Gillian and Alister McKelvey met through the Young Farmers social group and they transferred their love of rural life into their unique wedding day in County Tyrone.
With tractors and lorries featuring prominently, it was a day the couple, and their guests, will never forget.
Gillian remembers, “On the day our guests had said they had never been to a more relaxed wedding or seen such a relaxed bride!”
The pair met in 2012, and three years later Alister proposed with a ring from Lunns in Londonderry, which was an oval halo cluster set on a shoulder of diamonds.
“We got engaged at the Farnham Estate in Cavan on 20th December 2015 – it was my 25th birthday.”
Less than two years later, on 28th October, 2017 the couple walked up the aisle in Mountjoy Presbyterian Church, Omagh before they, and their 220 guests, attended a reception in the Silverbirch Hotel, also in Omagh.
The season was reflected in the colour scheme, with the bridesmaids wearing deep cranberry dresses, trimmed with jeweled capped sleeves, and Gillian carried a bouquet of autumnal shaded flowers from Pollocks Flowers in Castlederg.
Gillian wore an A-line shaped gown with lace detailing from Creative Ideas in Armagh.
“It was the second dress in the second shop. I was very open minded but knew that I didn’t want a strapless dress.”I loved my experience in Creative Ideas. The girls where so helpful and made me feel so comfortable trying the dresses on. They had a great selection in every style you could think of.”
Her bridesmaids – Rachel Monteith, friend of the bride; Rachel McKelvey, sister of the groom; Gillian Adams, friend of the bride and Zara Preston, cousin of the bride – also sourced their dresses in Creative Ideas. The flowergirl, Leah Preston, who was also a cousin of the bride, got her dress in Matalna.
The men carried the deep cranberry colour scheme through on their cravats and handkerchiefs, with smart tartan waistcoats adding some interest.
Alister along with his Best Man and brother Gareth McKelvey; groomsmen, Raymond McFarland, Ashley Crawford (friends of the groom) and Adam Wilson, brother of the bride, got theor suits from SD Kells in Omagh, where Aaron looked after them.
Amidst all the planning and organizing Gillian reflects that “the best part for us was the last few weeks leading up to the wedding day. The buzz around the house was just so lovely, getting the final preparations in place.
“We didn’t stress about it too much and just let everything fall into place.”
And that’s their top tip too.
“Just do what you want. It is your day so have it the way you want it. That’s exactly what we did. We didn’t really set a budget. We just knew where we would cut back on certain things to cut costs.”
Throughout the whole day, the couple included references to Alister’s contracting business and their love of rural life.
“We used tractors and lorries as transport and had our tables named after farm machinery to tie in with Alister’s contracting business.
“We also had two tractors and a lorry parked outside the church for people arriving. The tractors then went to the hotel entrance for guests arriving.
“Alister and I used the lorry as our transport to go to the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh for photographs.
“Alister’s cousin Angela made our wedding cake and handmade two highland cow cake toppers for the cake which we loved. I have two highland cows and it brought the farming theme to the decoration.
“Our day went so smoothly with no hiccups. We couldn’t have asked for a better day weather wise either. We both loved arriving at the hotel in the lorry and the majority of our guests awaiting our arrival outside the hotel with their cameras. That’s something that sticks out in both our minds.”
Looking back, would you do anything differently?
“Maybe just take five minutes to sit back and take it all in. The day goes so fast. People told us the day would go fast but I never expected it go as fast as it did.”
The couple then danced their first dance to ‘Then’ by Brad Paisley with the whole bridal party taking to the dancefloor for ‘I’ve Got Friends with Tractors’ by Derek Ryan.
They relaxed afterwards with a sumptuous honeymoon. “We went on a Caribbean cruise for a week and then stayed in a resort in the Dominican Republic for a week.
“We have settled into married life well. There’s never a quiet time with Alister’s work so we sometimes don’t see much of each other during the week but that could be the secret to a happy marriage!”
Reception location: Silverbirch Hotel
Wedding Dress: Creative Ideas
Bridesmaids dresses: Creative Ideas
Groomswear: SD Kells
Hair: Echo Hair Studio
Flowers: Pollocks Flowers
Room Décor: Completely Covered
Rings: Murray and Co.
Stationery: Valerie’s Creations
Photography: Sarah Bryden Photography
Videography: Milltown Digital Productions
Entertainment: The Bleed’n Cowboys