After meeting at the tender age of 15, life took marketing manager Marnie and senior care worker Andy in different directions but eventually nothing could keep them apart. The couple from Ballymena went on separate travels, living in different countries but Marnie told us, “Andy made the big move to England for us to be together properly in 2013 before we moved back home together in 2016.”
Andy kept the proposal straight forward knowing that any elaborate plans would have been uncovered by his wife to be.
The couple had gone out for a meal in the run up to Christmas 2017 and on their return home Andy stopped outside their house and distracted Marnie by pointing out the full moon.
Marnie said, “I turned around, he was on his knee with the ring! I was in total shock, I just kept asking ‘Is this a joke? Is this a joke?’ He kept saying ‘I’m holding a ring!’ ”
The ring was chosen by Andy and was exactly what Marnie had hoped for, a beautiful diamond solitaire ring, styled with a sparkling surround of smaller diamonds.
The couple set off with a bottle of champagne to Andy’s parents’ house to continue the celebrations into the early hours.
Marnie loved the experience of searching for the perfect wedding dress, “My bridesmaids made sure it was a fun experience with brunches, lunches and proseccos.” she said.
The perfect capped sleeved, champagne coloured dress was soon found in McElhinney’s of Ballybofey.
Marnie loved the whole McElhinney’s experience. She was especially impressed with the honest advice and expertise from the wedding team there, as well as the beautiful dressing suite.
The hunt for bridemaids’ dresses took the bridal party to Marie Therese Bridal in Coleraine. There they found dresses in stunningly rich dark green.
“The bridesmaids’ dresses were one of the favourite things about the whole wedding,” said Marnie.
The bridesmaids were Marnie’s closest friends Annette, Aideen and Laura. They had a brilliant time organising the wedding together and made the whole process so easy and enjoyable for Marnie.
Andy’s best man was his brother Owen and his two groomsmen were his best friends Peter and Frankie.
They all looked dapper in tuxes from Hire Class in Ballymena. “Daryll is fantastic and a real expert with the style and fittings etc.”
The big day arrived on 3rd May 2019 and the couple married in All Saints’ Church in Ballymena with 150 guests in attendance. Family and friends came from far and wide including England, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
The ceremony went smoothly once Marnie reached the altar! “I had my 2 big brothers walking me down the aisle, and my brother Rik just spent the whole walk trying to hop, skip and jump over my dress before just giving up and walking behind me. I can’t wait to see the video!”
A reception followed in the stunning Darver Castle. Marnie didn’t commit to a specific theme but was keen to have lots of foliage, lights and gold geometric décor.
“My dear friend and amazingly talented event stylist Annette Hughes of Look Events dressed my whole wedding and it was simply spectacular.
I told her a few things I liked and she ran with it, thought of every little detail and created the most amazing room.
From festoon lighting on the ceiling to the beautiful centrepieces which incorporated my beautiful flowers from Maureen at Imagine Flowers, my table plan, and my amazing overhang at the top table – everything was foliage, gold, lit up and beautiful!” said Marnie
Special touches at the reception included personalised cocktails at the bar, a cigar trolley outside in the evening and a ‘Pimp your Prosecco’ experience at the drinks reception.
“Our best friend and groomsman Frankie was doing the MC and that was really special too. My brothers’ speech was also a highlight.
They had made it in to a bit of a double act acting as the bride’s mother and father, it was very clever.” Marnie told us.
Later the couple danced together to Eric Clapton’s classic ‘You Look Wonderful Tonight’, song they had picked out when they were just 18.
Looking back on the wedding preparation Marnie recalls the most stressful part was being unable to book any of the bands she had in mind for the evening reception. This turned out to be a blessing in surprise as one of the unavailable bands suggested Arthur, a Dublin based band who turned out to be perfect.
The Rare Aul Stuff provided the music at the mass and the drinks reception, Marnie said, “They were unbelievable. So talented.”
The best bit of all the planning for the bride was being able to share it all with her ‘bride squad’. The preparations gave her and her friends plenty of opportunities to get together over a bottle or two of wine!
Andy and Marnie would advise other couples to enjoy planning their big day and make it perfect for themselves, not other people.
The couple honeymooned in Nashville and Cancun and are currently renovating their home together.
WEDDING SUPPLIERS INFO
Reception location: Darver Castle
Wedding Dress from: McElhinneys Bridal Rooms
Bridesmaids dresses from: Marie Therese Bridal
Groomswear from: Hire Class
Make-up by: Danielle Loughlin Makeup Beauty
Flowers by: Imagine Flowers
Room Décor by: Look Events
Stationery by: Katriona Designs
Transport from: Unity Wedding Cars
Photography by: Pop Photography