Belfast Telegraph

Just married: Siobhan and Brian Darby

By Kerry McKittrick

When Siobhan and Brian Darby went to Donegal to celebrate Siobhan's birthday last year, she had no idea a proposal was on the cards.

"Brian said we should go to the beach – I thought he wanted to go surfing even though we were supposed to be celebrating my birthday," said Siobhan.

"When we got back to the car he produced a hamper with champagne, strawberries, chocolates and lots of hearts – then he went down on one knee."

The couple, who both work for Ulster Bank, had been together for six years, having met on a work night out. A ceili saw them paired together and romance blossomed.

Although Siobhan (38) had her idea of the perfect wedding, they initially decided to invest in the honeymoon of a lifetime rather than an expensive wedding.

That was until some good luck intervened.

"I'd always wanted to get married at Galgorm Manor, but at that point I didn't think it would happen. I managed to drag Brian along for a look on their bridal wedding day anyway, and I loved it."

As the couple left the hotel Siobhan spotted an advert for the resort's 2012 wedding fayre, which was running a £10,000 competition to win a wedding package.

"I entered, but then I completely forgot about it," said Siobhan. "I've never, ever won anything in my life so it just went out of my head. I couldn't believe it when I got the phone call telling us we had won."

Siobhan and 33-year-old Brian's prize included the cost of the room at the resort, meals for 80 people, the services of a photographer, the Arco String Quartet playing at their arrival at the venue, the cake, the band and the DJ.

"It was like having a wedding planner," explained Siobhan. "I could simply pick the flowers or the cake that I wanted from a selection. What made it even more special was some of the things, such as the Arco Quartet and the photographer Michael McKay were services I had planned on booking anyway." The prize – which is being offered again to couples attending this year's wedding fayre being held at the Galgorm Manor this Sunday – allowed the couple to choose extras they wouldn't have been able to afford otherwise, such as decorating the room with white curtains and fairy lights.

"The day was perfect," said Siobhan. "Although it didn't start out that way. It started to rain when I was going to get my hair done and an accident meant that most of the wedding party, except me, were late to the church.

"From that point, though, the rest of the day was the best of my life. Everything was perfect and there were no complaints. I couldn't fault it in any way."

After the wedding, the happy couple spent a couple of days at Lough Eske Castle in Donegal before beginning married life in Glengormley.

They are now planning that dream honeymoon to Sri Lanka and the Maldives later in the year.

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