Real Weddings

Gillian and Dean hold back tears of happiness during beautiful wedding

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When Gillian McDonald took Dean Porter to her school formal in the Autumn of 2007, little did she know that just short of a decade later the pair would walking down the aisle together.

The couple were wed at Lislimnaghan Parish Church, Mountjoy in a traditional ceremony performed by Reverend Canon Derek Quinn on August 26, 2017.

Their wedding reception took place at the newly-renovated Silverbirch Hotel, in their hometown of Omagh. ‘The Birches’ is a place which the couple said they have always liked, and one which they believed meant a lot to their guests because it is so close to home.

Bride Gillian Porter, her maid of honour, Diane Beckett and bridesmaids Hannah Edgar, Sarah Beckett, Bronwen Clements are full of smiles at the Folk Park, Omagh as they celeibrate Gillian’s special day

Incidentally it was also the location of Gillian’s aforementioned Omagh High School formal – a day of many fond memories and one which sparked the pair’s long-term relationship together.

“We met through mutual friends during a few nights out in mid-May 2007,” Gillian explained. “But when I took Dean to the High School formal in October of that year, things led from there.

“I like everything about him,” she added. “He is very kind and generous, and is a thoughtful and loving person.”

It was towards the end of an action packed three-week holiday to the USA in September 2015 that Dean surprised Gillian with a romantic proposal.

After travelling across Seattle and San Fransisco, the couple’s last stop was Las Vegas – and it was there that the local surveyor got down on one knee and presented his partner with a gorgeous white gold engagement ring featuring three sparkling diamonds in the shape of a flower.

Groom Dean Porter shares a laugh on his Summer wedding day with best man, Matthew Clarke and groomsmen Kyle Porter, Andrew
McDonald and Gary Sherrard.

“I was shocked and I started to cry,” Gillian, who is a nurse, recalled. “Dean had the ring in his bag for the best part of two weeks without me knowing. I was also unaware that I was carrying it on my back some of those days!”

With their heart set on a beautiful, traditional wedding with plain and simple touches, Gillian and Dean decided to wait until after the New Year in 2016 to start planning for their big day.

“We were quite relaxed about it,” she described. “But we got exactly what we wanted.”

Beautiful Bride Gillian Porter alongside her parents, John & Caroline McDonald on her wedding day.

Gillian went in search of her perfect dress alongside her mother, Caroline McDonald, her mother-in-law Joan Porter and chief bridesmaid, Diane Beckett. They say many hands make light work, and that turned out to be true as it took the ladies just 60 minutes to choose ‘the one’ for Gillian.

The ivory gown from Creative Ideas Bridal, Armagh was decorated with lace, diamanté patterns and small pearls and it also featured lots of feminine sparkle detail on the shoulders.

“I tried on five dresses in the very first shop I visited, and I picked the one from that,” Gillian explained. “I knew that if I shopped and shopped, I would have been indecisive.”

Gillian wanted her big day to be perfect – and happily she didn’t feel any pre-wedding nerves or stress. Even the wind and rain in the days leading up to her wedding subsided, leaving dry weather and an overcast sky which was great for the couple’s photos.

Groom Dean Porter alongside his parents, Clive and Joan on his wedding day.

“I remember that my parents house was so calm and relaxed on the morning of the wedding,” Gillian reflected. “It didn’t seem real until I walked in the church doors.”

When Gillian made her way up the aisle, both she and Dean struggled to hold back their tears of happiness. “We enjoyed a very meaningful service led by Canon Quinn,” she said. “It felt amazing, and it wouldn’t have been the same without our organist, our three readers and our singer.

“We both had an absolutely fantastic day,” the 25-year-old concluded. “But it wouldn’t have been the same without the help and support from our wonderful family and friends, so a big thanks to them all.”

The new Mr and Mrs Porter, alongside their maid of honour, Diane Beckett and best man, Matthew Clarke. Also pictured are bridesmaids Hannah Edgar, Sarah Beckett and Bronwen Clements, and groomsmen, Kyle Porter, Andrew McDonald and Gary Sherrard.


Wedding dress: Creative Ideas Bridal, Armagh.
Hair stylist/salon: No 21 Helena’s Hair Clinic.
Make-up: Wendy Rae.
Bridal Shoes: Roland Cartier.
Bridesmaid dresses: Jenny Packham
Groom’s/groomsmen’s suits: SD Kells, Omagh.
Cake supplier: Family friend.
Florist: Pollock Flowers, Castlederg.
Church: Lislimnaghan Parish Church, Mountjoy.
Transport: Family friend’s 1957 vintage car for the bride and groom; Exotic Limos for the bridal party.
Guests: 190 in attendance.
Reception: Silverbirch Hotel, Omagh.
Wedding cake: Three tiers of jam and sponge (bottom), lemon drizzle (middle) and red velvet (top). Two additional slabs of fruit cake and Malteser cake made by a good family friend of newlyweds.
DJ/band: Mr Men.
First dance song: ‘When You Say Nothing At All’ by Ronan Keating.
Photographer: Gemma Gilfillian (Gemma G Photography).
Videographer: Gary Jardine (Simply Weddings).
Other entertainment: Décor by Forget Me Not.
Honeymoon: Bangkok and Ko Samui in Thailand and then Dubai