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First pictures: Minister Helen McEntee weds long-term love in private ceremony

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Helen McEntee and Paul Hickey after their wedding at St Patrick's Church in Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 7/8/2016

Helen McEntee and Paul Hickey after their wedding at St Patrick's Church in Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 7/8/2016

Helen McEntee and Paul Hickey pictured after their wedding at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Helen McEntee and Paul Hickey pictured after their wedding at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Bridesmaids, from left to right, Lisa Corbally, Sally McEntee, Niamh Woods and Thea Browne pictured before the wedding of Helen McEntee and Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Bridesmaids, from left to right, Lisa Corbally, Sally McEntee, Niamh Woods and Thea Browne pictured before the wedding of Helen McEntee and Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Helen McEntee,  with from left to right, bridesmaids, Lisa Corbally, Niamh Woods, her brother Vincent, mother, Kathleen and bridesmaids, Sally McEntee and Thea Browne at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Helen McEntee, with from left to right, bridesmaids, Lisa Corbally, Niamh Woods, her brother Vincent, mother, Kathleen and bridesmaids, Sally McEntee and Thea Browne at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Guests after for the wedding of Helen McEntee and Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Guests after for the wedding of Helen McEntee and Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Helen McEntee with her grandmothers, May Corbally, left and Madge McEntee after she marryed Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Helen McEntee with her grandmothers, May Corbally, left and Madge McEntee after she marryed Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Helen McEntee pictured after marrying Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 7/8/2016

Helen McEntee pictured after marrying Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 7/8/2016

Helen McEntee pictured after marrying Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 7/8/2016

Helen McEntee pictured after marrying Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 7/8/2016

Helen McEntee and Paul Hickey after their wedding at St Patrick's Church in Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 7/8/2016

Helen McEntee and Paul Hickey after their wedding at St Patrick's Church in Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 7/8/2016

Helen McEntee and Paul Hickey after their wedding at St Patrick's Church in Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 7/8/2016

Helen McEntee and Paul Hickey after their wedding at St Patrick's Church in Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 7/8/2016

Helen McEntee pictured after marrying Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Helen McEntee pictured after marrying Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Helen McEntee pictured after marrying Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 7/8/2016

Helen McEntee pictured after marrying Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 7/8/2016

Helen McEntee and Paul Hickey after their wedding at St Patrick's Church in Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 7/8/2016

Helen McEntee and Paul Hickey after their wedding at St Patrick's Church in Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 7/8/2016

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Helen McEntee and Paul Hickey after their wedding at St Patrick's Church in Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 7/8/2016

Meath's Helen McEntee side-lined politics for a day to marry her long-term love Paul Hickey in a private ceremony.

The dress code was strictly politician-free as the couple decided not to invite any of their Government colleagues, keeping the occasion only for their huge circle of family and close friends.

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Helen McEntee pictured after marrying Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Helen McEntee pictured after marrying Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Helen McEntee pictured after marrying Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

The 31-year old blonde bride looked stunning as she said 'I do' to fiance Paul in her parish church in Castletown, near the village of Nobber.

Their romance blossomed in Dail Eireann when Helen met Paul, the former parliamentary assistant to Government Chief Whip Joe McHugh.

A large contingent from Paul's home town of Castlecoote, Co Roscommon travelled up for the big day.

The wedding has been 18 months in the making since Paul, who now works in health economics proposed to Helen on a break away in Connemara in January 2016.

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Bridesmaids, from left to right, Lisa Corbally, Sally McEntee, Niamh Woods and Thea Browne pictured before the wedding of Helen McEntee and Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Bridesmaids, from left to right, Lisa Corbally, Sally McEntee, Niamh Woods and Thea Browne pictured before the wedding of Helen McEntee and Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Bridesmaids, from left to right, Lisa Corbally, Sally McEntee, Niamh Woods and Thea Browne pictured before the wedding of Helen McEntee and Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Arriving fashionably late by just 15 minutes, the junior minister of state for European politics turned heads with a breathtaking backless ivory dress with plunging neck-line and net skirt.

The day was tinged with a little sadness in the absence of Helen's dad - the affable and larger than life TD Shane McEntee who died by suicide almost five years ago.

Her brother Vincent took his place on the day to walk her down the aisle and both Shane and Paul's late dad Paddy were remembered in prayer during the ceremony.

The Minister who was first elected in a Meath East by-election chose a beautiful blush pink colour for her bridesmaids.

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Helen McEntee and Paul Hickey kiss after their wedding at St Patrick's Church in Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 7/8/2016

Helen McEntee and Paul Hickey kiss after their wedding at St Patrick's Church in Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 7/8/2016

Helen McEntee and Paul Hickey kiss after their wedding at St Patrick's Church in Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 7/8/2016

Surrounded by 350 family and friends, Helen's sister Sally was chief bridesmaid, supported by friends Lisa Kelly, Niamh Woods and Thea Browne while the groom's entourage comprised of Tom Hickey, Ciaran Walshe, Gerard Clogher and Tommy O'Brien.

Proud mums Kathleen McEntee and Maria Hickey brought the gifts up to the altar in the Mass, celebrated by Paul's relation Fr Michael O'Brien.

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Other guests at the huge wedding included Helen's uncles - noted consultant and former Meath GAA player Gerry McEntee and current Meath senior manager Andy McEntee, as well as Paul's uncle and chair of Glanbia Henry Corbally.

Thankfully any forecast rain stayed away and in near-perfect conditions, the sunshine clad couple celebrated their union in Cabra Castle in Co. Cavan.

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Helen McEntee with her grandmothers, May Corbally, left and Madge McEntee after she marryed Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Helen McEntee with her grandmothers, May Corbally, left and Madge McEntee after she marryed Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Helen McEntee with her grandmothers, May Corbally, left and Madge McEntee after she marryed Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

The newly-weds will spend their honeymoon in America.

Just before the nuptials, she said: "I've been looking forward to our wedding day for months now and at last, it's finally arrived, though I was a bit nervous earlier.

"We'll have a great day, rain or shine, celebrating with family and friends who have come from near and far to join us today.  That's the main thing.

"We've received so many best wishes this morning from people all over the country, which has all been so overwhelming."

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Helen McEntee pictured before marrying Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Helen McEntee pictured before marrying Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Helen McEntee and Paul Hickey after their wedding at St Patrick's Church in Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 7/8/2016

Helen McEntee and Paul Hickey after their wedding at St Patrick's Church in Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 7/8/2016

Helen McEntee and Paul Hickey pictured after their wedding at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Helen McEntee and Paul Hickey pictured after their wedding at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Helen McEntee pictured after marrying Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Helen McEntee pictured after marrying Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Bridesmaids, from left to right, Lisa Corbally, Sally McEntee, Niamh Woods and Thea Browne pictured before the wedding of Helen McEntee and Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Bridesmaids, from left to right, Lisa Corbally, Sally McEntee, Niamh Woods and Thea Browne pictured before the wedding of Helen McEntee and Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Helen McEntee,  with from left to right, bridesmaids, Lisa Corbally, Niamh Woods, her brother Vincent, mother, Kathleen and bridesmaids, Sally McEntee and Thea Browne at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Helen McEntee, with from left to right, bridesmaids, Lisa Corbally, Niamh Woods, her brother Vincent, mother, Kathleen and bridesmaids, Sally McEntee and Thea Browne at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Guests after for the wedding of Helen McEntee and Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Guests after for the wedding of Helen McEntee and Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Helen McEntee with her grandmothers, May Corbally, left and Madge McEntee after she marryed Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Helen McEntee with her grandmothers, May Corbally, left and Madge McEntee after she marryed Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Helen McEntee pictured after marrying Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 7/8/2016

Helen McEntee pictured after marrying Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 7/8/2016

Helen McEntee pictured after marrying Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 7/8/2016

Helen McEntee pictured after marrying Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 7/8/2016

Helen McEntee and Paul Hickey after their wedding at St Patrick's Church in Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 7/8/2016

Helen McEntee and Paul Hickey after their wedding at St Patrick's Church in Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 7/8/2016

Helen McEntee and Paul Hickey after their wedding at St Patrick's Church in Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 7/8/2016

Helen McEntee and Paul Hickey after their wedding at St Patrick's Church in Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 7/8/2016

Helen McEntee pictured after marrying Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Helen McEntee pictured after marrying Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Helen McEntee pictured after marrying Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 7/8/2016

Helen McEntee pictured after marrying Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 7/8/2016

Helen McEntee and Paul Hickey kiss after their wedding at St Patrick's Church in Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 7/8/2016

Helen McEntee and Paul Hickey kiss after their wedding at St Patrick's Church in Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 7/8/2016

Helen McEntee and Paul Hickey after their wedding at St Patrick's Church in Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 7/8/2016

Helen McEntee and Paul Hickey after their wedding at St Patrick's Church in Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 7/8/2016

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Helen McEntee pictured before marrying Paul Hickey at St Patrick's Church in Castletown, Meath. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

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