A PORTSTEWART restaurant has come to the rescue of local couples whose weddings have been cancelled or been thrown into doubt.
Harry's Shack, which sits on the beautiful strand beach in the north coast town, is fully licensed to hold weddings and is offering their outdoor deck for couples wanting to tie the knot.
Restaurant manager Donal Doherty revealed he has already had bookings after the Stormont Executive agreed that, from tomorrow, outdoors weddings with 10 people present will be allowed in Northern Ireland.
He said: "I have several people who are looking to change venues and dates. This would suit those who were due to get married during the time of lockdown who already have their papers in order, or for those who want a small wedding.
"We've already had five weddings booked. You can almost see as the people are typing, they are dancing.
"It is one of the nicest things and an incredible privilege to be a part of someone's big day and it will give us the opportunity to use the place".
Describing the romantic setting of Harry's Shack, Donal said "it's like a beach wedding".
Lauren McGee, who owns LIT Photography NI, believes this is perfect as more intimate and emotional wedding ceremonies are often the open-air ones.
One of the pros of smaller open ceremonies is that it "strips it all back", said Lauren. "You get to focus on starting your marriage. You don't have the same stress and anxieties ... Small does definitely not mean less. It doesn't make it any less special."
Lauren suggested that live Zoom calls, emails and drive-bys are just some of the ways to make sure that everyone is present at the wedding - even if not everyone can be there.
She has also written a blog to help couples plan their fast-tracked ceremonies, reminding couples what really matters: "It's about your vows and marrying the love of your life."
÷ Check out litphotographyni.com