Real Weddings

Helen and Neil celebrate winter wedding in truly vintage style

A church decorated with homely twinkling candles and rustic pine cones gave Helen Allison and Neil Maguire the perfect vintage feel to their winter wedding day.

The pair were wed at the Sacred Heart Church, Irvinestown in a traditional service performed by Canon Michael McGourty on November 18, 2017, surrounded by their loved ones from England and Ireland.

Their wedding reception took place in Corick House, Clogher – a place the newlyweds fell in love with due to its quaint and charming styling, and cosy open fires that lit up the rooms throughout the wintertime.

Helen, a prevention and campaign worker for a mental health organisation, first met Neil, who works at South West College, in September 2010, during fresher’s week while studying at Leeds Trinity University. Neil had moved to Leeds from Kilskeery, to study his degree in Sports and Education, while Helen – who hails from Selby, North Yorkshire – had also moved there to study her degree in Psychology.

Newlyweds Helen and Neil, alongside their loved ones, including their parents, Susan and Graham Allison and Ann and Pat Maguire.

“Neil was mates with a guy I lived with, who introduced us both and it went from there,” Helen reflected. “I remember my housemate, Emma had gone away for the weekend, and I couldn’t wait to tell her all about this guy I’d met when she got back.”

After graduating, the couple lived in Leeds together for two years, before making a move to the North of Ireland to live permanently.

“Neil is very kind and caring,” Helen said. “He is always looking out for me, and will jump at the chance to help me with anything. He also shares my love of dogs.”

On September 26, 2015, during a special weekend away to Letterkenny to celebrate their five year anniversary, Neil proposed in romantic fashion. As the pair were enjoying a picturesque walk up to the ancient castle at Glenveagh National Park, the Tyrone man got down on one knee and presented Helen with a truly special engagement ring.

“My ring is a sapphire – the same as Princess Diana’s,” Helen described. “My mum has a sapphire band, and I was always admiring it because I love vintage rings. “I never thought Neil had paid much attention to this, but it was the most perfect ring for me. “Even the staff in the jewellers had tried to put him off that style of ring, but he knew I’d love it and went ahead.”

Newlyweds Helen and Neil, alongside their loved ones, including their parents, Susan and Graham Allison and Ann and Pat Maguire.

She added, “I remember instantly bursting into tears when he proposed, and I couldn’t answer because I was crying that much. “I just couldn’t believe that it was actually happening, and I was so happy.”

The couple couldn’t wait to start planning for their big day – and Helen even started thinking about venues on her way home from Letterkenny. “I wanted to keep the wedding traditional, but with lots of personalised bits so the day was full of everything Neil and I loved,” Helen said.

Thankfully for Helen, wedding dress shopping went ‘smoothly’. After being drawn to a particular fishtail dress online, Helen travelled to Chantilly Lace in Lurgan to try it on and her mind was made up. Helen’s chosen gown featured a strapless design, with small detailing on the front. She finished off the style with a glittering cathedral veil decorated with diamantés. “I ended up coming home with the wedding dress that day,” she said. “I knew if I’d gone for any other style, I’d have regretted it.”

Helen Maguire (née Allison) dons her stunning fishtail wedding dress.

Helen said that it ‘felt surreal’ when her wedding day finally arrived. And even though there was a little bit of stress in the morning as she was running behind schedule, once she reached the chapel, she was able to relax and enjoy the day.

“The service was lovely,” she said. “I just felt full of emotion and happiness. All the things I had been worrying about going wrong just left my mind. “It was so nice looking down the aisle and seeing all my family and friends sharing the moment with us, and as much as I tried to hold back the tears, they still came.

“For me, our wedding day was perfect,” the 26-year-old concluded. “It was such a special day that felt so full of love for both Neil and I, but also our two families and our closest friends. “I was beaming inside that everything had gone to plan, and we’d been so fortunate to have such a wonderful day. “Now I can’t wait for Neil and I to start living the rest of our lives together, and I am so excited for everything to come.”

The newlyweds, Helen and Neil Maguire, alongside their maid of honour, Kathryn Martin and best man, Barry Campbell, bridesmaids, Emma Staley, Helen Clappison and Tanya Meehan and groomsmen, Stefan McCusker, Connor Maguire and Craig Parnham.

• THE FINER DETAILS •

Wedding dress: Chantilly Lace Bridal Boutique, Lurgan.
Hair stylist/salon: Danielle’s Hair Studio, Irvinestown.
Make-up: Ursula Valentine.
Bridal Shoes: Debenhams.
Head piece/ Veil: Chantilly Lace Bridal Boutique.
Bridesmaid dresses: Debenhams.
Groom’s/groomsmen’s suits: Tomorrow’s Bridal and Menswear, Derry.
Cake supplier: Sinead Keown.
Cake: Three tiered naked wedding cake, with fresh flowers.
Florist: Fiona Reihill. Church: Sacred Heart Church, Irvinestown.
Transport: Vintage vehicle from C4 Wedding Cars.
Reception: Corick House Hotel and Spa, Clogher.
Wedding band: The Logues.
First dance song: ‘True Colours’ (Tom Odell version).
Photographer: Alan and Lauren Coulter.
Videographer: Coolisk Digital Video.
Other entertainment: Garry Gormley.
Honeymoon: Orlando, Florida for 10 days and London, England.