Sun comes out for Rachel and James as they celebrate in Corick House

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Emotional vows, beautiful church music and a venue of the bride’s dreams were among the many elements which gave Rachel Giles and James Crawford a perfect wedding day. The newlyweds’ beloved past minister, the Reverend Linda Keys returned to Seskinore Presbyterian Church to conduct the light-hearted, enjoyable and quintessentially traditional service on March 2, 2019.

On the day, matrons of honour were Diane Lynd and Lorraine Smyth, best man was Andrew Crawford, bridesmaid was Lucy Giles and groomsmen were William Crawford and Robert Scott. Flower girls were Isabella Gregg, Anna Lynd, Emily Crawford, Alice Lynd and Hannah Crawford and ushers were Mark Giles and James Trimble.

Rachel and Giles’ wedding reception took place at the scenic Corick House Hotel and Spa, situated in the heart of the Clogher Valley. It was venue the blushing bride said she ‘loved everything about’ – from its beautiful setting to its local location and excellent food.

Rachel and James in the Corick House gardens.

Rachel, a quantity surveyor from Seskinore, and James, a farmer from Beragh, have known each other for years as they worked together in Fisher Engineering. However it wasn’t until December 2015 that they realised that they were interested in each other, and the pair began dating in early 2016. Describing her man, Rachel said, “James is good-looking, very kind, witty and can always make me laugh.”

Together for 18 months, it was during a holiday to Dubrovnik, a magnificent city in Croatia, that James got down on one knee in romantic fashion. “We went out for dinner one night and James seemed very nervous, which is totally out of character for him,” Rachel recalled. “He got down on one knee to my complete shock… My first reaction was ‘what are you doing down there?’ quickly followed by ‘YES!’ “It came as a huge surprise, but I was so delighted and overwhelmed with emotions.”

Rachel very quickly fell in love with her platinum engagement ring, which featured a trio of sparkling square-shaped halo stones. “I had never seen an engagement ring like it before, so I couldn’t stop looking at it,” Rachel said. “Little did I know that James had the ring picked out, and he’d hidden it in his luggage!”

Rachel with her gorgeous flowergirls, Isabella, Anna, Emily, Alice and Hannah.

Rachel said she couldn’t wait to start planning for her traditional wedding day as she is a self-confessed organiser by nature. “I always wanted blue bridesmaids,” Rachel said. “While I had no particular style in mind, I was keen for something simple and elegant. “We decided also on Corick House as our wedding venue as we love everything about it, and I have always wanted to get married there. “It has such a beautiful setting inside and out, and it made sense for our guests to be local.”

Rachel admitted that she found wedding dress shopping stressful and “not very enjoyable”. “I found it hard to try on beautiful dresses which looked awful on me,” she said. However, within the first two months of looking for her wedding gown, Rachel returned to the first shop she tried: Verona Bridal, Magherafelt hoping for better luck. After describing her perfect dress to the shop assistant, the staff member did not take long in picking out exactly the right number – and it stole Rachel’s heart.

The ivory gown featured a very fitted design, with an elegantly plain front, feminine embellished sleeves and a low embellished back. “It was exactly what I wanted, and I found myself comparing every other dress back to it,” Rachel described. “It was a style and shape that suited me, and I felt comfortable in it.”

SAY CHEESE… A delicious selection of cheeses was served to the guests after the meal.

On the morning of Rachel’s March wedding day, the bride recalled feeling very excited for the day ahead. “I would say I was a calm bride and I wasn’t nervous,” she said. “I knew I had planned everything well, and when it came to the day there was nothing more I could do. “I just wanted to enjoy our day, as I felt so blessed to be marrying my best friend with all my friends and family there to celebrate with us.”

The bride-to-be was whisked away to the church in a blue Range Rover Sport SVR, owned and kindly driven by a friend of the newlyweds. “Our service was very personal,” Rachel recalled. “Our past minister, the Reverend Linda Keys who knew James and I very well, returned to marry us, which was special. “She gave a straight forward message about marriage, and yet kept the service light-hearted and enjoyable. “The soloist and pianist were perfect, and the music was so memorable, a real highlight to the day,” Rachel added. “The most emotional part for me was taking our vows.”

Though it was very wet when the new Mr and Mrs Crawford left the church, when the pair arrived at Corick House, the weather cleared and the sun came out for some beautiful photographs. “Our wedding day was perfect,” the 28-year-old concluded. “We couldn’t have asked for anything more, and we were so content. “Everyone was so complimentary of the food, the crowd loved the band and the dance floor never emptied. “Everyone seemed to have a great time, and we danced the night away.”

The new Mr and Mrs Crawford alongside matrons of honour, Diane Lynd and Lorraine Smyth; best man, Andrew Crawford; bridesmaid Lucy GIles; groomsmen William Crawford and Robert Scott and flower girls, Isabella Gregg, Anna Lynd, Emily Crawford, Alice Lynd and Hannah Crawford.

• The Finer Details •

Wedding dress: Gino Cerruti gown from Verona Bridal, Magherafelt.
Engagement ring: Lunn’s, Belfast.
Wedding ring: Bogue’s, Omagh.
Hair stylist/salon: Laura McGirr from Hair & Co.
Make-up: Caroline Early from Make Up By Caroline.
Bridal Shoes: ASOS.
Head piece/ Veil: Ella Rose Accessories.
Handcrafted jewellery: Colleen Maguire.
Bridesmaid dresses: ASOS – Maya.
Groom’s/groomsmen’s suits: Red Groomswear, Cookstown.
Cake supplier: Sheila Lynd (family friend).
Cake design: Three tier ivory iced cake with little pearl drops of icing pouring down the sides, finished with a fresh flower garland around the bottom tier. Other treats: Cheese cake table for guests.
Florist: Bumble Bee Garden Florist, Dromore.
Stationery: Created by bride.
Church: Seskinore Presbyterian Church.
Reverend/ Priest: Reverend Linda Keys.
Church music: James Riddell (pianist) and Sinead Taggart (soloist).
Transport: Range Rovers owned by family and friends of newlyweds.
Reception: Corick House Hotel & Spa, Clogher.
Number of guests at reception: 150 guests.
DJ/band: Exclusive Wedding Band.
First dance song: ‘Always Remember Us this Way’ by Lady Gaga.
Photographer: Jude Browne Photography.
Videographer: Mark Megahey from Ryme Films.
Honeymoon: A safari in South Africa in the summer, and a holiday to the Maldives.