I’ve been very excited to share Carly and Alan’s wedding with you all. Today we have the first of their two day wedding; the legal ceremony. If you’re in the midst of wedding planning and you’re finding things getting on top of you remember this; your wedding day is the beginning. The start of a completely new life, even if the only goal you achieve on your wedding day is that you become a wife, and your fiancé, a husband, well, that will be the biggest success of your life. The love, joy and happiness you’re about to see at Carly and Alan’s ceremony is beautiful and proves this point, they are together as husband and wife, forever.
Carly and Alan met online on a dating website and after chatting for a few weeks they met for coffee in Starbucks on 8th March 2013.
“It was a really lovely afternoon and we just got on so easily together. It was raining when we decided to leave and Alan insisted on walking me to my car with his umbrella which was 20 minutes out of the way for him. That evening after a few texts, he called me up and asked me out on a proper date,” explained Carly.
It didn’t take very long for this intelligent couple to know where their lives were headed and a couple of months later, during the summer of 2103 Alan left to work in Canada for six weeks. Talking everyday on Skype, sometimes three times a day through different time zones, the subject of marriage came up.
“The week Alan returned we went up to the North Coast for a break and we talked more about it and stopped in Belfast on the journey home to look at rings. Three weeks after that we went to the cinema and saw ‘About Time.’ I bawled my way through the movie and in the car park before we left the cinema! I remember turning to Alan and just saying “what are we waiting for?” he giggled and said he didn’t know and I think then was when we officially knew we were going to get married. We checked with our parents to see if they were okay with it, and then Alan insisted on not getting engaged until he’d asked my dad as well,” explained Carly.
Carly is a photographer and has witnessed and captured many beautiful ceremonies. She knew early on that they wanted something different and so the following week they got Janine Walker on board as their photographer (even though Janine had officially hung up her wedding photographer hat and now specialises in children’s creative photography at her new venture, RinkaDink) and Zena Birch, who conducted their humanist ceremony. Remember at this point they weren’t officially engaged!
“One more week after that Alan took me to one of our favourite places for a walk. I was convinced he was going to ask me and had excitedly told my mum and my twin sister beforehand that I thought he may ask today. They both told me they knew when he was going to ask and in fact my twin sister was going to be a part of it, because Alan had said he wanted Kirsty to see my engagement ring first (just like her husband had done with me a few days before he asked my sister as well) and that she was currently on holiday in France, so there was no way it was happening before she returned! We walked along the length of Crawfordsburn and sat on a lovely seat facing the sea and chatted about our future and he told me that he loved me. I remember thinking at the back of my mind how he definitely wasn’t going to ask me that day as it was such a beautiful setting that he’d have done it already! It was on the walk back; we were talking about food and how hungry we were when he suddenly pulled me onto the beach and insisted we walk across the sand. A few minutes later he stopped me and told me to face the sea and out of his pocket he lifted a homemade Goonies Map and a compass and written on the map was “I have a question to ask you”. Well, I suddenly got really nervous and to this day I still don’t know why, I turned round just as he was about to kneel on the ground on a very busy beach in front of lots of people and I remember saying no, not to get on one knee and not to ask me!! Now where that all came from I have no idea?!! I was half giggling and full of nerves all at once! I’m still baffled! Thankfully he kissed me and said that when the people who were walking past had finished walking past he was getting down on one knee and asking me to marry him! Well, as soon as he got down, I became completely and utterly oblivious of anyone around us and it was lovely! He totally surprised me which was difficult to do seeing as we both knew we had booked so much already. He had said how everyone was in on it and how my mum and sister were specifically trying to throw me off so that it would be a surprise. We got back to the car and he lifted champagne and flowers and a love letter out of the boot and we sat in the car and cried, laughed and phoned family,” explained Carly.
Because humanist ceremonies are not yet legal in Northern Ireland the couple were married in what was to be a simple ceremony in Newtownards Council Chamber on Friday 13th June.
“We decided that our legal ceremony would be with our parents and Zena who had flown in from London only a few hours before. We believed it would be something we would do simply and quickly and celebrate with dinner afterward and then carry on with the wedding preparations for the next day. What none of us expected was the beauty and emotionality of the ceremony. Essentially it was an absolute blubfest and I wouldn’t change a single moment of it,” said Carly.
Have you ever come across a sweeter couple? I think you’d find it hard! Make sure you check back soon for day two of Carly and Alan’s wedding, complete with humanist ceremony, crazy dancing and a cute ‘Up’ theme.