'We are so excited to finally celebrate' - bride has reception eight weeks after falling ill on wedding day
A Co Tyrone bride who fell seriously ill just after exchanging vows and had to be rushed to hospital before her reception has finally completed her wedding day festivities.
Ciara Keenan's dream wedding to John Cowan on September 16 went seriously awry after stomach ulcers left her in excruciating pain and vomiting blood.
Ciara began to feel unwell the night before her big day and struggled through the ceremony at Derryloran Parish Church in Cookstown.
The couple missed out on their reception celebrations with their guests at Annahavil Farm in Moneymore when it became clear her condition was serious and needed immediate medical attention. After being rushed by ambulance to hospital, where she spent three days, Ciara recovered enough to allow the couple to enjoy their honeymoon in the Seychelles.
Thanks to a fundraising page set up by Ciara's sister-in-law and the generosity of The Ivory restaurant and bar in Belfast's Victoria Square, as well as hair and make-up artists, a suit hire company, photographer and videographer, the couple enjoyed the wedding reception they missed out on first time around.
Speaking ahead of the long-awaited party, Ciara said she and John were immensely grateful to everyone who made last night's festivities a possibility.
"It has been incredible how generous so many people have been to us and helped us be able to enjoy the wedding reception we missed out on because I was ill," said Ciara.
"The Ivory in Belfast gave us the venue free of charge and our photographer and a videographer have offered their services free to us, and I have had my hair and make-up done too.
"The gofundme page set up by my sister-in-law has raised the money to cover the food and drink, so thanks to the kindness of so many people we were able to join our guests for the wedding party we missed out on last time.
"The suit hire company John used for our wedding has donated its services free this time, and I have had my dress cleaned, so everything is perfect for the party.
"We are so excited to be able to finally celebrate our wedding, have our first dance as a married couple, cut our wedding cake which has been in the freezer, and the thing I am most looking forward to is John's speech where he says lots of lovely things about me!"
Ciara's stomach ulcer eruption that forced the couple to miss out on their reception is now well under control thanks to medication.
Ciara explained: "I will be on medication for the rest of my life but that's a small price to pay when you consider how much worse things could have been, especially if it had happened when we were out in the Seychelles on honeymoon.
"It might be a few weeks after our wedding day but being able to have the reception we missed out on and party the night away with our family and friends will be just as special to both of us."