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Just married: Louise and Mark McElhatton

The wedding of Louise McKenna and Mark McElhatton
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The wedding of Louise McKenna and Mark McElhatton

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By Amanda Poole

The peacock — a symbol of love and fidelity — was the theme at Louise and Mark McElhatton's stunning wedding.

Interior designer Louise (nee McKenna) met her joiner husband Mark (30) at work six years ago.

“We worked every day together for three years and then we were both made redundant in the same week,” said Louise (29), from Draperstown.

“Our first date was the last day of work, which was our Christmas night out. We realised we weren't going to see each other anymore, so we started to go out.”

The couple became engaged eight months later, in October 2009, when Mark, from Kildress, organised a romantic proposal at Lough Eske Castle in Co Donegal.

Louise said: “Mark told me he was taking me to Rossnowlagh beach, but then we pulled in to

look at the lough. There was a hamper waiting for us that had been prepared by the chefs at Lough Eske.

“Mark had arranged for a bagpiper to come out of the forest playing my favourite song, Caledonia.”

Mark then got down on one knee to propose and the couple enjoyed champagne and strawberries.

The wedding date was set and the couple got busy organising the details of their peacock-themed wedding.

A peacock graphic was carried through from the wedding invites, flowers, button holes, cakes and dresses to the dyed-blue veil belonging to Louise's mother and the same Manolo Blahnik shoes worn by Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex And The City.

Some 250 guests gathered for the ceremony, at St Columba's Church in the south Derry village of Straw, just outside Draperstown. The reception was held at Lough Eske Castle.

“We got our wedding photographs taken at the site of where we will build our home,” said Louise.

“It's an old stone ruin in Sixmiles with a red tin roof.

“Our photographs, taken in the Glenelly mountains and in the grounds where we got engaged, worked out brilliantly.”

Louise's cousin sang Your Song by Elton John for the couple's first dance and, after a great wedding experience, they enjoyed a honeymoon cruise that left from Venice and took them along the Adriatic.

“We put so much effort into our wedding and really enjoyed our day. Married life is brilliant,” said Louise.

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