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A glorious winter wedding at Montalto Estate

A glorious winter wedding at Montalto Estate

Written by Katie Byrne

Joanne and Conor tied the knot in a festive-inspired celebration, filled with thoughtful seasonal twists...


Joanne Duncan, a pharmacist, and Conor Martin, an engineer, both 24, were married at Fisherwick Presbyterian Church, Belfast, and held their reception at The Carriage Rooms at Montalto Estate, Ballynahinch.


Budget: £20,000

Floral budget: £4,000-£5,000 

Conor and I met at a student night in the same church we got married in. We got engaged after he woke me up really early one Saturday morning to go for a walk to see the sunrise. He took me to one of my favourite places, Gibbs Island, and had a picnic hamper filled with breakfast goodies. He handed me a notebook saying ‘Joanne’s memories’, and when I opened it, he had written that days date and the words ‘The day I asked you to marry me’... I looked up and there he was on one knee!

There wasn’t really a theme; as it was a winter wedding I wanted the look to be cosy and warm, rather than Christmassy. Our colour scheme was a lot of sparkle, glittering golds with soft candlelight, plenty of greenery and warm ruby hues.


We chose to get married in Fisherwick Presbyterian as it holds a lot of special memories for us – we signed the register in the very area where we first met.

I loved The Carriage Rooms even before we got engaged. It is decorated so beautifully, yet still has a rustic element with the stone walls and beams. It lent itself perfectly to my warm winter theme with its open fires and gorgeous huge Christmas tree.


I love flowers and have always been a keen gardener. I believe they can really make the whole look of a wedding.

We wanted unstructured, wintry flowers that were made up of gorgeous big roses with lots of foliage. I also wanted some sprayed gold to work with my theme, and with flowing ribbons in all of my colours.

Our florist also created the gorgeous tablecentres with wooden logs, pine cones and posys of flowers in jam jars, finished off with candles in varying heights.

For our favours we gave each guest a Christmas bauble with our names and the date on it to take home and put on their trees.

We also had boxes of blankets made up for the evening reception, a sparkler station, and hand-stamped takeaway cups and brown bags with our initials on, for the guests to take a warm drink and mince pie from the church to the reception.

I loved every minute of our day – it was so relaxed and everyone was laughing and having fun in the winter sun. I was actually an hour late to the church; it was a combination of not wanting to know the time (bad idea), a long journey and heavy city traffic!

Our first dance has to be up there as a favourite moment – everyone was shocked at how well the two terrible dancers had pulled it off!

Our evening party was so much fun, with all of our best friends, family and even Conor’s granny bopping away into the early hours, completed with our sparkler tunnel and yummy crêpes to top it all off.

My tip for brides-to-be: Keep calm! Don’t worry about how everything will come together, or if the guests will enjoy themselves – it will all be fine, and the day will be everything and more that you thought it would be.

Steal their style!

PHOTOGRAPHY: The Lou’s FLORIST: Floralearth VENUE: The Carriage Rooms at Montalto Estate DRESS: Naomi Neoh at Ivory and Pearl BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Petticoat Lane GROOMSWEAR: Red Groomswear CAKE: Cake Couture 

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