A desire to marry before his 30th birthday determined the wedding date for one Co Antrim man.
Andrew Armstrong, a support worker for children with learning difficulties from Whiteabbey, had known Stephanie Stewart, a medical secretary from Carnmoney, for many years before they eventually tied the knot on October 7.
“My cousin is married to Andy’s sister and we have known each other on and off for 14 years,” Stephanie explained.
“We had asked each other out over the years, but one of us was always going out with someone at the time.
“Then, after a family barbecue in 2008, we started to date.”
The couple’s relationship deepened and they moved in with each other in 2009.
Andy then proposed to Stephanie on Christmas Day 2010 with a beautiful emerald and diamond engagement ring that he picked himself.
“It was a total surprise on Christmas morning,” Stephanie said. “I wasn’t expecting it at all. It was a big shock.”
Andy was due to turn 30 on October 8, 2011, so the couple had roughly eight months to plan their entire wedding.
“I’m only six months older than Andy, but he wanted to be able to say he got married in his twenties to an older woman,” Stephanie laughed.
“He did a lot of the organising to make sure this happened. Our wedding day was arranged for October 7 — the last day of Andy’s twenties.”
The couple married in front of 45 guests at a service in Belfast City Hall.
The wedding party then crossed the road to Ten Square, where they enjoyed dinner with family and some friends before a fun-filled evening reception for 160 people.
“Our service was lovely. It was very intimate with our family and some friends around us,” Stephanie said.
“My sister Jennifer and Andy’s best man Pete did a great job for us, and we want to say a big thank-you to our parents.
“The reception was brilliant. Our first dance was Just The Way You Are by Bruno Mars.
“Everyone loved our band, The Big Kahuna. The musicians were amazing. My dad was so pleased with them he got up and said a special thank-you.”
The Armstrongs are currently in Tenerife on their honeymoon and enjoying the beginning of married life.
“So far, so good,” Stephanie said. “We had a really brilliant wedding day and are looking forward to a happy future together.”