Red is the Rose: Joanne & Darren at Ballyroe Heights Hotel

This wedding made our hearts skip a beat!

With rich reds and a sparkling touches of white throughout the day, Joanne and Darren’s December nuptials were a dream come true. We just can’t get over Joanne’s gorgeous gown and the bridesmaid’s fur jackets that had them looking chic from pre-ceremony snaps all the way to the night’s festivities and breathtaking photoshoot at a local cathedral.

Following a traditional church wedding, the bride and groom celebrated their winter nuptials at the lovely Ballyroe Heights Hotel in Tralee. Ever the modern couple, the pair even had their very own Snapchat filter for their day (add that to your wedding checklist 😉 ! ).

Don’t miss all the heartwarming moments captured by photographer David Hogan and read all the fabulous details of their special day at Ballyroe celebrated with family and friends.

The Beginning

“Darren and I met when I was 18 and he was 20. At the time I was in college in the University of Limerick, My friends that I was living with in Limerick were from Ardfert and I had started to go out to Ardfert for occasions such as 18th’s / 21st’s. Darren’s two younger brothers who are twins (Alan & Keith) were also attending UL and I got to know them through my friends. It was Keith who introduced me to Darren one night in the local pub and the rest is history, Darren came up to UL for a day most weeks to see me and I came home every weekend.

We started building our home in 2013 and we had our beautiful daughter Amelia in May 2014.”

The Proposal

“It was the night before Christmas Eve (23rd Dec 2016) when we had returned home from town in the evening. I was pottering around the kitchen when Darren called me upstairs. I went up and asked what he and Amelia (our daughter) were up to. Darren said to Amelia ‘do you have something to ask Mama?’ Amelia, who was busy dancing around the room, stopped and asked ‘Mama, marry Dada?’ and when I turned around, Darren was down on one knee with a ring! To say I was shocked is an understatement. It had only taken him 10 years. . .  I think it will always be one of my favourite memories in our home, and to have our daughter part of the proposal was amazing.I immediately rang my mom to tell her!”

The Attire

“I purchased my dress in Cinderella’s closet in Cork. It was a Sottero & Midgley dress. It was the first dress I tried on. I was shopping with my maid of honour on the day and we both cried. I knew it was the one! My shoes were from the Asos bridal range.

Our bridesmaid’s dresses were from the Myleene Class range on Littlewoods. I always knew I wanted red and they were the first bridesmaid dresses that I had ever seen to have a train. I instantly fell in love.

Our suits were from Ryle’s menswear in Tralee, They were fantastic to deal with. Everyone went in at a time that suited them to try them on and get altered etc. after we had them picked. Gerrine is a man that knows his fashion so we were more than happy to go with his suggestions.”

The Venue

“We had been to so many weddings in Ballyroe over the previous few years and we had never had a bad wedding there. We barely even discussed going anywhere else. We both knew it was the right venue for us. I knew I wanted I Christmas wedding and Ballyroe is magical at Christmas. Their decorations and lighting are always so tasteful and elegant.

Also, from speaking with others who got married there, every bride and groom were so happy with their wedding day. Ballyroe (especially Jonathan) is so accommodating and helps with all your ideas. I had to ring him a few weeks before the wedding as our car drivers had let us down and he organised wedding cars for us that same day. He took so much pressure off and was a pleasure to deal with.

Also, we go there with our daughter and extended family often for lunch or dinner and have never had a bad meal so really it was not a hard decision.

Apart from the amazing service provided by the staff and the winter wonderland display of decorations, my guests could not compliment the food more. Darren and I had a tasting in the weeks before the wedding where we had a candle lit dinner in the restaurant and got to sample new foods that they hadn’t served at a wedding before. We were delighted to be the first to try the new menu, and it didn’t disappoint.”

The Photographer

“David was great to work with. We met him a few months before our big day to have a look at styles he had done for other weddings but I had already seen his work for my friend’s wedding and fell in love with his photography. We wanted to go to our local cathedral in Ardfert and he showed us photos he had taken there.

David superimposed water and the beach into the background of our photos and they look amazing.

David was so happy to take my suggestions on photos that I wanted to include and made sure we got every shot. I know a lot of people say that so much time is spent of the day taking photos we didn’t feel like any time was wasted. We knew we were against the clock with the rain coming but David was so professional and efficient.”

Trends & Themes

“We were the first couple (that we know) to have a Snapchat filter at the hotel. Personal Snapchat filters were not available in our location until very near the wedding date. I think that was a nice touch.

We had a magic mirror in the hallway for our guests. We had seen it at another wedding and thought it was a great idea. The props were great fun and we got to keep copies of all the photos that were taken.

In the church we had personalised ‘Happy Tears’ tissues with our names and the date on them. Also in the newly renovated garden at the hotel, just off the wedding room, we left boxes of matches for our guest that were personalised too ‘Joanne & Darren, the perfect match 15.12.17’.”

Memorable Moments

“For both of us, it was amazing to have our daughter as our flower girl on the day. She looked so beautiful and most definitely stole the show on more than one occasion! During Alan’s best man speech, she kept asking for the microphone. Thinking she was going to say ‘Hi’ and then go all shy, she surprised us by standing up on the chair and singing ‘Red is the Rose’ for all our guests. We could not believe it, our guests thought we had it planned but we were just as shocked as they were. We were bursting with pride!

Another special moment for me was listening to Darren’s speech. I thought he would keep it short and sweet but he blew me away. I most definitely got teary-eyed hearing him say ‘On behalf of wife and I…’ for the first time. He was so funny and had our guests entertained from start to finish.”

Special Thoughts

“I thought it would be a tough day or at least be tough in parts, with my dad and other close family and friends not being there to celebrate our big day. But our families and friends made it amazing and we wouldn’t have had one of the best days of our lives without them.”


Supplier Information

  • Venue:

    Ballyroe Heights Hotel
  • Photographer:

    David Hogan
  • Band:

    Danny Goggin
  • Bridal Shop:

    Cinderella’s Closet, Cork
  • Florist:

    All Seasons, Tralee
  • Hair Stylist:

    Aisling Carroll, Style Counsil, Tralee
  • Makeup Artist:

    Romany Mahony, Ballyheigue
  • Wedding Car:

    Horan’s Wedding cars
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