Jake and Emma Harrison were looking for a quiet and understated spot to get married; “simple yet full of character,” according to Jake. On 17th June 2017, the happy couple’s dreams came true as they tied the knot at Castle Ward followed by a wonderful wedding reception at Dufferin Coaching Inn and Hall.
Emma says, “Living in New Zealand there aren’t many venues that have the cultural richness or national heritage that was available at Dufferin and Castle Ward. It was magical from start to finish.”
Jake and Emma experienced what Jake describes as a “town boy meets country girl” romance after meeting at a local New Zealand Rugby club in 2014. Jake was in New Zealand playing rugby for three months but stuck around after falling in love with country girl Emma. The newlyweds live on Emma’s family farm, in Waitohi, South Canterbury, and love all things outdoors which is obvious from their large number of animals: two dogs, one horse and twenty calves! The couple wanted their wedding setting to capture their love of nature and be as natural as possible without too much need to dress.
Jake says “We were more focused on the overall feel and atmosphere of the day, having it flow naturally, build organically and bring the best from both sides of the world together.”
With a vision of pastel colours in mind, the lovebirds aimed to keep their colour scheme very neutral, with the flowers and accessories adding the colour and ‘pop’ to bridesmaids and groom’s party.
Planning a wedding can be tricky at the best of times, but Jake and Emma were faced with a challenge even more difficult than most – organising their dream wedding from the other side of the world! Landing in Dublin a mere two weeks before their wedding day, Jake and Emma planned most of their wedding from across the globe via email.
Jake says, “It wasn’t as stressful as you’d imagine. Dufferin’s owner Leontine and wedding planner Nina could not have been more helpful, taking anything they could out of our hands so that we could look forward to our big day.”
Jake and Emma’s wedding ceremony took place in the beautiful Castle Ward where the couple then had some nibbles and drinks in the sunken garden, with an acoustic wedding band Cover Up adding to the relaxed atmosphere they desired, while they got their stunning wedding photos taken by You Them Us. The wedding party then popped round the corner to Dufferin where their guests were greeted with a champagne reception! The unique wedding meal was provided by Challas Roast at Dufferin Hall, where the wonderful speeches took place alongside the reading of telegrams from family in New Zealand.
A unique and memorable moment of Jake and Emma’s wedding was when one of the travellers performed a traditional Maori Haka for the happy couple and guests alike, bringing a bit of New Zealand to the wedding (and the only Haka ever to be performed at Dufferin!)
“The haka was a lovely surprise for Jake and I” says Emma, “It was performed just after the Best Man’s speech, by Wiremu Cottrell who had travelled from New Zealand. The act of a wedding haka is paying respect to the newlywed couple. This particular haka was Tika Tonu, which provides a message to young men particularly at a phase in their lives where they are making a transition into adulthood and about overcoming the challenges and struggles along the way.”
When speaking of his most memorable moment, Jake of course mentioned his gorgeous bride walking down the aisle (after being fifteen minutes late!), but also the five minutes he got to relax with his bride. “Although we wanted to spend time with all of our guests, you do need five minutes away. It was great when Leontine whisked us away from the crowd and let us have a time out in the lounge, we got stuck into a bottle of champagne and actually got to spend time with each other on the day,” Jake said.
“I’ll always remember our disaster of a dance!” he added. I’m a bigger guy, rugby player and all that. I’m not gifted with dancing feet. Emma had forced me to go to dancing lessons for two months on Sundays in the lead up to the wedding. We also had to practice every night in the living room before bed. When it came to the moment, we hit a major speed bump; Emma had practiced in leggings and not a dress. I ended up trampling on her dress quite a bit and this put her off. She then forgot the steps and I had to save the dance (just about)!”
When speaking about the venue, Emma said “Dufferin Hall was everything we wanted and more for our dream wedding. In terms of dressing the main room it was a relatively easy task completed in an afternoon, and we didn’t need to spend much on decorations, just flowers. The beautiful setting of Killyleagh, the castle at the end of the road and the Lough was well received, especially by the Kiwis. Leontine and Nina were the superstars in the background, really. They kept everyone comfortable and happy. They lined up all the other contractors and the day went without a hitch mostly due to their efforts.“
The Dufferin Coaching Inn & Hall team wishes Jake and Emma a long and happy marriage and we hope to welcome them back to Killyleagh in the not so distant future!
Band: Cover Up
Ceremony Location: Castle Ward
Photographer: You Them Us
Flowers: Country Bumpkins Bangor
Décor: By Bridal Party
Cake: Groom’s Father