Love blossomed for Christian and Ruth Nachtigall on a rockface hundreds of feet above the ground. Ruth from north Belfast met Brazilian triathlete Christian in 2009 when she was paired with him at a summer climbing course.
The financial adviser and sports mechanic, both now 31, clicked immediately and arranged their first date at Dalkey Quarry in Dublin.
“We spent the afternoon climbing and had a really good time,” Ruth said.
“Then Christian came up from Dublin to go climbing with me in the Mournes and asked me to be his girlfriend.
“We have a framed photograph of Hen Mountain in the living room to remind us of the day.”
The couple got to know each other better and in February last year headed to Curitiba in Brazil to celebrate Ruth’s 30th birthday and give her the chance to meet Christian’s mother Maria.
“We headed to Ilha do Mel (Honey Island) for a few days and were on the beach when Christian got down on one knee with an engagement ring and proposed,” said Ruth. “It was very traditional and very romantic.
“He had told my parents before we left for Brazil, which they really appreciated.”
The wedding date was set for June 23, 2011 in Varenna on Lake Como, Italy, near where Ruth’s parents, Edward and Pamela McCamley, have a holiday home.
Christian’s mother Maria made her first trip outside Brazil to be one of the 34 guests gathered to watch Ruth and Christian tie the knot.
Ruth wore a stunning off-white strapless lace gown and her beautiful little niece Charlotte Dallas (2) was flower girl.
“Our day was very special. We love Italy and everything was just perfect,” Mrs Nachtigall said.
“There had been a storm in the morning, but it cleared up by the time our civil ceremony started at 4pm.
“We had a gorgeous five-course dinner in the gardens of the villa and stayed up to the early hours celebrating with everyone.”
The happy couple then made their way to the Swiss Alps for a hiking honeymoon and are now home in Belfast, loving married life and learning more about each other’s cultural background.
Ruth is mastering Portuguese at night class while Christian is getting to grips with our strong accent and looking forward to the snow this winter.
“We’re best friends, looking forward to the future together. Married life is good,” Ruth said.
“It’s great we don’t have to commute back and forward to Dublin where Christian was studying and working.
“People have trouble with our surname.
“But when we tell them it’s German for Nightingale, they get it straight away.”