Surrounded by family, friends and a few celebrity guests, the 7th Earl of Erne John Crichton married the love of his life Miss Harriet Patterson, the new Countess of Erne, at a beautiful ceremony on Crom Estate.

“The day was wonderful, we were completely blessed by glorious sunshine,” the Earl of Erne told The Impartial Reporter.

He added: “It was a beautiful day with a wonderfully happy and relaxed atmosphere.”

The wedding ceremony itself was a historic event as it was the first time that the marriage of an Earl of Erne took place at Holy Trinity Church, Crom.

The Earl of Erne commented: “It is normally the wife’s prerogative to get married where she chooses, so obviously Crom was a very romantic setting and that was our choice to get married there.”

He added: “But it also came with an interesting fact that I was the first Earl of Erne ever to get married at Crom church.”

The Earl of Erne arrived at Holy Trinity Church via a speed boat and was accompanied by his best man, Mr. Edward Campbell-Johnston. Miss Patterson travelled by traditional Lough Erne Cot, a boat that has been used on the estate since 1840, which had been decked with beautiful wild flowers from Crom Estate, supported by the National Trust.

As the ceremony began, Miss Patterson processed up the aisle to ‘Highland Cathedral’ which was played on bagpipes by the nephew of the Earl of Erne, Mr. Rory Townsend-Rose.

The bride was given away by her father, Mr. Alan Patterson.

The wedding party and guests were officially welcomed by the Reverend Alastair Donaldson. The marriage was conducted by Bishop Ferran Glenfield and the sermon was conducted by Reverend Kenneth Hall. Prayers were said during the ceremony by Monsignor Peter O’Reilly.

The bride was accompanied by her bridesmaid Miss Olivia Campbell-Johnston and her page Sebastian Solomon.

As the married couple departed the church, they were joined by their two other bridesmaids, their pet dogs Jack Russell Terriers Flora and Piglet, who wore bows for the special occasion.

The Earl and Countess of Erne were piped down to the cot which took them back to Crom Castle after which their wedding reception took place.

The reception, followed by a dinner dance, was hosted by the bride’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Alan Patterson, and took place in a grand marquee on the front lawn of the castle.

The reception was attended by 280 guests including the bride’s parents, her brothers Mr. Robert Patterson and Mr. James Patterson (accompanied by his wife Mrs. Linzi Patterson), the groom’s stepmother Anna, Countess of Erne, his stepfather Captain Anthony Gray and sisters Lady Cleone Versen, Lady Davina Crichton, Lady Katherine Townsend-Rose, Lady Tara Loyd and Lady Antonia Beckwith.

A few notable personalities of stage and screen attended the wedding celebration including Miss Gloria Hunniford along with Miss Jennifer Saunders and Mr. Timothy Spall (accompanied by his wife Mrs. Shane Spall) who had formed a friendship with the Earl of Erne during their time filming at Crom Estate for the BBC television series ‘Blandings.’

The guests, after a champagne reception, enjoyed a three course dinner which was followed by dancing.

Music was provided by 80s band After Sun and the couple shared a first dance to Starship’s ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now.’

“The highlight of the day was just to have got married and to have had all our family and friends with us,” said the Earl of Erne, when asked by this newspaper.

The day after the wedding, the bride and groom returned to the grounds of Holy Trinity Church, where the bride laid her bouquet on the grave of Lord Erne’s late father, the 6th Earl of Erne, who passed away in 2015.

Having recently returned from honeymooning in Sicily and the Amalfi Coast, the Earl and Countess of Erne commented that they are “delighted to be back at Crom Castle for the beginning of the commercial season.”

The new Countess of Erne has lent her wedding dress, which was custom made in London by designer Suzanne Neville, for a Wedding Dress Festival which is running from Friday, May 24 to Monday, May 27 at Irvinestown Presbyterian Church.