On a wet October day in 2009, James Hunter (34) brought his girlfriend Sara McConkey to scenic Glenariff Forest Park on the Antrim coast and popped the question beside the waterfall.
Sara (25) remembers the moment well for the romance — and the comedy value.
“It was typical Northern Ireland weather,” said Sara. “James took me to the waterfall. He got down on one knee and then slipped on the damp ground onto both knees.”
The couple, who met four years earlier at a nightclub in the Odyssey, had discussed getting married, but James’ proposal still surprised Sara.
“He had duped me into going to Glenariff that day, saying we were going to a car show. But when we got there, there was no car show,” she said.
“I think he knew it would be difficult to plan a surprise, as I can normally suss things out.” The pair planned their wedding together, which was a large affair with 180 guests at the reception in the Dunadry Hotel in Antrim on July 1.
As Sara is a primary school teacher, the date suited well with the start of the long summer holidays.
“We had a lot of guests, because we both come from large families,” added Sara.
“I’m one of four and James has a large extended family.”
Sara’s sister Laura and her two friends, Catherine and Emma, were bridesmaids. She also had two flowergirls — her cousin Cora and a friend’s daughter, Jessica. Another cousin, Noah, was pageboy.
Sara wore an ivory lace dress by La Sposa which she got at Eden Bridal, Holywood Arches, in east Belfast.
The wedding took place in St Brigid’s Church on Belfast’s Malone Road. As guests arrived at the Dunadry for a drinks reception they were entertained by the Martello Jazz Band.
“They were excellent and made everybody feel very relaxed as the reception got under way,” said Sara.
The day then went from jazz notes to pop and rock with The Hootenannys ensuring the dancefloor was never empty.
Sara summed up: “We had a fantastic day. I couldn’t compliment the staff at the Dunadry enough.”
The couple weren’t taking any chances with the weather for their honeymoon and jetted off to Hawaii and Las Vegas for three weeks of glorious sunshine.
‘We had a lot of guests, because we both come from large families’
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