that time. I moved back home permanently in 2016- both single- and we organically progressed into more than just friends.
Long version- Nothing like the movies!!! Haha. We had gone down to climb Carrauntoohill (highest mountain in Ireland) in County Kerry and Jonny had convinced me that he wanted to have a picnic on a wee island- but we needed to row over to said wee island. Jonny was a terrible rower, I’m sure it was forecasted to rain and I’m confident I complained the whole journey due to the unnecessariness of it all. He had bought me a wee jigsaw (avid jigsaw fan here!) that said complete, “Will you Marry me”. I definitely complained that the jigsaw was “too hard” because “what jigsaw comes with no picture attached to it to guide me” so I gave up half way through and Jonny had to help me complete it. Cried my eyes out when I realised what was happening and felt awful for how terribly grumpy I had been and asked him if we could do it again so I would be a better person haha.
Short version- rowed me over to an isolated Island for a lovely picnic where I completed a personalised jigsaw that said “will you marry me”
How did you allocate your budget?
I am terrible for spending money. Luckily- Jonny loves a good spreadsheet and kept me on track at every opportunity possible. I knew what I wanted in my venue, my photographer and my flowers and I didn’t want to compromise on those so I feel like at that time I wasn’t so focused on the price- but just ensuring the quality was there.
I’ve heard a lot of people say that “Oh if I was to do it again- I wouldn’t have the big wedding – I would save the money and put it towards a deposit on a house etc etc and get married just the two of us”. We genuinely had the best day and if I were to do it over again, I wouldn’t think about how much money we spent and try to save in areas etc. I would do it all over again exactly how it was.
Where did you splurge and where did you save?
My dress. And again, heard a lot of mixed reports of “so much money for 1 dress for 1 day”. I knew I wanted a Karen Willis Holmes dress and again, I don’t regret the money I spent. I felt amazing on that day and I will remember it forever.
My very talented friend Alana McDowell is a graphic illustrator so she helped me with heaps of things like our wedding postbox and hand painted a leather jacket for me. I had got lots of hand me downs from my other friends who got married and we re-used a lot of items such as fairy lights, candles, blankets to keep us warm, centre piece items, picture frames, baskets for toiletry items, pallets to put polaroid camera pics on etc. I liked those touches.
I also really wanted an arch but gosh they are expensive! Jonny offered to build us a triangular arch made from wood which I think made the photos look epic. He did a great job!
Also- need to mention Jonnys “Granny Eileens shortbread”- because no catering company would match how delicious her shortbread is. She kindly made our guests a batch and they did not last long!
I suppose the above aren’t necessarily about “saving money” but rather using personal touches that are actually inexpensive and just make that day a wee bit more special. Its those touches that you remember.
How did you choose your photographer?
So, through a friend of a friend of a friend. (I’m from Ireland, remember?). Francis & Sarah style of photography is exactly what I had wanted for my day. Relaxed, casual, “in the moment” photos that captured all of the emotion and joy from start to finish. I wanted such a relaxed day with no pressure of posing for photos- I wanted them taken as the day progressed naturally. I couldn’t love my photos more.
Dress- Karen Willis Holmes purchased locally in Ivory and Pearl in Comber, N.Ireland
Shoes- oh, should have said- definitely saved on my shoes. Never have been a shoe girl. I think I got them from ASOS for like £20. Bargain. And they didn’t hurt my feet. Win!
Accessories- had a beautiful pair of pearl drop ear rings from a local business called Blue Meadow. Sandra handmakes everything Bridal from veils, headpieces and earrings all from the comfort of her home in Belfast.
The suit and bridesmaids
Suits were bought from Red, Belfast. Jonnys cousin John works there so he was handy to have whenever in the morning time they opened the zip coverings and realised that some of the order was wrong and needed to make a dash to the shop before ceremony time!! John also kindly lined in the inside of Jonnys suit with photos of Jonny, myself and our daughter Freya. It was a really kind personal touch. We chose black because I think it’s a colour that will never go out of fashion.
Bridesmaids- Motee Maids- I love these style of dresses because of the embellishment and the light flowing material they use.
Theme or colour scheme
I knew I wanted sage green for the bridesmaid dresses and I knew what colours of flowers I wanted so it would contrast with the colour of bridesmaid dresses. I’m not sure if I would call it a theme- I mostly wanted it to be as natural and outdoorsy as possible. Hillmount House really delivered on that- it is a privately owned Georgian House with a converted barn. I loved the owners of the house and it felt more like home rather than a typical wedding venue and that’s what I wanted to feel- like home.
Elaine from Ditsy Floral Design was the absolute best at knowing what I wanted- she must have thought I was a crazy lady the first day I met her coming in with all my screenshots and Pinterest boards. But she was as excited as me so it was perfect.
I wanted a wild style autumn bouquet with rich oranges, burgundies and blush colours. I had a lovely big pink protea in the middle of my bouquet and I just love the shape of it and gave it lots of texture. We also had pom pom dahlias, roses, carnations, lisianthus, daucas carrotus, scabious seed heads, snowberries, astrantia and I also had some pampass grass! I absolutely love my bouquet.
The next day, I also sent it off to another local artist Rebecca from Rubina Press who is going to dry my flowers, press and frame them so I can keep them for forever in my home!
I had an external company come in and decorate the barn of our venue. I wanted this really minimalist but Melanie from Mood Events did an epic job. We had festoon lights hanging from the barn and I loved the banquet layout of the tables as opposed to traditional circle tables. She had eucalyptus scattered up the middle of the table with silk ribbon. There were lots of lanterns, candle sticks and copper touches which gave the barn a really nice warm and homely feel to it.
Freckles and Fern- who did my stationary- also did our table numbers for us. We love hillwalking so each of our tables was named after our favourite walks that we have done here in the UK.
We also had a watercolour cake topper painted for us by another local artist Danielle at Loveliest Little Things.
We had duck for starters, chicken for the main and pavlova for dessert.
I wanted the wedding cake nice and plain too. I wanted to incorporate autumnal vibes into it and I think the fig, berries and copper leaf really achieved it. We had lemon with elderflower butter cream as our filling and it was the best!
Because of covid restrictions we were not allowed to have live music. My cousin Claire was the best Ipad DJ however and thank goodness for Spotify. I thought that this would be a huge void in our day when I was told we could no longer have the entertainment. However we made our own music and we chatted for so long that I don’t think it even crossed my mind. It was just so great to have everyone together.
Who supplied the stationery?
Avril and Katie from Freckles and Fern who are also friend of a friend. Their stationary is minimalist, classy yet modern. Our invites went out initially with the 30th May date on them- Avril and Katie were so good at then quickly doing e-vites with “Lets try this again” and our new date once Covid interfered. Infact, hindsight- maybe I would have done E-vites from the get go if I were to do it all again because it was just as effective. I also really wanted our table plan and Welcome sign to be on a piece of wood so they did that for us to which turned out amazing. I had the colour of our bridesmaid dresses incorporated into the invites as well as the copper leaf. Our name places were also made with vellum which I loved the quirkiness of.
Where did you go on your honeymoon?
Sorry to keep mentioning Covid- our original Honeymoon was supposed to be in Italy. We were incredibly incredibly lucky and grateful to get away to Santorini in Greece. We booked it 3 days before the wedding as it was added to the corridor list and we left the day after our wedding.
I think collectively the whole day was amazing- just being together with everyone and celebrating our marriage and seeing how happy everyone was made it extra special for me.
Advice for other couples
Get a spreadsheet. Write a to do list. Shop local. Relax. Men- take your phones out of your suit pockets for pictures.
That we were able to have our wedding in the lawn in OCTOBER in NORTHERN IRELAND and it didn’t rain!!
We are Francis and Sarah wedding photographers in Northern Ireland. We photograph weddings throughout Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. As a married team, we have a unique perspective on the whole experience, having been through it ourselves. It’s our belief that everyone deserves to have photos of themselves that they love. Sarah and I believe that wedding photography should be fun, it should add something amazing to the day. We passionately strive to produce the best work, and tell couple’s love stories with lot’s of smiles and genuine organic images. Our work focuses on all the connection and capturing the love, laughter and joy you share in each moment. Above all it is our mission to absolutely encapsulate all the emotion and love felt on your special day into heartfelt images that you and your loved one’s will cherish forever.
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