Lucky 13 for Stephen and Victoria
Stephen Caldwell was literally stopped in his (tyre) tracks when he came across Strabane woman Victoria McGonigle 13 years ago.
The Claudy man was driving along in his tractor and when he noticed Victoria, he just had to stop and ask for her number!
“We started going on a few dates and that’s where it all began!” said Victoria.
After a long courtship, the couple finally got married on May 30 of this year.
But it wasn’t just all plain sailing as the couple were forced to endure a long distance relationships when Victoria left for university in Liverpool for three years, and then Stephen worked in England for two years afterwards.
However, they always knew a wedding was on the horizon.
Victoria said, “We got engaged six years ago when I was still at university. Stephen took me to the beach at Bundoran when I came home and got down on one knee on the cliff top. He said the usual things but it was really lovely.”
With plenty of time to prepare, Victoria and Stephen literally had everything done for their big day two years in advance.
Victoria’s aunt, Patricia Houston was a great help making all the decorations and bouquets for her niece’s wedding day.
“She is very talented and loves making things so it was great,” said Victoria.
The week before the wedding was a special time for Victoria, “I had a fun week just spending time and doing things with my mum and sister. My husband has seven sisters and four brothers… but there is just me, my mum and my sister so it was going to be a big change for the family and it was nice to spend time with them.”
Stephen admits to being “a bit nervous” the day before but on the actual wedding day everything was relaxed.
Victoria said, “Our wedding photographer, Erica, said that she had never seen a groom so excited and smiley.”
No sign of nerves were detected when it came to the speeches as the groom and bestman took everything in their stride.
As a farmer, the bestman was very laid-back about making his speech.
Victoria explained, “He wrote his speech on the back of a cornflakes box when he was eating his breakfast that morning!”
The bride did admit that she was a bit emotional making the short five minute journey to St Joseph’s Church, Glenmornan.
“I just had to swallow it up because I didn’t want my make-up all running!” laughed Victoria.
Adding to the emotion of the day, the groom had an extra special surprise for his bride, making sure she got a necklace he had bought for her to wear on their wedding day.
Afterwards guests at the reception at An Grianan Hotel, Donegal partied into the early hours with classics from the 1990s getting the wedding celebrations into full swing.
Victoria added, “It was a brilliant day. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves.”
Photographs by Erica Irvine photography.