John Hoy and Karen Sheals-Hoy, from Newtownards, are loving married life following their beautiful winter wedding at the Old Inn in Crawfordsburn.
Businessman John (40) and American Holidays operations manager Karen (39) first dated 15 years ago, but it wasn't until a chance encounter five years ago that they knew they were meant to be together.
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“We went our separate ways in the late-90s and then met up again five years ago,” Karen said. “Our first date was at the John Hewitt in Belfast.” The couple fell in love and got engaged in Italy in 2011.
“John had asked my father’s permission to marry me before we went away to Sicily,” Karen said.
“It was lovely. He had an engagement ring with him and got down on one knee.”
The couple exchanged vows on December 13, followed by a reception for 66 friends and family.
“We had an absolutely beautiful and lovely day,” Karen said. “There was a great ambience and it all tied in with Christmas.
“I had a fur shrug around my dress and there were candles and a big fire. It was great.”
The newlyweds’ first dance as
husband and wife was to The Ramones’ version of Baby I Love You.
“After a night out we always get up and dance to it during ‘John’s Disco’ in the house,” Karen said.
“We're not slow song people and wanted the day to be very us, so that was why we picked it.”
Following their wedding John and Karen headed to Rome for three days on a ‘minimoon’ and are planning a honeymoon trip to the southern states of the US this spring. “We’re going to Memphis, New Orleans, Nashville and Florida,” Karen said. “After that we will cruise around Mexico. It will be fantastic.”
The happy couple want to thank their loved ones for making their wedding day so enjoyable.
“Our friends and family made the day extra-special,” Karen said. “I am getting used to being called ‘Mrs’ and being married is lovely.
“A big thank-you has to go to my bridesmaid Astrid Johnston, as she introduced us to each other.
“John and I fit like a glove. I knew we were going to get married when we met back up.”