Mark Allison married the love of his life Gillian on his 40th birthday. Gillian (33), a transport manager from Lisburn, first met Mark, from Antrim, four years ago when he worked as a lorry driver.
He asked her out on a date, she said yes, their romance blossomed and, following a romantic proposal during a family trip to Nice in June 2010, the couple became engaged.
The Italian-themed wedding Gillian and Mark had always dreamt of was to became a reality when they found out they had won a competition for engaged couples worth more than £25,000 called Honey, I Won The Wedding.
“I was ecstatic to win,” Gillian said. “I couldn’t believe it.
“The prize covered everything from the dress and photography to the food and flowers. It was amazing.”
On November 10, 2011, Mark’s 40th, he and Gillian tied the knot at the Church of Ireland in Stranorlar, Co Donegal, followed by a reception at Jackson’s Hotel, Ballybofey.
“It was the fastest, but the best, day of my life,” Gillian added. “We both really enjoyed ourselves. It just flew in, but it was wonderful.
“We had an Italian theme. Our table plan was a map of Italy and each table was named after an Italian town or city.
“Our band from Belfast, The Big Kahuna, were fantastic and they played a lovely version of Sarah McLachlan’s Angel for our first dance.
“Everyone who attended and was involved in our wedding helped make it a really special day, so we want to thank them all for that.”
Part of the wedding prize package was a luxurious honeymoon trip to the island of Fiji in the South Pacific. “It was absolutely amazing,” said Gillian.
“We had such a fantastic time in Fiji. It was so relaxing.
“Now we are home and married life is going great.
“We’ve got no complaints so far.”