Ten years ago the eyes of the world were on Prince William and Kate Middleton as they prepared to become man and wife.
As millions sat glued to their TV screens to watch them exchange vows in Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011, many other couples were also enjoying the excitement of their own big day.
A decade on and three kids later, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge aren’t the only ones with something special to celebrate later this week.
Helen Bell (38), a primary school teacher from Newtownbutler in Co Fermanagh, married William Noble (41), a bank worker from Enniskillen, in Galloon Church of Ireland in her hometown, followed by a reception in the Killyhevlin Hotel.
And just like the royal couple they are now parents to two sons and a daughter - Alfie (7), Hugo (5) and nine-month-old Bella.
Helen and William met in 2007 after being set up on a blind date by a friend. They got engaged two years later after William proposed on the jetty at the Manor House Hotel.
They had planned to get married earlier in April 2011 but since it would have clashed with Easter, they picked April 29.
Recalling her own wedding, Helen said it couldn’t have gone any better.
“The weather was gorgeous and it just made the day extra special as everyone was able to go outside and enjoy the views over Lough Erne. I was able to watch most of the royal wedding while I was getting ready so I told my guests later about Kate’s lovely dress”.
Helen added: “Whenever Kate was expecting her first child, Prince George, I was about nine weeks pregnant with Alfie but I hadn’t told anyone. Then when she was forced to announce her pregnancy early because she was so unwell, people started pointing out again that we had married on the same day and were asking about us. It was very hard not to tell the truth about our own exciting baby news.”
“We’ve always kept a close eye on William and Kate down the years. Given that they’re everywhere, it’s hard not to!” Helen laughed.
“Despite all their family dramas they seem to be doing well and have stuck together. I’m sure it can’t be easy at times but they look like a very strong and solid couple. For us life has been a lot easier as we’ve only had our three kids to deal with!”
With Northern Ireland slowly emerging out of lockdown, Helen says any plans for a big bash to celebrate 10 years of marriage are on the back-burner for now.
“We have very little planned apart from hopefully getting the kids to bed early and having a dine-in from Marks & Spencer or a carry out since the restaurants will still be closed.”
Just across the border, healthcare worker Noelle McKiernan (41) from Ballyconnell, Co Cavan married electrical engineer John Melligan (42), having met the very same year as William and Kate in a Dublin bar.
After eight years together, John proposed to Noelle on her 30th birthday, going down on bended knee on a beach in Miami.
They got married in Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Cavan and their reception was at the Farnham Estate.
The couple also went on to have three children - Thea (9), Cadhla (6) and four-year-old Tully.
“Our wedding day was amazing, the sun shone and it was just the best day ever,” Noelle recalled.
“I was sorry when it ended and I would gladly do it all over again.
“I didn’t get to see William and Kate’s wedding until the next day as I was more excited about my own big day. The priest did refer to the royal wedding during the mass and joked that he was conducting his own which was lovely.”
Noelle added: “Our kids are old enough to understand that we got married on the same day as William and Kate so they think we’re famous.
“I can’t believe it was 10 years ago now and just like them we’re still hanging in there. With three kids we don’t have time to fight!”