Elaine Donaghy and Kevin McCrory tied the knot in Ireland in a whirlwind of golden metallic décor, decadent details, frothy gypsophilia and blush. Taking to the aisle in her dream Hayley Paige wedding dress, I spoke to the bride herself, Elaine to discover more about her wedding dress journey and what advice she has for budding brides-to-be…
Photography by Gemma G Photography
#1 How did you start your wedding dress hunt?
“Probably from the day I got engaged I started searching for my dream dress. I spent hours on Pinterest, scrolling the net and I loved bridal magazines as I always liked to be able to flick through and mark pages of things I like. I started to keep folders of things which is great to have a reference to go back to and also to show at your dress appointments so they get an idea of what you like.”
#2 Did you have a clear idea in your head of what you wanted or did you try a few dresses with an open mind?
“I always liked the idea of a fairy-tale style dress with a full skirt. That said, when I was out at my appointments I was open to trying on lots of other styles just to be see how they looked and it helped rule out those styles I didn’t. When it came to finding that fairy-tale dream dress it definitely took me a lot of searching.”
#3 How many dresses did you try on before finding the one?
#4 Was it the dress experience you always wanted when it came to finding the one?
“Yes it really was, when I finally found the one it was so special and such an emotional moment. Despite having a few panic moments and tears along the way (as I thought I would never find the dress) when I finally found my Hayley Paige gown it was such a magical and treasured experience.”
#5 Did the theme or style of your day and your venue effect the style of dress you chose?
“It was the other way round for me, once I found my dream Hayley Paige dress, which was blush, romantic and dreamy, this then dictated the theme and style for the rest of my wedding and from here I introduced my overall theme of ‘blush and rose gold’. I am obsessed with all things interiors, styling and décor so I wanted my wedding to be an extension of everything I love and to represent my personality. Pinks and metallic are some of my favourite colours, so these tones of blush and rose gold were the perfect choices for my wedding, a little more subtle, romantic and dreamy. I incorporated the theme into everything from my cake to my flowers, invites, bridal accessories, décor and finishing touches.”
#6 What was your wedding journey like?
“The journey was an eventful one, with lots of excitement, a few panic moments, some tears and many cherished memories. It consisted of visits to about 15 bridal boutiques across the country and trying on about 50 dresses before I found the one. And when people tell you ‘you will know when you find your dress’, I can vouch for that.”
#7 Where was your wedding dress from?
“About 10 appointments in I was starting to get worried I would never find something I truly loved, as I hadn’t got that ‘WOW’ feeling yet. The search continued and happily, after a visit to McElhinney’s Bridal Rooms, Ballybofey – which was more of a shopping day out than a wedding dress day – when I least expected it I found my Hayley Paige dress!
My mum and one of my sisters went to in McElhinney’s for a day of shopping and it just so happened that the store had a wedding showcase on that day so I went along to see it. Since it was a showcase day only some of the dress selections were on show and you could try them on. I tried a few, but nothing was taking my fancy. So off we went and did some more shopping and had a bite of lunch, but something kept telling me to go back and make an appointment for another day so I could get to see their full range. I went back to make an appointment and got chatting to the lady who was the bridal rooms manager, Aisling. I started to tell her about my journey and struggle to find a dress and then I showed her a few pictures of the style of dress I liked. Literally her eyes lit up and she said ‘just wait a moment, I’ll be back’ and she went off in a flash. About five minutes later she returned and was holding the dress of my dreams. I think she could see the twinkle in my eye and she let me try it on, even though it wasn’t part of the showcase dresses!
My dress was a Hayley Paige gown (Reagan), and McElhinneys Bridal Rooms are exclusive stockists of the designer in Ireland. So, whilst I was familiar with the brand, as Suzanne Jackson, SoSe Me had worn a Hayley Paige at her recent wedding and she also got it in McElhinneys, I hadn’t really researched or seen any more of the range online. It wasn’t until I was in McElhinneys that I considered it as an option. But, it didn’t take very long to make up my mind as the second I got into the dress I instantly knew this was the one for me, and my mum and sister were as equally excited and as thrilled!
It was everything I wanted in a dress and more, not to mention that it was blush. Anyone who knows me will know I am a big fan of pink so this was the perfect substitute for ivory. I instantly fell in love with it the second I tried it on.”
#8 What accessories did you opt for for the big day? What shoes did you choose and why?
“For my accessories I kept them minimal as my dress was very detailed and blush, so I didn’t want to take away from it by adding lots of accessories.
I opted for a full-length, cathedral plain double tier veil, which had horse-hair edging. My earrings were by Ti Sento and they were mid-size with a hint of blush and some diamonds. For my shoes I went with plain suede – also in blush – by Ted Baker, which tied in so well with my dress (plus, a major bonus is that they were super comfy).”
#9 What would be your advice to brides-to-be starting the dress search?
“My advice to any bride is to keep searching till you find the ‘dress of your dreams’, because it’s out there. Don’t settle for something you like, you have to absolutely love it and it should give your goose bumps. For me finding something that totally gave me the WOW factor, that I felt incredibly good and special in, was so important. I can definitely say I felt like a princess and I felt my dress really reflected me.
Also, start early and do lots of research, look online and don’t forget bridal magazines, they are also great as they have all in one place. Save pictures of all the dresses you like, then you might find you are drawn to a certain designer. You can then do more research on their collection and from here check out the local stockists and start making appointments.
When you start your appointments I would recommend no more than two a day as you can end up trying on up to five dresses or more in one shop and it can take the joy out of it if you do too much.
Most importantly, keep searching till you find your dream dress!”
A big thank you to Elaine and Kevin for sharing their beautiful wedding day imagery with Bridal Editor and to Elaine for talking us through her incredible bridal dress journey. Note that you can see more of her wedding day styling and theme (including her top hints and tips on all aspects of her day) over on her blog, Elaine’s Roves ‘N Troves.
Photography: Gemma G Photography
Church: St Patrick’s Plunkett Church, Creggan, Omagh
Wedding venue: Slieve Russell Hotel, Cavan, Ireland
Wedding dress designer + dress name/style number: Hayley Paige, Reagan
Boutique or store you found your wedding dress at: McElhinneys Bridal Rooms
Discover more real brides’ dress journeys here.