A proposal via a seemingly abandoned message in a bottle led to Aoife and Ryan saying I do and celebrating their marriage with more than 80 friends and family at Ballydugan Mill.
Aoife Martin, a 27-year-old specialist community public health nurse from Aughnacloy, met 33-year-old Ryan Doyle, a plumbing and heating engineer from Newcastle, on a Christmas night out with mutual friends.
Two and a half years later, Ryan proposed during a weekend at Galgorm Spa and Resort. “He had arranged with the hotel that he was going to propose, so he brought me down to the river and where he had left a message written inside a bottle asking me to marry him,” Aoife said. “This bottle looked as if it had been dropped on the ground by someone random. After he proposed, the staff had champagne waiting for us at the love swing beside the river.”
Ryan has also chosen the ring himself from Joseph Rea Jewellers in Belfast. “It was perfect,” said Aoife. “Lots of bling!”
The couple married on June 8, two years to the day after they got engaged!
Aoife got her dress in Peony Bridal, Hillsborough. “Without sounding cliché, when I tried it on I knew it was the one,” she said. “I still went to other shops just to be sure, but ended up coming back to it. Thank goodness it was still in stock!
“I found shopping for my dress fun and exciting, and sometimes a little stressful. Getting into loads of different styles of dresses from plain to bling bling was magical and something I will never forget.”
Aoife added: “I brought my mum with me to every bridal shop so it was very special.
Aoife’s three bridesmaids, her best friends Catherine and Branagh, and her cousin Catherine, wore dresses from ASOS.
Ryan’s suit was from Bogart’s Menswear, Belfast. Ryan’s best man was his brother-in-law Declan and groomsmen were his cousin Barry and best friend Jonny. They wore outfits from JJ Donnelly Menswear, Ballynahinch.
The couple said one of the best parts of planning their wedding was getting into the top six at the Wedding Journal show to win a £30,000 wedding. “Unfortunately we didn’t win,” Aoife said.
“The most stressful part was the final week, getting all final plans ready and sorted,” she added.
The couple married in Holy Family Church, Teconnaught, and the service was followed by a reception in Ballydugan Mill. There were 80 guests with more joining in the evening.
“We didn’t have a theme, but the Mill is very rustic and vintage which we loved. The day went amazingly we both loved every second,” Aoife said.
Aoife and Ryan’s first dance was a mash up of John Legend’s ‘All of Me,’ Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody,’ ‘Grease Lightening’ and ‘Danza Kuduro.’ “We had a special choreographed dance as our first dance which went down amazingly!” said Aoife.
Guests were also entertained by Irish dancers at the evening celebration.
The couple said they had stuck to their budget. “We were very realistic about costs,” Aoife said. “The highlight of our day was getting to spend our dream day with all our close family and friends.”
She added: “Looking back we wouldn’t change a thing. The day was perfect from start to finish. Our advice to other couples is remember it’s your day. Don’t please anyone else and enjoy every single second. Although everyone tells you how fast it goes in nothing will prepare you for that whirlwind feeling.”
Aoife and Ryan enjoyed a mini moon to Barcelona and are looking forward to some winter sun later in the year.
Location: The Mill at Ballydugan
Wedding dress: Peony Bridal
Groom’s suit: Bogarts
Grooms men: JJ Donnelly
Make up:The Studio Makeup & Beauty
Room Decor: Sweetheart Vintage
Stationary: Pink Elephant Cards
Transport : Groom Wedding Cars
Photography: Stephanie Williamson Photography
Video: Ian Higginson Media