Every weekend I went to The Empire in Belfast with my friends and it was here that I met Noel's two sons, Pete and Jamie. Years previous, my friend Karen had known them, as well as Noel and his late wife. This led to the boys convincing Noel to come along and that was how we met for the first time, before going out a few months later. A couple of years later, Noel asked my parents around for dinner when they were home from Australia and across the table he asked my dad if he could have my hand in marriage. I was so shocked to say the least! Noel's cousin and her sons own a jewellery shop and I designed my engagement ring and they made it - it's fabulous! Noel didn't tell me when it was ready. Instead, he collected it and we headed out to dinner one night, and I walked into a room filled with my family and friends and he got down on one knee and presented me with it. He loves surprising me.
Noel's cousin also made our wedding bands, each of which contains five rubies to represent our five boys.
As we are both Christmas babies it had to be during the festive season so we chose the 5th of January - my birthday. We were married in Noel's late father's church in Banagher Parish. It is the most beautiful church and the setting is amazing. We held our reception in the Roe Park Resort, Limavady.
I have M.E so I began planning and making things two years before our date. I was very hands on and made lots of finishing touches for our wedding, including peacock feather tablemats for the centrepieces, a table plan from an old frame, which I covered in bark and dried wild flowers. I love peacocks and so my theme was always going to be centred around this, but Noel loves hunting, so we combined our two passions with the tables' names being game birds, held on with bullets. My mum made my cake and also one for Noel which had: "The hunt is over" written on it. My best friend Gary created all the flowers in the church and the hotel which was spectacular. I loved seeing it all come together on the day.
I knew I'd never find my Gone With The Wind dress in a shop and in my head I wanted the top of it covered in feathers. This led me to dressmaker extraordinaire, Bridgeen, who, I'm sure was ready to kill me when I declared that I wanted to change the style of the bottom half of the dress.
My bridesmaids were my nieces Sabrina and Juliana from Perth in Australia. I knew they'd both be cold coming from 40 degree heat so I bought them real rabbit fur jackets to wear over their sapphire blue, straight skirted dresses, with a cape style top. It was a good job too because they kept them on all day, apart from the church service! The girls only flew in two weeks before the wedding so Bridgeen had to made them in a short space of time, but again, she was amazing!
I walked up the aisle with my dad and my son so I didn't carry a bouquet. I wanted my dress to have all the attention! My bridesmaids carried gorgeous cream bouquets, which were beautiful against their dresses.
We chose Roe Park for our dinner and Simone, Sam and Brian were amazing. I couldn't fault the experience. Our speeches ran over about an hour but the hotel staff again, were fabulous. I have to thank the chef as I'm sure he was in a panic but the food was amazing! Our evening reception was in Owens Marquee, Limavady and Gary was just brilliant. I couldn't recommend this place enough for something truly different.
We decided not to have wedding cars and were lucky to have friends who took that bridal party to the church and reception. I really wanted a reindeer sleigh as it was so different and really wowed guests upon our arrival. They will definitely remember us turning up on that sleigh! I really recommend having a video as there is so much that you miss and it's great being able to sit down and watch it all.
I knew Catherine's work from fashion and hair photography and so there was really no choice in the matter of who I wanted. It was Catherine or no one. Her work really speaks for itself and my photos are out of this world. I can't recommend her enough.