Booking a talented event planner took the pressure off Rachel and professional footballer Daniel when they said ‘I do’ in Lough Eske Castle, Donegal – 15 years after they met.
Professional footballer Daniel Lafferty ignored a long running joke by proposing to Rachel Fahy when she was heavily pregnant with their second child.
The couple, who are both 30 and from Derry, met when Rachel was 15 and Daniel 16. Not long afterwards Daniel got his first professional football contract with Celtic and moved to Scotland.
Many years later, he popped the question when the couple were holidaying in Dubai. “I was heavily pregnant with our second little boy,” Rachel recalled. “Daniel organised a private, romantic dinner on the beach. It was absolutely beautiful and I had no idea. A running joke between us was that I would never say yes to a proposal while I was pregnant because, one, I wouldn’t be able to celebrate properly; two, I would have no nice pictures because I would be all swollen, and three, it would just be my luck that after all the years we have been together he would pick that time to do it!”
“Dinner was stunning and he left it until the end of the evening to get down on one knee and pop the question.”
Rachel said the ring, which Daniel had picked himself, was stunning. “It means all the more to me that he picked it himself.”
For Rachel, one wedding dress was not quite enough – she ended up with two!
Her first visit to McElhinney’s in Ballybofey, where she hoped to find a Pronovias dress, did not end in success. “All six dresses I had picked out were very plain with no detail at all, and all very fitted. Of course my mum and my two sisters, both bridesmaids, were biased and said they all looked beautiful but something just didn’t click, so I left with a lot of on my mind.”
A few weeks later Rachel returned to McElhinney’s, this time with Daniel’s mum and his sister, her other bridesmaid.
“They didn’t like any of the dresses I had set aside form last time, so it was back to the drawing board,” said Rachel.
She was then shown a dress she had initially disregarded. “It seemed to have stripes on it, which I didn’t think I would have ever wanted, but lo and behold, it turned out to be my wedding dress! I fell in love with it straight away, and so did everyone else.
“It was not the designer I wanted, but that didn’t matter. It was a Justin Alexander dress and I loved it.”
Still not 100 per cent certain, however, Rachel booked another appointment, giving herself a few weeks to think about it. “On the drive to the shop I did stumble across some new arrivals in the Pronovais section and before I could make my decision on my dress I had to try that on,” she said.
Rachel fell in love all over again, and so began to consider a second dress, not something she had initially planned.
“Everyone there at the time decided for me that I needed to have the Justin Alexander dress for my ceremony and the Pronovais dress for the evening,” Rachel said. “Getting the best of both worlds really and the right decision for me. I loved them both.”
Rachel, who admits she was a tomboy when she was growing up, said she found trying on wedding dresses very stressful. “I am not a very confident girl and after two children, trying on dresses was very daunting, but Mary, the bridal consultant at McElhinney’s made me feel so comfortable, as did the girls who did my fittings and alterations. “From start to finish they were fantastic and nothing was ever too much.”
Rachel’s three bridesmaids were her sisters Emma Fahy (chief bridesmaid) and Lisa McLaughlin, and Daniel’s sister Emma Lafferty. Their beautiful dresses were from Cari’s Closet in Dublin.
The couple returned to McElhinney’s for the outfits for the groom’s party. Looking impeccable in their tux on the day were Daniel’s brother Sean Lafferty (best man), Rachel’s brother Mark Fahy, and Daniel’s best friend Jason Clarke.
“The best part of planning the day was probably doing all the tasting of food and wine and cake etc….. all the fun bits,” said Rachel.
“The most stressful part of planning was having the imagination to see everything that you chose come together. As the day grew closer I really did start to panic about how the day would go.”
The couple married on June 8 2019, in St Patrick’s Chapel, Pennyburn, Derry, and entertained 170 guests at their reception in Lough Eske Castle, Donegal. Theme of the day was back tie, which the couple chose because it is ‘elegant, timeless and classic.’
Special features included Mr & Mrs Lafferty letters, a cigar bar, light-up dance floor, selfie mirror, the most amazing cake swing, sweet cart and some secret serenaders who got the crowd on their feet.
Rachel and Daniel’s first dance as husband and wife was to Ed Sheeran’s Perfect.
Rachel said that, with the help of many people, the day had gone better than she could have ever imagined. “I cannot take all the credit. Annette from ‘Look Events’ was honestly a life saver, she helped me find suppliers and she had a lot of contacts. She took a lot of pressure off me and she went over and above for me,” Rachel said. “If I had to give the most credit or thanks to anyone from the day would be to her. She helped make the day look amazing and I would have been lost without her.”
The highlight of the day for both bride and groom was seeing all their guests laugh and cry and be happy. “Everyone had the best day and that made us feel really good and glad that we decided to have the wedding at home when we did consider having a wedding away,” Rachel said. “I would not have done one thing differently. The memories I will have forever.”
To other couples planning their wedding, Rachel says: “Plan the day around what you like and don’t stress about what other people are going to think. Your guests are there to celebrate you and be with you.”
WEDDING SUPPLIERS INFO
Reception location: Lough Eske Castle
Wedding Dress from: McElhinneys
Groomswear from: Mc Elhinneys
Make-up by: Syenna Hair & Beauty
Hair by: Syenna Hair & Beauty
Flowers by: Imagine Flowers
Room Décor by: Look Events
Stationery by: Look Events
Transport from: Glendale Limousine
Photography by: Yez Photography
Videography by: Simba Star Media
Entertainment by:The Housemates