Family was the key to a perfect wedding day for Sharlene O’Hara and Gary Houston when they said their vows at The Red Door Country House, Fahan, Co Donegal.
From helping the bride choose a wedding dress, to supplying the perfect vintage vehicles on the day, and even joining the Irish dance troupe at the reception, the couple’s families played a huge role in the build-up to the wedding and the day itself.
Sharlene, 34, a Patient Tracker/MDT Co-ordinator from Greysteel, and Gary, 35, a Switchgear Technician from Eglinton, met at the Happy Landing Bar in Eglinton where Gary was tending the bar while Sharlene was on a night out with friends.
The couple got engaged on Christmas morning 2017 at their home. “Gary had the engagement ring wrapped up under the Christmas tree,” Sharlene said. “I actually thought by the shape of the box it was carpet slippers or some form of footwear. I unwrapped the box and here the ring was – Gary couldn’t speak with nerves!”
The ring, from Lunn’s Portfolio of Fine Diamonds collection, is a platinum set diamond cluster with a centre cut centre in a four-claw setting, with surrounding diamond set bezel and diamond set shoulders.
There were many tears shed when Sharlene chose her wedding dress at Ultimate Dresses in Dungiven – and not just by the bride-to-be! “I was accompanied by my two aunts,” Sharlene explained. “I had a vision of what I would have liked and with the assistance of my aunts and staff at Ultimate Dresses my dreams became reality. I was shocked when I went to purchase the dress that my aunts had actually already paid – it was a very touching and emotional moment, lots of tears were shed, including staff members!”
Bridesmaid was Sharlene’s cousin, Leanne McLaughlin, and Emily McLaughlin, the bride’s Goddaughter, was a gorgeous mini bridesmaid. Their dresses also came from Ultimate Dresses.
Groomswear for bestman Ryan Houston, Gary’s brother, and mini bestman, Ethan McLaughlin, Sharlene’s Godson, was from Ultimate Menswear in Dungiven.
The couple loved planning their day. “We enjoyed every aspect of it, from selecting dresses and suits, designing our cake, tasting our meal plan, hand delivering our invites and arranging entertainment. Everything we did, we thoroughly took pleasure from,” Sharlene said.
“The most stressful part was the guest list and table plan. Our venue could only accommodate a certain number so it was hard to find where to draw the line.
One hundred and twenty guests attended the wedding and reception at The Red Door Country House on September 21 2018
The couple had opted for a rustic theme which they incorporated into all the planning. “From crafting our invitations and favours, to designing our cake, choosing suits and dresses, to creating our table plan in which we used Vintage suitcases and using my grandfather’s 1950s Ford Prefect accompanied by a Volkswagen Campervan to match to transport the bridal party – all these really set the rustic theme,” said Sharlene.
“We went for the theme as we are both into American Country Music and like the country homely feeling.”
The day went to plan and just flew by. “All of our wedding suppliers went above and beyond to cater for our wedding day,” Sharlene said. “Our guests were so much fun and in great form. We could not fault a thing – well only a little rain and it was slightly cold, but we braved the weather and captured some amazing images.”
They danced their first dance as man and wife to ‘Then’ by Brad Paisley.
The couple managed to stick to their budget, despite a number of special features, including doves supplied by Angel Doves, and a semi-naked wedding cake displayed on a very pretty diamante swing. “It was breath-taking. We were extremely privileged to be the first couple to use this display from Ultimate Touches,” said Sharlene.
The talented Siamsa Gael Irish Dance Troupe helped set the atmosphere for the reception. Sharlene said she was touched that they had included Goddaughter Emily into their routine. “Some of our guests were also very impressive ceili dancers and are still awaiting their call from the troupe,” she laughed.
There was plenty of laughter during the groom’s speech too. “Gary took a fit or uncontrollable laughing during his speech. He really couldn’t get himself under control and the more he laughed the more our guests laughed – it was very funny,” said Sharlene.
The highlight of the bride’s day was the presence of her grandfather Gerard who had been rushed into hospital the Friday before the wedding, and there were concerns he may not be out in time. “Fortunately, on the Wednesday afternoon he got discharged and did me the honour of walking me down the aisle and giving my hand to Gary,” Sharlene said.
“We were also overwhelmed by the love, generosity and devotion shown to us not only on our wedding day but in the lead up to the wedding and post wedding. We are extremely lucky to have great families and good friends.
“The experience was kept stress free thanks to the help and guidance from my aunts at Perfect Bliss Wedding Events whose advice and attention to detail was second to none. We were so grateful and lucky to have people within the family with so much knowledge and working within the wedding industry for us to avail of their experiences and professional direction.”
Sharlene and Gary said their honeymoon, a 10 day Eastern Caribbean Cruise ‘was like heaven.’
WEDDING SUPPLIERS INFO
Reception location: The Red Door Country House
Wedding Dress from: Ultimate Dresses
Bridesmaids dresses from: Ultimate Dresses
Groomswear from: Ultimate Menswear
Make-up by: Syenna Hair and Beauty
Hair by: Syenna Hair and Beauty
Flowers by: John Paul Florist
Room Décor by: Ultimate Touches
Rings from: Lunn’s The Jewellers
Cake by: Devine Cakes
Transport from: Cool Classics Wedding Cars
Photography by: Jacqui at Eyecon Photography
Videography by: Logie Bear Productions