Your Big Day

Real wedding: A magical day in Cabra Castle for John and Karie

John, from Monaghan, met Karie, from Manila, on a tour boat while both were on holidays with friends in the Philippines.

It was fitting then, that when they went back to the islands, that's where John decided to ask Karie to marry him. He caught her off guard, asking her to pose for a photo with him and setting their camera on timer. This allowed him to capture her reaction as she turned to find him on one knee, and she said yes right away.

In August 2017, the couple said their vows in First Castleblayney Presbyterian Church - John's family church - before heading to Cabra Castle in Cavan for their recepetion.


Their photos were by Olga Hogan Photography.

The Venue

John and Karie chose Cabra Castle for their wedding venue, drawn in by its romantic atmosphere, luxurious feel and beautifully manicured gardens. "In short it simply has it all!" said Karie, who praised the staff and wedding team for their passion and professionalism.

The Dress

Karie purchased her dress the Philippines. It was made by MK Gali dressmakers.

"Although looking for the wedding dress was stressful it was also a thrilling experience," said Karie. "At the beginning, I was overwhelmed with the abundance of designs available and after my first episode of dress hunting I remained absolutely undecided with which style I wanted. Thankfully after endless hours of window shopping, sleepless nights scrolling through Google, Instagram and Pinterest, I was able to settle on my dream wedding dress design. I can honestly say that it was such a relief when the dressmakers at MK Gali agreed to make my design a reality."

The Decor

The couple opted for the fairytale package from Cabra Castle, however they were able to add our own personal touches to the decor. The added DIY aspects such as a 'royal themed' table plan and also had a candy buffet, a photo booth, personal banners and little evening desserts as an extra treat for guests.

The sourced some of their supplies from eBay and discount stores such as Dealz and Euro Giant, but the majority were bought and shipped from a large wholesale market place in Karie's home city of Manila. "Each personal touch was carefully planned and although a lot of effort was put into making them it was most certainly worth it," said the couple.

The Bridesmaids' Dresses

The bridesmaids' dresses were bought from MK Gali. Karie and the girls opted for infinity dresses, as the style didn't have to be form-fitting which was important as three of Karie's maids live abroad and were unable to attend fittings.

The Suits

John purchased his suit from Steele’s Menswear in Carrickmacross, Monaghan, and his groomsmen wore their own.

"As we did have to stick to a budget for our wedding we came to a decision that the groomsmen would wear their own existing black suits. Thankfully each suit was the same style, which meant they looked seamless while standing together."

The Stand-out Moments

While the couple admit that choosing a favourite moment is difficult, they agree that their entrance to the castle just before dinner was a highlight of their day.

"This moment was really so exhilarating," said Karie. "We can both remember every detail of that experience; that moment that everyone went silent, the venue coordinator then said “whenever you’re ready guys,” and our entrance music - Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours - began to play. There was an unmeasurable feeling of happiness as we walked to the top table through the many guests, surrounded by smiles of people who were genuinely overjoyed for us. The final touch of course was that little kiss we shared just before sitting down to begin our meal."

Karie’s stand out moment: "My personal stand out moment would be walking down the aisle. It was very scary at first because you can’t help but notice that everyone is looking at you. But eventually the music will sink into you and every step will just be magical and pure nostalgia."

John’s stand out moment: "My personal stand out would be waiting standing at the front of the church waiting on Karie to walk up the aisle. Even though I love the soothing music that was being played (canon in d) I couldn't help feeling my first real bout of nerves. This was soon calmed though as I seen my stunning bride in her fabulous dress for the first time."

The Food

The food was a top priority for the couple, and they really wanted to make sure guests enjoed every bite of the menu. They had a starter that consisted of a trio of melon, salmon and chicken which was followed with butternut squash and smoked ham soup. For the main course the couple went with a choice of salmon, roast sirloin of beef, turkey and ham, and a vegetarian option. Dessert consisted of profiteroles, cheesecake, mini meringue and ice-cream. "For the drinks," said Karie, "we offered guests unlimited white and red wines throughout the dinner and one serving of sparkling wine for the toast. In the late evening we served goujons and chips in a trendy carnival style cone. At this point of the day my homemade double chocolate, red velvet or vanila cake in minature mason jars was served."

The Advice

"Our advice to couples who are planning or who will be planning their big day is always add some personal touches, because it does give uniqueness and identity to your wedding day," said Karie. "It is also important to communicate with each other. There might be some disagreements but it will always work out for the better. Lastly, savour each moment because the whole day literally flashes before your eyes!"

The Honeymoon

The couple honeymooned in Italy, where they enjoyed roadtrips, and crossing the country on train. "We had a fun filled time seeing Rome, Naples, Pompei, the Amalfi Coast, Lake Como and Milan," said Karie. "My advice is if you’re looking for an exhilarating honeymoon, roadtripping is the way to go."

The Vendors

Photographer: Olga Hogan Photography | Videographer: Hugh Daly and Conor Waters | Celebrant: Rev. Thomas Hagan | Ceremony: First Castleblayney Presbyterian Church | Ceremony music: Charlotte Adair (pianist), Patricia Daly (harpist) | Wedding dress: MK Gali, Manila, the Philippines | Shoes: Bride: Jenny Peckham (bought in Debenhams, Newry); Groom: Base London (bought in Shoe City, Castleblayney) | Accessories: Bride - Swarovski; Groom: Daniel Wellington and ‘The Collection’ Debenhams | Engagement ring: Ernest Jones | Wedding ring: Ernest Jones | Bridesmaids’ dresses: MK Gali, Manila, the Philippines | Grooms/groomsmen’s suits: Steele’s Menswear, Carrickmacross, County Monaghan | Flowers: Edel’s Country Flowers, Iniskeen, Co. Monaghan | Decor: Supplied by Cabra Castle (majority), Self Made | Reception venue: Cabra Castle | Hair and makeup:  Picasso, Castleblayney | Honeymoon provider: Self planned trip around Italy | Reception entertainment: Mr. Music wedding band; Midland DJs - Sax and DJ combo

Share your Wedding

Would you like to see your big day featured on We want to hear from you! Simply send your names, your wedding date, your wedding location and the name of your photographer or your wedding videos to Editor (@) and we'll get back to you!