“There’s actually more photos of people with the frame than with me.. and I was the groom”
On what was due to be the happiest day of their lives, Colin and Clare Downey were met with looming disaster after their best man was pinged he was a Covid close contact.
Chris Downey, from Belfast, had his speech prepared and practised for his brother’s wedding when he received the Track and Trace alert.
A blow for the family, but they decided to turn the negative into something light hearted – and Chris joined the wedding in a giant photo frame.
On Saturday night, the picture was a main feature of the happy couple’s big day and no doubt the story will be told to generations down the line.
Speaking to Belfast Live, Colin explained he and his now wife were originally due to get married last year but the pandemic put a hold on two dates.
He said: “We were due to get married on June 27, 2020, then December 28 and then we set our minds on July 24, 2021.
“Chris’ daughter was in Donegal and 18 of them tested positive. So Chris took three tests over three days and they were negative but he still had to isolate. On the Saturday morning, the day of the wedding, they had another alert to say their PCR tests had come back. They hadn’t labelled the tests so one of them was positive, but they didn’t know which one.
“I didn’t know what to do. I went to meet my other brother for a cup of tea and walked past Snappy Snaps, and I saw cushions with people’s faces on them and it gave me the idea.
“I didn’t want Chris taken out of the day. I thought I’d get something like that. I bought a poster image and my friend who is a joiner made me the frame, 22-inch by 34.
“The venue were brilliant with us, we can’t fault them – it was in the Ivy Pavilion at Galgorm Castle, Ballymena. Chris recorded his speech on WhatsApp and it was played out beside the photo frame. There was no plan of different photos but it was a main part of the night.
“It really was brilliant. It snowballed from there. He was drinking a pint, among the flowers, on the dance floor, everything. We had a wee net for the children and he was the goalkeeper for them. It was a negative turned positive for us and it really was a brilliant day.”
The gallery below shows Chris’ attendance at the wedding on Saturday.