IT was a white wedding in every sense of the word as Lurgan Mail and Portadown Times’ regional editor Alistair Bushe and fiancée Kelly Maginnes were wed on Saturday at St Finnian’s Parish Church in Cregagh, East Belfast.
The area around the beautiful stone church was ankle-deep in snow, with the new Mr and Mrs Bushe having chosen Saturday March 23 as their wedding day, based on the fact that temperatures were a balmy 21 degrees Celsius this time last year.
But the thermometer said ‘Zero’ on Saturday, and with a whistling wind, the chill factor was well into the minus regions. “It certainly felt that way as we posed for photographs in the white-out,” said Kelly. “I’ve rarely been so cold in my life!”
The church is tucked in beside the ring road at Cregagh and was named as one of the top 30 churches in the UK by ‘Songs of Praise’, along with St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, the only one in Northern Ireland to make the list. The Bushes were married by the Rector, Rev Jonathan Pierce.
Guests admired the whiteness of the snow-scape, and they also admired Kelly’s white wedding dress - a vintage-style creation in lace and tulle. The bridesmaids were in sky blue - Kelly’s sisters, Angie Campbell and Suzanne Wright, while the best man was Alistair’s brother Jonathan, with the groomsman a long-standing friend Robyn McClimond. There were six child attendants, including Alistair and Kelly’s year-old son Jacob.
The weather played quite a role in the proceedings. For example, Kelly’s relatives in Wales had planned to fly over from Cardiff on Friday, but the flight was snow-bound and they had to drive all the way to Liverpool and board the ferry to Belfast. It was overnight sailing, they didn’t have berths as the high winds whipped up the waves.
And Alistair - a Southampton FC fan - had invited three ‘Saints’ fans over. One of them - Alan Scarff - had been to San Marino for the England match, then he travelled to Ulster, and the left for the Montenegro match (Tuesday night). The other two Southampton fans’ flight was delayed, and they made it 10 minutes after the ceremony began. Kelly, of course, arrived half-an-hour late as is the prerogative of the bride! So that played in favour of the football fans.
Said Alistair, “We really appreciated the effort that everyone made - we thank them one and all.”
The reception was a happy family and friends’ affair at the famous Old Crawfordsburn Inn. There were power breakdowns in the area, but the hotel generator kicked in, and all went according to plan.
Alistair is a son of the cricketing Bushes of Lurgan and the Harrisons of Waringstown (his dad is ex-international Eddie Bushe and his mother is Joan, nee Harrison). Kelly’s parents are Harry and Phyllis from Cregagh Road, and she is a secretary with the giant Punjana Tea Company.
For their first dance at the reception, Alistair and Kelly chose Starship’s ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now.’