With a love for country music, and a background in farming, Edel and John McParland’s wedding day married the two themes, and they had a day to remember.
The couple met in 2009, and while Edel was at university they met up regularly when she was home – but it wasn’t until John flew to Liverpool to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Edel that things ‘became official’.
The proposal on Christmas Eve 2015 was completely unique too!
Edel remembers fondly, “My proposal was magical and I had no idea, not in the slightest, that John was going to propose. I had just secured my first permanent post as a social worker and had to work Christmas Eve.
“Every Christmas since we have been together John has always texted my sisters Lisa and Roisin asking ‘What will I get Edel?’. This year I had told my sister Lisa to tell John that I wanted new runners. John text me on Christmas Eve when I was in work around 4pm to ask me what size my feet were and I was raging – I remember saying to one of my work colleagues that he clearly was only going looking for something late on Christmas Eve.
“Later that evening John rang to ask if I was going to Christmas Eve Mass in Belleek’s, his local chapel. I was not fussed as I was tired from working all day but John was persistent that I went.
“I arrived to his house and we got in the car to travel the short distance to the chapel passing his farm and his beloved hen house. At this stage John said, ‘Dad’s left the light on in the hen house, will you get out and turn it off.’
“As I opened the hen house door I heard ‘God’s Plan’ by Derek Ryan which I always said I would walk up the aisle to but I still had no idea. My heart began to race as I turned on every light outside I finally found the light for inside the house and there it was – John had used the eggs to spell ‘Will You Marry Me’ with the ring sitting underneath. As I read the message John was down on one knee.
“It was such a magical and romantic surprise as John would not be noted for being spontaneous or the romantic type!”
The couple soon set to organising their wedding day, which was planned for Saturday 18th March, 2017 at Ballymacnab Church, followed by a reception in Glencarn Hotel, Castleblaney.
First on Edel’s list was her wedding dress.
“I knew from the moment John proposed to me the exact type of dress that I wanted. I knew that I wanted my dress to be completely backless, tight to the knee and then big at the bottom with plenty of net. I only went to five bridal shops and found the whole experience quite stressful.
“I was confident in what I wanted and people kept saying ‘You will go for the complete opposite, it happens every bride’. However, I kept saying to my mummy I had my dress picked in my head.
“By pure luck one day on Facebook this page appeared called Laura Kates Bridal Boutique. I found the dress on the first photo – well, almost the dress. It had the back and the bottom that I wanted but not the corset!
“The bridal shop was based in Cork so me and mummy went down the next day and I bought the dress. I designed the straps and the corset of the dress myself alongside my mummy. I didn’t see the completed dress until two weeks before the wedding. It was everything I wanted and more!”
With her dress finally found Edel again knew exactly what she wanted for her bridal party.
“I wanted a navy and red colour palette and had my bridesmaids and flower girl outfits made to order by Emma Murion Designs. My sisters were my bridesmaids, and Roisin got married five months later!”
The groomsmen went for a classic suit with a waistcoat and a red bow-tie to match the colour theme, which they got from SD Wells in Portadown.
The couple were also clear on their theme – Edel grew up on a beef and poultry farm, and John is a beef and poultry farmer so they went with it and created a very unique feel to their big day.
Edel remembers all the little touches, “We had wellie boots filled with flowers at the end of the chapel pews, which were also centre pieces at the reception. We used a pallet for a table plan; a wheelbarrow to hold champagne; farming themed invites and Mass booklets; cracked eggs around the chapel flowers and old creamery cans filled with flowers.
“At the chapel we also had my father’s tractor and our brothers’ tractors – John Deeres – parked outside and when my flower girl walked up the aisle she had a sign that read, ‘Uncle John here comes your Deere’ beside a photo of a John Deere.”
But the finishing touch mirrored John’s proposal as the couple used eggs at the front of the chapel to spell out ‘Welcome’ as well as the couple’s names and the date of the wedding!
The day went to plan as 300 of the couple’s friends and family came to celebrate alongside them. Edel said, “The day was magical. We felt very blessed to be surrounded by all our loved ones, family and friends. It was very surreal and we felt truly blessed. “
In organising such a large wedding day Edel found the hotel’s help invaluable.
“They were the most amazing hotel from start to finish and went over and beyond. They were so approachable and anything we asked for was never a problem.
“It was nearly like we had a personal wedding planner in their staff member Melissa, who has now become such a good friend. She was incredible and so important in the planning of our big day. We could not recommend The Glencarn enough.”
The couple’s final flourish was a surprise for their guests when Derek Ryan and his band appeared to provide the entertainment – and of course, ‘God’s Plan’ was their first dance!
Looking back Edel said, “The day was perfect and it was everything we wanted. So no, we didn’t stick to our budget!
“And our highlight was seeing each other at the top off the aisle for the first time.
“We would advise other couples to enjoy all the planning and include both the bride and groom in all decisions and planning!”
Following the big day the couple went on a ‘minymoon’ to Tenerife before heading to Florida and a cruise around the Bahamas in September.
When asked how they are finding married life, Edel said, “This is a question you get asked a lot. We are finding married life truly blessed to have found one another and are looking forward to the next chapter in our life.”
Reception location: Glencarn Hotel,
Wedding Dress: Laura Kates Bridal Boutique
Bridesmaids Dresses: Emma Murion Fashion Designer
Groomswear: SD Kells
Make-up: Fiona Murphy Makeup
Hair: Gifted Hair
Flowers: Flowers by Kay
Room Décor: Amilo Weddings and Events
Cake: Yummy Mummy Cakes
Stationery: Instant Print
Transport: J&F Group and Barry Cunningham
Photography: 4Ever Photos
Videography: Film it Studios
Entertainment: Derek Ryan