At the young age of 14 I started a scrapbook, cutting out ideas of what my dream wedding would look like. Inspired by photos of Victoria and David Beckham’s Wedding in OK magazine I was thinking traditional and BIG! Years passed and my hardback book was replaced with a secret pinterest board. Having enjoyed weddings of family and friends and I realised the traditional day wasn’t for me. Lucky for us Belfast is filled with plenty of choice of everything that allowed to make every part of our special day our own.
Having decided to get married not engaged, we went engagement ring shopping together one Saturday before a cinema date. The first shop we went into was your typical jewelers, the girl sat us down and started bring out boxes of rings explaining all about the diamonds and different cuts. My pale hands looked terrible with the white sparkly rings. Staff pressure on getting a sale didn’t help either and I started to think maybe I was right not wanting a ring.
I was really stressed as we walked through town when a coloured stone caught my eye as we passed the window of Lauren May in Queens Arcade. Much nicer than the rings we had been looking at and more my style. The ladies in here were an absolute gem (no pun intended). They were understanding, supportive and did their best to put us at ease. I tried it on and knew it was the one.
For the wedding rings we went to Ernst Jones also in Queens Arcade. We had a brief look online so had an idea of what we wanted. We both loved the first rings we put on and as they were both in our size we’re able to walk away that day with them. The friendly manageress did joke it wasn’t always this easy but lucky for us it was.
In line with not having a traditional wedding, I had an idea of a short vintage tea dress, one I would lift off the rack for my wedding dress but they were harder to find than I expected. When I did find what I wanted on LindyBob, they didn’t have it in my size and couldn’t tell me when it would be back in stock. A chat with girls in work sent me into a panic and they strongly suggested I visit Bridal shops to at least check out styles. I called on my mum and sister to hit up the shops even though the thought terrified me.
My sister was quickly finding shops on Facebook and I booked appointments for the weekend. The first trip was to Holywood Bridal Boutique, who just happened to be having a closing down sale. We looked through the rails and I lifted down a lace gown I liked the shape of whilst searching for shorter dresses. In arrived Veronica, and the trying on commenced. As did a lesson on wedding dresses I will never forget. We went for the lace one first. It fitted beautifully, accessorised with a jeweled belt and it was perfect. Not at all what I had imagined as it was full length and a traditional gown but it was lovely.
We went for the short dress second, it looked awful. My pale white legs beside the ivory didn’t work. Over the next hour Veronica schooled us in the different styles of dresses. An A-line lengthens the legs which made me look 6 foot tall. We went back to the first and I knew that was it. The belt and a feather wrap finished of the vintage look. Mum, Shelley and I all fell in love with Veronica that day. She is the bride whisperer. Her stories and experience are a delight. Whilst she has now passed on the shop, she plans to still consult on weddings and helping brides say yes to the dress so track her down ladies if you are getting hitched. You need her!
My dashing groom got suited and booted with a three-piece suit in Bogart’s Belfast. Neil had advised us to wait for the new spring stock before fixing him up with a gorgeous blue Herbie Frog suit. The same one the Northern Ireland Football team were kitted out in for the European Championships. Neil matched with a grey Reus Umo waistcoat and brown Herbie Frog shoes. They thought of everything from cufflinks to the pocket-handkerchief pinned in place. Like Veronica knows dresses, these guys know their suits.
I hummed and had about flowers for the day. I feel bad at the thought that cut flowers don’t last and die so usually opt for plants myself were possible. Brian was keen to have a button hole so I had a look and like most things wedding related couldn’t get over the price charged for “wedding packages” If I was going to have flowers I wanted something small and simple. I debated buying a bunch from M&S and tying up my own, how hard could it be. The afternoon before we got married the sun was splitting the trees and I realised how good flowers looked. I was walking towards M&S to get some when I checked for florists in the city centre. There in the arcade where we had got my engagement ring and our wedding rings was Victoria Gault Flowers. I nipped in expecting them to say no but like everyone else along the way they were more than helpful. I ordered a buttonhole and pose of yellow roses to collect the next day. So glad I did because although I almost forgot them when leaving the house (thanks Dad) they looked great.
There were a few bits from the traditional wedding day I said from the outset I wanted. Mainly the first dance and the cake. I have a sweet tooth and cake is my favourite. Our wedding cake was a gift from my sisters and mum in law, M&S finest. A mix of sponge and chocolate layers. Decorated with blue ribbon, diamante heart pins and a topper Brian found on Etsy. Mr & Mrs Captain America, reflecting his favourite comic book character. It was so us! The cake looked great and tasted delicious. After the party Maggie from The Ivory boxed the lefts overs up for us to take home.
For invitations, we printed a few with Media Design and Print for those not online and used the free app and website Wedivite for everyone else. It allowed us to text, email and share the invite link where people could RSVP and request a song which helped us build an epic song list along the way. Their portal made it easy to track everything numbers wise too. Would highly recommend it.
Photos and video to follow!