Just married: Iain and Julianne Kelly
A friendship struck up thousands of miles away in the Outback of Australia brought one Co Antrim couple together.
Iain Kelly (31), from Carnmoney, met his future wife’s uncle while working in a pub 100 miles north of Melbourne in 2002.
“I worked in Australia for six months and was doing general labouring in a small town called Castlemaine in the middle of nowhere,” Iain said.
“I stayed with Randall because I knew his family in Northern Ireland.”
Randall was Randall Percy, who emigrated to Australia as a teenager and returned to Northern Ireland to visit relatives in 2004.
Iain was invited to Randall’s farewell dinner in Belfast, where he first met his niece, Julianne Coard, from Magheramorne near Whitehead.
“We hit it off over dinner and I asked for her number,” Iain added.
The pair began dating, but then tragedy struck Julianne’s match-making uncle.
In 2006 Randall, who was just 56, was diagnosed with cancer and decided to come home to Northern Ireland.
“I went out to help him, because he was very ill in Australia,” Iain said.
“I helped him pack up and ship his things home. He died a month later in the hospice in Belfast.”
Love continued to blossom between Iain, who now works in sales, and Julianne, who is a dental nurse.
The couple got engaged in 2009 and married on September 1 at a civil ceremony in the Clarion hotel in Carrickfergus.
“It was a brilliant day,” said the 25-year-old bride. “The sun was shining — I thought I was abroad.
“We had a reception for 140 guests. The staff couldn’t do enough for us.”
The wedding pictures were taken at the medieval backdrop of Carrickfergus Castle, near the hotel.
The couple then jetted off for a two-week honeymoon in Cyprus.