Essex couple, Kelly and Andrew got married in a beautiful castle in Belfast. They were married in 2011.

Who:Kelly and Andrew

When: 29th May 2011

Where: St Peter’s Church, Belfast and reception at Belfast Castle

Photographer: Lifting the veil


How did you first meet?

“I first met my Andrew in a local nightclub, quite a few years ago after just moving to Essex,” says Kelly. “I suppose you could say it was love at first sight! I had spotted him in the pub earlier that night and then hatched a plan where my friend distracted his friend so that I could approach him with a very cheesy chat-up line! And whoever said girls shouldn’t make the first move!”

Tell us about the proposal…

“Andrew and I went for lunch one Sunday afternoon at a lovely restaurant overlooking the sea. Afterwards, he suggested we take a walk along Southend Pier and up to the observation tower where you can see picturesque views of the Thames Estuary and the surrounding area. When we got to the top, I was so busy taking photos on my phone that I hadn’t noticed he had got down on one knee!

Andrew had also asked Kelly’s Dad’s permission for her hand in marriage nearly six months before – “My dad can obviously keep a secret!”

What did they wear?

Continue reading below…

Kelly searched high and low for the wedding dress of her dreams and finally found the one on the Pronovias website. “I must have tried on at least 60 dresses,” laughs Kelly. “My dress was called ‘Alfil’ and was a cream strapless fishtail gown made from organza with Spanish-style ruffles and a flower detail. I bought it from The Wedding Shop in Colchester.”

Kelly paid £1,750 for the gown but further alterations and customisation meant that the cost went up. “ I had such a strong idea of what I wanted that I got it altered quite significantly to fit with my vision for my dream dress,” she explains. “I had the neckline altered into a soft sweetheart shape and then had the dress taken in further at the waist, hips and bum to really accentuate the fishtail effect.”

When it came to the groom, Andrew wore a light navy suit with a metallic sheen. “It really bought out his blue eyes,” says Kelly.

“We wanted a contemporary look for the men in the bridal party and I was determined that the groom should stand out from the other men.”

Best Buy?

“My handmade invitations were my best buy!” says Kelly. “They were absolutely beautiful and cost a fraction of the price I would have been charged by a professional for such a bespoke design!”

The bridesmaids

Kelly chose five bridesmaids to help her on the day – two sisters and three close friends – who all wore pink handmade dresses. “I took a risk and got them made to size before my bridesmaids even saw them, never mind tried them on!” says Kelly. The bridesmaids were joined by a beautiful flowergirl, Kara who wore a dress from and Harrison the pageboy, who wore a suit from Debenhams.

Beauty tip

“My foundation was Estée Lauder Double Wear – an essential for a long day and flash photography! “ says Kelly. “The rest of my makeup was a combination of Chanel and Mac. I had several make-up trials in the lead up to the wedding but in the end, I decided to do my make-up myself as I felt it important that I felt entirely comfortable with my wedding look!”

Special moments

“We got married on my Dad’s 59th birthday, so we surprised him with a cake and a song during the speeches!” says Kelly.

“And I loved lighting the unity candle with my husband to symbolize the coming together of two people into one family unit.” The couple also had two hymns, one of which was sung at the royal wedding last year (“… although we chose it first!” adds Kelly)

The reception

Was held at the stunning Belfast Castle, for 120 guests. “I chose Belfast Castle as the venue since it was where I was a flower girl for my cousin over 20 years ago!” says Kelly. The couple decided against a traditional top table at the reception: “I decided to have a round top table where we could all talk and laugh together and where we didn’t feel like we were permanently on display!” says Kelly.

The cake

“My cake was a tower of intricately beautiful cupcakes with one big cake at the top. The cupcakes reflected my vintage romantic theme with cream cupcakes with pink roses and pink edible pearls and pink cupcakes with cream roses etc. The flavours were heavenly: white chocolate and raspberry, chocolate and caramel fondant and vanilla and went down a treat! They were made by Vanilla Sunrise of Belfast and are highly recommended!”

The flowers

Kelly’s bouquet, created by Abbey Flowers from Newtonabbey in Northern Ireland, featured pale pink peonies and roses mixed together and wrapped with lace. “I really wanted floral arrangements on each table but it was working out to be too expensive,” says Kelly. “In the end, I got an idea to have one rose head in a frosted votive holder in keeping with my theme of vintage romance so in the end, I had four votive holders per table, arranged around a tall candelabra with tealights. The table was then sprinkled with crystals and pearls, which created a really beautiful and romantic effect – all on a budget!”

The favours

“I wanted personalised place settings so I, with the help of my students and an after-school art club, made clay hearts, painted them pink and put little white ribbon through them, too.” says Kelly. “I made one for each female guest and wrote their name on the heart, which doubled up as a cute little keepsake!”

The photographer

“I would definitely recommend Lifting the veil to other brides! I also had a good friend attend the wedding who is also a wedding photographer. It was really handy as he took lots of good pictures at night time once the professional photographers had left.”

First dance

“Our first dance was embarrassingly Tinchy Stryder feat. NDubz ‘Number One’!” says Kelly. “Despite its cheesiness and seemingly questionable theme, it really was ‘our’ song that had special meaning to us so we decided to go ahead with it rather than just pick stereotypical slow song that don’t worry – remember it’s your day, your way!