For childhood sweethearts Sarah & Darren there were many ups and downs, over and backs and inside and outside before they got the day of their dreams at Castle Dargan.
The award winning Castle Dargan Estate was voted as The Top Rated Castle Venue in Ireland in 2021, and was the location for Sarah and Darren’s wedding in June 2022. Set in 170 acres of rolling parkland in a stunning country setting, the venue boasts a Darren Clarke-designed golf course and the beautiful Icon Spa. Sligo, in the North West of Ireland, has much to offer in terms of location, and is famous for unspoiled landscapes that are steeped in history. Whether you’re local or seeking a destination wedding, this venue has it all.
Here’s Sarah & Darren’s story as told by Sarah.
Tell us how you met.
We met in 2001 at Secondary School. Childhood sweethearts, we have been together for almost 20 years. We lived in Australia for 5 of those years and on returning to Ireland, we got engaged. Unfortunately we had to postpone our wedding date several times due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. However, we were very fortunate that also during that time, we had our little boy Danny who is definitely our pride and joy!
And the proposal?
We were heading away on an overseas holiday and stopped in Cavan for one night before flying from Dublin the next day. We went for a walk on one of the lovely trails in the area, and Darren got down on one knee and popped the question! We enjoyed a lovely holiday before returning and telling our family and friends our big news.
Why did you choose Castle Dargan Estate as your wedding venue?
Castle Dargan is located amidst beautiful countryside in Co. Sligo. Because we had celebrated many family events there over the years, when we contacted them in 2018 to book our wedding, everything just felt right from the beginning! During the whole process, there were never any problems with any requests we had. There was a lot of over-and-back with changing dates because of pandemic restrictions, and things changed and evolved throughout numerous lockdowns, but we always knew we were in safe and very accommodating hands.
What was the wow factor for you and your guests?
There were many highlights, but we had our hearts set on an outdoor ceremony. On the day the weather was not playing ball. It had been a horribly wet morning, but, at around midday things were looking up. The sun looked like it was ready to shine.
Suddenly, it was all systems go. The staff at Castle Dargan turned around an outdoor ceremony within 40 minutes! The whole team – office staff, bar staff, housekeeping and everyone else pulled together and made it happen. I’m so glad and grateful that we got the outdoor ceremony of our dreams! You can rely on Castle Dargan even if you can’t rely on the June weather in Ireland.
Did you follow any wedding trends, unique themes or ideas?
Actually our philosophy for the wedding was to go completely with the flow. The challenges that a pandemic brings are completely out of your control, and ironically, things seemed less stressful as we approached our big day. We were just so glad we were finally getting to celebrate our marriage with our nearest and dearest.
Was there a most special moment on your wedding day?
The speeches were really special for us. We decided to have them at our drinks reception, so people had the option of listening to them or not. Let’s face it, not everyone enjoys listening to speeches. This decision turned out to be a much more informal way of doing things and seemed to take some nerves away for the various speech makers. It also freed up time between dinner and dessert and we had a singer lined up to shake the after-dinner lull away.
What was your favourite thing about your wedding photographer? How did you find the process of working with them?
Daniel from DK Photo was a pleasure to work with. He gave great advice and tips to us in the lead up to the wedding and he was really super on the day. Often, I didn’t even notice him there, especially at the times when I was mingling with the guests. Somehow, he was, and he managed to capture all of the special candid moments.
Bride’s Dress and Veil: Enzoani from MK Bridal, Navan, Co. Meath
Bridesmaid’s Dresses – Folkster, Dundrum
Groom & Groomsmen Suits: McElhinney’s, Ballybofey, Co. Donegal
Flowers: Le Fleur, Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal
Photography: DK Photo
Hair: Rossano’s Group – Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal
Make Up: Oksana Lobanova Make Up
Band: The Rare Aul Stuff
Singer: Singers Secreto