It was Belfast City Hall’s offbeat wedding of the year as newlyweds Ian and Karen Medland danced down the aisle after their nuptials to the sound of Bring Me Sunshine.
And they crooned a verse or two of the Morecambe and Wise theme song to their guests.
But it hasn’t always been happiness and joy for police sergeant Ian (54), of the Avon and Somerset force at Burnham-on-Sea, who met Karen, a member of a police support team, one day when they were both in uniform.
For Ian is the cousin that sisters Maureen Robinson in Belfast and Irene McIlwaine (better half of the writer), who lives at Killead in Antrim, never knew they had.
He was the son of their unmarried aunt, Margaret Watson, in Edinburgh, who put Ian up for adoption soon after his birth — and felt guilty about it for years after as she tried in vain to track him down.
But in Sussex, where he had been adopted by, and taken the name of David and Joyce Medland, Ian grew up to have more success tracking his birth mother. ”In the end, it wasn’t too difficult, because Margaret was
still living in the same house in Edinburgh,” he explains.
And so mother, now 70, and son finally came face-to-face and had a joyful relationship for the next few years. Both his adoptive parents are now dead.
It was only after Margaret’s death, at 76, that Ian’s cousins Maureen and Irene discovered they had a cousin of whom they were unaware when they met him at the funeral.
They have built up a good relationship with Ian, who is a regular visitor to Ballycastle as a member of a deep sea diving club.
So he and Karen decided to get married at the City Hall in Belfast and bring all sides of their families together.
Mike Hooper, the father of the bride, and Ian’s daughter Ellie (24), from a previous marriage, were the witnesses.
Ian’s other daughter Kate, is working on the production of a film and couldn’t make it.
“It was an intimate little ceremony, with only the people who have been important to us as the drama of my life unfolded invited,” says Ian, who entertained them all afterwards at the reception in nearby Ten Square.
The couple exchanged rings designed and made for them by an adoptive cousin, artist Jennifer Corker, who was also a guest.
So, just like Ernie and Eric tell us in song, Ian and Karen brought a lot of sunshine to City Hall on what was one of the hottest days of the year.