Midlands Park Hotel, Co. Laois
Photos courtesy of Stephan Burke (brother of the groom)
In May 2022, the wedding of Dublin natives Gareth Macken and Robert Burke took place at the Midlands Park Hotel in Laois to celebrate with the newlyweds. 40 of their closest family and friends joined them on the day.
These two lovebirds first met back in 2008 through mutual friends at a party and continued to admire one another from afar until one night in 2011 where they got talking at the bar. Despite knowing within a few weeks that they’d each met their soulmate they decided to take their time and after eight happy
years, they got engaged.
As it turned out, Gareth had gotten Robert’s mother’s blessing eight years prior to the engagement as he admitted to her at a family blessing, “I’m gonna marry him someday you know?”. This statement came as no surprise to her, and he has had her blessing ever since. He clearly was a man of his word and
eight years later he asked Rob to take his hand in marriage in July 2019. Being a true romantic Gareth planned to propose while on holiday in the Caribbean after giving both mums the heads up. In an unexpected turn of events the friends they were visiting gifted them a night in a beautiful resort in Honduras. Gareth describes it as the “perfect setting” and there in paradise, he dropped to one knee and asked his soulmate Robert to marry him.
Not long after the couple got engaged the Covid pandemic struck making it hard for them to set a date for the wedding. Finally, in April 2022, they had a civil ceremony with just their parents and two witnesses followed by an intimate bespoke ceremony in the Midlands Park Hotel with 40 of their closest
friends and family members. They planned a beautiful ceremony with the wonderful wedding solemniser
and interfaith minister Rev. Brenda O’Grady, who was awarded a wedding celebrant of the year for 2022 and 2023. As described by Gareth “her kindness, guidance and care throughout the planning process made our day the happiest day of our lives and there was not a dry eye in the room when we
said I do.” As “The Book of Love” by Peter Gabriel began to play, a song which meant a great deal to Gareth in particular, the soon-to-be husband and husband were walked down the aisle and given away by their parents, an extremely emotional moment but still one of their favourite memories of the entire day. They were joined at the altar by Gareth’s best man and nephew Caleb and Robert’s sister Barbara who was a bridesmaid. As they entered the room in which the wedding reception took place they were astounded by how magical it felt because it had been so exquisitely decorated by wedding planner Marie Healy and her incredible staff at the hotel. The ceremony was followed by a fabulous meal with a choice of braised fillet of beef or hake which Gareth described as being “utterly delicious” and “one of
the highlights of the day”. Throughout the day there was a few small speeches from both the best man
Caleb and Barbara the bridesmaid, Gareth’s best friend David who had flown in from Manchester and Robert’s best friend Ruth who had arrived from the Caribbean, and of course the two mammys.
After the dinner had been devoured it was time for everyone to grace the dancefloor. “For Once in My Life” by Stevie Wonder was the newlywed’s choice of a first dance. The pair reminisce fondly on watching their mothers, aunts and sisters bust a move as they continued to have a great evening and dance
the night away as they look back on what was one of the best days of their lives.
Suits Aston Formal Wear, Temple Bar Dublin and Menswear by Abrahams Tailoring Celebrant Rev. Brenda O’Grady DJ DJ Richie Shirley Florist All Occasions Florists Co. Laois Invites Edward Burke (brother of groom) Photographer Stephan Burke (brother of groom)
Tell us about your experience at the Midlands Park Hotel.
“We cannot say enough about Marie Healy and her expert team at the Midlands Park Hotel in Portlaoise. From our first interview with her we knew we wanted her as our organiser. Everyone there from day one was nothing but kind and could never do enough for us coming up to the big day. Anything we
needed we were afforded. Nothing was too much trouble. We are indebted to them for being such a huge part of the most incredible day of our lives.”