Wedding of the Week: Desert proposal leads to big day for Cork Rose Stephanie and Jan

'When we went down on one knee I thought he was collapsing. I only realised what was going on when he pulled out the ring.'
Wedding of the Week: Desert proposal leads to big day for Cork Rose Stephanie and Jan

Stephanie McCarthy and Jan Reichle. Pictures: John Sexton

A Zoom call ensured that family and friends from across Ireland, Germany, Dubai and Australia were able to toast to the happiness of Stephanie McCarthy and Jan Reichle on their wedding day.

Cork Rose, Stephanie, exchanged vows with Jan in the Maryborough House Hotel Douglas in Cork which was also the reception venue.

Stephanie and Jan with their wedding party.
Stephanie and Jan with their wedding party.

“We had a view of the IPad from our seats so it was like having everyone in the room too, it was great!” said the bride.

Stephanie and Jan, who will live in Frankfield, Douglas, were married in a ceremony led by Geraldine O’Neill. Stephanie’s twin sister, Shauna, was by her side as maid of honour while her friend, Sinead Flanagan, Rose of Tralee, joined forces with her pals Deborah O’Reilly, and Amy Kingston and her sister-in-law, Irina Reichle, as bridesmaids.

Stephanie with her twin sister and maid of honour Shauna, bridesmaids Deborah O’Reilly, Sinead Flanagan, Rose of Tralee, Irina Reichle and Amy Kingston. 
Stephanie with her twin sister and maid of honour Shauna, bridesmaids Deborah O’Reilly, Sinead Flanagan, Rose of Tralee, Irina Reichle and Amy Kingston. 

Jan’s friend, Finbarr Crowley, was his best man and his friends, Ian Mullins and Jack Ruddy, along with his brother, Aaron Keks, and brother-in-law, Aaron McCarthy, were groomsmen.

The couple’s daughter, Kayla, and son, Logan, were flower girl and pageboy respectively, with cousins, Taylor and Charlee, as flowergirls.

Jan Reichle with Finbarr Crowley, Ian Mullins, Jack Ruddy, Aaron Keks and Aaron McCarthy.
Jan Reichle with Finbarr Crowley, Ian Mullins, Jack Ruddy, Aaron Keks and Aaron McCarthy.

Stephanie and Jan first met on an evening out with mutual friends. The bride recalls: “I had gotten cold and he gave me his jumper. We clicked straight away and our story began."

Jan proposed last October while they were on a trip to Dubai, which is where Stephanie’s mother, Antoinette, is from.

Stephanie and Jan with their children Kayla and Logan.
Stephanie and Jan with their children Kayla and Logan.

“I wanted to re-create a picture in the middle of the desert that I had from my childhood so we arranged a trip out of the city,” said Stephanie. As the photo was being taken Stephanie felt Jan’s hand trembling on her back: “We had been out all day in the sun so I assumed he was dehydrated and when we went down on one knee I thought he was collapsing. I only realised what was going on when he pulled out the ring."

They describe their wedding day as “incredible”, with many unforgettable moments.

“Not only were we in the middle of a global pandemic but also in the middle of Storm Ellen,” said Stephanie.

“There was a status-red warning for all of Cork the night before so we thought it was hilarious my grandmother leaving out her Child of Prague statue in the garden. We thought it would be blown away and never to be seen again but it really worked a miracle because we had beautiful sunshine for our wedding day!” 

Stephanie with her twin sister and maid of honour Shauna. 
Stephanie with her twin sister and maid of honour Shauna. 

The bride looked stunning in a Hayley Paige gown she sourced from Cinderella’s Closet, Cork, and the groom was dapper in a suit from Best Menswear in Mahon Point. Oisin Ryan created the bridal hairdo while Christine O’Connor was the makeup artist. “Poor Oisin had to move trees from the storm the night before to be able to make it but said he had never let a bride down before and wasn’t going to start now!” said Stephanie.

John Sexton captured the big day on camera. “I had previously worked with John so I knew his skills were incredible,” added Stephanie. Flower Power in Glounthaune supplied the flowers and the buttercream ombre wedding cake was by Trace of Cakes, Ballincollig.

“We included a sand ritual in our ceremony that involved both myself and Jan and our children pouring different colours of sand into a personalised glass vase, to represent each of us in the family coming together as a unit,” said Stephanie.

The newlyweds will set off on honeymoon “as soon as it is safe to do so”, added the bride. “Bali and Cambodia are definitely on the top of our list. Right now, there are a lot of places in Ireland I think will be lovely to get away to for a few days!” she said.

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