For most couples a marriage is the start of a new life together, but Frankie Byrne and Samantha Gamble always knew their big day signalled the beginning of the end.
The couple made a public plea to the First and Deputy First Ministers to change legislation to allow their wedding to take place during the coronavirus lockdown.
And with Samantha running out of time due to a terminal cancer diagnosis, the Loughbrickland couple got the go-ahead and tied the knot in the garden of their home on May 22.
Just three months after enjoying "the best day of their lives", Samantha (53) passed away in the Southern Area Hospice.
Her funeral will take place on Wednesday and she will be wearing the same pretty pale pink wedding outfit that had been picked out by her daughter Jessica while she was in hospital, unaware of the frantic efforts being made by her family to ensure she got her final wish.
Though heartbroken, husband Frankie (54) took the time to thank everyone for their love and support in making that wish come true.
"We all knew the end was coming, but it's still so, so hard the way it happened so suddenly," he said from the home the couple shared in Co Down and had been the scene for their wedding three months ago.
Samantha's daughter Jessica, son Stephen and Frankie's best friend Kevin McGuinness had been by their side while other family members watched on video-link as the groom placed his late mother Peggy's wedding ring onto his new bride's finger in an emotionally charged, simple ceremony.
"We're struggling if we're honest," Frankie admitted. "Even when you know a day like today is coming, it's still a shock that you won't see her smiling face again. But we're hanging in there today. We know she found her happiness."
Frankie said how he had shared a final Sunday lunchtime phone call with Samantha from her bed at the Southern Area Hospice.
Samantha gave me a wonderful 12 years and it's impossible to say just how special she was to us allFrankie Byrne
"I was speaking to her and she was feeling good, in great spirits, chatting away and ready to come home on Wednesday or Thursday," he said.
"We were all looking forward to that.
"She ended that final conversation on Sunday saying she had to go to have her lunch, she would speak to us soon. We said goodbye."
It was only minutes after ending that phone call that Frankie received another, the one he had been dreading.
"It was only five minutes later that Jessica came running in, frantic, saying I needed to contact the hospice. Samantha had choked trying to eat her dinner and she was gone.
"It's so hard for us. We've had a tough few months, but at the same time a wonderful few months.
"Samantha gave me a wonderful 12 years and it's impossible to say just how special she was to us all."
Samantha, engaged to Frankie at the time, had been diagnosed with soft cell sarcoma in 2018 and told she had two years to live. The cancer then spread to her lungs, neck and spine.
The couple had always planned on tying the knot on May 22, before the Covid-19 lockdown looked to have dashed their hopes.
Determined to have the chance to say her vows, Samantha pleaded with politicians to grant her wish to have her wedding and after weeks of living in hope it was announced that marriage ceremonies for the terminally ill would be permitted.
"There are so many people we have to thank for giving us so many special memories," said Frankie.
"We had the most beautiful day together at the wedding. It's all we ever wanted but for a while It looked like it would never happen, we knew time was getting short."
Frankie said the wedding photographs from the day will forever be cherished.
"That photo album will take pride of place and without the support of newspapers like the Belfast Telegraph, and the media in general, those are memories we would never have had," he said.
We're all so, so grateful we were able to give Samantha the day she wished for and we will all always cherish those memoriesFrankie Byrne
"Samantha was such a special lady, both for me and the children, and we're all so thankful we were able to have that special day together.
"The wedding day will live with us all forever, seeing Samantha so happy. It was beautiful.
"That's all we ever wanted. We're all so, so grateful we were able to give Samantha the day she wished for and we will all always cherish those memories."
Jessica said the family had been overwhelmed by messages of support.
"We have to thank all the district nurses and the hospice for the way they have looked after mum in her final few weeks," she said.
"We would have been lost without the love, care and support they have shown us all.
"There have been so many people wishing us all well over the past few months it's been incredible and we'll always be thankful."
Frankie said he and Samantha had been "absolutely chuffed" they were able to marry.
"It was a great relief for her when we learnt we could go ahead with the wedding because she had texted me and said: 'Frankie, we're not going to be able to do this'," he said. "I'd told her not to give up hope, so we want to thank Samantha's cousin Vivienne.
"Vivienne did an awful lot of work by sending emails to councillors, the DUP, Sinn Fein and the Health Minister.
"I just really want to thank Vivienne for all the work she did, and Brian Moss and Steven McQuitty from Worthington Solicitors."
Reflecting on the evening when he first set eyes on Samantha, Frankie said that for him it had been love at first sight.
"She just seemed like a beautiful woman sitting across the bar," he recalled. "There was a space beside her so I took that space. She wouldn't give me her number, but I got it from somewhere anyway. Samantha was definitely worth the chase."
During lockdown and with their marriage plans seemingly in ruins, Samantha's condition worsened and she had been rushed to hospital.
Refusing to give up, Frankie and Jessica hatched their plan to ensure the couple could wed.
"When Samantha was in hospital myself and Jessica thought, we need to get this marriage sorted," Frankie recalled.
"We didn't know what they were going to say in the hospital and we didn't want to know what the prognosis was. We sat in the kitchen and planned to get this marriage happening, no matter what it took.
"We contacted Vivienne and she started sending emails and making phone calls and it all snowballed from there.
"Then we went on Stephen Nolan's show. We sent emails to the Executive and anyone who would listen. It kept coming back that it couldn't be done, but Vivienne wouldn't let it go. Eventually, after 10 days, the Executive gave in and said that they would allow it, because of the circumstances, and they changed the legislation.
"I set out to do it all for Samantha. In my head I said that I wouldn't give up on her until her last breath."
While those she loved were doing all they could to ensure she got her dream wedding day, Samantha was in hospital having little contact with the outside world - and with no idea of what was being planned.
Just hours before the wedding, Samantha told the Belfast Telegraph how much she was looking forward to becoming Mrs Byrne.
"Life has thrown many challenges at us, but love has remained throughout," she said at the time.
"And if anything, it has made that love stronger. It means so much to be Frankie's wife. It just means the world that I can say 'that's my husband' and that we are together, through everything. I can't wait to be Mrs Byrne.
"Hopefully the sun will shine on us, but it doesn't matter, because today (wedding day) will be special anyway.
"If I could say anything to my future husband, it would be that he means the world to me, the whole world."
Among those sending sympathy on Monday was First Minister Arlene Foster.
The DUP leader tweeted: "Very sorry to hear this sad news. I don't think anyone could have failed to be touched by this couple. My deepest sympathy."
A florist who provided the flowers for Samantha's wedding day posted an online tribute: "It is with the deepest sadness and heaviest heart, that I let you all know our beautiful bride Samantha has passed away.
"Many of you will remember her and Frankie's plight to get married at the start of lockdown.
"Determination, will, pure love and devotion and an amazing family and friend support gave Samantha her wish."
A funeral notice described Samantha as the darling wife of Frank and much loved mum of Stephen and Jessica, dearest nanny of Luke, Sophia and Ella, beloved daughter of Kate and Noel and sweetest sister of Nicholas, William, Rachel and the late Simon.
Her funeral will take place at noon on Wednesday from her home to Banbridge New Cemetery.
Those attending are asked to observe social distancing. The family have asked for no flowers and instead donations to the Southern Area Hospice be made via William Bell & Co, Funeral Directors, 23, Kenlis Street, Banbridge, BT32 3LR.