Bride’s maiden name, age, occupation, and where you are from:
Blathnaid Maire Kerr,
Omagh, Co Tyrone
Groom’s name, age, occupation, and where you are from:
Lee Michael Kelly,
Fintona, Co Tyrone
Wedding date: 12th May 2018
How did you first meet and get together?
I don’t remember the very first time, but lee and his friend does. It was when we were both at school, 3rd and 5th year, his friend came up to me and asked if I would go with him and I said no. Lee didn’t forget it... 6 years later 30th May 2009, my friend and I were going out for the night to Mint nightclub in Cookstown and wanted to bring her boyfriend, Kevin, I told her for him to bring a friend so I didn’t feel like a third wheel, the friend was Lee. The next day, we all went to Rossnowlagh beach, where Lee and I had our first Kiss on his Jet Ski in the middle of the water. The rest was history and Kevin was best man at our wedding.
When did you know it was for life?
We were together just over 4 years when we moved to Australia together, first time living together so it was a test. After a year of living out of each other’s pockets, id would say that’s when we knew.
Tell us about the wedding proposal – where, when, how?
What was the engagement ring like?
4th December 2016, Lee and I had a 16 Day trip planned to America; Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York, Orlando and Niagara Falls. Our Second Stop was Vegas where on Saturday 10th we took a helicopter ride over and into the Grand Canyon. We were able to get out and have a walk around and take pictures. Lee asked the Pilot to take a picture and while we were standing there he started fumbling at his jacket, next thing I know he was down on one knee, and although the Pilot was not informed of the proposal, he did manage to catch a video of it. As we had been together 7.5 years at that point I did mention as a few of our friends got engaged that I would like to pick my own ring, so the proposal ring was an oval emerald in a high setting yellow gold, my favourite stone. A few days later we went to New York where we designed and purchased my engagement ring.
Little did I know he had the proposal ring since April and had asked my father for my hand in marriage the previous Christmas 2015. His reason was waiting for the prefect moment, and it couldn’t have been more prefect.
wedding PLANNING NORTHERN IRELAND
How did you go about planning your dream wedding day?
As we live in Australia, planning at first was a little daunting. Time difference proved to be a bit of a challenge. However with emails, and the Daily Face-time with my mum, the date was set with the Parish and Venue and we had something to work toward. Choosing our bridal party was an easier task. One of our Groomsmen were getting married in August 2017 and we planned to go home for 10 days, these 10 days consisted of driving around the entire country choosing our wedding cars, décor for venue, menus tasting and other vendors along with wedding dress shopping. It was tight going but we done what we could. Once you confirm booking with suppliers, there isn’t much else you can do until closer to the day.
That special bridal gown
Where and how did you choose your stunning wedding dress ?
Rose Clara (Designer) - Always and Forever Bridal shop (Melbourne) Australia
A few months after we got engaged, I went to countless shops and tried on countless dresses to find the style I wanted. I wanted to pick my dress with my mum in August when we went home. I choose my dress when I was at home and after I came back to Australia I was looking at accessories for it thinking on all the bits I wanted to add or change when it came in. When the dress arrived it had to be sent back to the supplier due to the quality of the dress. So 6 months from the wedding and I had no dress. My friends in work took me to a dress shop in in Melbourne CBD on our lunch break to help with my nerves, there I told the shop assistants my situation and they completely calmed me down, I picked 3 dresses I liked and the last dress I tried on, I looked at myself and it was the only dress out of around 40 I had tried on previously I wouldn’t want to change a thing, it was heavily beaded but extremely light, I could sit I could move, I felt like it was just made for me somehow, all it needed was a trim at the bottom and lifted at the shoulders, that was all, it fit me like a glove. The next day, I went back to the shop to face-time my mum with it on and that was it. She loved it.
*Lesson to any bride choosing her dress, if you want to change any part of your dress, it’s not for you. When you know you know. Yes it might have been stressful but it was meant to be.
Were there any near disasters/funny incidents?
I couldn’t find my earrings or tiara and was already running late for the Mass. (yes I was 30 minutes late)
Also, at the Chapel, there were 3 exits, and we were greeting people out of the front entrance where as we walked back down the aisle which was the back entrance. So by time we got out and around, people were already out the door, but that was our mistake for not advising the ushers.
Wedding Grooms wear:
Statement Mens Wear (Portadown) – again with the help of Lee’s sister and our groomsmen, the suits were styled and picked about 6-7 weeks away from the wedding. The Ties for the bridal party were not available in time for the wedding to order from the shop so we got express delivery from a website on the internet… they arrived two days before the wedding luckily.
finding the perfect Bridesmaids Dress…
Coast (Debenhams), Bardot Junior (Australia) –
with the help of my amazing bridesmaids organising dress shop appointments and ordering online and sending me pictures. Being so indecisive, I left it very late and only purchased the dresses 5 weeks before the wedding. As for the flower girl dresses, I wanted them to be in something different to the typical dresses. They were are actually the first thing I bought for the wedding day.
Bridesmaids dresses purchased from: Coast Debenhams
How did the wedding day go?
The morning was hectic, my bridesmaids were at my house 6.45 before I woke up, I didn’t sleep til 3am. Between getting makeup done, hair done and a cuppa tea, photos taken the morning flew in. once you are in your dress and ready, then you start to take it all in. once at the chapel, everything went smoothly. We arrived a little later at the Hotel than we expected but in good time for the meal. Really once you get to the Chapel, everything falls into place.
What was the highlight of your day?
As we had been living in Australia for 5 and ½ years, for both of us it was having our friends and family all together, any time we went home we only seen a few but this allowed us to see everyone and spend time with the people we missed.
No matter how much you wish Uncle John got on better with Aunt Mary because you want them to sit beside each other at a table. Just remember they are there for you, to celebrate you and partner. People will always find something to grump about but as long as the music and food is good and plentiful, they won’t remember that you didn’t have place cards or you didn’t have lanterns at the entrance. Both of us just sat there, at the end of the main course and just looked around at everyone and we felt so happy to be surround by everyone that means so much to us.
What advice would you give to other couples planning their wedding?
Entrance song to venue and Bridal party dance – inform them when they enter and the hosts/band as they will introduce them.
Invitations - RSVPs with name or number matching list of people coded – we sent ours out and when they came back there was no way to tell who the rsvp was from. Which was not the end of the world because we decided on no seating plan as we had little time at home before the wedding and did not want to spend it seating family. If you do go for no seating plan, perhaps just reserve front 4/5 tables for close family and inform them its where they can it.
Don’t stress about wedding favours for the guests – no one misses it, only thing we done was get sweet bags made up for the children for when tea and coffee is getting served. This kept the children happy which meant the parents were happy.
Try to remember to take your veil off for the professional photos with cutting the wedding cake.
Don’t have your phone on you until after the dinner – your bridal party will have their phones to take any pictures you want. It forces you to look around and observe your big day.
Don’t feel you have to talk to everyone after dinner – when the music is going, if you want to dance, just dance, it’s your day, you don’t have to spend hours talking to guests. They want you to have a good time.
Sit back and relax at top table and take it all in.
Photo location omagh – this is underestimated by a lot of people, it is where your photographer has time with just the couple and can capture peaceful stress-free pictures. Also, think about where you want the family photos taken, at the chapel or the venue.
Sandwiches for where photos getting taken – my aunt made a flask of tea and some ham and cheese sandwiches for me for the photos taken on the way to the venue, brides tend not to eat the morning of the wedding so it was a great help.
Let the band know if you want general wedding songs played, like hokey pokey, etc. otherwise they will beat to their own drum. And also let them know if you want a father daughter dance where they will initiate the dance for you.
Where did you go on honeymoon?
I had to take 6 weeks off work and Lee 4 weeks, to be home before the wedding to organise so we have yet to have a Honeymoon. But when we do, it will be somewhere close to a beach where we can sit and do nothing but eat drink and relax in luxury. (Maldives possibly)
Did you have a specific theme? Why did you choose it? DIY elements etc.?
When we first got engaged, I started a Pinterest board, initially I was going for emerald green or navy but after some advice from my bridesmaids they made me realise it was a spring wedding and the colours wouldn’t go. Pinterest is great for ideas but making those ideas in real life is hard. Finally after sitting down with my hubby to be we agreed we wanted an elegant simple wedding. As for the colour for the décor, until the bridesmaid dresses were got, the colour isn’t really set. So I went for grey and white.
Wedding themes & colours:
Theme we chose was simple, no fuss, no harsh vibrant colours (which total contrast to Lees tie, but the bride stands out so why shouldn’t the groom, it’s his big day too). Centre pieces, entrance décor top table décor, everything was simple (advice from my brother less is more). The only thing that was extravagant was the full room drapes which we paid extra for as the rooms colour was dull.
There were a few DIY elements, Signs to direct people to the Chapel as it was in a country church. The letters and love sign in front of the cake I done myself, wooden block and covered them with paper and silver tape, the wedding ring box, the LED sign for front of top table which my Dad made for us, and my brother actually designed our invites, worked with printers, then assembled them, wax sealed them with a stamp he ordered online that has out initials and date of the wedding and a embossing stamp the same for the inside of the invite. These were also very simple. But it is something that I think a lot of people underestimate time wise. My Brother also formatted and designed the Mass booklet for us and got it printed which was a massive help. Another DIY element was to each other on the morning of the wedding. Lee wrote me a poem which means more to me than anything else and I made him up a box of things for the day with tags on them to say stuff like – deodorant so you don’t sweat if I’m late.
An amazing website/app I used which surprisingly more people don’t know about is ETSY. It has everything you want for those personalised or just special wedding extras, also, ‘not on the high street’ is where I got the big balloons from.
venue Room Décor by: Ultimate Touches, Dungiven, co Derry
top wedding venues donegal
THE FINAL HEIRLOOM
Blathnaid and lee , passionate to have their beautiful memories preserved , invested in our stunning timeless - true story collection , with luxury fineart velvet paper and added acrylic presentation box , and kindly treated their parents to a mini album so that they also can enj(oy the memories.