Eight years after they met and two children later, a Co Down couple finally decided to tie the knot.
Susan Shields (33) from Comber and Andrew Donaldson (28) from Newtownards were married at Second Comber Presbyterian Church on July 14, followed by a glitzy reception in the Merchant Hotel in Belfast.
Susan revealed that they succumbed to pressure from their five-year-old daughter Ruby who started to ask why her parents had different surnames.
“Ruby rules the roost,” Susan joked. “I’m a Girls’ Brigade leader but I didn’t get married for religious reasons. We decided in the end we would get married to complete the family.”
The wedding was a real family affair with Ruby a flowergirl and the couple’s two-year-old son Rory a pageboy. They were joined by their cousins Iris (6) and eight-year-old Patrick.
The bride and groom even brought their children on honeymoon.
“We had a week in the Costa del Sol in Spain and brought the kids,” said Susan. But she didn’t think it ruined the romance of the honeymoon. “It was fantastic, I really enjoyed having them with us.”
Family plays a large part in the couple’s lives. Susan and her sister Maureen run their father’s car body repairs business, J & W Body Repairs, on Castlereagh Road in Belfast.
Andrew used to work in a bank but now works for the family car business along with his brother-in-law.
So, was Susan looking for a partner with an interest in cars?
“We met through friends at a party and just got on well,” she said. “My best friend Nicola married one of Andrew’s football chums, David. They played for Newtownards Greenwell Star and that’s how I got to know him.”
The sun shone on their wedding day which Susan described as “a really happy occasion”.
“The weather was gorgeous, everyone was so relaxed and looked very happy,” she said. There were 70 guests at the |reception in the Merchant Hotel in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter. The couple had some of their photographs taken on the beautiful, cobbled streets of this historic part of the city.
“We had the roof terrace for the day reception and then a two-piece band followed by a DJ for the evening reception indoors. We had a suite at the hotel for our wedding night. It was absolutely gorgeous, a really memorable day.”
When Ruby goes back to school in September she can tell her friends not only about her parents’ wedding, but that she joined them on honeymoon.