The perfect Hillmount House wedding (in every possible way)
Keava and Joel’s wedding in Hillmount House was as practically perfect as a wedding can get. With an outdoor ceremony looking out across the sparkling sea, flawlessly elegant styling, and a spectacular golden hour to finish off the day, the wedding photographer in me was happy as a clam. They even scored some major ‘doggy ringbearer’ bonus points!
But this Hillmount House wedding meant so much more to me than just the styling and the venue. It resonated with me.
They were mindful of the moments as they happened, of the meaning behind the day, of the family and friends who’d gathered around them. It was beautiful, yes, but they never once lost sight of what their day was all about. And to me, that’s the recipe for the perfect wedding. If this sounds like the kind of wedding you’ve always wanted, come take a look.
Hillmount House – the best wedding venue in NI for a mindful wedding
Hillmount House is the perfect venue for a relaxed and mindful wedding in Northern Ireland. The whole place has such a wonderfully homely atmosphere to it. And the staff are just so lovely, you know?! They’re practically falling over themselves to help you, to make you feel welcome.
You hire the house for the whole weekend. So you have the whole place to yourselves, and you don’t have to leave at sunrise the next day to make way for the next couple. And when you wake up in those oh-so-comfy beds, you can relax and enjoy your morning, safe in the knowledge your ceremony is only a short walk away.
Throw in the gorgeous Grade II listed 18th Century home, the cosy barn and the beautiful gardens sweeping down towards the sea. And not only is it the most relaxed wedding venue in Northern Ireland, it’s a wedding photographer’s dream, too!
Don’t you just love the getting ready part of a wedding day?!
I got to the venue bright and early, and went to meet up with Keava and her girls in the super-comfy suite of Hillmount House.
And as soon as I put my little face round the door, the atmosphere was just amazing! Lola the pug was curled up in her little basket, Buck’s Fizz was flowing, Keava’s dad was chatting and laughing on the sofa like one of the girls! It was so lovely.
Is it just me or is the ‘getting ready’ part of the day just so underrated?!
Keava wore a stylish, slinky soft crepe dress, with elegant makeup, soft Hollywood waves and a stunning cathedral-length veil. She looked amazing, and it was the perfect bridal look for the relaxed, classically beautiful day ahead.
My favourite thing about being a wedding photographer? It’s moments like this
Keava’s dad had left the room a little earlier to let her finish getting ready. And we found him waiting at the bottom of the staircase to walk her to the ceremony. And it was such an incredible few minutes.
The way his face lit up when he first saw her in her dress, the veil flowing down the stairs behind her. How happy they both were, how tightly he hugged her.
It’s never lost on me how lucky I am to be a part of moments like that. A few precious minutes Keava will never forget as long as she lives, and I got to be the one to capture them for her.
OK, (*sniffs, wipes away a tears*) back to the wedding.
An outdoor wedding in the Hillmount House gardens
Having an outdoor wedding is always a bit of a risk (especially in Northern Ireland. Especially in Spring!) But the wedding gods were on our side, and Keava and Joel’s gamble paid off big time! The outdoor ceremony area in Hillmount House is simply breathtaking, and they’d styled it to perfection.
Clouds of white hydrangeas, dahlias and roses stood on either side of the altar, and hung from the spectacular rustic arch behind (is it still called an arch if it’s a pyramid?!) Trees reached up into the sky, silhouetted against cloud-dappled blue. And as Keava walked down the aisle with her father, rose petals danced across the flagstones beneath their feet. It was pretty perfect.
But I’ll be honest, the star of the ceremony wasn’t the incredible setting. It wasn’t the exquisite styling, Keava’s gorgeous dress, or Joel’s super-suave black tux. It wasn’t even the beautiful poem Joel’s sister had written.
Because when the celebrant asked, “who has the rings?” and Lola the pug trotted down the aisle carrying them around her neck…well let’s face it, that’s a pretty tough act to follow!
When it was finally made official, a huge cheer filled the sundrenched garden. And Keava and Joel walked back up the aisle, arm-in-arm as husband and wife.
Ice cream trumps hors d’oeuvres
If you’re having your wedding in Hillmount House, an outdoor drinks reception is a must. With the gorgeous views across the shimmering sea, the blazing sun and the free-flowing prosecco, it felt like we could’ve been abroad.
Flower girls danced and twirled on the grass, the guests chatted and laughed in the sunshine, and gentle live music from Cora Kelly (with backup vocals from Keava’s dad!) filled the air. There was even a little ice cream cart with personalised ‘Mr & Mrs Gibson’ ice cream wafers (I mean, we were at the seaside!) And this might be controversial. But give me ice cream in the sunshine over hors d’oeuvres any day!
While the guests were taking full advantage of the ice cream and prosecco, I snuck Keava and Joel and their party away for some quick photos, which were really just us all hanging out and having some fun. It took 10 minutes so then I could steal Keava and Joel off for a little stroll through the meadow. And it really was an idyllic mini-adventure. The sunshine, the smell of wildflowers mingling with the salty breeze from the distant sea, the sound of Cora’s beautiful voice carrying over the flowing grass.
I knew how important moments like this were to Keava and Joel. And I was so glad I could take them away from it all for a while. Give them space to take it all in, and just be with each other.
Styling inspiration for the Hillmount House barn
Keava and Joel had their reception meal in the gorgeously rustic barn at Hillmount House. And as with the rest of the wedding styling, their taste was subtly stylish, classically beautiful, and completely and utterly flawless.
Pure white blooms of roses and hydrangeas sat in simple glass vases, with understated stationery mirroring the monochrome contrast of Keava and Joel’s outfits. And above the stunning tablescapes, a spectacular chandelier of foliage and dried grasses hung from the rustic beams of the barn. And to finish it all off, my favourite personal touch: each of the tables was named after one of the family pets (complete with adorable photos!)
Before their delicious meal, we all had speeches in the warm afternoon sun.
Golden hour wedding photography in Hillmount House
As night began to fall, I snuck Keava and Joel away for some time alone together. We explored the beautiful secluded grounds of the house, wandered through the long grass, and watched the sea shimmer gold in the light of the setting sun.
Whether you’re having a mindful wedding or not, these moments alone together on your wedding day are beyond precious.
Because you get so much attention as the couple. There’s always someone to talk to, or something creeping up next on the timeline. And I just think in the midst of it all, it’s so important to give your full attention to each other for a while, be mindful of the moment, and bring yourselves back to what the day is all about.
If this is the kind of wedding you’ve been dreaming of and you love my work, I’d be so excited to hear from you. Get in touch today and let’s have a chat and get to know each other.