Our Wedding Journey...

3 weeks prior to her wedding, Claire McWilliams, a nurse from Belfast, broke her ankle which resulted in her being in a wheelchair for the big day. Some people would have let that news dampen the festivities, but not in Claire’s case. Gary Scott, an Aircraft Engineer from Belfast, was waiting on her as she bravely walked up the aisle with the aid of her dad and a makeshift support. St Marys Glengormley provided the sanctuary for the ceremony – then the couple take the short trip to the Dunardy to join their closest friends and family. What unfolded was one of the most special and memorable days as two amazing people became one. We caught up with them to hear the full lowdown on the day…

How did you first meet and get together?

We met in the Duke of York in Belfast, on a night out with our friends. we got chatting at the queue at the bar where we exchanged phone numbers. our first date was amazing we met in Belfast at the Northern Wig. Gary was late as usual! I thought i had been stood up lol! We hit it off right away and we couldnt stop talking and laughing, we both had work the next day but ended up out in Belfast until the wee hours as we didn’t want the date to end. We had our first date in July 2019 and continued to see each other regularly until Gary went to America for a 2 week holiday. When he returned we realised we wanted something more serious between us.

Wedding Converses sitting on mantlepiece

Tell us about the proposal – where, when, how?

It was my 31st birthday, it was still during covid regulation times, i had planned a small family party in my mums garden. Gary and my mum surprised me and had all of my best friends there and all of Gary’s family. It was a great day and in the evening Gary asked me to go into the kitchen to open some presents, when i came back outside my mum and sisters had covered the grass in candles, rose petals and lanterns and Gary got down on one knee in front of all of our close friends and family – it was amazing and then we got to celebrate straight away with them so it turned into a birthday/engagement party!

Brides engagement ring sitting on a statue

"My mum and sisters had covered the grass in candles, rose petals and lanterns and Gary got down on one knee in front of all of our close friends and family - it was amazing!"

— Claire

The Wedding Planning...

Where and how did you choose your dress?

I had a nightmare choosing my dress, i went to 9 different shops and tried on over 60 dresses in total, i didn’t love any of them, there was one that i thought was OK so decided that would be the one i would get but a friend from work had recommended one last shop the bridal company in Templepatrick, the girls were just amazing. i brought my mum and aunty with me. i had dresses from their FB page saved onto my phone and as the girls were getting them they said to have a look through the rails. i seen the dress and showed my mum and aunty and they both said no straight away (the sample was pink) but there was something about it that i loved, i tried it on anyway and i just fell in love with it straight away – i had finally found my dress ❤️❤️

Claire getting ready in house before ceremony
Bride and her nephew sharing a wee moment
Bridesmaids helping our injured bride to her feet

How did you find the experience?

Sstressful and disheartening but once I found the dress I was elated!

Dad and bride share a wee kiss on the cheeks before she walks down the aisle
Bride and dad reach an elated Groom at the top of the aisle

What was the best part of planning your big day?

Gary leaving me to it lol and getting to go and visit the wedding venue regularly – we love the Dunadry and it was always such a treat to get to see it each time.

And the most stressful part?

Keeping track of what I had booked, what deposits I had paid, when payments were due, it does become stressful as you can’t remember what you have done and when!

Portrait shot of St Marys Glengormley taken during the ceremony

"Simon was AMAZING!! He went above and beyond his role as photographer and turned into some form of nurse for the day :-)"

— Claire & Gary

The Wedding Day...

Gary standing beside a mirror in the Dunadry Hotel
Reflection of the groom in a mirror

How did the day go?

The day was different from what we had dreamed of, unfortunately i had fall 3 weeks before our wedding and severely broke my ankle. it was a great day all in all but i wish we could do it again so i could walk down the aisle properly, have our first dance and get out and about in the grounds for further pictures and memories. From the car driver right through until our reception at the Dunadry every person helped us out and gave us extra time due to the cast and did everything they could to try to make the day as normal as they could. it was a day full of laughter, love and some tears but it was the best day of our lives to date and signalled a bond between us which is so special, we are closer now than ever – probably due to the fact that in sickness and in health was taken to a new level at the get go of marriage lol!

Claire sitting eloquently beside a window in the Dunadry

Why did you book us as your photographers?

I have been in bridal parties so many times with either Ciaran or Simon being the photographer and i just loved their energy and the final photos have always been stunning. And Gary just trusted where i wanted to go lol, but as soon as we went for our first meeting at the shop and he seen some of the albums and work for himself he knew i had made the right choice
Close-up of the bride under the veil

Our Favourites...

Grooms favourite photo of the day - the couple standing embracing under the unity tree in the lavish gardens of the Dunardy
Brides favourite image from the day - the couple kissing standing at the top of the aisle in St Marys Glengormley

Were there any particular photos you loved (or hated!) getting taken?

We both loved getting the photo under the Unity Tree in the hotel gardens – we always love it and were so happy we managed to get up the grass to get it taken!

Claire standing, silhouetted by the window
Bride & groom kissing in front of a window

Do you think we, as your photographers, helped you enjoy your day?

Simon was AMAZING!! He acted as such as a support to me, he helped me around the venue, found places for amazing photos that i could get too without too much difficulty, he went above and beyond his role as photographer and turned into some form of nurse for the day 🙂 He made Gary feel at ease and he kept our day full of fun and laughter.
Claire standing against wall in the Dunadry

Were there any near disasters/funny incidents?

Apart from breaking my ankle lol
Gary cut his finger the morning of the wedding and was running about with blood on his suit and a plaster
Groomsmen enjoying a pint of Guinness

What advice would you give to other couples planning their wedding?

Dont let it get on top of you – it always comes together
ask for help when you need it.
Write EVERYTHING down somewhere!
Get advice from your wedding co-ordinator at the venue – i was so lucky with Aoife she really helped me with everything, even things that didn’t involve the Dunadry she was like my wedding planner!!
The famous cork - inscribed with the names of the bride and groom and the date - which are all kept as a momento in the Dundary

"We both loved getting the photo under the Unity Tree in the hotel gardens"

- B&G name