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The Mill at Ballydugan with Eimear & Andy

Eimear and Andy’s wedding was very relaxed as they had hoped for, with the wedding preps in Eimear’s home house and the service close by in Newcastle.

When we arrived at the Mill at Ballydugan we took the time to make the short walk over to the lake side lawn for bridal shots, the new garden in front of the recently opened Lakehouse is fantastic for photography and the swans even made an appearance.

Then it was back over to the Mill as the guests got ready to sit down to a beautiful meal. The beef was like a little piece of heaven.

How did you meet originally and get together? Andy and I met in the halls of residence of Queens University Belfast back in 2009. Andy had travelled all the way from Harrogate in Yorkshire to study at QUB while I had travelled the grand sum up thirty miles up the road from Newcastle! We met on the Saturday before Freshers Week and got together officially in the December, before moving to London in 2014 where we have lived ever since. What’s lovely is we still have a big group of mutual friends from our time at Queens, so it was great to catch up with all of them almost 13 years later at our wedding.

What made the day really special and personal to you? 

We would say the fact we knew personally most, if not all of the people contributing to each aspect of it, from the dress to the music to Noel and Maureen at the Mill who were friendly, capable and ensured we didn’t have to worry about a thing. A key highlight is my Dad Sean singing The Roseville Fair for us for our first dance which is a memory we will have forever. Finally a big thank you to Ryan for the photographs as we couldn’t be happier with his professional, laidback style and the overall end product! 

Eimear’s dress: My mum Elizabeth very kindly made my wedding dress. She’s a local artist and has made several of my older sisters’ wedding dresses before, so it was a lovely experience to be able to design exactly the type of dress I wanted with someone like my Mum, who along with being incredibly talented also happens to have the patience of a saint!

Ceremony/Reception Music

My amazing Uncle Eamonn Donnelly and his colleague Sinead Moncrieff provided the music in the chapel and at the drinks reception in the Mill. They also provided music at the evening reception along with guys from the wonderfully talented Copperplate Ceili Band who most definitely brought the craic! The music for the disco was provided by Newry-based DJ Sammy J who very kindly allowed us to relive our university days by playing lots of circa 2009 hits.

What was important to you about your wedding – what were your priorities from the very beginning?

Our overall priority was for all of our guests to feel welcome and relaxed. One way we did this was to ensure the kids had lots to do (activity boxes, a photo booth etc) and also keeping our speeches on the shorter side.

Another priority was to ensure all of Andy’s loved ones who flew over from England felt at ease and were able to experience some of what a typical Irish wedding has to offer, so we ensured we had the Ceili band along with their fantastic caller to facilitate the whole thing. This worked as a brilliant icebreaker for everyone to get to know each other and was amazing to see all the guests taking part and having a laugh!

What advice would you give to other couples planning their day?

Our advice is to go into the day trusting the people around you as everyone involved really does put their best foot forward to help make the day special. Also as difficult as it might seem, try not to sweat the small stuff as the day doesn’t have to be perfect to be magical. And it’s true it really does go by in a flash so make sure to eat some of your own cake!

Could you sum up your wedding in a couple of sentences – how would you describe the look and feel of the day, the vibe? 

It’s hard to sum up but I would say it was a typical County Down wedding with some personal and vintage touches like the bridesmaids dresses, my veil and of course the vintage convertible car! It was on the more intimate side in terms of numbers which suited us perfectly as we felt we were able to spend enough time with all of our guests. We don’t take ourselves too seriously and so the vibe was very laid back and fun filled. (At least we hope!). 

Thanks for having me capture your special day guys. It’s always an honour. Ryan

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