Alex & Steven’s Northern Ireland Wedding

Alex & Steven’s Northern Ireland Wedding

Alex and Steven, our gorgeous real wedding couple, have brought us a wedding day full to the brim of wedding inspiration from origami wedding decor, mix-and-match bridesmaid dresses, a photo bus, tattoo station  – truly the list goes on and on! This creative northern Ireland wedding day took place in one fabulous venue, Dunmore Gardens in Co. Donegal, which saw a barn transformed into a romantic, whimsical ceremony setting whilst a marquee celebration was sprinkled with all the colours of the rainbow from the decor to the flowers and stationery. If you’re in search of something unique, allow Paula Gillespie’s photographs below inspire you.

Exterior wedding venue manor house
Alex and Steven wedding sign
Gold heels Jewelry ring earrings gold stars RSVP card letter

The details shot always give us a great sneak peek at what’s to come – and this one certainly looks like a personality-filled, colourful celebration judging by the bouquet ribbons, retro stationery and printed origami!

Jewelry ring earrings gold stars
Confetti flower baskets for flower girls

So let us begin with how our lovebirds first met! “I moved to Glasgow when I was 18 for university,” says our bride Alex. “Like most students, I was out every other night with friends. This one night we went to a nightclub and my friends either had boyfriends there or had pulled, so I was left on my own! It happened to be Fresher’s Week and there were even hairdressers on stage giving free haircuts, so I went up and got my fringe cut. Safe to say it wasn’t very straight. At this point, I thought I really need to find someone, so I scanned the room and saw this bright green cap and went over to the fella. I can’t remember exactly what I said but we danced the night away, and the rest is history!”

Close up of orange rose/flowers
Bride and bridesmaids pop the champagne outside
Green white and purple dresses hanging up

Look at these floral princesses wearing the most beautiful embroidered dresses and matching dried flower crowns – a beautiful choice for her flower girls. When it came to getting down on one knee, Steven had a romantic proposal planned which didn’t quite work out. But Steven thought on his feet!

Floral flower headbands
Two little girls pose for the camera wearing flower headbands

Alex explains: “Steven took me to Dunkeld and we visited The Hermitage, a national forest. We had been before and I fell in love with the scenery, from the Douglas fir trees to the amazing Black Linn Falls. Little did I know Steven planned to propose inside Ossian’s Hall, an old stone building that overlooks the falls, but there happened to be an actual wedding taking place. The bride had yet to arrive but all the guests were there and a bagpiper was playing!” she says. “Steven begged me to walk on, so we walked some more, but at this stage, I just wanted to return to the hotel as it was November and it was bloody freezing cold. Steven improvised, and said he needed a wee, so we walked along to a covered area with a huge tree. I turned around, and when he said he was finished I looked around and there he was on one knee. I was in such shock I don’t think I registered what was actually happening!”

Silky green bridesmaid dress
Bridesmaids and bride pose in green and purple dresses

Wow, the ladies showcased mix-and-match coloured bridesmaid dresses in lovely lilac mink satin and earthy olive green – a colour combination that complement one another and the groomswear oh-so well! The bouquets were bursting with red, orange, and baby pink roses and foliage, all tied together in an array of draped ribbons.

Groom and best man in green suits standing against farm door
Groom and best man in green suits laughing

The northern Ireland wedding day took place entirely in one venue allowing for a stress-free day from beginning to end. The ceremony took place in the barn, which was bedecked in awe-worthy decor. The guests were greeted with a modern pink welcome sign, garnished with vibrant florals! “When it came to the wedding aesthetic it really was a mixed bag as we had free reign when it came to both the barn and marquee.”

Steven & Alex wedding pink sign and flowers
Empty seating area ceremonial room guests

“The barn itself didn’t need much with its huge stone walls, wooden beams, and eye-catching cartwheel chandeliers. We added a foliage moongate to match the natural vibe along with the hanging wisteria and dried flowers,” they say. “Steven and I also had chair banners made by the amazing Daydreamer Creative Studio. A very famous Scottish saying is ‘Are you Dancin? Are you Askin?’ We found these very fitting given our first encounter!” Alex adds.

Are ye dancin? Flag on chair
Are ye dancin? Flag on chair

The ceremony was very special to the couple as their closest friends took part. Beautiful ceremony poems read by their nearest and dearest included Forever by Ms Moem, Scaffolding by Seamus Heaney and In Her Eyes by Michelle W. Emerson. The couple also opted for a handfasting ceremonya symbolic unity ritual in which a couple stand face to face as their hands are tied together – hence the phrase, tying the knot!

Flower girls walk down the aisle
Brother walks bride down the aisle
Officiant bride and groom bound ribbon on hands
Bride and groom seated from behind
Bride and groom guests throwing confetti over couple

The gorgeous northern Ireland wedding venue that stole their hearts was Dunmore Gardens in Co. Donegal due to the uniqueness and simplicity of the country house and gardens. The couple ensured the sunny summer’s day was full of outdoor entertainment for their guests to enjoy to make the most of the surrounds. A photo booth and mobile bar were amongst the fun, and no doubt went down a treat.

Pink heels and cocks green dress and food menu
Food car truck
Photo booth for guests wedding car
Photos car with bride and groom
Alex & Steven sign on table

The gentlemen in the wedding party wore a similar earthy tone to the ladies, making it a match made in style heaven! The green three-piece tweed suits were finished with colourful floral buttonholes and ties with a subtle floral print for an extra dash of personal style.

Bride bridesmaids groom and groomsmen pose in park together group shot
Bride and bridesmaids pose in park
Groom and groomsmen pose for a picture in a park

Alex, our glowing real bride, was radiant in a modern wedding gown that was the perfect mix of simplicity and elegance. Wearing a timeless satin Savin London designer gown, a beautifully embroidered cathedral veil, she finished her look with glamourous gold bridal shoes by Loeffler Randall and gold and pearl drop earrings.

Bouquet of flowers roses and bride
Bride on her own standing in garden surrounded by trees during her Northern Ireland wedding
Bride and groom laugh in garden

The bursts of vibrant colours continued throughout the day from the ceremony to the marquee. “I wanted something special, that would stand out. Steven and I were at his friend’s wedding a few years ago who had a small number of origami birds hanging above them during their ceremony, it was absolutely stunning. I loved this idea and it forever stuck in my head. When we were planning our own wedding I read more about the art of origami (paper folding) and the symbolism of the origami birds from good fortune to longevity. I just loved the idea of the birds hanging above our guests, so we went for it!” she explains.

Your seat awaits - seating arrangements for guests
Birds decor hanging above dining room tables
Danielle Donnelly name card placement on table

In addition to this, the couple continued with colourful dried flowers for their centrepieces along with tapered candles. They also added some personal touches with a DIY tattoo station, which was a huge hit not only for the kids but the adults too! “Our card holder was a recycled floor tom that we painted to match our wedding colours and our guest book was a kick drumhead for everyone to sign. The reason is, Steven used to be a drum tech touring around the world with bands before starting up his own fabrication business.”

Macaroons in cream white floral flower cake
Macaroons in cream white floral flower cake

“Steven actually built the frames and stands that were used throughout our wedding. Finally, our favours were small packets of forget-me-not seeds in honour of my dad Charlie, who sadly couldn’t attend the wedding due to his illness. Steven and I also donated money to Alzheimer’s Research UK,” says Alex.

Cards on table
Temporary tattoos in wooden box female hand

Alex arranged to have a bagpiper and drummer play as the guests arrived as a surprise for Steven. This was something very special to the couple. “Hearing this whilst I walked a few yards to the venue really made it for me. We were then piped to the top table to I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers, which everyone went mad for.”

Bagpipes Scotsman plays music instrument wedding band
Bridesmaid stands up to give speech

She also added: “Because my daddy couldn’t be present my sister surprised me with a poem she had written and read out during the speeches. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house. It was absolutely beautiful and so thoughtful. I now have this framed together with a picture of my daddy and me, as I had managed to take my daddy to the venue a few days before and had photographs taken along with Steven. These were then placed about the venue for people to see.” We asked the lovely newlyweds what they would advise to those who are in the planning process, and they said: “It would be to not leave things until last minute unless you work better under pressure.”

Bride and groom evening exterior shot lights
Bride and groom evening exterior shot lights

“The last eight weeks of the wedding vanished into thin air for us, so once you have a venue booked keep that momentum going to get as much as possible booked and ticked off. Trial runs of decor are a must if you are taking on a lot yourselves! Don’t try to squeeze all of this in last minute as stress levels can be high. One thing Steven and I said we would definitely do but unfortunately didn’t do as much, was to make sure we escaped for some alone periods. We would strongly recommend even subtle reminders from family and friends to help with this. Other than that I wouldn’t worry too much about getting around to every guest, as the big day goes real quick.”

Bride and groom laugh on the dancefloor

They shared their first dance as husband and wife to Kiss Me by Sixpence None The Richer, and judging by those smiles, the dancing continued into the early hours full of love and laughter! A very special thank you to Alex, Steven and Paula Gillespie for sharing this beautiful wedding day with One Fab Day!

If you’re still in search of your dream wedding venue, our 100 Best Wedding Venues 2024/25 Guide is available to buy now!

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