Wednesday 28 September 2016

Five of the most heart-warming Irish wedding and proposal moments of 2015

Published 27/12/2015 | 18:04

Roscommon bride Avril Hunt was shocked when she spotted her brother in the congregation after he told her he couldn't make it home from Australia. Photo by Elaine Lally.
Roscommon bride Avril Hunt was shocked when she spotted her brother in the congregation after he told her he couldn't make it home from Australia. Photo by Elaine Lally.
Andy Smith, Donaghmede, Dublin, proposes to Colette Smith during the half time break at the Kerry versus Dublin national football league clash at Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney
Siobhan Gill, from Bridgend in Donegal was in for a huge surprise in Derry this Christmas.
Back in 2013, Ciaran O'Keeffe a daily commuter on the Maynooth line started to notice a gorgeous girl at Coolmine Station, Geraldine McCauley with her earphones on hiding behind the newspaper while travelling into town on the train.

Social media may be inundated with engagement announcements but there’s something about Christmas that has the power to warm the hearts of romance’s toughest cynics.

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Throughout 2015, Independent.ie has covered dozens of touching proposals, cheesy best man speeches and special wedding moments that have both warmed our hearts and made us laugh.

From train carriage soul-mates to aisle-side shockers, here are some of our favourite stories of the year.

Ciarán O’Keeffe and Geraldine McCauley

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Romantic Dubliner Ciarán O’Keeffe (34) who met his fiancée on Irish Rail surprised his wife-to-be Geraldine McCauley with a champagne soaked commute to celebrate her last train journey as a single woman ahead of their wedding in August.

Poor Geraldine McCauley got an awful shock when a tenor began to serenade her as she boarded her usual train at Coolmine Station with her groom last summer.

The couple, who met on the platform two years ago, clinked glasses of Buck’s Fizz as commuters applauded the dose of romance added to their Friday morning.

“I’m very surprised this morning. It’s very romantic. We know each other inside out. I can’t believe he’s arranged this,” said Geraldine.

“He usually gets the train after me, but last week he said we’d get the same train from now on. It’s our last train journey because I’m starting a new job in a month’s time and we’re getting married next week,” she said.

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When Jade Whyte wed her husband Eric last October, the Dublin bride wanted to commemorate her friend David O’Toole, who died when the pair were teenagers.

“After David died we were all absolutely heart-broken. He was the best friend I could have ever asked for. We were so upset, we built a garden at school in his honour to help us focus on something other than grief,” said Jade.

The bride and her school friends returned to the garden they built on her wedding day and said David’s death was the reason their relationships are so strong.

“I wanted to go back to the garden on my wedding day with my friends and my husband. Being there meant something to us and it was a lovely way to remember him during the day.

“It was so nice to go back to David’s garden with the friends that helped start it with me. I have such a good group of friends and I think David is the reason our friendships are so strong.”

Read more: Irish bride recreates old school photo on her wedding day to remember her best friend who died of cancer  

Matt Grant and Siobhan Gill

Donegal woman Siobhan Gill was treated to one of the most elaborate Irish proposals of the year when her boyfriend Matt shocked her in Derry this Christmas.

Siobhán Gill from Bridgend in Donegal believed she was being treated to a festive lunch with her boyfriend Matt Grant in the city but instead was gifted with a sparkler of her finger in an elaborately orchestrated proposal.

Matt enlisted the help of 18 friends who held up hand crafted placards scrawled with ‘Will U Marry Me’ above the walls in Derry.

After clasping eyes on the message, Siobhan turned to find Matt on bended knee. Luckily for him she accepted and the message quickly turned to ‘Congratulations’.

A photograph from the wedding of Roscommon bride Avril Hunt was one of the best featured on Independent.ie this year.

Avril was snapped in ‘utter shock’ as she spotted her brother Paul in the congregation after he told her he would not make it home from Australia for her wedding.

“It was complete and utter shock. Paul lives in Melbourne with his girlfriend and their daughter Isabella and I didn’t think he’d make it,” said Avril.

“I really didn’t expect to see him at the church. I had just spoken to him on the phone while I was at the hairdressers and we had made a little video to send him as he was missing the wedding,” said Avril who married her fiancée Colin Dowd  St. Fidelma’s Church in Tulsk on Monday.

“My photographer Elaine really captured the moment. It shows everything from my brother to my dad’s shock and the groom Colin. It was so special and such a surprise.”

Read more: Photographer captures Irish bride’s ‘utter shock’ as her brother flies home from Australia to surprise her  

Colette Greenhalgh and Andy Smith

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A marriage proposal in front of 6,000 GAA fans came as a complete shock to unsuspecting Dublin fan Colette Greenhalgh.

Colette went to the Dublin-Kerry match in Killarney with boyfriend Andy Smith in March with no idea what was going to happen at half-time.

"I heard our names called out on the public address system to go to Gate 6 beside the pitch," Colette told the Herald.

"The steward opened the gate and asked us on to the pitch. When I turned around, Andy was on his knees with a ring and asked me to marry him. I'm still in shock."

After a few words expressing astonishment, she was delighted to say "Yes".

Read more: It's not all blue for Dubs fan Colette, who said yes to fiance Andy - in front of 6,000 people

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