The full story is mad and romantic, but to cut a long story short…we had talked about it and decided to go for Castlereagh rather than the City Hall because it was closer to our house. We got the next available date they had to offer us and at very short notice, and it was only afterwards that we realised that it was Valentine’s Day! It seemed a bit cheesy at the time, but now we love the fact that our anniversary is Valentine’s Day, the most romantic day of the year.
We’d never wanted a traditional wedding – in a church, with a big gown, a proper reception and lots of people there and because we travel a lot, people always expected us to come back from some trip or other having got hitched in secret. A traditional ‘do’ was never for us, so it was always difficult to know what sort of wedding we’d have. As it turned out it was perfect, and so perfectly ‘us’.
We bought platimum wedding bands in Malcolm’s jewellers on the Lisburn Road. They showed us the tray and there was a ring that went perfectly with my engagement ring – an absolute perfect match, even though we’d got my engagement ring in a different jewellers. Patric chose the same ring but in a broader band. My ring fitted perfectly, so we were able to buy that, but Patric’s had to be sent off to be resized. He paid for my ring and we got it all wrapped up lovely, and in the meantime the jeweller cleaned up my engagement ring so it was all sparkly. Because the ring Patric chose had to be re-sized, on the day he used a ‘commitment’ ring that we’d previously bought each other his ‘n’ her versions of.
I had planned to wear a dress I already had, but decided at the last minute to go into town that morning – the morning of the wedding – just to see what was in the shops and I was really lucky too, I bought the perfect prom-style dress by BOYD from designer Tracey Boyd, and white faux-fur and peach silk capelet by Aux Trois Accessories by Noa Noa with a matching belt, all from Michelle O’Doherty on Chichester Street.
There’s another stroke of luck to this story too. I tried two dresses on in MoD then tried some other shops but decided to go back and buy the prom dress from MoD. I got back to the shop to be told by the assistant that just after I left, another woman came in tried on exactly the same two dresses as me, and bought one of them. My heart sank for a minute, until we discovered she’d bought the other dress – the one I’d set my heart on was still there! It all couldn’t have worked out better.
I did my own hair and make-up and bought a lovely white bouquet from Sainsbury’s and when we arrived in the council offices on Tuesday afternoon, the registrar told us they had made it possible for us to use the Mayor of Castlereagh’s own room rather than an office in the building, so it looked really beautiful and made it all more special. We signed the register using ‘George Best’s pen’ – the pen he had used when he was given the freedom of Castlereagh, which was a big thrill for us too.
Only 9 people were there including Patric and myself, both mums (both our dads had passed away), my brother (and official photographer of the day!), my sister-in-law and my nephew and niece as well as a friend of mine.
Afterwards, everyone came back to our house and we had two cakes, a trad fruit wedding cake and a decadent chocolate cake (both M&S’s finest!) and everyone had cake and champagne.
The whole day couldn’t have gone better, it’s just the wedding Patric and I wanted.
The highlight of the day, looking back, was the fact that my mum, Maureen, was there. She sadly passed away just 5 months after our wedding, after a short illness. No-one had any idea that on the day she must have been terminally ill, and she didn’t know it herself. My favourite wedding photos are now the ones with my mum in them.