Julie & Stephen’s Wedding at Hillsborough Castle

Julie and Stephen celebrated their marriage with a stunning Wedding at Hillsborough Castle and then sent their guests sightseeing to The Europa Hotel in Belfast. Julie & Stephen's Wedding at Hillsborough Castle
Photography by: Rachel Cooke Photography, Belfast

Tell us about yourselves…

Stephen is a Production Manager for a print company and I am a Sales Executive for a Communications company. We met in 2009 while I was working temporarily in Stephen’s company. I will openly admit that, after taking a shine to Stephen, I stalked him for 6 months until he finally gave in at our Christmas Dinner 2009!
We have lived together for 7 years with my daughter Nicole.
Our favourite thing to do is travel, we both have busy and stressful jobs, so we work hard to play hard.

How did he / she propose?

Stephen whisked me to New York at Christmas 2016 for my 40th birthday present. While there he proposed and took me to the famous Diamond District to pick a diamond and setting and have my ring made. Stephen picked the diamond and I picked the setting. We made a trip back in the summer to have our wedding bands made in the same place. Julie & Stephen's Wedding at Hillsborough Castle
We had talked about getting married for a while so while it was no massive surprise it was still all very special and romantic.

Tell us about the planning of your wedding day…

I am the height of organisation and had everything booked within 6 days of booking the venues, which was only 2 weeks after our engagement, and got married 9 months later! The theme was travelling (our favourite hobby! and the colour purple, which I am obsessed with!) Everything was booked via email/Google & Facebook.
Stephen gave me free reign to do what I wanted, he wanted no part of the organising, his motto is “if I’m happy, he’s happy”.
I enjoyed every part of the organising and it was all stress-free, I was very lucky with the availability of suppliers, especially booking with such short notice.

Where and when did you get married?

Julie & Stephen's Wedding at Hillsborough CastleI had wanted to get married in Hillsborough Castle since I was a little girl, so this venue was non-negotiable. We asked for the last Saturday that was free in 2017 and the 30th September happened to be right in the middle of both our birthdays so it was perfect. After marrying in The Throne Room we moved to the Drawing Room for Champagne, canapés and afternoon tea, provided by Posh Nosh Bangor. A pianist entertained our guests who could avail of going around the vast gardens due to the bright sunny day.
Afterwards, in keeping with the travel theme a sightseeing bus (our favourite thing to do while travelling to different cites) transported our guests to the Europa Hotel for our main reception. This venue was chosen as it is where we got together!
Our dinner tables were named after airport codes. Guests were entertained by Fiddler Adam, The Usual Suspects and DJ Ciaran Davey, They availed of a chocolate fountain, photo booth and the most popular item was a charging station for mobile phones!

Tell us about the outfits…

My dress was Ronald Joyce, Robyn, from Perfect Day in Lurgan. I sourced an extra train to have sleeves made for the dress. It was the 3rd one I tried on, on my first visit to a bridal shop. I was with my daughter (who always insists on honest fashion advice!) and she insisted it was the one! It was a style I thought I would never have gone for, but I loved it. It felt right and I loved the extra train and how I felt like a queen wearing it!
Julie & Stephen's Wedding at Hillsborough Castle
The Bridesmaids dresses were in a Victorian Lilac colour also from Perfect Day. My veil and jewellery were all Swarovski crystal
The Groom and best men’s 3 piece suits were purchased from JJ Donnelly in Ballynahinch.

My Mum isn’t your traditional Mum and Granny so she didn’t want the traditional MOB outfit so opted for a glitzy dress from Rosie’s Closet, Newry.

The little details…

Rachel Cooke was our photographer and she was a joy to work with! So professional yet such good fun and made us all feel so relaxed. Even putting her life at risk on the roof of the Europa for some super shots!

The amazing flowers by Glynis & Nigel from Memento on the Ormeau Road in Belfast, far exceeded all my expectations, the brief was “purple, modern, sparkly & glitzy” and I got this and more, I just loved my flowers.
Julie & Stephen's Wedding at Hillsborough Castle
Stationery was all designed and printed by the groom himself. They all had the wow factor and were a massive talking point! All stationery was in line with our purple & travel theme.

We had a mouthwatering tower of cupcakes, topped with a silver cake and this was a great focal point, it was by Natasha from Sugar Flower Cake Company, it tasted so good too.

Ed from E&L Wedding Video captured the whole day perfectly and was a joy to work with, he sent us a little taster video that just summed up the joy and happiness we felt on the day.

We had a white Hummer for the Bridal Party from Vogue Limo Hire and our Sightseeing bus for our guests was provided by Belfast City Sightseeing.

The room dressing was carried out by Elite Events NI and I just loved everything about it.
Julie & Stephen's Wedding at Hillsborough Castle
Our Photobooth was provided by Mr Photobooth NI, our guests had great fun with this and it is such a good way to capture those funny moments.
We had our initials as light up letters from Letters in Lights NI and it just finished the room off nicely.
As I said before our entertainment for the evening was by The Usual Suspects and they were fantastic, the dancefloor was buzzing all night.
The catering that we had in Hillsborough Castle was provided by Posh Nosh Ireland and it was amazing, all the guests loved it.
Our hair was done by Jessica Moulds from Shane Bennett in Lisburn and our make up by Paddy McGurgan, both are so talented, I loved the end result.
Our Chocolate Fountain was from Candy Creations in Ballymena and finally, I must mention Miriam Birney from Strawberry Lane Designs for the fantastic dress alterations.

Where did you go on Honeymoon?

We had the trip of a lifetime to Dubai, Singapore and Thailand. We love to travel and I love to spend hours researching and booking everything myself, I probably spent more time organising & researching the honeymoon than the wedding. After seeking out the best deals we went all out and flew Business Class with Emirates and treated ourselves to 2 nights in the only 7-star hotel in the world – the Burj Al Arab in Dubai. This probably was the highlight, although Marina Bay Sands in Singapore and Aleenta Resort in Phuket (one of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World collection) were way up there also!

What was the highlight of your wedding day?

The best piece of advice I was given was to try and take some time together on the day to savour the moment. Instead of a traditional top table we went for a Sweetheart Table, just Stephen & I at a table on our own. We hired thrones for some tongue in cheek tackiness! In keeping with my OTT personality! This was lovely to enjoy our dinner and have some time to chat properly, and I would encourage everyone to do it.
A special part for us both was when I got to the top of the aisle to a VERY emotional Stephen, he was so glad I was finally there to keep him calm and I was so glad to be there to finally be his wife!

Many thanks to Julie & Stephen for sharing their wedding with us.
View all the pictures from this wedding in the gallery below…

The suppliers for this wedding…
Photography: Rachel Cooke Photography, Belfast
Videography: E&L Wedding Video, Belfast
Reception Venue: Hillsborough Castle and Europa Hotel, Belfast
Brides Dress: Perfect Day, Lurgan
Bridesmaids Dress: Perfect Day, Lurgan
Groom / Mens suits: JJ Donnelly, Ballynahinch
Flowers: Memento, Belfast
Cake: Sugar Flower Cake Company, Belfast
Cars: Vogue Limo Hire and Belfast City Sightseeing
Band / DJ / Entertainment: The Usual Suspects, Fiddler Adam and DJ Ciaran Davey
Stationery: McGowans Print, Belfast
Catering at Hillsborough Castle: Posh Nosh Ireland, Bangor
Room Dressing: Elite Events NI
Photobooth: Mr Photobooth NI, Newtownards
Hair: Shane Bennett, Lisburn
Make-up: Paddy McGurgan, Belfast

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