Vanessa Salt a Beauty Therapist from Annaghmore met Heavy Vehicle Technician Stuart Rainey at a summer camp when they were both 10 years old. Vanessa thought Stuart was a bully and a lot older than her, Vanessa said “I mean he stole my paper airplane”. When they started High School they found that they were in the same class, of course every time Vanessa looked at Stuart all she could think of was “he stole my plane, I wasn’t his biggest fan at the start” Vanessa told us that Stuart was persistent in his love quest “he asked me out when we were 11, I said no, twice when were 13, I said no, then again when were 15, I finally gave in and said yes!” Stuart never gave up, it took him 6 years to change Vanessa’s mind, of course Stuart had a plan and knew what he was doing, it just took some time and charm to win Vanessa over, thankfully it worked and a proposal followed a few years later.
Enjoying a cold walk along a very quiet beach during lockdown in January 2021 Vanessa had the surprise of her life when Stuart proposed. Vanessa told us “It was such a random day so I was not expecting it at all, it was during Covid so there were quite a few restrictions which means he was limited to where he could ask me. We went to Murlough Beach for a walk, we walked and walked then started taking photos of the sunset and watched it. I then started to panic because it was getting dark and I wasn’t sure if we had to be back by a certain time because of the covid rules, so I then started to walk a lot quicker to get back to the car. Stuart at the time had just got out of a cast because he had broken his ankle playing rugby, he was walking a good bit slower than me and I was a good bit ahead of him. He shouted my name, without looking back I told him we needed to hurry! Dear love him he was limping as fast as he could. He then called my name again, this time I turned round and there he was down on one knee. At this stage I started crying and I’m not a crier. Of course through the sobs I said yes! I then had to help Stuart up because of his dodgy ankle. It was perfectly timed and just the way I wanted to be asked because I genuinely didn’t know it was going to happen. I love the ring! It has a unique vintage look to it but is also very delicate. He chose well” What a perfect and romantic proposal for a couple of sweethearts since they were 15 years old.
Vanessa went dress shopping in Divinity Bridal in Lisburn, having been to a few bridal shops before trying Divinity she had seen a few styles she liked but nothing jumped out as ‘the one’ Vanessa said “I was after something different to match my vibe, it couldn’t be the ‘in thing’ so a lot of the 2021 dresses just weren’t doing it for me” Shellie in Divinity was so nice and welcoming asking Vanessa what styles she liked and which ones she didn’t, working from that baseline Shellie was able to pick out about 15 dresses for Vanessa to look at and try on. Vanessa liked parts of some dresses and parts of others, still not hitting the jackpot Shellie asked Vanessa if she trusted her, of course Vanessa said yes, so Shellie went off and brought back a dress that didn’t exactly look great on the hanger but when Vanessa tried it on she just knew it was ‘the one’ which obviously made Vanessa and her Mum very emotional, “we didn’t expect to find anything that day but Shellie was amazing and knew exactly what I was after” Saying the dress shopping experience was stress free but also emotional after Vanessa found her perfect dress.
Vanessa had her bridesmaid dresses made for friend Lara, cousins Victoria and flowergirl Lily. After visiting a few shops Vanessa said “I quickly realised that I wasn’t going to find what I was after because I was looking for an old style, like a 1950’s dress, so my mum then rang the lady that made her bridesmaid dresses 30 years ago and she was still making them. She has her own bridal shop as well “Bridal Barn’. We went to visit Sylvia and she was amazing. I was able to describe to her what I was after and she was just completely on the same wavelength as me. She had loads of different material samples to choose from as well. She made my bridesmaid dresses, flower girl dress and my alterations as well”.
The suits for Stuart and his Best Man Marc, Groomsman Craig and Page Boy Jesse came from Freddie Hatchett.
Setting a date for 5th October 2022 and planning their wedding at Dungannon Free Presbyterian Church followed by a reception at Corick House Hotel, they invited 120 guests to their 1950’s inspired wedding. They incorporated this theme with their outfits, the men all wore matching flat caps and pocket watches, the bridesmaids dresses were ¾ length with full skirts and netting underneath, they also used old cars to complete their vintage theme. Having an old soul and loving all things vintage with old styles, vintage music and old movies this theme was just perfect for Vanessa and Stuart. Vanessa said “my mum always says to me that I was born in the wrong era, I also wanted to go for something more unique than on trend brides”
Vanessa and Stuart included their guests in a beautiful way by giving them all a personalised umbrella along with a personal note and some inside jokes as favours, giving the girls personalised blankets for their shoulders in case it got cold. Purchasing all the last minute bits and pieces such as cufflinks and bridal party gifts added a bit extra onto their budget which they hadn’t accounted for but in the grand scheme of things it wasn’t a big deal. On the day Stuart and Vanessa took some time out for themselves, they went to Granny Salts house along with their photographer where they got some amazing photos taken in the yard where there is an old plough, horse cart and farm machinery, making their photos unique and extra personal to the couple. “Granny thought the photos were amazing and couldn’t believe how they turned out, overall I guess our special feature was we tried to make it very personal for everyone” Vanessa told us.
A funny moment from the day was when Stuart messed up his vows a little bit but that is “just typical Stuart and it did make everyone laugh in the Church” Vanessa also said “We used my Mum’s wee brown Mini as one of the cars, we were running errands two days before the wedding and had to pull over because there was smoke coming out of the bonnet. Let’s just say there was a lot of panicked phone calls back and forth with my Dad. But it was nothing major and it was fixed on time for the wedding, thank goodness”
“The highlight of my day was just sitting back at the top table and taking it all in, seeing a year and a half’s planning all come together. Just seeing everyone happy and enjoying themselves” Vanessa told us. Stuart said “the feed! Getting the food, I was looking forward to it all day as you don’t have time to eat after breakfast and obviously marrying the girl I have fancied from I was 11” They both agreed that they wouldn’t do anything differently as it was exactly as they had pictured it, even their first dance which was to Luke Combs ‘Better Together’
Before heading off to Fuerteventura for their honeymoon they told us they are finding married life amazing and have no wedding blues, they enjoyed their first Christmas together and just like to chill out together. They did give this advice to couples planning their own wedding “Get as much done early as you can, it definitely takes a lot of the pressure and stress off so you can actually enjoy the run up to the wedding. Once you have a date picked I would book and pay deposits off as much as possible. Closer to the wedding there will be the Hen and Stag do so you want to be able to enjoy those. On the day don’t be worrying about things going wrong. There will always be something not go completely smoothly and you will probably be the only one that notices”
WEDDING SUPPLIERS INFO NAME AND TOWN
Reception location: Corick House
Wedding Dress from: Divinity Bridal
Bridesmaids’ dresses from: The Bridal Barn
Groomswear from: Freddie Hatchett
Make-up by: Chloe Lowry Make-up Artist
Hair by: Hair Matters NI (Nicole)
Flowers by: Occasion Flowers NI
Cake by: Christine’s Cakes
Stationery by: New Creation (Peter)
Transport from: Quirky Camperbooth
Photography by: Sasha Treanor
Videography by: Barry Porter
Entertainment by: Embrace Socials