From start to finish, Natalie and Martin’s wedding day was truly special and I was delighted to capture those moments! Almost a year after their wedding day, I recently caught up with Natalie, who shared her wedding day memories as well as some top tips for all your brides-to-be embarking on your wedding day planning!
Natalie, how did you meet your husband?
I first met Martin at Queen’s University Belfast, where we were both studying Medicine. We were friends for a few years and we always managed to get placed in the same hospitals during our undergraduate training- they must have been trying to tell us something! When we started working as Junior Doctors, we again ended up in the same place with our first year working in Belfast City Hospital followed by a year in my hometown, in Altnagelvin Hospital. We had started to go on a few dates while working in Belfast, but didn’t tell our friends for a while to avoid any gossip at work!
How did he propose?
We had been dating for over 3 years and had spent half of that time in Australia together. I had started to think he wasn’t the marrying kind as he had never mentioned getting married. However, we went on holidays to Sardinia and on the last night we were staying in a lovely hotel and having dinner outside. Marty had been acting oddly that day, as he had disappeared for a while to go shopping – which he had never requested to do in the three years prior! He had been buying my promise ring. He had also spent a long time getting ready for a casual dinner and kept leaving during the dinner to go to the bathroom (he was actually calling my dad to get his permission!).
Despite this, I had no idea what was about to happen. At the end of the meal, he got up suddenly from the table and then lunged forward onto his knee and proposed. I was shocked and delighted and of course said yes!
When and where did you get married?
We got married on Friday 18th July 2014 in St Eugene’s Cathedral in Derry, and we had our reception in Lusty Beg Island, County Fermanagh.
Why did you choose your wedding venue?
We spent a long time looking at different wedding venues and found it difficult to find one that was just right. We had considered getting married abroad but when we went to Lusty Beg, we loved the feeling of going over on the boat to the island and having the place to ourselves for the day. The wedding coordinator, Caroline, was really attentive from our initial meeting and was keen to meet our individual needs. The view on the island is beautiful and we felt that it gave us and our guests the opportunity to visit a place they wouldn’t normally go to, and to experience the beauty of the Fermanagh Lakelands. Marty and I were working in Enniskillen Hospital at the time, and had found the people in the area extremely friendly and welcoming.
Describe your dress?
I found it difficult initially to decide on a style of wedding dress. My poor mother and bridesmaids were dragged around the country on the search for my dress. My bridesmaid, Marianne, even travelled to Dublin for the weekend to look for my dream dress! However, I had gone to a trunk show with Edwina, my bridesmaid, in Logan’s Cloughmills. This was a show where a designer had brought his new dresses for the following year and they were modelled that evening. I seen my dress during the show and knew that it was exactly what wanted. I tried it on that evening and loved it immediately. I turned around and Edwina was in tears so that sealed the deal!
My dress is a fitted style with layers of lace and antique crystal straps and waistline. It has buttons at the back which extended to the end of the train. The colour of the dress is an antique ivory which gives it a unique feel and adds depth to the dress.
Tell us about your bridesmaid dresses.
My bridesmaid dresses are an antique rose colour with lace straps and waistline. They complimented the style of my wedding dress, and suited all of my girls with their blond and brown hair. I had seen the style online, and when I found the stockist and the girls tried them on, they suited everyone and they all loved them.
What type of flowers did you choose and why?
As my dress was so detailed, I wanted to keep my flowers simple. I love roses and in particular pink roses with a vintage feel. My florist, Quigg’s in Derry, was excellent in sourcing the exact colour to compliment the bridesmaid dresses. She added a few surprise touches on the day, such as a crystal butterfly in my bouquet and pearls in the roses. The posies were hand tied with lace to match the dresses.
What was the highlight of the day for you?
My favourite moments were coming downstairs at home in my dress to my parents and bridesmaids. Their reaction was really special for me. I loved travelling to the church with my dad in the convertible VW Beetle with the roof down, despite the strong wind! I was so glad to see Marty at the top of the isle and to speak to each other in person and try to calm each other down! I enjoyed meeting all my guests at Lusty Beg and seeing that they all were enjoying the venue, food and music. I enjoyed listening to the lovely speeches that were made after the meal. I was glad to finally get married to my best friend.
What do you love most about your wedding photographs?
When I met Donal with my mum at a wedding fayre in the Millennium Forum, we were really impressed with his easy-going manner and style of photography. As my dad is a photographer himself, Marty and I spoke to him about some of the photographers we had considered. After showing my dad Donals’ work online, he said that he was definitely the right choice as his work was flawless.
On the day, Donal was so easy to work with and he had so many ideas for photographs. His second shooter, Jude, had the same relaxed style. We felt that they really added to the day.
When we received our photographs we were overwhelmed with the choice we had. It was so difficult to choose our favourites because they had captured so many things so well. In particular, I loved the natural images of peoples’ expressions and reactions on the day. Those are the ones which are most special for me. I also loved the outdoor photographs which Donal and Jude managed to capture. I loved going onto the pier at sunset with Marty to get some final images of the end of a wonderful day.
What piece of advice would you offer other brides?
I would say to remain true to what you and your fiancé want. It is important to consider the views of close family and friends, but often too many opinions can make it difficult to make decisions. Be clear from the start what sort of wedding you as a couple would like and try not to stray too far from this. Try to plan ahead as much as possible, because there are so many things in the final few weeks which can be unforeseen to organise. Try to remain calm especially in the final few days and enjoy the day as much as you can. Before I got married, a friend had given me advice to spend some time alone with your new husband on the day of the wedding. We were able to do this on the way to Lusty Beg in the wedding car. This allowed an opportunity to talk to each other alone and to calm each other down. It is a life changing event and it is difficult to get a bit of time to reflect on this during the day, and I felt this was important. Try to remember all the moments that happen and store them in your mind, because the day goes so quickly.
A full album of Natalie and Martin’s photographs can be found here.