Bride and groom with bridesmaids and groomsmen cheering

Michael and Amy first met at their church youth group in 2013. “I gave him the run around until we started seeing each other in December 2018!” says Amy. “Our first official date was to get fro-yo and coffee. I was so excited and Michael was a total gentleman and paid for everything. We had been texting up until this point and I was so happy he seemed interested and I hadn’t missed my chance. (This is the most I’ve probably ever admitted that!)”

A surprise proposal

“Michael planned a trip to a spa for my birthday in July 2019,” says Amy.

“The day before, I went for brunch with my best friend Kerry. When I got home, I unlocked the door to find Michael in my living room (we didn’t live together) surrounded by candles, rose petals and bouquets. I never thought Michael would be able to surprise me, plus he knew a public proposal would be my idea of a nightmare. I was flabbergasted! He said he knew from our second date that he wanted to marry me. Then he asked me to marry him with a gorgeous white gold, pear-shaped engagement ring. I couldn’t stop smiling and staring at my ring. We had only been together about six months but it felt so right, since we’d known each other for years.”

Bride stood on lawn smiling holding flowers with bridesmaids kneeling tending to hem of dress

A new date and a new dress

The couple lost their original wedding date in April 2020 due to Covid.

“We got married outside, with just our parents, on 30th May 2020. I wore a high street dress that cost about £30! We had our original wedding paid off, so we agreed to have a big celebration when we could. That day was eventually 8th September 2021.”

Bride smiling walking down the aisle with her father

Shopping for a new dress

“When I was a good few dress sizes smaller, I had a wedding gown that I liked but never felt 100% comfortable with,” says Amy. “I went to WED2B Belfast and the girls at the store were fantastic. They gave me so much confidence and let me have lots of choice. They also listened to my concerns and encouraged me to try something I wouldn’t have considered. I walked away with my dress after less than two hours and was beaming! They recommended a seamstress too, and she helped me alter the dress to suit my vision and customise my sleeves. She was honestly the loveliest lady ever and made me feel so beautiful. I’m a nurse and a midwife and consider myself warm by nature, and I have to say these ladies all exuded that caring nature I see in my job, which was such a comfort.”

Bride stood smiling holding bouquet, walking down aisle with father

The perfect outfit

“I chose Greta by Anna Sorrano and wore it with a lace jacket in the daytime, that buttoned down the back,” says Amy.

"I also wore a sparkly belt to tie it all together and an underskirt to make it more princessy! It pulled me right in at the waist and was so easy to wear. In the sunshine it glimmered and I felt so pretty. It was also feminine and accentuated my figure.”

(For similar styles try Tove, Liza and Brielle)

Bride and groom walking hand in hand along river, stood together under pergoda

A church wedding Belfast

“We wanted a church wedding Belfast and got married in our church, Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle Belfast, with a reception at Leighinmohr House Hotel, Ballymena,” says Amy. “Friends of ours had had their weddings there and we knew the food was great. The venue also has just one wedding a day and the staff have amazing attention to detail. It’s an old house, but recently refurbished, so it had a homely warm feeling while feeling like something out of a period drama. The gardens down by the river were amazing for photos, too. We celebrated our wedding on 8th September 2021 and I would recommend Leighinmohr to anyone.

Leighinmohr House Hotel in Ballymena

The big day

“I got ready at home with my bridesmaids and my mum,” says Amy. “It was glorious sunshine too. My daddy walked me down the aisle, which was very special, to a song called ‘Jesus Your Love’ by Kristene DiMarco. It’s a worship song, as I’m a Christian. It was performed by our friend Simon Forbes and his friend Dani Carson, who also played guitar and keys. It was the most special moment entering to such a poignant song. We exited to ‘You Got the Love’ by Florence and the Machine, sung by Simon. A great take on the song!”

Bride and groom stood next to VW camper and VW beetle wedding vehicles

“My bestie Leanne did our reading, 1John 4: 16-19, and she is a lay reader for the Church of Ireland, so it was beautiful,” says Amy. “We also sang ‘In Christ Alone’ and ‘Before the Throne’. Michael’s uncle Irwin performed the ceremony and included lots of anecdotes about Michael as a little boy, which was emotional and funny. The groomsmen, Michael and my sister Kiri all had matching superhero face masks and cufflinks, too!”

Sunshine and ice cream

Afterwards, everyone went out into the sunshine to enjoy an ice cream from Brook Avenue Gelato’s bike-drawn cart. “It was a cute little addition and delicious gelato,” says Amy. “Our first dance was to ‘I Get To Love You’ by Ruelle. The words meant so much to us and we sang the lyrics to each other during our dance.”

Time for tea

Amy and Michael's church wedding Belfast
Amy & Michael

“Our theme was tea!” says Amy. “As a wee English Rose living in Northern Ireland, and an avid tea drinker, we wanted a tongue-in-cheek theme. Michael is a preacher, in addition to his day job, so we also had a book theme of theology books and nursing/midwifery books to tie us both in and make it personal. Our table centres were piles of vintage books about religion or nursing (it took many Saturdays of car boots and National Trust libraries to find these). We also had vintage teapots containing a flower posy. Very Mad Hatter’s tea party! Our table names were teas. The top table was Lady Grey, my favourite. Our decorations were china, teacups, saucers and teapots. And lots of bright flowers!”

“We had a four-course dinner with vegetable soup, bacon-wrapped chicken, a trio of puddings and cake and tea/coffee,” says Amy.

"Our cake was three-tiers with lots of buttercream. It was sticky toffee, raspberry and white chocolate and then lemon and had a matching posy of flowers on it featuring my favourite hot pink gerberas. We were still in restrictions in NI, so no dancing, but we used Eternity Socials who put on quizzes, bingo, music quizzes and Mr and Mrs Games for us. We also had a photo booth, which was brilliant craic.”

White table and chairs laid out ready for guests with vintage table decorations

A few of my favourite things…

“One of my favourite moments was spending time getting photos with our bridal party down by the river,” says Amy. “One of my best friends now lives in Hong Kong, so I look back on that day with happy memories. Also, I am very much not into PDAs, but our first dance and spending those three minutes together felt so special. Finally, seeing our ideas and plans all come to life through the amazing team at Leighinmohr. I am such a control freak and could not believe how they just understood my vision!”

Bride and groom stood together in green meadow embracing

My top tips…

“Relax,” says Amy.

"Try on gowns outside of your comfort zone. Just focus on your spouse and forget about the rest and enjoy your day. It flies by! Support local where you can. We did and these suppliers bent over backwards for us."

Amy’s Dream Team

Photography: Stephen Whiteside Photography

Church Wedding Belfast: Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle Belfast

Venue: Leighinmohr House Hotel

Wedding Dresses: WED2B

Florist: Urban Stems Florist

Videographer: Colin Gilliland

Cake: NI Cake Design

Campervan: Logybear Campervan Hire

Entertainment: Eternity Socials

Hair and Makeup: Rebecca and Catherine at Bridal Artistry NI

Ice Cream: Brook Avenue Gelato

Photo Booth: Rhythm and Booth

If you would like your big day to be one of our real weddings like our church wedding Belfast then click here to share your story and photos with us and we’ll be in touch. Or click here for more details about WED2B’s bridal shops.