Sinead and Niall real wedding at the Dolmen Hotel with Castle in the Background

Sinead and Niall Wedding

The Wedding of Sinéad Minchin and Niall Amond

On 16th April 2016 at the Woodford Dolmen Hotel

Sinead and Niall real wedding at the Dolmen Hotel with Castle in the Background
Sinead and Niall at the Dolmen with Castle in the Background

Niall and I first met when I was working part time in Connollys Hardware in Bagenalstown during secondary school and college. He was often in buying bits and pieces for his father’s business. At the time Niall was also working in Scraggs Alley in Carlow so when I went out at the weekends I would meet him there. As Niall was involved in horse racing at the time I would also meet him at race meetings such as Gowran Park, The Curragh or other tracks as I often went to the races at the weekends. In 2012 I met Niall at the races in Gowran and we got chatting and exchanged numbers again. We started chatting and meeting up a few times at the races or out for dinner. Following a busy summer of meeting up between his work and my busy lifestyle, enjoying a few dates we finally decided in October that year to “give it a go”.  And the rest as they say is history.
Following a few years of enjoying each other’s company, taking holidays together to Spain, New York and Florida for my 30th Birthday, Niall finally proposed on Christmas Eve 2014. I was at home waiting for Niall to pick me up for dinner with his family on Christmas Eve. I had been busy entertaining my two nieces, Hilary and Adelle, just before he arrived and they had just painted my nails in various colours (not exactly how they should have looked had I known an engagement ring would be worn later that night). So when Niall arrived I was at the counter in the kitchen when he came in with my Christmas present. A lovely hamper of cosmetics and perfume and a few other bits as I thought! The next thing he went down on one knee and asked me to marry him with a beautiful ring that he had picked out himself with a little help from his friend Ronan who owns Scotts Jewellers in Blessington.  It was a complete surprise and of course I said YES straight away.  So I was busy for the night showing off the ring and telling family and friends of our news.  Of course he was delighted he had got the ring just right and I loved it.

Sinead and Niall real wedding at the Dolmen Hotel By the river
Sinead and Niall real wedding at the Dolmen Hotel By the river

After the dust had settled we picked a date for the wedding to be the 16th April 2016. The date chosen was specific as it had to be after the Cheltenham Racing festival and the Aintree Grand National and before the Punchestown Festival. This date was chosen so Niall wouldn’t miss any of the big meetings with his work as Travelling Head Lad for trainer Jessica Harrington. The dates suited me too so I could also take a trip to Cheltenham that year!

Once the date had been chosen we started to make plans for the big day. We booked St. Laserians Church in Ballinkillen as this was my local Church and where I always wanted to get married.

We created a rough guest list and knew from the start we were looking at a big wedding having approximately 400 guests. Our top choice of venues was the Woodford Dolmen Hotel as they have a choice of function rooms capable of comfortably seating large numbers like ours.  We met with the manager Colin Duggan and Wedding Coordinator Clare Kavanagh to discuss our wedding plans. From just talking to them and seeing their function room at that very first meeting we knew we wanted our wedding there and didn’t even have to look at any other venues. The hotel is extremely popular for weddings and as we were restricted on our date, we were very lucky that they had the 16th free – we booked it there and then.  We walked away from that first meeting confident the hotel team were going to look after us and really in terms of organising our reception, the management and staff couldn’t have done any more for us. We had a menu and wine tasting evening to choose our meal but other than that we did very little, leaving it all to the professionals in the hotel and they excelled in every area.

Niall finally proposed on Christmas Eve 2014

We knew the videographer we wanted for the wedding was Brendan Joyce from Barrow Vision Studios. Brendan had done wedding videos previously for various family members and friends and we knew his work was top class. We chose Roger Jones as our photographer as he had done the photos and album for my brother’s wedding a few years ago and came highly recommended. Roger was local and we have known him for years so I knew working with him on the day of the wedding would be no problem.

I chose my Maid of Honour to be my cousin and best friend Mary Kelly, I had the pleasure of doing the same for her in 2012. My three friends Colette, Louise (Niall’s sister) and Kellie were my bridesmaids, while Niall had his brother as best man and two cousins and friend as groomsmen. We had my three nieces, Hilary Adelle and Vera Minchin, as flower girls on the day. It was to be a special day for Vera as her first birthday was on the same day.

Sinead and Niall real wedding at the Dolmen Hotel with flower girls and dovesThe girls organised a fantastic hen party for me and my friends in Waterford Castle in March. We met up at lunch time in the local community centre bar where the place had been transformed into a disco/cocktail bar with our own world award winning cocktail maker. From there we went to Waterford Castle where we stayed in the lodges and had booked the golf club out for our party with dinner and a DJ/karaoke to provide all the entertainment for the night. As there was a group of 65 on the hen it worked out brilliantly to have our own place and we were looked after so well by all the staff at Waterford Castle. Niall’s stag was held a couple of weeks later in Carlow (a much quieter affair than the hen no doubt!)

As the wedding day drew closer we were looking at what else we wanted to have for the day. We booked Dan Twomey Tenor Soloist from Cork to sing at our ceremony. I had seen Dan perform on television and at another friend’s wedding the year before and he has the most amazing voice. He was so helpful with song choices and I knew he was exactly what we wanted. Mary McCague accompanied Dan on the day. He certainly didn’t let us down and the ceremony was made even more enjoyable thanks to the beautiful singing.

I attended the Irish Wedding Diary Show in Dublin in September 2015 and one of the exhibitors that caught my eye was White Angel Doves. Here you could book an angel dove release for the wedding day with all the proceeds of the booking going to Console, the National Suicide Charity. I immediately booked as I knew this would be a lovely way to remember my youngest brother Paul who passed away in 2011 from Cystic Fibrosis. Paul was the youngest out of our family of five boys and me so it was going to be very important to me to be able to remember him different ways throughout the day. As well as the Angel Dove Release which we had outside the church after the ceremony I lit a special memory candle for Paul in the church and this was brought to the reception also and placed on the top table. My flower bouquet also carried a photo memory of Paul on the day.

After the first meeting here we knew The Woodford Dolmen was where we wanted our reception to be held

I booked the Hair and Beauty Chalet (Irish Wedding Diary Award Winners) to do the hair and make up for me, my bridesmaids, mother of the bride and flower girls on the day and in the lead up to the big day to get the nails, tan etc done. The girls did an amazing job and we had such fun in the Chalet and at home getting ready the morning of the wedding. The make up and hair styles were lovely on the day.

We used Lawler Chauffeur Services on the day for a car for Daddy and I to travel to the Church and the bridesmaids and flower girls went on a 14 seater vintage bus. After the ceremony Niall and I travelled to the reception in the convertible vintage car and the bridal party including the groomsmen travelled on the vintage bus. We were delighted with the car and bus on the day, the drivers were so friendly and very obliging and the complimentary champagne for the full bridal party was much appreciated.
The day of the wedding finally arrived and the morning was so relaxed. The ceremony was at 3pm so we had plenty of time to get ready and enjoy our time at home before heading off to get married. The church was decorated by my Aunt Margaret and neighbour Joan Doyle who also did all the flower arranging and made the bouquets and button holes for the guys. They were also busy decorating old milk churns and personalising them for outside the church on the day of the wedding. They were admired by all and suited the country theme of the wedding.  All our family and friends were so good to help out in the lead up to the wedding and on the day itself.  The day went by so quickly but we had the most wonderful time posing for photos, mandatory selfies and enjoying the atmosphere of it all. We stopped for photos at Milford Cross before arriving to the Woodford Dolmen for our reception. We were welcomed by Colin and Clare (manager and wedding coordinator) and greeted with champagne while our guests enjoyed a refreshing Summer punch, teas, coffees and lovely cream scones. Our function room had been beautifully decorated with candlelight and simple flowers, exactly what I had asked for.  We enjoyed a mouthwatering meal, served by the most friendly and helpful staff and without any delay. This was the one area we were a little apprehensive about, serving so many people without compromising on any of the finer details but we needn’t have worried, the service was seamless and everyone commented on the efficiency of the staff afterwards.

Declan Nerney is an old family friend and he played a special song on the night to remember my brother Paul

We had booked Declan Nerney and his band to provide the entertainment on the night and he did a brilliant job, I even got up on stage to join in a few songs! Declan is an old family friend and he played a special song on the night to remember my brother Paul whom he knew also which was very special. Declan was followed by Carlow DJs who played into the early hours and once they finished in the function room they continued down in the Residents Bar where the party continued well into the early hours of the next morning. Pixels Photo Booth were set up for the night with great props and everyone got a copy of the photos taken on the night and we received a full album of all the photos taken on the night which are great to have.

So after all the planning and preparing we had the most amazing day, with the best family and friends anyone could ask for. The Woodford Dolmen Hotel played a massive part in ensuring our wedding day was definitely one to remember and we cannot thank them enough for everything they did for us. They provide an exceptional service and we are so glad we chose to have our wedding reception at the hotel.

We went on a “mini-Moon” in Kerry the week after the Wedding to the beautiful Muckross Park Hotel which was a lovely break and we travel to Las Vegas, Miami and a Caribbean Cruise next January for the full honeymoon… better late than never!