Real Weddings

Laura marries the man of her dreams in a beautiful wedding ceremony

From the first moment that Laura Nealis spoke to Jonny McKenna, she just knew that he was the man she was going to marry.

The pair were wed in a beautiful ceremony at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Strabane, performed by Father Declan Boland on May 13, 2017. Their wedding reception took place at the Lough Erne Resort in Enniskillen – a place the couple both chose because of its breath-taking setting, from the impressive entrance drive way to the beautiful, relaxed and friendly atmosphere of the hotel.

Laura, who is a finance director from Strabane, first met Jonny, a manager from Ballybay in County Monaghan on Tinder in April 2014. “Our meeting was sheer fate,” Laura said. “Technically, we should have never have had the opportunity of ‘swiping right’ as neither of us were intending on travelling too far to find a ‘match’,” Laura said. “But the rest, as they say is history.

“From the moment we ‘matched’ it was easy, and it felt like how a relationship should be. Jonny is hardworking, honest and caring, and we have the same values and goals in life. “We are two peas in a pod, and he makes me feel important, loved and safe. He is everything I could have wished for.” She added, “I knew from the minute I spoke to him that he was the one for me and the time has flown. It feels like we have known each other forever.”

The blushing bride-to-be, Laura Nealis walks up the aisle with her beloved father, Seamus.

Together for three years, it was after a romantic dinner at the Manor House Hotel, Enniskillen on November 20, 2015 that the Monaghan man got down on one knee and asked Laura for her hand in marriage. “We went up to our room before heading downstairs again for a few drinks,” Laura explained.

“Jonny had asked me to close the window, and when I pulled back the curtains there was a ring box sitting on the window ledge. “My heart raced, but when I opened it, it was empty! I turned around to give off, and he was down on one knee.”

In Jonny’s hands was a stunning, white gold ring with a large princess cut solitaire, surrounded by 64 sparking diamonds on each side of the band. “I don’t really remember anything he said as I could hardly hear him through my wailing and crying,” Laura described. “After I stuck back on the false lashes that I had cried off, Jonny had told me that he had the ring box down his sock all night, waiting for the perfect moment. Operation ‘Rock in the Sock’ he called it! “Back in the room was supposedly the only time I stood still long enough for him to ask,” she added.

As the pair were both off work for a few days together over Christmas 2015, they used that time to book the majority of their wedding day, with Jonny taking charge of booking the music, entertainment, videographer and transport.

Laura and Jonny McKenna share a kiss as husband and wife.

“We didn’t have a theme, but we wanted the day to be a classy affair, a spectacle and real day out for our guests,” Laura recalled. “We tried to cram as much entertainment in as possible.” Laura added, “I tried to keep the main colours as black and white. The men’s suits were classic, and it was nice that my dress stood out among the bridal party.”

Luck was on Laura’s side as she found her perfect wedding gown in the first dress shop she tried, Beautiful Day Bridal Cottage in Greysteel – particularly as the blushing bride-to-be admitted that she ‘wasn’t one for shopping’.

With her two sisters and her mum by her side, Laura was immediately drawn to an Essense of Australia dress, in the colour moscato. “Depending on the light, it looked shades varying from pink to nude,” Laura explained. “It had swirls of the fabric on its skirt and chapel train, with wrapped pleating on the bodice. I was instantly drawn to it, and when I tried it on, I fell in love and my family were crying tears of joy.”

Laura looked gorgeous in her wedding dress, which looked either pink or beige-coloured depending on the way the light caught it.

On the morning of her wedding, the Strabane woman said she didn’t feel nervous, and both her and Jonny took the big day in their stride – and their smiles never left their faces! “We had been planning for so long and were excited to see it all come together,” Laura said. ‘Getting married for us felt so easy and natural. “Our service was perfect and exactly how a wedding ceremony should be,” Laura added.

“Father Boland made it personal to us, and we had two singers in the chapel – Ciara Mc Mackin, my friend from school who is an incredible operatic singer, and David Mc Gaughey, a very talented musician from Strabane who ended the ceremony with a brilliant rendition of ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered’. “Our friends and family took part in the ceremony, doing readings and taking up gifts and the chapel was stunning.

“Our day was amazing from start to finish,” the 29-year-old concluded. “Neither of us stopped smiling, and our guests commented on this and how happy we were together. We both really enjoyed it and it certainly was our special day.”

The sun sets as Laura and Jonny McKenna celebrate their spring wedding.

 

• THE FINER DETAILS •

Wedding dress: Essense of Australia, purchased Beautiful Day Bridal Cottage, Greysteel.
Hair stylist/salon: Jacqueline Mc Dermott at the Hair and Makeup Lounge at Wellbeing, Sion Mills.
Make-up: Bronagh Mimnagh, Omagh from Live Beautifully
Bridal Shoes: Irregular Choice
Head piece/Veil: Veil was handmade by Ciara at Beautiful Day Bridal Cottage, Greysteel
Bridesmaid dresses: She’s Fabulous, Garvagh
Groom’s/groomsmen’s suits: Debonair Groomswear, Magherafelt
Cake supplier: Lough Erne Cakes, Enniskillen
Cake: Six-tiered, six-flavoured cake with each tier boasting a different design
Florist: McGarry Wedding Flowers and Venue Stylists, Maguiresbridge
Church: McGarry Wedding Flowers and Venue Stylists, Maguiresbridge
Transport supplier: Glendale Limousines, Omagh
Transport: A Crysler limousine
Reception: The Lough Erne Resort, Enniskillen
Number of guests at reception: 190
DJ/band: The Beat Boutique, Dublin
First dance song: ‘Tennessee Whiskey’ by Chris Stapleton
Photographer: Sarah Fyffe Photography, Omagh
Videographer: Rabbit and The Fox Films, Carrickfergus
Drinks Reception: The Uke Alikes, Dublin
After Dinner Entertainment: Spraoi Trad, Castlederg
Honeymoon: Amsterdam for three days and Sorrento for ten days