“Our priest had people laughing and crying at the same time. The whole ceremony was so emotional.”
The Couple: Cheryl Williams & Shane Hurst
Length of engagement: 17 months | Wedding Date: 9th May 2014
Wedding location: Cabra Castle, Kingscourt, Co. Cavan
Photographer: Couple Photography – Roslyn Byrne
We met… Cheryl was working at BDO in Dublin completing her accountancy training when I joined a year later. We had gone on a few work nights out and within three months we started going out.
Our proposal… We live in Perth, Western Australia and Cheryl had her Christmas Party on the Saturday afternoon. It gave me some time to set up our balcony with flowers and candles and a bottle of Champagne…. I closed the blinds and waited for her to get home. When she lifted the blinds to go out onto the balcony I surprised her and popped the question! Hoping she would say yes!
My dress… My dress was bought in Perth, WA in ‘Dion Brides’. The designer was Maggie Sottero. The dress was lace with a sweetheart shape neckline. There was a diamante belt with pearls around the waist and the dress was laced up at the back with a long trail. I had my alterations done here in Ireland by a lady based in Swords called Jane FitzSimons. She was absolutely brilliant. There was only a week between when I arrived back in Ireland to the day of the wedding. And to top it off she came to the house the morning of the wedding to get me into my dress as it took forever to lace up the back!
Our ceremony… We had a church ceremony, which was absolutely beautiful. It was the local church in Kingscourt. The church was quaint and cosy and our priest Fr Gerry McCormack was just brilliant, even though he did not know either of us it was like we actually belonged to the parish. Being in Australia it was difficult with time differences but he was great on emails and always kept in touch. We kept the church decorations simple, we don’t like overly fussy things so we had green and white flowers and also little lanterns that were lit going up the aisle. We also had two little trees out the front of the church. We chose most of the readings and mass ourselves and made sure to put in personal touches rather than the standard mass. We also had a beautiful wedding singer who had a pianist and violinist accompanying her. Again she was great to deal with living so far away, I didn’t meet her until the day and she was just perfect. We also had Shane’s sister and brother sing towards the end of the mass which was wonderful & made everyone cry but in a good way…
Our favourite part of the wedding day… We both agreed that the best part of the wedding day was our ceremony. A Church ceremony can be a little boring sometimes, however our priest Fr Gerry McCormack was just excellent. For a priest where neither of us is from that parish he made the whole time seem so personal. He had people laughing and crying at the same time. The whole ceremony was so emotional. The church was beautiful and our wedding singer was excellent, she added to the whole atmosphere of the ceremony. At the beginning of the ceremony, Fr Gerry made the two families cross over sides and introduces themselves to each other which made everyone feel at ease and relaxed. Many of our guests mentioned to us that the church really set the tone for the rest of the day, that it was really good.
We chose our photographer because… We chose Couple Photography because the photographer Ros came highly recommended. Cheryl’s mother met her at the bridal fair in the RDS and told us about her. She was so helpful and always kept in contact with us while we were in Australia. She has a very calming way about her and makes you feel at ease especially when posing for photographs is not your forte. The first time we met Roslyn was when we came home eight weeks before the wedding to finalise everything. We were exhausted and had no enthusiasm to go and do engagement photos, but she made us totally relaxed and come out of our shell. It made it so much easier knowing how things would be on the day of the wedding.
Our wedding theme/colours… We went with a 1920s themed wedding. Lots of people entered into the fun of things and dressed up. The venue was black and white. We dressed our tables with white table cloths and white chairs with black bows. There were black table runners on the table and the centrepiece was a white vase with black and white feathers. When the lights were dimmed the vase lit up in the centre of the table. We also had pearls wrapped in a black lace bag for the ladies and a cigar for the men with black ribbon around it with our names on it and the date of the wedding. We did our own menu cards which were placed on each person’s place setting. They were black on one side and white shimmer on the other. They had the look of a 1920s menu and they also linked to our invitation cards which were the same. We also had a 1920s photo booth which was great fun and we got a book with everyone’s photo. You could change the background to different 20s themes and there were props too to add a little fun.
What our bridal party wore… The boys were in the same Navy/Blue suit as Shane with the double breasted waistcoat and the two tone shoes; the only difference was that the boys had a red/pink rose to match those in the bridesmaids’ flowers and Shane wore a Calla Lily to match the bride’s bouquet. The girls wore a long Valentine red colour dress, very simple and flowing with ivory peep toe heels. The dresses were bought online at dessy.com and were from the ‘After Six’ range.
We chose our venue because… We chose Cabra Castle as our venue because it was just such a beautiful place. It had lots of different rooms for photos and the function room was so beautiful and was perfect for our 160 guests. We loved the fact that it had a funky cocktail bar and that the main bar was in the function room. It keeps your guests together. They have a choice of two bridal suites that are both beautiful but the courtyard suite is just amazing. It is renowned for its great service and food and everyone raved about the meal and service after the wedding. From the moment we went to view Cabra Castle and talk to them about options for our day, they were so relaxed and helpful. With us both living in Australia it was extremely difficult to plan but they were so helpful with everything and kept in contact with us from the moment we booked them as our venue.
Our honeymoon… Our main honeymoon has yet to happen given that we went home to Ireland for the three weeks, however we have planned to head off in April 2015 to Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand for a bit of an action packed adventure as well as some luxury. We did however head to Waterford for three days after the wedding to chill out and relax. We stayed in the Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore. It was an absolutely stunning hotel. They bent over backwards for us and the whole experience was so enjoyable. We didn’t want to leave.
My piece of advice for other brides… So much planning goes into just one day, there is so much organising and detail that guests don’t even consider. Only you and your partner will know how much has gone in to the whole day. My biggest advice is that on the day; just go with the flow of things. Enjoy every single minute, because in my experience the day wasn’t long enough! You only get that one day so relish every minute of it. There will be something, even if it’s just a tiny thing that will not go according to plan, but you will be so happy that you will hardly even notice it. When you and your groom are happy so are your guests.
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Former editor, current contributor, (she just can't let go!) Karen enjoys writing fashion but is known to dabble in decor from time to time. Her favourite section on the site is the Real Wedding section, followed closely by the Health & Fitness forums.