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Beautiful Part-One Beach Wedding in Northern Ireland

When life gives you lemons, go to the beach! That’s exactly what today’s real wedding couple Lucy and Matthew (Matty) did when the pandemic forced them to change their 2020 wedding plans. The Belfast couple had been planning a wedding at the Titanic Hotel when Covid-19 struck, changing their big bash into a beachfront, part-one wedding with a guest list of 30. And although it may not have been their original plan, their big day was full of the sweetest touches that made the day super special. From the laid-back Whiterocks Beach ceremony in Portrush, to the cosy, intimate reception at the couple’s favourite restaurant, The Mermaid Kitchen & Bar, photographer Calvin Craig Photography captured every gorgeous detail.

Lucy and Matty originally met and grew up together in secondary school. Lucy tells us, “it wasn’t until we were placed beside each other in science that we really clicked! We just laughed all the time and would joke about our future together, getting married and having kids and a dog. We really were best friends for a long time and as time went on, we felt that perhaps it was more than a friendship. We eventually went on our first date and we’ve never looked back!”

The proposal happened on New Years Eve in 2018. Lucy fills us in, “Matty asked me to go for a walk in Lady Dixon Park and got down on one knee in the rose garden. He had asked my Mum to go ring shopping with him a few weeks before, and asked my Dad for his blessing too, so everyone was acting slightly strange that day as they knew what was about to happen! I was quite shocked but did say yes once I realised Matty wasn’t joking!”

Lucy and Matty initially planned to get married at The Titanic Hotel in Belfast with all their family and friends in tow. When restrictions deemed their original wedding plans impossible, they decided to go ahead with their ceremony and tie the knot in a part-one minimony at Whiterocks Beach, with 30 of their nearest and dearest in attendance. Whiterocks Beach, located in Portrush, is a beautiful beach that’s part of the Causeway Coastal Route around Northern Ireland. The couple chose this epic spot as for their intimate ceremony, “as it’s one of our favourite places to escape to and be surrounded by the scenery.”  

The couple tell us that their priorities changed as they planned their smaller wedding. “We had very different priorities when planning our original wedding such as specific food or music, or even the venue and the atmosphere it would have. We planned this small ceremony in just a few weeks and we wanted to focus on the commitment to each other and what this would mean when all of the ‘fancy’ things are removed from the situation. We focused on our love for each other, and vowing to love each other in front of our closest family and friends was the biggest priority of all. It really was emotional and intimate but it was absolutely perfect.”

The couple’s friend Falemaka played guitar and sang at the ceremony. “It was an amazing experience with the sound of the waves in the background too,” Lucy reminisces.

You’d never believe Lucy’s stunning wedding dress was a last-minute online find! “My wedding dress was a last-minute purchase from Lulu’s bridal online as I was saving my original wedding dress to wear for our wedding reception,” she tells us. “We had postponed our ‘big’ wedding several times but I knew I had to save my amazing wedding dress from Ivy & White for our wedding celebration when we could have it.”

She completed her bridal look with & Other Stories earrings, soft loose curls and a ‘something borrowed’ veil kindly loaned by her best friend and Maid of Honour Hannah.

Although the couple’s wider circle of family and friends could not be in attendance, the couple weren’t short on support or well-wishes! “So many people had been so kind to us – on the morning of the wedding, I could hear voices outside of my house but didn’t realise so many people had come to wish me well and wave me off to get married!,” Lucy says.  “We felt so surrounded by love as we walked across the beach, and also as we ate in the Mermaid restaurant – so many people wished us well. It was such a great way to finish off our celebrations, by eating in our favourite restaurant!”

The bride kept it casual and chose to go barefoot for their relaxed beach nuptials.

The bridal party and guests all wore dresses and outfits that were not pre-planned or styled together. We think they look amazing!

Describing the look and feel of their day, Lucy says it was “relaxed, intimate, understated, happy and emotional!” She adds, “We opted for a really informal vibe, we wanted everyone to be comfortable and have fun after a crazy few months. We just couldn’t believe we were finally married in front of our closest family and friends. We were happy to have wind in our hair and sand under our feet.”

Lucy’s advice to engaged couples is to, “focus on your love for each other and really soak in all of the love that you’re surrounded by.”

The couple are planning a part-two celebration with a wider group of family and friends at their original venue. “We have our wedding anniversary coming up, and we’ll be celebrating by having our wedding reception at the Titanic Hotel Belfast, which was the original plan back when we first got engaged. We’re so excited to finally have our larger celebration with more friends and family at the most amazing venue. We love the whole atmosphere of the Titanic Hotel, the drawing room, the bars and, of course, the location.”

After the ceremony, guests were surprised with ice-cream treats! “We have to mention the amazing ice-cream man, Keith, who brought his ice-cream van to treat our family and friends after the ceremony. It was a perfect addition to our beach wedding! He has a dessert bar in Ballycastle that you have to visit!”

Lucy and Matty’s honeymoon was unfortunately postponed due to Covid-19, but they did manage to escape on a mini-moon for two nights at Finnlough in Enniskillen. Which Lucy says it was, “the perfect way to unwind after all the celebrations. We have got plans to go to Bali when we can – we know it’ll be amazing and really cannot wait to travel again!”

Thanks so much to Lucy and Matty for sharing their gorgeous small wedding with us, and to Calvin Craig Photography for providing the beautiful imagery! There are even more photographs to swoon over in the gallery below.

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