Rebecca said: “For us it was never about the big day, it was about us becoming a family.”
As Christians, they had been living apart until marriage allowed Paddy to move in with Rebecca and her six-year-old son Reuben.
The 25-year-old from Rathcoole said: “We were emailing our politicians all through lockdown trying to explain our situation and how unique it was as Christians who didn’t live together.
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“I was telling them how I had a little boy who I had when I was 18 before I was a Christian, and how Paddy has taken him on as his own.
“It was always just me and Reuben until I met Paddy two years ago. When lockdown came in it had to go back to being just me and Reuben. It was terrifying having Paddy taken out of our lives.
“For us as Christians it wasn’t right for Paddy to live here until we were married.
“I can understand why some people might postpone their wedding so they can have that big day that they’ve always dreamed of, but for us we couldn’t get married soon enough so that Paddy could be here with us.”
Rebecca (nee Finlay) said: “We were supposed to be getting married on May 23. When we found out about coronavirus we tried to bring it forward to April, but we just didn’t get there in time. Lockdown came really quick.
“I think we might have tried for three or four dates until we finally got married.”
Rebecca and Paddy tied the knot at Cregagh Presbyterian church in east Belfast on Monday as lockdown restrictions were eased to allow ceremonies with up to 10 people.
Paddy, a 22-year-old from Killinchy who is studying at Union Theological College, said: “It was very surreal, and not just for us, you had people walking past wondering what was going on. It was that long since they’d seen a wedding.”
Explaining how a girl from Rathcoole ended up getting married in east Belfast, Rebecca said: “Our best man is the minister at Cregagh Presbyterian Church. I work for a church on the Shankill, my minister did the wedding but we were able to use that church because it has a lovely garden outside, perfect for an outdoor wedding.”
The 10 people in attendance were Rebecca, Paddy, Reuben, Rebecca’s minister, her sister as bridesmaid, Paddy’s friend as best man, Rebecca’s parents and Paddy’s parents.
Rebecca said: “The ceremony was everything we wanted. I wouldn’t change a thing.
“Actually it’s kept our perspective and reminded us of what the day is really about. It’s all about marriage, not about the wedding and all the big things that come with it.”
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