Real Weddings

Mr & Mrs Haughey

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The formula for a perfect marriage is sure to be no problem to scientists Sarah McManus and Eamon Haughey whose September wedding in the glorious surroundings of Dunmore Gardens embraced their love of nature.

Sarah from Fermanagh was first attracted to the Donegal man’s humour, calmness and captivating eyes when they first met while studying for their PhDs in Wexford in 2012. After dating for six years, Sarah was taken by surprise when Eamon popped the question. “We were on holidays in Cyprus when Eamon proposed as the sun set, and yes, he got down on one knee. I couldn’t believe that he had picked me but, of course, I said yes straight away,” said Sarah.

Next came the much-anticipated task of picking a ring together and after much deliberation, Sarah decided on a white gold band with singe marquise cut diamond. With the excitement of the proposal, Sarah and Eamon decided to embrace the momentum and got to planning their wedding straight away.

Like most brides, Sarah had already considered what the wedding of her dreams would entail which, she said, made the organising much easier. “We confirmed the dates with the venue and registrar as soon as we could and then we started organising things straight away. We wanted a rustic wedding and wanted to incorporate autumnal colours with deep reds and lots of foliage.”

Sarah said that it was important to her that the wedding would incorporate many traditional elements but also other details that would allow them to put their unique stamp on the day. “We wanted elements of both traditional and modern but our main aim was to have a day that reflected our personalities,” she said.

Sarah found being able to tick the perfect wedding dress off her ‘to-do-list’ a more difficult challenge and it took quite the search to find ‘the one’. “It took me a while to find a brand of dress I liked and fitted with the natural and rustic theme, but after five shops I tracked down my favourite. I went to several dress shops including a charity shop, but eventually got the Rembo Styling ‘Grace a toi’ dress from The White Room in Mullingar,” explained Sarah. “It’s an a-line dress with modern lace. I chose it because it suited me, I felt comfortable in it and I loved the lace.”

It was during a visit to Eamon’s home county that the couple found the perfect venue. The couple both share a love of nature and passion for the outdoors so it was not surprising that when it came to planning their wedding, the theme was one which would incorporate elements of nature in beautiful garden surroundings. Dunmore Gardens in Carrigans aligned perfectly with their vision of a rustic chic wedding. “We loved everything about Dunmore Gardens. We loved the rustic charm and its natural beauty.”

After a year of planning, the big day finally arrived. Describing her emotions, Sarah was ‘excited and nervous.’

“Once I arrived and Eamon was there, I relaxed completely and loved the day with family and friends.” Unusual for Donegal in September, the couple were blessed with glorious sunshine. “We were unbelievably lucky as we had 20 degrees and sunshine.”

In keeping with the rustic theme, another quirky element of the wedding was that Sarah, along with her mother, bridesmaids and nephew, took a retro Volkswagen camper van called ‘Maisy’ to the venue, whilst Eamon and his best man took a Volkswagen Beetle. “Cool Classics Car Hire were great craic and we really enjoyed the cars being at Dunmore,” said Sarah.

A civil ceremony in Dunmore Gardens was held with Registrar Siobhan Duffy- Browne overseeing proceedings. “We had four readings and lots of music as my Dad is an Uilleann Piper. We kept the service personal and asked both our mothers to light a remembrance candle for those loved ones not able to be present.” There were some very emotional moments for couple during the service.

“One of the stand-out moments for me was walking up the aisle as my Dad played ‘Gabriel’s Oboe’. This is a naturally emotional song and this brought about a few tears in the guests which we can see in the photos! Lighting the candle of remembrance was also emotional, as we got both our mothers to light it.”

With attentions turning to the reception, the couple’s three-tier cake was made by Lough Erne Cakes in Enniskillen. It had passion fruit sponge, chocolate praline sponge, lemon sponge and was decorated with fresh flowers. The general consensus is that ‘it was delicious.’

After all the formalities, it was time to celebrate. “We didn’t go for a live band but instead a DJ, who did an amazing job. We organised a bus for our guests back to their hotels in Letterkenny and left Dunmore Gardens at 1:30am,” said Sarah.

After months of organising and now looking back on her big day, Sarah said: “I would do it all again. It went amazingly. Eamon and I were so happy with everyone for coming with guests from America, England, Germany, New Zealand and across Ireland all making the journey to East Donegal.”

She concluded, “Going for an alternative wedding venue can be daunting, but with organisation, tenacity and all the assistance from Amelia and Anne at Dunmore Gardens our day went really well.

The couple wanted to thank everyone involved but in particular Sarah’s Mum, Terry, Mandie, Sinead, Alex, Joe and Alanna for all their help in setting up the venue the day before.”


Wedding dress: Rembo Styling, The White Room, Mullingar
Hair stylist: Ciara McCloskey, The Hair Studio
Make up: Roisin at G&G Hair and Beauty, Letterkenny
Bridal shoes: Bella Belle, BHLDN Bride earrings and bracelet: Studio Collect
Bridesmaid dresses: Folkster
Cake supplier: Lough Erne Cakes, Enniskillen
Florist: Anne Johnston
Stationery: Feel Good Invites
Venue: Dunmore Gardens, Carrigans
Caterer: Moran’s Specialists Caterers, Co. Derry
Bar: The Giddy Box, Derrylin
Transport: Cool Classics Car Hire
Registrar: Siobhan Duffy-Browne
Number of guests at reception: 115
DJ: Garvin at Star DJs
First dance: Roy Orbison – ‘Mystery Girl’
Photographer: Eric Molimard Photography, Kildare
Videographer: Liam at Red Deer Wedding Films, Donegal Town
Other entertainment: Secret Serenaders
Honeymoon: Rome and Sorrento
Wedding ring: Eva Dorney, Dublin