Charlotte and Mark met on a night out in Belfast but it was atop a mountain in Donegal where the wedding prep started, after Mark got down on one knee, surprising his then girlfriend with a romantic proposal.
Charlotte remembers, “We had been doing the odd ‘walk’ in Spring 2015 and we had decided to go to Slieve League Mountain in County Donegal on the 27th June.
“It had been raining all morning so I though we wouldn’t actually walk it, perhaps we would just go for a drive, but we got there and Mark insisted we walk to the top, the rain stopped and the clouds cleared as we walked up. “We got to the top of the mountain and Mark insisted on having a photo taken, and a selfie wouldn’t do, which is not like him. “An American couple came to the top of the mountain in a few minutes and I walked over to ask them to take a quick photo. When I turned back around, Mark was down on one knee just overlooking the ocean. “I kept him waiting in suspense for a while waiting on my answer. It was all very romantic – I didn’t know he had it in him!”When I got over the shock we made our way home to tell everyone our news and we drank champagne into the early hours and the next day! It was an amazing weekend!”
With the three diamond trilogy ring firmly on Charlotte’s hand, the couple soon set about organising their wedding day, with a date set for March 2017.
They didn’t go with a specific ‘theme’ as such but they kept everything ‘thoughtful, simple and coordinated’ which they joke is very much like their personalities – ‘everything matching, plain and simple’. And the first simple element came to plan when Charlotte found her perfect dress. “Dress shopping was exciting and the days out with the girls were great – my two sisters Victoria and Rebecca were bridesmaids, along with my friend Shauna Harkin. “After a few shops I wasn’t impressed with what I had seen as everything was lace. I tried all sorts of dresses but after a few I knew I wanted mine to be classic, simple with a little detail. “In the end the pearls were enough detail for me and I loved my cathedral length veil to match, plain and simple again with a satin trim.” The bridesmaids kept the simple look too as they settled on a comfortable dress in ‘Frosted Fig’ – a taupe grey slightly purple colour. Their only detail was silk waistband and a few pearls on the back of their dress, to keep with the theme.
With everything matching – the mass booklets, table plan and numbers, little signs, guest book – they also added a personal touch to their wedding at St Patrick’s Church, Dungannon, displaying a photo frame display of all the married guests on their own wedding days, as Charlotte recalls, ‘there were some interesting dresses and hairstyles.’
The 170 guests enjoyed a reception at the Errigal Country House Hotel, Cootehill, Co. Cavan where Charlotte and Mark added some special touches to make the day their own.
“The photo display of married couples at wedding was something unique and we also had a sparkler send off. “We also had Ferrero Rocher chocolates and beer and pink champagne for guests, and a milk flute and cookie for Mark’s nephews, as their toast. “Our fab photographer also displayed a slideshow of photos at the reception, of a selection of photos taken from early morning to the evening. Everyone loved to see all the prepping and ‘photos with rollers’ “We also had a ‘selfie mirror’ and a colour-coordinated sweetie table so plenty of little touches.”
Looking back at the planning Mark’s highlight was the day the couple went menu tasting – ‘he tasted it all!’ – while Charlotte has too many best parts to mention but she really enjoyed ‘the initial list writing (I’m a list writing person and always have a plan in place), also the dress shopping; the girly days out are great and the cake tasting with my Mummy, lots of tea and cake.’ However, the most stressful part was, ‘Waiting on RSVPs from guests, but it all works out – eventually.’ As for the day itself Charlotte ‘wouldn’t change a thing!’ “It was perfect! I really wish I could do it all over again. “Although I kept all our guests waiting a little while before I turned up, it kept Mark on his toes. ”Everyone says it ‘goes so fast’ which is a complete understatement. It went so quickly but we really have memories to last a lifetime and of course amazing photos and a cinematic wedding DVD to help us remember all of the little details.” The couple have lots of highlights too. Charlotte says, “Walking up the aisle with my daddy! I was so emotional all day. “Meeting each other at the top of the aisle and putting on each other’s rings as well as sitting at the top table and being able to see all our families and friends in the one room and all of the constant laughing and dancing. “On the way to the reception and when we also took 20 minutes after the meal while guests were seated to have a walk around and look at all our organising and take a breather.” They also have great advice for other couples planning their big day. “Relax. Enjoy the week leading up to the Big Day – the entertaining and the prepping is great. “Smile all day. Take it all in and make a little time for each other.” Taking some time out afterwards the couple travelled to Dubai for their honeymoon where they enjoyed the heat and the shopping. They are really enjoying married life and Charlotte jokes, ‘Mark makes a great chicken curry!’
Reception location: Errigal Country House Hotel
Wedding & Bridesmaid Dresses: Petticoat Lane
Groomswear: Statement Menswear
Make-up: Lauren Montgomery MUA
Hair: Hair Boutique
Flowers: Stephen Mallon
Room décor: Changing Events
Rings: Lunn’s Jewellers
Cake: Gingernut Cakes
Stationery: The Wedding Room @ CR Print
Transport: I Do Wedding Cars
Photography: Padraig Donnelly
Videography: Cathal Hegarty
Productions Entertainment: Juice Wedding Band