When today's real wedding couple Marlene and Andrew's wedding plans were turned on their head due to Covid and they had to forgo their original wedding venue, they decided to build their own! Transforming an old cattle shed on Andrew's family farm, the pair along with family and friends worked tirelessly to bring to life their perfect wedding. They fully embraced the family farm setting and crafted an incredibly cool, rustic celebration personal to them and Paula Gillespie has captured it and this gorgeous couple perfectly. Let's take a look...
So, first things first, how did this lovely pair meet? Bride Marlene fills us in, "Andrew had been Living and working abroad, after spending 3 years in Perth, Australia. He decided he would like to come back home and meet a girl, a typical “Irish Girl” with red hair, I kid you not! Myself a “’typical Irish red head’, living and working in Derry City, a budding Chef with designs of opening my own place, we both headed home in search. Neither of us, finding the ‘the one’ by traditional routes immersed ourselves in the world of the Dating App, Tinder, and the rest as they say is history!"
And how did the propsal go? Marlene reminisces, "It was a typical Sunday Morning and Andrew had promised a lovely day out, a nice walk then a meal. I get myself all ‘dickied up’ full makeup about to get into the glad rags. Then Andrew announces we’ll be going for a walk up to St. Patrick’s Lough, this place is full of history, basically in the wilderness, just a few miles from my grand parents. I grew up in this place, it held a deep significance myself and family. A little confused, I held my tongue, but still none the wiser. We stopped off at my Dads farm, later I’d find out that he was there to ask my Dads permission."
"Off we went on our excursion with Daddys dog ‘Bic’. I stopped of at every hole in the hedge for the perfect photo of the picturesque scenery, I certainly kept the boy on his toes. We had such a laugh on the way up. We finally made it to the top of the Mountain, most definitely wind swept, and there I was looking all around me only to sweep around to find Andrew, down in one knee ring box in hand. Godsmacked wouldn’t have been the word. We were just elated."
Once engaged, the couple started dreaming up their day at The Wool Tower, before Covid hit and put a hold on their plans. "By early 2021 we realised we would not be having our reception in the Wool Tower at Raceview Mill, we were devastated but realistic", Marlene says. She adds, "Andrew’s Mum suggested a gathering at the family farm, as at this point we were allowed small indoor gatherings. We picked out one of the sheds and set about organising the venue from scratch. I had a vision, and everyone else thought I was mad."
"At this point it was third time lucky (Andrew contracted Covid the second time around). We just wanted to make it as intimate and fun loving as we could. A day to remember! Having our family in entirety was a must, we both come from large families, we couldn’t imagine having to axe our immediate family final guest list. So, due to the times we were in, we settled on a prohibition style wedding, with a modern twist. We thought it quite apt!"
The bride was driven to the church in a retro Mustang before walking down the aisle with her dad.
We adore Marlene's bouquet of full-blown roses, greenery and jasmine all tied with a silk ribbon and a 'something blue' heirloom brooch.
All stationery was designed and handmade by the very talented bride!
It's official, finally!
After marrying at their local church, the wedding party set off for the evening reception at Andrew's family farm.
On their way, they made a quick pitstop for a pint, or two!
We’ve fallen head over heels for Marlene's stunning bridal style and her chic, slim-fit gown which she sourced at Verona Bridal. She completed her bridal look with earrings by Northern Irish designer Deborah K Design, a gold crown and veil which she also found at Verona Bridal, and black heels (which she later swapped for Dr. Martins!).
The bridesmaids wore mix-and-match dresses in the softest shade of pink.
When it’s your day, your way, why limit yourself to just one cool vintage vehicle? From a cool Mustang, a beautiful, classic Volkswagen Beetle and a whole host of rally cars, this is certainly a farmyard with panache!
How incredible does the barn on Andrew's family farm look? Marlene along with some very willing helpers styled the space with a modern, rustic vibe.
Marlene tells us, "I always knew that I wanted to style and decorate the venue myself, I knew I had the right people around me to make it happen, even if they didn’t realise it at the time. Once I knew what I wanted and where to get it. Not an easy task with Brexit and a global pandemic, England wasn’t shipping to Ireland at the time. I had to beg and borrow. The whole family got involved, My sister Caroline helped from start to finish, we did all the flower arrangements and boutonniéres together with my other Joyce, and maid of honour Shánnen."
"I used all my antiques, the singer my dad bought years ago was repurposed into our cake table. My brother-in-law Paddy did all the woodwork including the amazing bar. My Sister Brenda made the beautiful box for the wedding gift. Andrew’s sister Pamela did all tablecloths, napkins and drapes. Andrew’s Mum and Dad where also invaluable. His brothers even set up the rally cars for pictures. The whole family came together and the days leading up to the big day to make it all happen, this really made everyone bond, so when it came to day itself, we were all one big family. You could really feel the love in that shed."
The perfect wedding colour scheme of soft pink, ivory and hints of aqua works so well with the rustic, laid back venue. Utterly gorgeous!
Marlene's Dad also made the amazing backdrop from an old army trailer, dating back to the 70s. How cool!
MASSIVE heart eyes for their black wedding cake!
When asked what advice they would give to other couples, Marlene says "when they say the day is all about you they really mean it. If you want to wear black heels ‘do it’, I did. If you want the Mustang get it. This is the one day that truly is a reflection of yourself. Get the best photographer there is, they will capture the memories and envisage your dream. Oh, and request help from family and friends and don’t sweat the small things.
Marlene also adds, "I’m not saying this to be corny but ‘One Fab Day’ was my go to for everything, that’s the reason I had fishing line in my tool box, and we needed it!"
A huge thank you to Marlene and Andrew for sharing their beautiful family farm wedding with us! A special thanks also goes to Paula Gillespie Photography for these amazing images. There are more gorgeous pictures to swoon over in the gallery below.