Real Weddings- Cheryl Rainy & Ronan McGrory
A DREAM wedding in a little chapel in Ville Franche Sur Mer near Nice and a fabulous reception afterwards in a chateau once popular with Coco Chanel, ensured the perfect day for Cheryl Rainey and her husband Ronan McGrory from Buncrana in County Donegal last summer.
Engaged in 2009 the couple began the following year planning the wedding. Not going abroad to get married never occurred to them as Ronan’s brother Keith had been married in Spain the previous year.
“In 2010 we set the date for summer 2012 and notified family and friends of our intention to get married abroad to give them time to start saving and make their holiday arrangements for the August 3 date.
“As a child visiting that area of France around Nice, I remembered a beautiful little chapel among the many my Dad Liam, dragged us to visit. I found it again in Ville Franche and that helped to decide the location for us.
“We rented a beautiful, recently restored chateau – Chateau de Crement – where Coco Chanel used to holiday and where she got her now famous logo. It was amazing,” Cheryl said.
The couple organised local caterers who provided wonderful hors d’oeuvres, a chicken and foie gras main course and a divine chocolate and vanilla profiterole type desert, marched into the dinning room with great aplomb, by the chefs in their full uniforms and hats.
The family managed to settle down and enjoyed a few semi-relaxed days before the wedding in the villa they had rented, joined by wedding guests as they arrived in France.
72 guests travelled from Ireland and thoroughly enjoyed the wedding, extending their stay to enjoy the French Riviera.
One unanticipated problem was, that under French law, the couple had to have an English-speaking priest.
“Our Parish Priest, Fr John Walsh happily accepted our invitation to come to France to marry us.”
Dressed to impress…
Cheryl bought her stunning Justin Alexander, ivory wedding dress and her veil in Pronuptia in Belfast. Her five bridesmaids – Julie Galbraith, Francina Baldrick, Jennifer Doherty, Sarah McDaid and Elizabeth O’Donnell – got their dresses in the House of Frazer, Belfast.
Ronan and his groomsmen – brother Keith, Cheryl’s brother Emile, Stephen O’Sullivan, Tommie Caldwell and Philip McGuinness, purchased their outfits in McElhinney of Ballybofey.
Cheryl, being quite tall, opted for a pair of glitzy pumps from River Island so she would not be towering over Ronan.
“When we visited Nice on two occasions while organising the wedding, I was captivated by a whole street-long flower market which sells a vast array of spectacular fresh flowers.
“One of my bridesmaids – Sarah – said she was going to do a course in flower arranging and then all five bridesmaids said they would help. They bought the flowers fresh that morning and made gorgeous, aromatic bouquets.
“We hired two large black Mercedes cars for the bridal party and really appreciated the air conditioning they provided as it was pretty hot. We also hired A -Team type vans to transport all of the guests to and from the chateau until 4 am,” she added.
On the day Cheryl did her own hair with the help of her Mum Maud’s friends. She also did her own make-up.
When the wedding party returned to their native Buncrana after enjoying a much-accompanied honeymoon, they held a party.
With a marquee in the rear garden of their new home, family and friends celebrated the marriage of the happy couple.
Cheryl’s brother Emile, who has an independent film company, then showed the video he took for all of the guests – those who went to France and those who missed it.
Because husband Ronan owns a Sweet Shop – ‘Munchies on the sunny side’ – each table had a sweet themed name.
Cheryl estimated that her dream wedding in France cost approximately the same as it would have at home.
“If we had held the wedding at home the numbers would have been much greater. It was definitely more special to us and I think everyone enjoyed it,” she concluded.