Real Weddings

Aisling and Ronan’s traditional wedding was everything they hoped for

As the sun was setting on another bustling day in Dublin, Ronan O’Doherty got down on one knee and asked Aisling Sharkey for her hand in marriage on the historic Ha’penny Bridge.

The romantic surprise, which took place in March last year, was made even more special because it was the Fintona woman’s birthday – and she simply couldn’t hold back her tears of happiness.

Aisling O’Doherty (née Sharkey) looking beautiful on her Summer wedding day.

Fast forward to 2017, and the pair were wed at St Lawrence’s Church on July 22 in a traditional ceremony performed by Fr Jim Moore. Their wedding reception took place in the Errigal Country House Hotel, Cootehill, Cavan – a family-run business located in the heart of Ireland’s glittering lakelands.

Aisling, a speech and drama teacher, first met Ronan on a chilly night in December 2011 through mutual friends in Sally’s, but it was a full year before they began dating each other.

“Ronan is kind and thoughtful, and he makes me laugh,” Aisling said. “He loves me… even when I’m grumpy!” It was on March 16, 2016 that Gareth, who is an electrician from Omagh, proposed with a beautiful heart-shaped promise ring from Pandora.

ALL SMILES… Bridesmaid Claire Sharkey, bride Aisling O’Doherty and maid of honour, Ciara Sharkey.

“Ronan surprised me with a night away to Dublin because it was my birthday,” Aisling explained. “We went for dinner and then he walked me for miles, passing lots of lively pubs as we went. “I was complaining about having to walk so far in heels, but then we stopped at a pub opposite the Ha’penny Bridge. After a drink or two, we decided we’d go back to the bar in our hotel.”

It was then that Ronan and Aisling embarked on a romantic walk across the famous, centuries old Ha’penny Bridge, and Aisling became distracted by the padlocks attached to it. “But after I’d finished looking around at them, I saw that Ronan was on one knee,” she reflected. “I was in complete shock, and there were tears of happiness.”

The very next day, the pair travelled around different jewellers in Dublin so that they could pick out Aisling’s perfect engagement ring together, and then it was straight into planning for their traditional day. “I wanted to keep my wedding classy so when we look back at photos in years to come they would be timeless,” Aisling said.

Aisling really enjoyed her experience of wedding dress shopping – particularly so, because her beloved sister who lives halfway across the world was there to help her.

“My sister was home from Australia on a holiday just after we got engaged so we planned on visiting a few shops while she was here,” Aisling said. “I had no intention of purchasing my wedding dress, I just wanted to be able to say I had the experience of dress shopping with her.”

Newlyweds Aisling and Ronan O’Doherty relax in the peaceful Tyrone countryside on their big day.

However upon visiting shop number two, Pearl and Lace in Donegal town, they managed to find just the right gown for Aisling. The plain, ivory dress featured a sophisticated flared skirt and Aisling finished off the style by adding a gorgeous sparkling belt and feminine back jewellery to match.

“It was lovely to be able to say my sister was with me and had seen me in my wedding dress before the actual day,” Aisling smiled.

When Aisling and Ronan’s wedding finally arrived, she said the pair felt ‘very excited and extremely happy’. The weather was also on their side – it was nice and dry, with little hints of sunshine throughout the day.

Newlyweds Aisling and Ronan O’Doherty relax in the peaceful Tyrone countryside on their big day.

“Fr Moore gave a beautiful, personal service which was so special to Ronan and I,” Aisling described. “Donna Taggart provided the music which, as always, was absolutely stunning.”

Then the pair were whisked away to their wedding reception in an elegant limo – with their bridal party beside them so they didn’t miss any of the craic!

“We had once thought of getting separate cars because you hear from others that this will be the only time you have alone to talk,” Aisling said. “But we were so glad we made the choice of all going together. “Our wedding day was perfect from start-to-finish,” the 29-year-old concluded. “Everything that we wanted to go right, went right.”

Newlyweds Aisling and Ronan O’Doherty alongside their maid of honour, Ciara Sharkey and best man, Mark Mullan. Also pictured is bridesmaid Claire Sharkey and groomsman Niall McDermott.

• THE FINER DETAILS •

Wedding dress: Pearls and Lace Bridal Boutique, Donegal.
Hair stylist/salon: Patricia Hannigan from Tricha’s Hair and Beauty Studio, Fintona.
Make-up: Melissa Bolton from The Beauty Boutique.
Veil: Pearls and Lace Bridal Boutique, Donegal.
Head piece, belt and back jewellery: Sarah Deering, Textile Artist.
Bridesmaid’s jewellery: Sarah Deering, Textile Artist.
Bridesmaid dresses: Chantilly Lace, Enniskillen.
Groom’s/groomsmen’s suits: Red, Cookstown.
Cake supplier: Ita Cake.
Cake: Three tiers featuring Malteser, lemon drizzle and Victoria sponge. There was also a fruit cake separate.
Florist: Roisin McAtee from Nettles and Petals.
Church: St Lawrence’s Church, Fintona.
Transport: Limousine from Glendale, Omagh driven by Lawrence.
Reception: Errigal Country House Hotel, Cootehill in County Cavan.
Guests: 245.
Band: Justin McGurk and the Boogie Men.
DJ: DJ Shorty.
First dance song: ‘Perfect’ by Ed Sheeran, performed by cousin-of-bride, Tiarnan McCarron.
Photographer: Paula Donnelly Photography.
Videographer: Eamon Quinn.
Other entertainment: Sean Magee Music – in lobby area for guests on arrival.
Honeymoon: New York, Boston and Long Island in the USA.