Royal bride-to-be Meghan Markle has wished a Co. Antrim couple well ahead of their shared wedding date next month.
Jane Rainey, originally from Ballygally, and Carrickfergus man David Lewis will be getting hitched on Saturday, May 19 - the same day as Prince Harry and Meghan.
Meghan’s warm wishes for the pair were captured on camera by Jane’s bridesmaid, Kathryn Howie, after the royal couple visited Belfast last month.
Jane and David, who moved into their first home together in Jordanstown last year, have been together for almost 10 years.
“We met when I was 16 and David was 17 at a pre-formal in November 2008, so you could say we are childhood sweethearts,” said Jane, 26.
“We were both from different schools but we started talking out of the blue and hit it off straight away and the rest is history. We have had the privilege of being able to grow up together and hit many milestones with each other, such as learning to drive, turning 18, and going to university.”
They got engaged in 2016 at Co Monaghan beauty spot, Castle Leslie.
“David planned everything down to a T to make it the most memorable day ever. He had my engagement ring specially made by Steensons in Glenarm,” said the bride-to-be.
“David took me on a walk down to the lake at Castle Leslie and proposed to me on the pier. The staff then greeted us with champagne to celebrate and we had a lovely meal that night.”
And in contrast to the high-profile nuptials planned for Windsor Castle, Jane and David are looking forward to a more “intimate” wedding ceremony with their closet friends and family at St Patrick’s Church, Cairncastle.
“My father is driving me to the church in our family’s vintage Triumph Roadster that was previously owned by Sir Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, so it will be amazing to make the journey in such a special car, with my dad driving me,” Jane added.
The reception will follow in Ballygally Castle, where Jane’s parents also celebrated their wedding day, before the newlyweds jet off to Dubai and Thailand for their honeymoon.
“Because I am an artist and David is a designer, we are both looking forward to experiencing Thailand and Dubai’s culture and the beautiful landscapes. We both love food so getting to try authentic Thai food excited us both. We are hoping to volunteer at a elephant sanctuaries too whilst we are there.”
But how does the bride-to-be feel about sharing their big day with the royal couple?
“First off I was shocked; I thought, how am I going to compete with a royal wedding!” she said.
“But it has turned out the be the best thing ever; my bridesmaid, friends and family threw me an amazing royal wedding-themed hen party in Carlingford last weekend.
“My bridesmaid, Kathryn Howie also stood to meet Meghan and Harry when they visited Belfast; she got to speak to Meghan and got a personal video message from her wishing us both a happy wedding day.
“This message from Meghan has made the day even more special for both of us. I think there will be so much of a buzz, everyone will be in wedding mode which makes us both even more excited for the day to be here.”