Ann & Donal McGuinness celebrated their wedding & reception with us on 29th December 2017 - and what a magical celebration it was!
We talk to Ann about their love story, the planning and preparations, and why they chose us to host their big day...
Ann, tell us how yourself and Donal met and got together?
It was a Saturday night & as per usual for Summer it was lashing rain! Donal had been away living in Chicago & had returned to his home place to settle down in May 2006. I had never met him before that night. From that night on we have been together. He reckoned I was far too happy when we met & that he would make my life miserable! But that never happened & actually we have been even happier since we got married! We now live in Ashbourne, Co Meath in a converted Milking parlour.
Sounds amazing Ann! You're clearly such a happy couple. So tell us, how did Donal propose?
I had a few recent tragedies in my life. 2015 my Mother died suddenly. 2016 I had a stroke. During all of this time Donal was and still is by my side. Myself & Donal were in Crossmolina Mayo, at my Sister’s house for Christmas 2016. My Nephew is 8 & was so excited about Santy coming that we were all up at 7.30am to see when presents Santy had left. Anyway, then we decided to do our presents – Donal produced this ring box, got down on one knee. This was all unfolding in the kitchen & we were all still in our Pyjamas’. My sister said “Oh my God it this what I think it is??” & I said will “you stop messing & get up Donal” He then said “sure will we get married do you want to??” to which I replied “YES!” it really happened just like that. After much consideration & talking we decided to do this sooner rather than later (neither of us is getting any younger ha ha) so after contacting the Bridge House Hotel, we settled on 29.12.17.
Gorgeous! What made you choose us as your wedding venue? We're very curious!
We chose the Bridge House Hotel because we had been there on many occasions at different functions. We love the staircase, the location, the food, the staff. It has "warm walls,” makes one feel safe & special & also nothing you want done is too much trouble.
Attending the wedding fair was the best idea ever. It gave us (really me) help with the actual nitty gritty things that have to be done. In fact, I would say it should be compulsory! The girls in the hotel, Antonia, Emma & Geraldine were amazing each time I emailed or telephoned. Barry, the Manager was great too with arranging the lighting in the Ballroom, music to dance into & the candelabras for the centre of the tables.
Oh Ann! That's so lovely, thank you. We're blushing! Now, tell us about your ceremony...
I had been married before so we decided to have a civil ceremony in the Hotel. No need for cars, or for our guests to travel from the ceremony location to the reception location. This I would highly recommend. It was very relaxing & stress free.
We met the Registrar in March 2017 with our paperwork. Geraldine Boland performed the ceremony on the day. She was brilliant. She made us feel relaxed & welcomed. We had different members of both our families participate in the ceremony which made it very intimate & because I was in the BHH from the evening before I didn’t have to leave to travel to the venue. Donal stayed in a neighbouring hotel within walking distance.
Your photographs are stunning - how did you choose your photographer?
We choose PJ McCormack as our photographer because we met him at the wedding fair in the hotel! He was very nice to us and seemed genuinely interested in our story. There were other photographers there that day but he stood out because he engaged with us. As you will see from our photos, he has captured our special day exactly as it happened. Some things I may not have taken in on the day, but because of his eye for detail I can look back & say “Oh I never noticed that” as in the Ballroom before the dinner, the table plan, the sweet cart & the canapés.
Speaking of stunning - your dress! It was out of this world!
I have always loved the colour red & when Paula Yates married Bob Geldof she wore red. So there was an easy decision on the colour of my wedding dress – It had to be red! I ordered this online made to measure & got some minor alterations done by my local dress marker. I was so pleased with my dress & felt that it really looked lovely against the décor in the hotel & the fact that it was Christmas time made it even more suitable.
We went to the Wedding Fair in the BHH in the February & got great ideas, help & advice (we also stayed over that night & had a few very pleasant drinks in the bar) Donal got his suit from Guy Clothing Tullamore. A beautiful 3-piece suit grey with red check pattern. It was absolutely made for him & of course matched my dress (he didn’t know what my dress was like at all so it was fate for sure)
And the bridal party?
Our bridal party was not conventional. My Niece/goddaughter Ava D’Arcy, was my only bridesmaid. She wore a navy dress which she picked out for herself. She was amazing & the colour blended in with my dress so well. Our bouquets were fresh hyacinths, which I ordered from Josephine’s Flowers (I met her at the wedding fair). On my bouquet had a navy bow & Ava’s had a red bow. My nephew Cian was the ring bearer & he picked out his own suit which was similar to Donal’s. The Best man, my Father, our witness’ wore their own clothes with red roses in their lapels. So although things were not the same, they all matched beautifully.
They really did - it all came together beautifully. Onto the food - what was your menu?
Our Menu was fantastic; a choice of starters & main courses & desserts. The Chef had no problems catering for the Vegan & Coeliac guests. The food was cooked & presented to perfection & there was plenty of it. Highly recommend the Bridge House Hotel for any function.
So tell us, what was your favourite part of the day?
This would be very difficult to just pick one part. Everything was magnificent. When I came down in the lift to walk up the aisle & came to the door of the Millennium Suite I just was blown away by it. When I got to the top of the room where Donal was standing (with his back to me) he turned around and he looked at me like never before. I knew then that it was the perfect venue and that it was going to be the perfect wedding and above all else the perfect man for me!
Awww Ann! You're giving us all the feels! What an amazing day. Where did you go on honeymoon?
We went to Paris on 04.01.18 for 3 nights for our Honeymoon. We stayed in Résidence Charles Floquet which is adjacent to the Eifel Tower. It was magical. Donal didn’t know about this as I had booked it as a surprise. With all the excitement I only got to tell him about this after the meal when we went up to the Bridal suite (which I have to say was amazing) to catch our breath. Our First Christmas together (way back) Donal took me to Paris on St Stephens Day for 3 nights. I had never been before. I loved every minute of it so I thought I would return the favour.
You romantic! That was a lovely thing to do - Paris is such an amazing city too. Finally, what would be your advice to any other brides?
To other couples that are getting married; involve both of your families as much as possible in the preparation, the ceremony. Be open to all suggestions from Antonia or any of the girls in the Bridge House Hotel. Their advice is paramount. After all they are doing this on a daily basis but still all of them make everyone feel special.
Having the ceremony & the reception in the hotel is a brilliant idea. The wedding guests get to attend both - this was very important to both of us.
Finally, enjoy every minute of it. Take a few minutes to look around at all of your family & friends that have come to celebrate this wonderful occasion with you. It will never happen again!
Excellent advice Ann - we are so pleased we could be of assistance. We can't thank you enough for hosting your wedding with us, and for taking the time to put this love story together - thank you for answering all of our questions! We are over the moon for you both.