Style Weddings

Sunday 31 August 2014

For better or worse: Five couples on what they would change about their wedding

Arlene Harris

Published 08/03/2014 | 02:30

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Vogue and Brian McFadden
Edwina Grace and Ken McGuire
Kelly Fenton and husband Ian

We spoke to five couples to find out what they would do differently if they were given the opportunity to walk down the aisle again.

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Vogue Williams and Brian McFadden got married on September 2, 2012 in Florence, Italy. Their reception was held at the Castello di Vincigliata and while the setting, weather and ambience was amazing, the model and DJ says there was nearly a last-minute disaster on the beauty front.

"We had 100 guests at our wedding which was the perfect amount for a good party and we all had a really great time," she recalls. "Brian was very relaxed about everything and while he helped with the planning to a certain degree, he also knew instinctively when to back off.

"Even though I knew exactly what I wanted, I was quite chilled out and didn't have any real Bridezilla moments until the last six weeks when I suddenly realised how much there was left to do.

"But just when I thought I had everything sorted, a few days before the wedding, I slipped in the bath and while I didn't exactly split my lip open it was really bruised and sore.

"I was so stressed-out as I knew I would be having lots of photos taken and couldn't believe my bad luck. My friend Ashley O'Rourke was doing my make-up and she was absolutely brilliant and reassured me that she would be able to cover it up really well so no-one would see. She totally relaxed me and did a great job of concealing it.

"Mind you, she told me afterwards that she was a nervous wreck about it."

The ex-'Fade Street' star says if she had her time again, she would be better prepared and would also listen to her own instincts.

"We had initially wanted to get married at 1pm but we heard it would be way too hot at that time of the day in Florence, so settled instead for 4pm," she says. "I really wish we had just gone with what we initially wanted to do because I don't think the evening was long enough and, looking back, it would probably have been fine to get married in the middle of the day.

"Also, if I had my time again, I would make sure I wrote down everything that needed to be done and would tick it off as I went along.

"I forgot about lots of things so I was a little thrown on the day – for example, I forgot about the first dance and that we would need to cut the cake and I even forgot that I had to throw the bouquet, so I think a list is really important as you get so carried away with everything that it's easy to lose track of important things."

TV presenter Alan Hughes married Karl Broderick on September 30, 2011 in the Unitarian Church on Stephen's Green, Dublin. The day was both a celebration of their union and a poignant reminder that his sister Doreen didn't have long to live.

"We had originally planned to get married in May 2012, but Doreen was very ill and we knew she wouldn't be around for long so we brought it forward," Alan says. "This meant that we had very little time to prepare, which in a way was a good thing.

"I had always wanted to have a party in the Round Room of the Mansion House so we booked that and had a great whirlwind time organising our suits and the bridesmaids' dresses for Doreen and Karl's sister, Ann."

"Given that Doreen was so sick, worrying about the wedding plans seemed trivial, but we had an absolutely amazing day. She was in great form and all our friends and family came to celebrate with us, so it was perfect. Of course we had a few hiccups, such as the PA not working for a particular song in the church, but it was no big deal and we laughed about it afterwards."

Although there was very little the TV star would change about his nuptials, if he could wind back the clock, he would spend more time savouring the moment.

"The thing about weddings is they are so busy and everyone is rushing around getting ready and then being carried forward by the event itself," he says. "So I think it's really important to stand back from it all and drink everything in for a moment. I remember feeling really sad that it was all over so fast and wished I could do it all again.

"So I think, if at all possible, the bride or groom should take time out to commit everything to memory – don't just walk into a room without seeing everything that's going on and the effort that has been put in.

"Some people kill themselves with worry about getting things just right on their wedding day but the key is just to relax and have as much fun as possible."

Kelly Fenton married husband Ian on July 17, 2011 in Tuscany. She planned most of her wedding herself and enjoyed the process so much that she set up her own company called planmyparty.ie – but says if she had her time again, she would cut back on extras and put a bit more thought into choosing a once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon.

"Our wedding day was wonderful and because we all travelled to Italy, we had a three-day event so seeing everyone arrive the night before the ceremony was great," she says. "The highlight of the day was walking out of the town hall as newlyweds and then going to the cafe on the piazza for a glass of Prosecco.

"But if I was to do it again, I would stay in a hotel closer to the guests as everyone was quite spread out. We also wouldn't have bothered with 'welcome packs' as I think little welcome note would have done the job.

"And we would have picked another location for our honeymoon. We went to the South of France as we had come back from travelling the year before but we wish we had taken the opportunity to go a luxurious island."

Rebecca Horan married Jason McNelis in Son Marroig, Deia in Mallorca on May 25, 2013. After planning the event for 10 months, the broadcast journalist says the day itself was incredible. But if she had her time again, she would extend the day and pay more heed to her feet.

"I look back so fondly on the day but wish we had started at 2pm rather than 6pm just to give us more time in the spectacular old museum we had hired," she says.

"We could have had more time with family who flew from Australia, South Africa and Greece and my aunt who I barely got to see and who sadly died a few months later.

"I also would have gone barefoot the entire day. I bought these wonderfully high spiky shoes and as Jason isn't much taller than me I towered over him and my feet were very tender all night.

"And I would have curtailed the added extras – nobody cares about your bespoke sweet table or a melting cheese board at 1am."

Edwina Grace married Ken McGuire in Kilkenny on January 4, 2014. As a brand-new wife, the day is very fresh in her mind and the KCLR radio producer says although she wasn't the typical stressed-out bride, she could have benefitted from a little more planning beforehand.

"We definitely underestimated how much needed to be done and if doing it again, would give ourselves a bit of a longer organising stint.

"Ken designed our wedding stationery and because we dawdled over the design we left it quite late to send out invitations and realised after the event that we had even forgotten to send some.

"Likewise, I only ordered my dress four months before, we decided on rings just three weeks before and right up to the last week we were making wedding favours, sourcing baskets of toiletries for gifts and organising the music which we DJ'd ourselves.

"Doing it again, I'd start much earlier, at least 12 months in advance, and tick the boxes slowly but surely in order to avoid any last-minute scrambling."

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