Last weekend, we watched Nicole Lowe and Chris Haire beat thousands of couples to win our coveted wedding competition worth an incredible £35,000 at our spring Wedding Journal Show!There wasn’t just tears from the our lucky winners on stage, these guys had a tribe of family and friends cheering them on from the VIP area! We caught up with Nicole & Chris a few days after the show, once everything started to sink in and feel a little more real.
Tell us a little bit more about yourselves, how did your love story begin?
‘We first met at university through mutual friends. It was most certainly not love at first sight put it that way…after nights out, Christopher would have been seen before heard and his voice honestly drove me insane. Christopher also loves to carry on, so there were times my microwave was turned upside down, my hoover was found in the fridge and the worst of it was when he took my Ben & Jerrys ice-cream out of the freezer and let it melt all over my cupboard (I think at this stage he realised I had got to the end of my tether!) We did have a little fling at one stage when I had become single for a short time, but nothing ever became of it. We then continued as a group of friends in university and lived with 2 others in a flat in Belfast for my second year and Christopher’s final year. But there was always something there for the both of us which we finally admitted years later.’
‘In 2016, a few years after uni, we all continued to meet up for ‘reunions’ and go for a night out normally in Belfast. I had been single for a year and Christopher had just announced that he was also now single. So as standard, we all arranged a night out to ‘celebrate’ which ended up just the two of us and our other uni friend, Amy. We went out from my mum’s house and went to my local nightclub. Amy had disappeared by this stage and Christopher made the first move going in for a cheeky kiss on the dance-floor with me very quickly pulling him aside to avoid too much PDA!’
‘A few weeks later and after literally texting and snapchatting every second of every day, we went on our first date to a little restaurant called ‘Pizza Pomodoro’ which is based in my hometown. I was so nervous as Christopher had always been one of my good friends and I was already falling for him at this stage. Plus, I’d never been taking on a proper first date. The date ended up with 6 bottles of wine and a lot of giggles, but for me it was a perfect first date. A few months later, Chris finally plucked up the courage and asked me to be his girlfriend and 3 years later here we are!’
So the big proposal – tell us all the details, where/when did it happen, did you expect it Nicole?
‘We got engaged in September 2019 in Rhodes. This was our second year to the same place (hotel and everything) and we were away with Christopher’s Mum and Dad. We arrived to the hotel and they advised us that we were being upgraded to an executive suite as we were guests from before. We were given complimentary champagne and everything. I just remember running around both of the rooms with Christopher’s mum like 2 big kids as we couldn’t believe it. Little did I know Christopher had emailed ahead and arranged all of this, I was just in a little bubble and thought the hotel were doing something nice!’
‘We agreed at the beginning of the holiday that we would go for a walk every evening before dinner before the sun went down. On our 4th evening on holiday, I was taking my time getting ready feeling totally chilled out and poor Christopher was trying to subtly tell me to get a move on without being too obvious. He finally got me out the door and we started walking towards the pier where we walked to. It started to rain and I was tempted to turn back, but Christopher said ‘we will literally just go to the pier, get a photo and turn straight back’. So I just went along with it, still totally clueless and kept walking.’
‘It then started to literally torrential rain and the thunderstorms started. We got to the pier and Christopher turned his Go Pro on and brought me down the steps and posed for a photo. He then reached into his pocket and brought out this little wooden box that said ‘Nicole and Chris’. He said (with very shaky hands) ‘I want us to move forward to the next stage of our lives, will you marry me?’ I was reverting back to the Christopher that loves to carry on and didn’t believe him because the poor critter couldn’t even open the box and said no, but then very quickly said ‘yes of course!’. He finally managed to bring the ring out which he had got handmade and he designed himself. He did so well and planned everything without any help. His Mum and Dad were waiting for us at the bar with champagne and the tears continued. We then enjoyed our last few days celebrating on holiday. I wouldn’t change a thing about it, everything was perfect.’
How did you enter our competition?
‘I had come across the Wedding Journal show event on Instagram and bought us two tickets to attend. I then came across the competition to win a £35,000 wedding and looked into it a bit further. When we were at home that evening, I told Chris about the competition and explained that it was a simple 30 second video of how we met and we would just do it for a bit of craic. So after a few attempts and giggles, we recorded our video and sent it on not even thinking anything would come of it.’
‘Later that week, I was out driving for work and got a phone call from Q Radio saying that we had been shortlisted and they loved our video. I had a colleague in the car and we literally couldn’t believe it. The girl explained that the next incoming week we would get a phone call and would be live on the radio to get us into the final. I phoned Chris who gave a more nervous response of ‘oh dear what do I have to do now’.
‘A week later, I got a phone call before walking out the door to work from Ryan in Q Radio. He said he would be asking me questions about Christopher and he had already confirmed the answers. I was so nervous and answered the questions so quickly, but it was a great experience. I thankfully passed and we were put through to the final!!’
How was your experience at the show?
‘Poor Christopher very nearly did not make it out the door after being out the night before, but after a few stern words he dragged himself into the car. We were so nervous when we arrived and we were running a little late too so we literally ran to the side of the stage. We walked about all the stands to begin with and then watched the catwalk show whilst all of our family arrived. At the side of the stage we got chatting to all of the other couples who were so lovely and down to earth. We all stood trying to guess what we were going to have to do and tried to keep each other calm.’
‘Being on the stage felt like the quickest time ever. We got onto the stage and Chris whispered ‘there’s no way we are getting through this first stage’ and I nodded. Little did we know the number I had picked lead us to getting an envelope with a ring emoji on it which made us 1 of the final 4. Next thing we knew we were standing in front of a balloon with a pin to pop open. We giggled because we were nearly too short to reach the balloon to pop it! And lucky enough our balloon had the confetti in it which made us finalists with another couple.’
‘The final stage was the most nerve racking for me. When our blind folds were put on and Christopher was a few foot steps away I couldn’t see him or anyone around me. I also kept forgetting which paddle was pink or blue. When we were answering our Mr and Mrs questions I was just thinking ‘what on earth has he answered for that’ and thought we had maybe got a few wrong. We then took the blind folds out and waited to hear who had won.’
How did it feel when you realised you had just won?
‘I was literally speechless when they said our names. Poor Chris ended up getting a smack to the side of the face with the confetti shooter and had confetti in his mouth. Both of our mums came running to the edge of the stage jumping up and down with their eyes full of tears and when I came back over to Chris he had started the waterworks too. It was totally surreal for us and the shock really took over.’
Had you anything booked before Sunday?
‘We had provisionally booked our venue for July 2022, but had held off on setting anything in stone after Christmas when we found out we were expecting our first baby. The wedding plans slowly went to the back of our minds and we said we would revisit the plans once we processed our baby news.’
Had you thought about a honeymoon destination yet?
‘We originally said we wanted to do 3 weeks in America which then changed again after the baby news. We then said a week or 10 days lying down in the sun would just be perfect for us. So we are more than happy to visit Zanzibar!!’
Any final thoughts?
‘It is still totally and utterly surreal to us and we still can’t quite believe we were so lucky to be the winners. It’s so hard to put into words what it means to us with our first baby on the way and to be able to have our dream wedding together along with our little bundle of joy just means the world to us. As mentioned before, our wedding plans slowly went to the back of our minds and we had said ‘we will think about getting married in the future’ which left us both a bit disheartened, but we knew either way as long as we had each other and the little one that was more than enough. So to be able to get the wedding plans back on track has been amazing. We will always be so grateful for the opportunity and thankful that we took the leap and entered the competition. It will most certainly be a story for the grandkids of how we went from not even liking each other to where we ended up. It’s really been a dream come true.
Meet Chris & Nicole's New Wedding Suppliers!
Bridalwear by Tomorrows Bridal
Groomswear by Red Groomswear
Floral Couture by David McConkey
Venue Styling by Charm Wedding Studio
Wedding Jewellery by Murray & Co
Photography by Paul McGlade Photography
Business Class Flights with Ethiopian Airlines
Luxury 7 night stay at the 5* Palms Resort, Zanzibar