Real Weddings

'My Wonder Woman' - A unique gift from the groom to his 'pocket rocket' bride set the tone for this wonderful Waterford wedding

"That’s my Bee, up for anything and it actually looked beautiful with the dress when I finally greeted her"

Irishman Brian Williams first met his Danish bride Belinda Henriksen through a mutual friend Belinda was visiting in Dublin, however it wasn't until said friend got married and re-introduced them a few years later that their romance really ignited.

He popped the question while they were on holiday in Dunmore East, Waterford, in 2017, surprising his whole family by actually getting down on one knee; "happy tears and hilarity" ensued.

The couple married in a Humanist ceremony at The Strand Inn in Dunmore East in April this year, after planning a "tiny, intimate and super relaxed" day. Their wedding was a celebration of their closest friends and family who'd been on 'the journey' with them; from Ireland, Denmark, the US, Kenya and some Indonesian influences (where the mother of the bride is from).

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On the morning, Belinda was presented with a very unique gift from her groom - an exact replica of the shield from the recent Wonder Woman film. He however didn't realise what she was going to do with it once she saw it!

Their photos are by Livia Figueiredo.

The Day

Brian and Belinda tied the knot on the sixth of April this year, the morning when a 'super bad storm' hit Waterford. The couple spent the morning together, trying to enjoy breakfast as the waves from the Irish Ocean lashed against the windows of the restaurant. Luckily however the storm passed and by late afternoon the sun came out for the evening - filling the ceremony with light and allowing for some stunning photos by the seaside. "We did say we wanted dramatic weather - either sun or a storm rather than grey," says Belinda, "and we were spoiled with both!"

The Dress

Belinda wasn't mad into the idea of the 'traditional' white wedding dress, and originally was going to go with a blue Ted Baker dress for the day. However after a couple of attempts to turn the dress into something a bit more 'weddingy' she gave up and decided to try on a few wedding gowns. Belinda's sister wore a Pronovias dress for her wedding, and from that Belinda knew she'd find lots of different styles there.

"I picked a few from their online catalogue to try, wanting an “Amazonian warrior”, unconventional look," says Belinda. "I actually wasn’t looking forward to “dress shopping”, I’m not big shopping fan and really have to be “in the mood” and I wasn’t as I’d swelled up that day due to asthma attack steroids. In the end I knew it was “the” dress as my sister started bawling the minute I walked out in it! They cracked open the champagne and that worked to loosen my grip on the credit card…!"

The Shield

Beyond a doubt one of the most unique aspects of the wedding was the fact that Belinda walked up the aisle wielding a huge Wonder Woman style shield, much to the surprise of her guests - and the groom. Brian explains: "I wanted to get Belinda something special for the big day, something that summed her up. She’s a pocket rocket, a feminist and a movie geek amongst many things and I work in film so I found a guy that crafts amazing Cosplay costumes and he made an exact replica of the shield from the recent Wonder Woman film, one of Belinda’s favorite movies and characters, accurate in every detail. On the back is an engraved plate: To My Wonderwoman, from Brian. The idea was to get it to her on the morning of the wedding, that was it! Sadly, it did go missing for a week in transit from London to Dunmore East and it was nerve-shredding. Luckily with the help of the courier company in Ireland and willing friends it arrived safely to Dunmore on the eve of the wedding."

And when he saw her carrying it when she arrived at the top of the aisle?

"Well I was standing waiting and finally got the nod she was on her way. I was watching surfers out at sea when I heard her enter to the expected beautiful bride ‘Oooh’s and Ahh’s’ quickly followed by hysterical laughing from everyone gathered, it was then I said to myself; ‘Oh God, she wore the shield…’ But that’s my Bee, up for anything and it actually looked beautiful with the dress when I finally greeted her. I think it really set the tone for the whole wedding, everyone was crying with laughter, all the nerves evaporated, and we all knew we were just going to have a ball."

Belinda's Take

"I knew Brian was not-so-secretly and nervously getting me a gift that was shredding his nerves in transit, but I genuinely had no idea what it was," says the bride. "Our friend Dara had driven it down for the last leg and handed it to me as I was getting my hair and makeup done - this large, odd-shaped package. I started unwrapping it and as the round shape came into view I just cracked up!! I immediately said “I’m taking this down the aisle”, and all the ladies cracked up in that “you’re bonkers, yeah right”... But I did! When my Dad saw it to accompany me, he smiled and shrugged."

The Ceremony

The couple had a Humanist ceremony, preformed by celebrate Niamh Davis. "She really made the effort to get to know us - she just “got” us," says Belinda. "It was so very special. We wanted an intimate treat for the guests, especially the foreign visitors who’d come from as far as Kenya and California, and we managed to get the wonderful soprano Celine Byrne to sing during the ceremony. In the small venue her voice was just amazing and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house thanks to her voice and the personalized ceremony and readings."

The Venue

The couple tied the knot in The Strand Inn, in Dunmore East. They chose the spot largely because Brian's family had been spending their Easter holidays in Waterford for many years. "His Mum adored it and particularly loved the food in The Strand Inn, especially their wonderful John Dory," says Belinda. "When Belinda joined the Williams’ every Easter, she fell in love with the place too," says Brian. When it came to settling on a venue the couple looked at Denmark, London and Ireland, but Dunmore East won out as it was the perfect setting for the couple's friends from all over the world to enjoy and a fitting tribute to Brian’s mum. "It had to be the Strand Inn as we knew the wonderful Foyle family and staff would take special care of us and our guests. We decided on a Friday so we could have a bit of a weekend destination wedding and spend more time with our extended family."

The Stand-out moments

Brian: "Belinda appearing with the shield, Belinda dancing to Beyonce with the shield. Everybody dancing with the shield in fact."

Belinda: "Definitely walking down the aisle with my dad and shield, making everyone crack up laughing and dispelling any nerves. All the love in that room was overwhelmingly special. Watching Brian get emotional as we said our 'I Do's."

The Advice

"Make it about the friends and family you choose, not ones you “have” to invite - we had a rule that we could only invite those we had both met and had intimate, spirited, usually wine-fuelled, dinners/trips in PJs with!

"And do what makes you happy, don’t try to please others, it’ll never end.

"Finally, use cloud-based shared notes that you can both edit."

The Honeymoon

The couple honeymooned in Naladhy Island Resort in the Maldives ("Belinda works for Expedia, so that part was pretty straightforward!" joked the groom).