Belfast Telegraph

Royal Wedding: I'll be princess for a day, says the Northern Ireland bride sharing wedding date

By Leona O'Neill

A Londonderry couple who tie the knot at the same time as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are determined the royal couple will steal none of their wedding thunder.

LIVE: Royal wedding: George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey and the Beckhams among guests arriving for Harry and Meghan nuptials - live updates, pictures and video

Bride Melissa Kelpie (33) will arrive at St Patrick's Church this afternoon in a glittering white, Cinderella-esque horse-drawn carriage, and her stunning white dress will be complemented by a huge diamond-encrusted high-set crown.

She says she will feel just like a princess as she walks up the aisle to stand beside her groom, welder Shaun Rabbett (33).

The couple, who have been together for six years and have two children, Dylan (11) and baby Faith (1), say they are delighted to be sharing their special day with royalty.

"I think it's brilliant," says Melissa, who works at the Playshed children's soft play centre.

"We are over the moon to be sharing the same day as them.

"It is going to be a special day for everyone, and for us, and it just happened to fall on the same day.

"We just hope that the weather will be nice and that everything will go well.

"I will be travelling to the church in a beautiful white horse-drawn carriage. I'll be arriving in style, giving Meghan Markle a run for her money.

"I've also got a beautiful big, high-diamond crown that I'll be wearing. I love my diamonds, my glitz and my glam. So I'm going to feel like a princess."

And for the couple, there is one guest in particular who, as far as they are concerned, is even more special than the Queen.

"Our little girl Faith is going to be our flowergirl," says Melissa. "She is very precious to us. She is our miracle baby, born through IVF. We called her Faith because we had to do a lot of praying to get her. So it makes the day really, really special that she's there with us.

"We'll be having our own mini-royal wedding. We don't have any royal guests at our wedding, but we have our own royalty. My Mum and Dad and Shaun's Mum and Dad, as well as our grandparents and all the family are going to be there, so they are all royalty to us."

Melissa says she was shocked to discover her wedding date coincided with that of the royals.

"We have been planning the wedding for two-and-a-half years," she says. "We didn't know we were having it on the same day as Harry and Meghan.

"I was joking about what if that happened, then the girls from work told me the royal wedding was on the 19th of May. I couldn't believe it.

"I always say that they copied me, I didn't copy them because I had mine booked for years.

"But we are delighted. It's a lovely day to share with everybody.

"It will be a special day for everyone all around the world and here at home for ourselves.

"We might get a sneak peak at the wedding during the day at some stage. I have someone recording it for me so hopefully we'll get time."

And despite the fact that the wedding nerves are now kicking in, Melissa says she is determined to have a wedding to match the royal affair.

"There are some nerves now as expected," she admits. "I think when I get to the chapel, that is when the nerves will really kick in. But I'm hoping that everything goes to plan.

"Nerves are to be expected on a day like this.

She adds: "We have been looking forward to this day for so long.

"Meghan won't be stealing any of my thunder!"

Belfast Telegraph

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