When Liam Parnell, a 22-year-old barista, first met sales and marketing assistant Rebecca Whiteside, she stood out because of her ‘quirky’ outfit. And Edinburgh-born Liam caught Rebecca’s eye for the same reason, his ‘hipster’ clothes, as well as his laugh, his accent and his humour!
The couple met when studying at Belfast Bible College, and were friends for several months, before Liam asked Rebecca out for coffee. “We talked for hours then Liam, realising the coffee shop was about to close, blurted out that he really liked me,” Rebecca recalled.
Liam remembers Rebecca’s ‘quirky outfit’ of their first meeting well – a knitted cardigan with traffic lights and cars on it, Doc Martens and black jeans. “At first I struggled to understand her County Armagh accent and her obsession with horses, but I am sure it was a mutual feeling as my Scottish accent and obsession with music and Liverpool FC are just as confusing,” Liam said.
Liam proposed on September 25 2017 in Carlingford. He kept his coat on despite it being a hot day because, unbeknown to Rebecca, he had a ring stashed in his coat pocket! “Liam asked me to turn my back to him so he could take a picture of me looking at sea,” Rebecca said. “When I turned around he was down on one knee and asked me to marry him. It was a total surprise!
“He picked the ring, which made it so much more special. It was a simple three stone ring set in white gold, I love it. It is fine and delicate, exactly what I wanted. He must have felt under pressure as I work with jewellery and engagement rings.”
Rebecca bought her dress in Perfect Day in Lurgan. “It was literally the last dress I tried on after easily trying on 30 dresses across four different shops,” she said. “I never thought I would be fussy, but I just could not find the perfect one. I was ready to give up until I tried on the last dress. It was perfect! Both my mum and I knew it was the one for me.” She said the team in Perfect Day had been amazing and very patient. “They listened to all the features I was looking for and found the perfect dress for me.” Rebecca bought her bridesmaids’ dresses at Asos online. “They were stunning on them and in the end it saved me so much money,” Rebecca said. Maid of Honour was Rebecca’s cousin Alanah, and her bridesmaids were Liam’s sister Katie, and friends Beth, Joanne and Laura. Best Man was Liam’s friend Jordan, and groomsmen were his cousin Duncan and friends Scott and Paul. Their outfits were from Moss Bros.
The couple really enjoyed getting their invites sorted. “We had friends and family coming from Scotland, England, LA, Canada and Spain, so it was so exciting know they were all going to be there for our wedding,” said Rebecca. “I completely lost track of time and realised it was six weeks to the wedding and I had not even thought about sending invites, so it was a frantic message into the bridesmaid group chat to call for reinforcements which then turned into a production line of assembling invites, writing addresses and sticking stamps.” Liam and Rebecca married at Windsor Baptist Church on October 13 2018, and held a reception for 134 guests at the Tullyglass Hotel. Reflecting the rustic theme of the day, the couple had candles in beer bottles, fairy lights, lanterns on tree stumps, ivy draped everywhere and flowers in jam jars. “My favourite decorations were flowers on a tiny plant pot shaped as a bike, flowers in welly boots and the message ‘welcome to the wedding of Liam and Rebecca’ painted on to a chalk painted pallet,” said Rebecca.
“We thought the rustic theme would tie in nicely to the time of year as it all looked very autumnal, especially when we sprinkled a few fake leaves about the church and venue.” A unique feature of the day was Rebecca’s bespoke veil and headpiece made by Blue Meadow Bridal. Love Coffee NI brought their portable brew bar to make guests V60 coffee in the evening. “I love my coffee and Liam is a barista, it was just so us,” Rebecca said. Although it rained constantly, Rebecca and Liam said the day had been amazing. “My highlight, apart from the ceremony, was our pictures in the rain,” Rebecca said. “I found it fun running about in my dress, veil and heels in the pouring rain. We were both drenched. We laughed so much. Something that would have ruined some people’s day made it such a fun addition to ours.”
For Liam, the service was very special. “Our Church and faith are so important to us, so the service was amazing,” he said. “So many of our friends were a part of it. Uni friends formed the praise band, two friends read Bible readings and even our friend from Spain prayed a blessing over our future life together.” The couple said it really was the best day of their lives. “Being able to say our vows and promising to love each other for the rest of our lives was one of the most surreal and most amazing moment ever,” Rebecca said. “Having everyone we love share this with us and be in the same place all at once and dancing into the late hours of the night together, really just made this the best day ever.”
The couple managed to stick to their budget, making their own invites and a lot of the decorations, with bridesmaid Laura making their wedding cake as a gift.
They advise anyone planning a wedding not to get stressed over the little things. “The small details or finishing touches may seem massive in your head, but they aren’t,” Rebecca said. “At the end of the day you get to be married to the love of your life and that is the most important thing.”
Liam and Rebecca honeymooned in Dubrovnik, Croatia, and are loving married life. “It is amazing to be living together now and starting to make our new house feel like a home,” they said.
WEDDING SUPPLIERS INFO
Reception location: Tullyglass House Hotel
Wedding Dress from: Perfect Day
Groomswear from: Moss Bros.
Make-up by: S.A.K Deigns
Flowers by: Flower Bowl International
Rings from: Ellisons Jewellers
Transport from: I Do Wedding Cars
Photography by: Calvin Craig Photography