Just married: Leanne and Alan Morrison
It might all have gone horribly wrong for one young couple after their first date. Alan Morrison met Leonne Wheatley when they were introduced by friends on a night out.
Alan bought tickets to see Ronan Keating at the Odyssey in Belfast and asked Leonne to go as his date.
Leonne, from Belfast, agreed to go, but as an R ‘n’ B fan the Irish crooner was not really her cup of tea.
“I was a bit shell-shocked to be honest when he asked me out,” Leonne recalled.
“I thought Alan looked like a Bee Gee, but he has a great sense of humour and is very kind, so I went along with him to the concert.
“It was months later that a friend let slip that I didn’t like Ronan Keating — his face dropped.”
The relationship survived the awkward first date and 11 years later, on June 30, the pair finally tied the knot.
Leonne (32), works for the Ulster Cancer Foundation and Alan (37), is a self-employed plumber.
“We lived together for nine years, but Alan is so laid-back that we hadn’t organised a wedding,” Leonne said.
The couple enjoy hiking in the Mournes and it was on Christmas Eve 2009 that Alan finally popped the question.
“I was hoping he would propose,” said Leonne.
“It was a very sunny day when we set out, but the mountain was completely frozen solid.
“We had lunch near Hare’s Gap and, when we finished, he suddenly produced two |miniature wine bottles and got down on one knee.
“It took me a while to realise what was happening and then he produced the ring.
“I refused to put my glove back on and by the time we got down the mountain my hand was frozen.”
The wedding was held with the spectacular backdrop of the Mournes at Magherahamlet Parish church, in Spa, Co Down.
The couple chose the little church because it was attended by Alan’s grandmother and he was very close to her.
“It was a beautiful setting for the wedding, beside Macauley’s lake,” Leonne said.
The bride’s two sisters, Joanne and Suzanne, along with her niece, Robyn, were bridesmaids. Alan’s niece, Holly, was the flowergirl.
The reception was held afterwards at La Mon House Hotel, outside Belfast, which Leonne praised for “their excellent attention to detail and really good food”.
Needless to say, the couple’s first dance was not to any Ronan Keating ballads.
Instead, Alan chose his favourite Aerosmith song, Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing.