Perhaps the most unusual and irreverent wedding ceremony possible took place in Co Down on Thursday as ‘Silly Tilly’ tied the knot with her fellow clown Jarl.
It was no joke for the loopy lovestruck couple though, as the potty pair made a life-long commitment to each other in a wacky ceremony in Downpatrick, followed by a circus-themed reception in a ‘big-top’ afterwards.
The barmy bride, whose real name is Noeleen Breen but who goes by ‘Silly Tilly’ in her clown persona, eschewed a horse-and-carriage or even a modern wedding car in favour of arriving in a wheelbarrow adorned with balloons for the ceremony.
Her dress sense – and that of many guests – was no less dippy. Silly Tilly turned up with a bright-red nose and ruby-red rosy cheeks, 16-inch clown boots and a brightly coloured heart shape on her dress.
“At least some of the dress was in white,” she said.
Silly Tilly is, as readers might have gathered, a professional clown.
She heads up the Clowns International organisation, the oldest clown club in the world, and tied the knot with her fellow performer, whose real name is Henrik Neumann.
The pair met at an international clown festival hosted by the organisation Silly Tilly chairs.
Their engagement was no less colourful.
Tilly was left reaching for her giant hanky during a performance at the Holbaek Clown Festival in Denmark in September when Jarl popped the big question.
A blushing Tilly sought the advice of the audience in the packed tent before proclaiming “Yes”. There was then an eruption of clapping and cheering when the crowd realised the proposal was not part of the act.
The proposal was live-streamed across the globe on the Clowns International Facebook page.
As for the day itself, Tilly said: “They provided a wheelbarrow to transport me from one place to other, decorated with balloons, which was nice.
“I had balloon bouquets with flowers, my flower girls had balloon bouquets and I already have cream pie all through my hair and we haven’t even had dinner yet!
“Everybody was in their Sunday best! I don’t do high-heels so I had my 16-and-a-half inch clown boots underneath my white dress. I went with the norm, as they say.”