Real Irish Wedding – Claire Pickering and Ricky Milliken

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on whatsapp
New Years wedding

31st December 2016. Ceremony at Sacred Heart Church Cargin, followed by reception dinner at James Street South and the Stormont Hotel for the evening party

Photos by Mark Barton Photography

This couple rang in the new year as Mr & Mrs

The couple

The couple met in The Bot, Belfast one Sunday night over eight years’ ago.

New Years wedding

The proposal

Ricky popped the question on Christmas Eve 2013 on the pedestrian bridge leading to the SSE Arena.  “We were walking into town for a drink, when he stopped, took out the ring and proposed,” Claire beings, “once he had done so, he had a lock with our names on it, and the date – and we locked it to the bridge.”

New Years wedding


“We had a small wedding – just our immediate families for the full day, so we decided to have two venues,” Claire explains. “We had dinner at James Street South and our evening party at Stormont. We spent quite a long time visiting different restaurants but nothing felt right until we spoke with James Street South.  The staff and venue are just amazing – so it was a great decision. The same is true of Stormont Hotel; we eat and drink there on a regular basis and just loved the venue.  The staff are great. All of which was important in making our day as special as possible.”

New Years wedding


“We wanted a party feel; what better way to welcome in the New Year!” Claire says. “We had lots of balloons and a huge balloon over the dance floor which was popped at midnight, releasing lots of smaller balloons.  We had the fire crew Fire Poise perform just after midnight, which was such a fab surprise for all our guests; they were amazing!  Sparklers and Champagne helped add to the party theme. Our Caricaturist John Farrelly and DJ – Barney Barnes from Startrax Disco all helped to add to the atmosphere. With our guests being transported between venues on a Routemaster Bus, we were all together and able to enjoy fun all throughout the day.”

New Years wedding

Venue stylist

Hayley Gordon from Moments2Cherish styled the venue. “I only met with Hayley on a few occasions prior to the Wedding and she just understood perfectly, exactly what we wanted. I basically left all the decisions up to her, so seeing the venues on the day was a nice treat.”

New Years wedding

Wedding dress

Claire looked radiant in a wedding dress by Madeline Gardner New York from Now and Forever Bridal, Belfast. “It was actually the first dress I tried on, and fell in love with it,” Claire says. “I did try on several others just to be sure, but no dress compared. It was such a standout piece, really had the ‘wow factor’ and made me feel like a princess.”

New Years wedding


The groom and groomsmen wore suits from The Black Tie, Ormeau Road, Belfast.

New Years wedding


The bridesmaids wore three-quarter length red dresses, from Now and Forever Bridal, Belfast accessorised with ivory boleros.

New Years wedding

Wedding flowers

Wood ‘n’ Earth Floral Creations created the wedding flowers. “We opted for silk flowers which meant I got to keep my bridal bouquet,” Claire explains, “we wanted to keep it very simple and understated with the flowers and they were just stunning.”

New Years wedding


Bluebell Cards made the bespoke wedding stationery.

New Years wedding

Wedding cake

The couple opted for two wedding cakes; a cheese tower and a chocolate cake, both from Marks & Spencer.

New Years wedding

Favourite moment

Ricky: Definitely seeing Claire walking down the aisle.

Claire: I think for me it would be our midnight celebration. It really was the best way to bring in the New Year.

New Years wedding

Top Tip

Ricky: Leave it to your bride

Claire: Enjoy every minute – as it goes by too quick

New Years wedding

Leave a Reply

Related Articles


  • Wedding Dresses
  • Plan Wedding Reception
  • Wedding Fashion & Style
  • Win Your Dream Wedding
  • Celebrity Weddings
  • Help & Advice
  • Events & Open Days