Why Galgorm Spa is one of the best wedding venues in Northern Ireland
So you’re looking for the perfect wedding venue in Northern Ireland? You want somewhere classy, obviously. But somewhere friendly and relaxed, too. Somewhere modern and stylish, but with history and charm. Somewhere you can properly pamper yourself before and after. Oooh maybe with a hot tub and a heated outdoor pool?! But scenic and beautiful as well, with a river and hundreds of acres of parkland. Sounds great, right? Introducing Galgorm Spa!
When Nicole and Adrian asked me to shoot their Galgorm Spa wedding in November last year, I was insanely excited. One of the loveliest, most photogenic couples ever, at one of Northern Ireland’s most popular wedding venues. What could go wrong?
Storm Arwen. That’s what. And you know you’re in trouble when the storm has a name! But despite the horrific weather, this has still got to be one of my favourite weddings. Because they took a more traditional venue and styled it in a way that made it modern, contemporary and cool. And on the day with the worst weather in years, they showed us how to deal with rain on your wedding day like absolute champions.
Can we just take a minute for the Forever Bridal dress?!
Nicole’s Riki Dalal dress from Forever Bridal was an absolute knockout. The sleek silhouette, the sweetheart neckline, and the intricately detailed tulle lace across her shoulders and down her sleeves gave her a dramatic, modern look. Pair that with Jimmy Choos, relaxed Hollywood waves in platinum-blonde hair, elegantly natural makeup and a gorgeous bouquet and you have yourself one stunning bride.
But however astonishing the dress, or beautiful the bride, at the heart of every wedding is family. And Nicole’s emotional first look with her father and brother was such a special moment. It’s little moments like this that you’ll always want to remember. And as a wedding photographer, I always feel so blessed that I get to be the one to capture them for you.
Nicole was picked up in a Rolls Royce Phantom, one of Galgorm Spa’s luxury wedding cars. And we headed across the estate to the ceremony.
Ceremony in The Phantom House, Galgorm Spa
Nicole and Adrian had their ceremony in The Phantom House in the grounds of Galgorm Spa. Nestled in ancient rolling woodland on the banks of the River Maine, this is a wonderfully secluded and romantic place to have your ceremony. And as part of the original estate, The Phantom House has a quaint historic charm, too.
With a back damask jacket, black bow tie and sentimental, personalised cufflinks, Adrian managed to walk that infinitely fine line between classically stylish and subtly, effortlessly cool. And as he waited for his bride, the entrance above him sagged from the weight of centuries of ivy. And the River Maine flowed gently behind.
The inside of The Phantom House is just wonderful. The roof is strung with fairy lights, and hundreds of church candles flicker from the walls.
After a beautifully intimate ceremony, we headed outside for family shots on the private balcony overlooking the River Maine. And this is what’s so great about Galgorm Spa. You can be taken in a Rolls Royce to a centuries-old building for your ceremony, and then step outside and be surrounded by nature. It really does have everything you could possibly want from a wedding venue.
Galgorm Spa reception
The reception space in Galgorm Spa is a big swing in the other direction from the historic Phantom House. The spacious, contemporary banquet hall has super-comfy cream leather seats, a huge dance floor and floor-to-ceiling windows along one wall.
It’s a great space for a party, and can be styled out to make it more personal to you as a couple. Nicole’s bridesmaid Hannah made personalised wax melts with their engagement photos. They also used their engagement photos for their table plan and table centres as well, weaving their love story as a couple into their styling.
Rainy wedding day tips – how to handle rain like a boss!
So yeah, the weather. Rain on your wedding day is one of the biggest fears for so many brides. But trust me, if Nicole and Adrian can handle Storm Arwen then you have nothing to worry about!
The key is to be flexible with your timeline. There are usually little gaps where rain eases off a bit, or stops for a while. And if you want to get photos outside, you have to take full advantage of these little blessings!
I was keeping one eye on the weather throughout the day, and whenever I saw a gap in the rain I gave Nicole and Adrian a little nudge. And I loved how they fully embraced it! Because their photography was so important to them. They were always ready to go at a moment’s notice, and just wanted to get everything they could out of the experience.
And as a wedding photographer, couples who are up for the adventure and see the value in their photography are always such a joy to work with. Because it’s like we’re a team, all on the same side working together to have a great time and get some amazing photos.
Wedding photography in Galgorm Spa
Step outside the luxurious reception room and you find yourselves in the natural solitude of the quiet grounds. I always love the intimacy of the couple’s shoot. And as we left the warmth of the venue and ventured out into the brisk winter air, it felt like we’d left the world behind and entered our own little universe.
I was working alongside my recommended videographer Darragh. His style compliments mine, which really helps. And it’s so wonderful to have an extra set of eyes to spot opportunities and suggest ideas. So whilst Galgorm Spa is possibly one of the most saturated venues, photography-wise, between us we managed to spot some untapped backdrops and get some unique shots.
We wandered along deserted stone footpaths that wound their way between rivers and lakes, flanked by iron railings and traditional street-lights. We found a quiet woodland path, strewn with russet and amber autumn leaves, the branches of the trees above us silhouetted against the milky grey sky. And we found a secluded copse, with shimmering chandeliers hanging from the branches, casting a soft glow on the leaves below. Every time we ventured outside was a new adventure, and Nicole and Adrian loved it just as much as I did!
But as night fell, the welcoming glow of the reception shone out into the dusky sky, and beckoned us back to the party.
Looking for a wedding photographer in Northern Ireland?
All these little adventures throughout the day will be lifetime memories for Nicole and Adrian. Those brief, precious moments alone together as a newly married couple in the stunning seclusion of Galgorm Spa.
And it’s those romantic, intimate moments on your wedding day that you’ll always want to remember. The unexpected, unplanned split-seconds when you look at each other and your hearts skip a beat.
If you’d like for me to capture the unforgettable moments on your wedding day, I’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch today for a chat and let’s get to know each other.