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Last year I spent a fantastic day photographing the wonderful wedding of Emma and Edward at Carrickdale Hotel & Spa, Dundalk. Today, I caught up with the newlyweds who have shared the highlights of their big day as well as a few pointers for all you happy couples embarking on your wedding planning journey.


How did you both meet?
Edward: “We met each other through a mutual friend. We then bumped into each other a few times on nights out and I eventually asked Emma out and we got on so well from there.”
Tell us about the proposal
Edward: “After going out for 18 months, we decided that we wanted to get engaged and so we went and looked at rings together. We decided on the perfect ring around November and we were going to wait until the summer to get engaged. However, at Christmas we decided to book a trip to Barcelona in February. I realised that this would be the perfect place to ask Emma to marry me. So in January I made arrangements to get the ring before we went to Barcelona. I asked Emm’s dad for his permission. We arrived in Barcelona on the Friday evening and got ready to go out. I took Emma to the Magic Fountain where there is live music playing and a spectacular fountain display. I got down on one knee and she said “Yes!” It could not have been more romantic.”
When and where did you get married?
Edward: “We booked our wedding for the 30th May 2014 to allow us plenty of time to save for our dream wedding, as well as a deposit for a new home. We were married in St Patrick’s Chapel, Downpatrick.”
Why did you choose your wedding venue?
Edward: “We wanted to pick a venue early so that we could get the date we wanted, so over a few weekends we travelled to various venues but couldn’t find somewhere that really appealed to us. On one of our trips we stopped at the Carrickdale Hotel & Spa on our way home for dinner and really liked it. The staff were so friendly and couldn’t do enough for us. We booked the Bernish Suite, which looks over the impressive gardens.”
Describe your dress?
Emma: “When we got engaged I knew very little about wedding dress design and to be honest, I still don’t. I had seen the dress I wanted a while ago online. I thought it was a Gucci dress and just never thought it would be the dress I would get. I had been in a friend’s house and she showed me a website of her dress designer and there on the same page was the dress, which was by designer, Maggie Sottero.
I came back from holidays with a tan and decided it was the perfect opportunity to try dresses on. I phoned loads of bridal shops and they all had it but not in the colour I wanted. I tried one last boutique in Newry and to my delight, they had it! Not only did they have my dream dress, but it was on sale! Mum came with me that day to try it on. She loved it and we purchased it there and then. It was just so different and I had never seen a bride in my area wear a wedding dress in that colour.”
Tell us about your bridesmaid dresses
Emma: “I picked our bridesmaid dresses with my mother and sisters in a bridal shop in Banbridge called La Boda Bridal. They were perfect with my dress and give it that classic rich look I was after.”
What was the highlight of the day for you?
Emma: “My Husband and I enjoyed every minute of the day. We really enjoyed the service as we expected to be really nervous but it was beautiful. The music was perfect and all our guest were asking about it.”
What do you love most about your wedding photographs?
Emma: “We love all the moments that Donal captured so naturally with us laughing and joking. We look back and love the photos taken of us on the dance floor when Edward got down on one knee and sang to me and all our friends and family were laughing in the background.”
What piece of advice would you offer other couples?
Emma: “Enjoy every moment and don’t let the little things annoy you as the time goes so fast and you never get it back. We would say to make time for each other on the day, as that was the one thing we made sure to do. Also, check with all your suppliers a few days before the wedding to avoid any mishaps.”
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This Sunday I had the pleasure of spending the day with everyone from the Professional Photographers Association of Northern Ireland. Brett Florens flew in from Holland for a workshop and I wanted to share some of the images I shot from the day with you here.Donal Doherty Photography_0089Donal Doherty Photography_0090Donal Doherty Photography_0091Donal Doherty Photography_0092Donal Doherty Photography_0095

Forget about bridal magazines! Movies are where it’s happening! No, we’re not talking about ditching your all important wedding planning for a night at the movies… We’re talking about those big screen stars who have donned some of the nicest, most elaborate and down right gorgeous wedding dresses we’ve ever seen! We realise there are literally hundreds of wedding scenes in movies and so guest blogger Aideen McCanny counts down her top 10 most unforgettable on-screen wedding dresses for some serious bridal inspiration.

10) Enchanted

Disney’s Enchanted was all about extremes and Gisele’s fairy tale wedding dress was just that – but what’s not to love!? Over the top design, layers of tulle and some of the biggest sleeves we’ve ever seen combine in this Cinderella-esq dress. For a tamer take on this trend, opt for an opulent ball gown with full skirt and plenty of embellishment.


9) Mamma Mia

While Mamma Mia may not have been the top musical of the decade, Sophie’s breezy dress wins the award for best supporting actress! Perfect for boho brides, pair a carefree, floaty dress with loose curls and flowers in your hair. Designer Alice Temperley takes this trend to the next level so check out her creations.

Mamma Mia

8) 27 Dresses

Always the bridesmaid… but 27 “I dos” later, Jane finally gets her turn and boy does she show us how it’s done! After all the elaborate, unspeakable and unflattering dresses she donned over the years, Jane keeps things classic in a simple, figure hugging gown for her beach-front wedding to Kevin.

27 dresses

7) The Vow

For their illegal nuptials in a museum, blushing bride Paige wore a short pink vintage Betsey Johnson number as fun and flirty as her personality. Paige did keep it somewhat traditional by completing her look with a tiered veil!

The vow

6) Funny Face

Brides with a penchant for vintage will fall head over heels in LOVE with Audrey Hepburn’s tea length dress in the 1957 classic, Funny Face. Sparking the trend for shorter length wedding dresses, the film also marks the height of Audrey’s collaboration with Givenchy and is the classic style for which she is most remembered. Update this look with layers of fun petticoats and don’t forget those all-important show stopping shoes!

Funny Face

5) Twilight: Breaking Dawn

Bella Swan’s wedding dress was the epitome of romance for her highly anticipated nuptials with Edward. Bella’s Carolina Herrera long-sleeve silk sheath dress with open lace back was extremely fitting for their epic garden ceremony.


4) The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Although it was never actually worn for a wedding, I can’t help but swoon over Katniss’ would-be wedding gown. The breathtaking dress was down to the handiwork of designer Tex Savario, crafted from layers upon layers of organza, thousands of delicate Swarovski crystals and silver flames – the perfect fantasy-filled number for the setting. I’ll have it without the flames please!

Hunger Games

3) Bride Wars

The crème de la crème of modern movie dresses, Liv and Emma’s gowns were every bit as gorgeous as we all hoped for! Although the two dresses couldn’t be more different, they have one designer in common: Vera Wang. The dresses are meant to represent each bride’s different personality. While Liv’s is a dramatic, attention-grabbing over the top number, Emma choose to wear her mother’s wedding dress, giving a sense of nostalgia to her nuptials.

Bride Wars

 2) The Great Gatsby

It’s unsurprising that The Great Gatsby sparked a huge trend for 1920′s gowns! Many brides have drawn inspiration for their big day from Daisy Buchannan’s glamorous gown, finished with art-deco details and slinky silhouette. Looking for something similar? Jenny Packham is an expert when it comes to this decade!

The great gatsby

1) Sex and the City: The Movie

Although SJP donned two wedding dresses in this movie, it will always only ever be about her Vivienne Westwood gown for her almost wedding to Mr Big! The full silk ballgown was big, bold and beautiful, accessorised with a prominent feather hairpiece. Not forgetting her leading ladies, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha wore ever-so-stylish Zac Posen creations in varying shades. When Carrie and Big finally tied the knot, she opted for a classic, ivory satin vintage dress and jacket suit (from a charity shop, of course), complete with her unforgettable ‘something blue’ Monolos!




Growing up, many girls dream about their fairytale inspired wedding, complete with magnificent castle (and Prince Charming, of course). Thankfully, in Ireland this wish can easily come true with a wealth of majestic castles to choose from. Here, we round up our top 10 castle wedding venues in Ireland to offer a little inspiration in your quest to recreate your own fairytale ending!


1. Solís Lough Eske Castle, Co. Donegal

Dreaming of luxury on your big day? Look no further than the stunning five star Solís Lough Eske Castle! This historic property is located within beautifully manicured grounds, set against a backdrop of stunning natural beauty – providing you with great opportunities to capture unique wedding photographs that will provide you with wonderful memories of your wedding day for years to come…


2. Castle Leslie Estate, Co. Monaghan

For the ultimate exclusive wedding venue, check out Castle Leslie Estate, the perfect, breathtaking venue for your wedding celebration. Nestled on 1000 acres of undulating Irish countryside, dotted with ancient woodlands and glittering lakes, this castle is full of character and charm!


3. Kilronan Castle, Co. Roscommon

For brides dreaming of a magical wedding day, Kilronan Castle offers the perfect combination of opulence and romance. Tucked away from the rest of the world, the 200 year old castle offers manicured open lawns, woodland pathways and Lough Meelagh, the perfect backdrop against which to set your timeless pictures.

4. Castle Ward, Downpatrick

A National Trust property, you can be guaranteed a special day at Castle Ward. Set against the scenic shores of Strangford Lough, this 18th-century Victorian castle is one of the finest wedding locations in Northern Ireland. Elegance and beauty combine to offer the perfect setting for your wedding, not to mention those all important picture-perfect wedding photos!


5. Ballygally Castle, Co. Antrim

What could be more romantic than saying “I do” in your very own 17th century castle on the stunning Antrim Coast? Enjoy your exclusive wedding wonderland in the truly unique Ballygally Castle with the dramatic backdrop of sea, mountains and rugged cliffs ensuring the photographic opportunities are plentiful!


6. Crom Castle, County Fermanagh

If tranquillity is top of your list for your wedding day, Crom Castle might just be the wedding venue for you! Set in rolling parkland amidst an archipelago of wooded islands and peninsulae in tranquil Upper Lough Erne, the castle affords you the chance to create your own happily ever after by housing your ceremony in the spectacular West Wing.


7. Belle Isle Castle, Fermanagh

If exclusivity is top of your list, you won’t get more intimate than Belle Isle Castle with its unique location on its own private island in the middle of the Lough Erne! With the option to hold both your ceremony and reception and the availability of accomodation for your guests, you’ll never want your big day to end!


 8. Narrow Water Castle, Co. Armagh

The award winning Narrow Water Castle offers a once in a lifetime experience for your wedding day. Get hitched amongst beautifully landscaped grounds overlooking the shoreline of Carlingford Lough. The dedicated team of professionals offer their expert guidance to ensure your wedding day is everything you dreamed of, and more…

Narrow Water amend

9. Glenarm Castle, Co. Antrim

Next up is the gorgeous Glenarm Castle, which makes a grand and romantic setting for an intimate wedding ceremony and/or reception with endless photographic opportunities in the stunning gardens and grounds.


10. Castle Coole, Co. Fermanagh

Last but not least is National Trust property, Castle Coole. Nestled on the edge of Enniskillen, this is one of the finest neo-classical castles in Ireland. The ornate interiors give a sense of grandeur and magnificence for wedding ceremonies, corporate functions and formal dining. Can you think of anything more grand for your big day!


Each year my highlight at WPPI is attending the Thirst Relief Benefit Shoot. Thirst works in the developing world to improve lives through the provision of clean drinking water and I’m blessed to support what they do via the mentor auction and benefit shoot.

This year we shot in a Skyloft at MGM Grand which was a lot of fun. Margaret did the hair for the shoot this year again and modelled too along with Kayla Hoffsommer, Julie Peebles Admassu and Amy Demos.

To be honest, yes it’s super cool to learn from Mike Larson, Zach and Jody Gray, Justin and Mary Marantz and Mike Colon, but the thing I love most about the benefit shoot is the friendships I’ve made over the years!

You can read about previous year’s benefit shoots I attended in 2012 (Shoot + Behind the Scenes) and 2014.


iPhone shot of our models before they hit the shoot!

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Thanks to Chip from Blogstomp for this image.

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