Childhood Sweethearts

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Kirsty & Reuben’s Real Life Wedding

Married on 25th July 2020

HOW THEY MET

Kirsty and Reuben first met at 15, when they both attended a church youth club. ‘When we met, we instantly hit it off and almost immediately became best friends,’ reminisces Reuben. ‘For the next year we played a long game of ‘will they, won’t they’, until at the age of 16 we started dating.’ A real test in their relationship was university, as Kirsty moved to England to study and Reuben stayed in Belfast.’

‘I knew I wanted to marry Kirsty when I told her I loved her for the first time about a year into our relationship,’ Reuben shares. ‘For me the long-distance during university really solidified that feeling and made me realise I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her.’

THE PROPOSAL

If ever there was a perfect proposal…it’s this! Reuben worked for a year in New York City, and during that time Kirsty travelled out to see him every few months. ‘On my first trip out in March 2019, we spent the whole weekend seeing the sights. Then, the night before my final day in the city, Reuben mentioned how he had always wanted to see Brooklyn Bridge at sunrise, but didn’t want to go alone, so I (grumpily) said okay. We reached the bridge just as the sun was starting to rise across the city and I started to pull out my camera to snap some pictures. Reuben stopped me, he got down on one knee and proposed. I was so shocked and excited, and when he opened the ring box, I couldn’t believe how gorgeous the ring was – Reuben had designed it with a local family jeweller.’

As if that wasn’t enough, Reuben had a day filled with charming activities planned. ‘We got a milkshake, then hotdogs in Central Park, and went to the Museum of Natural History, where Reuben had booked us into the Hayden Planetarium so that we could stargaze, just like we used to at home. To end the day, we got the subway over to the One World Observatory, where we watched the sun set over the city and Reuben surprised me with dinner in the restaurant above the viewing platform. From sunrise to sunset, Reuben did a perfect job planning the most wonderful day.’

THE PLANNING PROCESS 

Guidelines forced this young couple to say ‘I do’ outdoors, but of course Kirsty and Reuben wanted to add a little creative flair to their day. ‘We couldn’t have our ceremony inside the church, so we found a corner of the graveyard outside that was perfect. The church volunteer gardeners did so much extra work to get the graveyard ready for us. My dad built an arch, and we decorated it with flowers. A friend also lent us a rug, that was all we needed to create a little bit of paradise in quite a unique setting.’

Two weeks and a day before their wedding day, the NI Executive changed the guidance to state that couples could have as many people as they could safely fit socially distanced inside their wedding venue. Kirsty and Reuben were quick to call the team at The Wool Tower and start planning.

‘There were a number of safety measures and restrictions, such as temperature checks as they arrived, socially distanced seating, limited movement around the venue, and no dancing. We were just so delighted to have guests to our wedding and were very careful to make sure that everyone was kept safe.’

DREAM WEDDING SUPPLIERS

‘So many of our vendors were amazing, from our jeweller (Cunningham Jewellers) managing to get our wedding rings made even in the midst of all the pandemic related delays, to our cake maker & caterer going through about 10 different options with us based on the numbers of people we could have.’

‘I could not speak more highly of Vicky from Origin Flowers! I wanted our wedding to have as low an environmental impact as possible, and Vicky grows all the flowers she uses herself in Ballymoney. She was absolutely fabulous and dealt with all my crazy ideas, turning them into a stunning bridal bouquet, buttonholes and bridesmaids’ floral hoops.  When the flowers arrived in the morning, all of my nerves disappeared.’

Coleraine Florists also came to the rescue, supplying beautiful centrepieces. ‘They were so generous to us, especially as we had to do everything at such short notice.’

Kirsty reveals that she couldn’t have done any of it without her sister and the maid of honour, Catherine. ‘She did so much of the detailed décor and design work, plus reigned in some of my crazier ideas too,’ laughs Kirsty. ‘My mum also had a big part in helping with colours and design. Our families and friends were our rocks throughout the planning phase, they laughed with us, cried with us, and ultimately all pitched in to make our day as gorgeous as it was.’

WEDDING WARDROBE 

Kirsty tried a few different boutiques but loved her experience at Marie Me Bridal with Fiona and Eilish. ‘My mum came with me; the whole afternoon was just so relaxed and fun. They really took time with me, which meant a lot. The dress I got wasn’t what I had imagined I would go for, but when Fiona & Eilish brought it out for me to try on I fell in love. I took it home that day, and over the next year or so I only grew to love it more.’

Shopping for her bridesmaids was another simple process for Kirsty and her maids. ‘We found the dresses online and on sale – this meant we could buy an extra one to chop up to make masks from! I wanted my bridesmaids to feel happy and relaxed, which was part of the reason I went for floral hoops instead of bouquets.’

Sticking with the relaxed formal vibe, Reuben chose a chic navy suit with a brown tweed tie and brown shoes. The team at Dapper Dudes Groomswear in the Wedding Centre in Randalstown kitted out the guys. ‘We worked with Chris there, he was amazing! He went above and beyond to make everything fit perfect for us, especially considering lockdown meant we couldn’t pick up the suits until right before the wedding.’

For some extra special touches, Reuben accessorised his look with the help of Kirsty’s mum and sister. ‘Kirsty’s mum is a glass artist (@eleanorjaneartist) she gave us a glass class, where the groomsmen all got to make our own cufflinks – so the guys could put their own stamp on their outfits. Catherine (Kirsty’s sister) also made masks from extra pocket-squares we bought, managing somehow to make us look stylish whilst being covid-secure!’

EATING & DRINKING

Arbutus Catering helped feed Kirsty and Reuben and guests on the day. ‘Once again, they were so generous and flexible with us, given the constantly-changing situation. We had a gorgeous meal – so many of our guests commented on the food, and several said it was the best wedding meal they’d had!’

La Pastelería in Coleraine baked this couple’s cake, it was actually the first wedding cake they had done. ‘Rachel did a wonderful job and took my ideas and turned them into gorgeous cakes. The top layer was a fruit cake made by my grandmother – her cakes are legendary, and it was really meaningful for us that she made part of the cake. The bottom two layers were one passionfruit jam and one strawberry jam Victoria Sponge – my hens had got a passionfruit jam Victoria sponge made for my (virtual) hen party, and it was so good that it had to make an appearance on the wedding day too! Rachel did a beautiful job decorating all of the cakes – again, this is something we got a lot of compliments on.’

CAPTURING THE DAY

Kirsty and Reuben found Kalie of Kalie Reid Photography on Instagram. ‘I could not be happier with Kalie and Gregg as our photographers – because of lockdown we didn’t get to meet up before our big day, but they were both warm and friendly, making us feel super relaxed and happy.’

Filming their big day was Simon from Living Witness Weddings, they both knew Simon from school and church. ‘After some deliberation we had originally decided not to have a videographer, but it became an essential part of our wedding when about half of our guests (including Reuben’s grandparents in the USA) couldn’t attend the wedding in person because of the pandemic. Simon not only made a stunning video for us, but also live-steamed our wedding for all of our virtual guests too! He was absolutely fantastic, and so calm, fitting in perfectly with our day.’

A SPECIAL NOTE

‘Finally, a note to all couples that are struggling with the uncertainty of their weddings…Reuben and I had to make so many different plans because of the constantly changing regulations. If you are doing so now, focus on the purpose of the day – it’s to marry the love of your life, and if you can still get married, your wedding day will have been a success!’

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Kirsty & Reuben’s Dream Wedding Team

Venue: The Wool Tower, Broughshane

Wedding Dress: Marie Me Bridal

Groomswear: Dapper Dudes Groomswear

Cufflinks: Eleanor Jane

Jeweller: Cunningham Jewellers

Wedding Flowers: Origin Flowers, Ballymoney

Centrepieces: Coleraine Flowers

Catering: Arbutus Catering

Wedding Cake: La Pastelería, Coleraine

Wedding Photographer: Kalie Reid Photography

Wedding Videographer: Living Witness Videography

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