Glitz and glam descended upon the village of Clough at the weekend as multi-millionaire Premiership star Jonny Evans married his gorgeous model and TV presenter fiancée Helen McConnell.
The 25-year-old blonde beauty said 'I do' in front of more than 100 family and friends including a select few of the Manchester United and Northern Ireland defender’s footballing pals at Clough Presbyterian Church — five miles outside Ballymena.
Buses ferried guests including ex-United players Darron Gibson, John O'Shea, David May and Jonny’s brother Corry, who is now with Premiership side Hull City, to the countryside ceremony.
Beautiful Helen wore a lace white gown with a sweetheart neckline and a classic full-length veil, as she held a bouquet with a pastel palette.
Droves of Louboutin-clad WAGs and local models also filled the church for the 1pm ceremony that saw the MUTV presenter walk down the isle in her stunning ivory lace fishtailed dress.
The likes of Wayne Rooney, Alex Ferguson and Rio Ferdinand were unable to make it due to prior commitments.
But their absence did little to dampen the spirits of around one hundred locals who turned out to catch a glimpse of the stunning bride and her footballer beau.
Around 40 members of the public were even allowed inside the ivory rose-and-ribbon-decorated church to watch the service — conducted by the bride’s father, Reverend Ken McConnell.
Accompanied by three pretty bridesmaids — including Evans’ younger sister Katie — the former Sunday Life Covergirl finalist drew gasps as she made her way to the altar with her clergyman father.
Rev McConnell, who is a devout Man United fan, raised giggles from guests when he quipped to his new son-in-law: “I don't know what's scarier for you Jonny — standing here or playing in front of 70,000 people.”
MUTV star Helen smiled lovingly at her new husband as dad Ken joked about how their love for the premiership team brought them together.
The former Belfast Wellington College pupil and sports studies graduate caught 25-year-old Belfast-born Evans' eye in 2011 after she began working for Old Trafford's in-house TV channel.
Helen, who is on the books of Belfast model agency Style Academy, moved to Manchester several years ago.
She had been working as a freelance reporter on Irish League games before landing her dream job with MUTV.
The couple left the church after the 40-minute ceremony to an acoustic version of Elton John’s Your Song, sang by local singers Lesley Anderson and Jonny Wright.
The wedding party, which included Evans’ brother Corry and Helen's footballer brother Nathan McConnell, left for a reception 50 miles away on the chic Clandeboye Estate in north Down after posing for pictures.
Speaking outside the church, Helen’s mum Diane described her joy at the nuptials.
“You will never find a more perfect couple,” she told Sunday Life.
“We are overjoyed to be welcoming Jonny to our family.”
The couple held their reception at the private country estate where more guests were set to attend and enjoy the celebrations.
One guest told Sunday Life: “Let’s just say it won’t be a dry wedding.”
The happy couple hired the events company behind team-mate Wayne Rooney's wedding to oversee their nuptials.
Manchester-based Julie Perry Events was responsible for
arranging the 2008 wedding of Wayne and Coleen Rooney in the Italian Riviera.
A few weeks prior to the wedding Helen hosted a three-day hen event in Cheshire for some of her closest girlfriends, including former hockey team-mates and fellow models.
Helen has formed friendships with several Man Utd WAGs, including Wayne Rooney's wife Coleen. She is also a good friend of Shauna Muamba, wife of retired Bolton Wanderers player Fabrice Muamba, who suffered a heart attack during a match last year.
Shauna missed yesterday's nuptials but tweeted pal Helen: “I want to see loads of pictures. You're gonna look and feel beautiful. Really happy for you.”
Style Academy boss Tracey Hall said: “Helen is a very popular, bubbly, sporty girl, who joined our books when she was a Sunday Life Covergirl finalist in 2004.
“She is a very popular choice for photographic work because she has a great face. She fronted one of Victoria Square's early spring/summer fashion campaigns for billboards, modelling everything from maxi dresses to lingerie to swimwear.
“She's still on our books but has obviously been very busy recently. Though, after the wedding, I'm expecting a flurry of bookings for her.”
The former hockey player runs three times a week and does regular 10k events.
On her MUTV biography she says she’s never tasted tea or coffee but has a weakness for McDonald’s fast food. “When I first moved to Manchester I was eating three to four a week, but try to limit myself to one a week now,” she says.
Her dad Rev McConnell has spoken warmly about his new son-in-law.
“Everything about Jonny towards us has been very respectful since he started seeing Helen,” he said in the run-up to the wedding.
“They are a very private couple, that’s the way they are. Jonny has a very supportive family network and he’s very close to his family.”
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