The Ballroom of Romance came alive with music of varying varieties as Leanne and Chad Eggelton celebrated their marriage at a festival themed reception in a venue synonymous with flourishing love.

Together six and a half years, the couple met “over the back fence” in Surrey Quays, London. “We were neighbours,” explained Leanne.

Chad surprised Leanne and proposed with a beautiful Colombian emerald engagement ring on a beach on the Caribbean Coast of Colombia while they were there for a friends’ wedding in 2018.

Now living in Australia, Chad’s home country, the couple travelled half-way across the world to have their dream wedding at Rossorry Parish Church, the church Leanne grew up in and where her parents were married over 40 years ago.

Surrounded by their families on the day, the couple were also joined by their closest friends, many of whom had journeyed from abroad for the special occasion.

Noting how “it meant the world” to have friends travel from 18 different countries to celebrate with them, Chad commented: “It was incredible to have all our friends meet in one place, many meeting for the first time, and to witness them creating new friendships.”

He added: “And for it all to happen in Fermanagh made Leanne and her family very proud.”

Maximising the amount of time spent with family and friends was a priority for Leanne and Chad.

With this in mind, they decided to turn their wedding into a festival with a series of events surrounding the ‘big day.’

“We love going to music festivals and have been lucky enough to travel around the world to enjoy different festivals so we decided to create our own #chappersweddfest - a festival of several events to allow as many friends and family to participate in our wedding celebrations,” explained Leanne.

She added: “A friend some time back coined the nickname for Chad and Leanne Lappin (Lappers) of ‘Chappers’. Hence we came up with the concept of ‘Chappers WeddFest’ - Chad and Leanne’s Wedding Festival.”

The ‘weddfest’ events included a welcome party two nights before the wedding at the Ceili house in Monea and a barbecue at the Lappin family’s vegetable farm the day following the wedding.

Prior to the wedding, the couple had an engagement party in Australia on St. Patrick’s Day and a combined stag and hen party in Portugal.

On their wedding day, after the beautiful marriage ceremony, the couple had their reception at the Rainbow Ballroom of Romance in Glenfarne, Co. Leitrim. Noting how they wanted to “do everything differently,” Chad explained how they chose their unique wedding reception venue.

He said: “Neither of us wanted a hotel style wedding, we wanted a venue which resonated with us. Leanne recalled hearing sweet stories of the olden days when couples met at the Rainbow Ballroom of Romance.”

Leanne added: “And Chad was sold on the Ballroom’s history, charm, dance floor and lack of closing time!”

Embracing the festival theme, the wedding reception featured three bands and a DJ. One of the bands was a Colombian five-piece Salsa Band from London who played the second of Leanne and Chad’s two first dance songs, ‘Amor Narcotico’ by Chichi Peralta.

“This type of band was a first for the famous Rainbow Ballroom of Romance,” commented Leanne.

The couple’s first ‘first dance’ was to ‘Is that Alright’ by Lady Gaga.

Commenting that there were “so many” highlights of their wedding day, the couple noted a few.

“Saying our vows in front of all of our friends and family, in Leanne’s special place of Rossorry Parish Church in beautiful Fermanagh,” shared Chad.

He continued: “The festival like canapé reception outside the ballroom with live music and all the speeches.”

Leanne added: “The moment the first dance finished and the red curtains opened to the sounds of the Colombian band on the famous Rainbow Ballroom stage!”

When asked what work was involved in organising their dream wedding, Leanne commented: “A lot!”

She continued: “Especially considering we live on the other side of the world.”

“Luckily, we both love talking to people and a good spreadsheet, so we started by researching all the quirky bits we wanted and designed the wedding from there,” said Chad.

He added: “We couldn’t have done it without Leanne’s parents, Esdille and Jim, who did a lot of the hard work and called on all their Fermanagh friends to help us with the finer details.

“And of course, the fantastic staff and volunteer community associated with the Rainbow Ballroom of Romance and the Ceili House - who were brilliant to work with.”

Following their wedding, the couple enjoyed a honeymoon on the beautiful Aitutaki Island, one of the Cook Islands in the Pacific.

“Literally the other side of the world from wee Enniskillen,” commented Leanne.

“Both places are just as magical as the other,” she added.