Couple set for Titanic wedding at £90m visitor centre
The first couple to marry at the world's largest Titanic attraction struck a famous pose as they checked out the venue ahead of Valentine's Day.
It might not have been the bow of the doomed liner, but for Lynsay Smith and Brian Evans it was close enough as they came over all Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio when touring the soon-to-open £90m visitor centre in Belfast.
The operators of the complex, which is built in the derelict shipyard where the ship was constructed more than a century ago, hope the couple are the first of many who choose to celebrate their marriage in the Titanic-themed banqueting suite on its top two floors.
The ballroom, which can seat 1,000 people, is based on the first-class environs of the White Star vessel, right down to the sweeping staircase.
Ms Smith, a 23-year-old administrator from Lisburn, Co Antrim, and Mr Evans, a 26-year-old from Newtownards, Co Down, who runs his own plumbing business, booked the venue last year, long before construction was finished.
"We looked at a variety of venues across Northern Ireland for our wedding reception, from hotels to golf clubs to art galleries, but just couldn't find anything to suit our style," said the bride-to-be.
"I was intrigued when I heard that Titanic Belfast included a banqueting suite, so we decided it was worth a look.
"The plans were incredible, so we took the chance and booked the venue in September last year without seeing it in person."
On the floors below the banqueting suite, thousands of tourists are expected to visit the interactive attraction that tells the story of the Titanic, after it opens next month.
Ms Smith admitted to being nervous before getting the chance to see the venue, but said she was overwhelmed when it was finally revealed ahead of their September wedding.
"The views and the near-replica grand staircase blew us away," she said.
"We are looking forward to our wedding more than ever now that we know how beautiful the reception will be and are so excited to share the occasion with our family and friends in such a one-of-a-kind location."
As well as weddings, the Titanic Suite has also been booked for award ceremonies, conferences and gala dinners.
Claire Bradshaw, head of sales and marketing at Titanic Belfast, said: "The Titanic Suite, located on the top two floors of Titanic Belfast with stunning views across the city, will be a new stand-out venue for Belfast.
"It will offer a first-class service in a first-class location that captures the grandeur of the Titanic era. We are delighted with the number of bookings to date and in particular the interest we have received from those planning their weddings.
"The setting makes for a wonderful reception space and I'm sure that many brides, including Lynsay, will enjoy having their wedding photos taken in such a special setting."