A young couple have been left disappointed after having to cancel their dream wedding, especially after they both had the date tattooed on their arms.
Francis Donald, 26, got down on one knee before Fionnuala Kearney, 24, in December 2017, and the pair immediately started making wedding plans.
After setting the date for October 16, 2020, the couple decided to have the date inked in Roman numerals on their arms during a holiday to Turkey in June 2019. Little could they have known what was to come.
Fionnuala and Francis first met as students at Ulster University in 2015, when they had both worked as residential assistants in their student halls. Francis popped the question in 2017, during a romantic getaway. As Fionnuala was still studying, they decided to set the date for after her graduation.
We picked the date two months later – 16th October 2020 – and then we started arranging. I bought my dress in September 2018, and arranged our band, picked our guests, everything. I’m a bit of a control freak, so I took charge with most things.
Fionnuala explained how the tattoos came about:
We were in Turkey and had checked out of our hotel at 9am, but had to wait until the evening for our flight home – so we decided to go on a bar crawl. We strolled past a tattoo salon and we were tipsy, so thought it was a great idea to get matching tattoos.
It’s funny because we were being extra careful to make sure we got the roman numerals correct, and the staff were teasing us, saying: ‘Are you sure that’s the right date?’
When I was told we would have to postpone the wedding I was devastated of course – but we only realised afterwards about our tattoos. If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry!
After the coronavirus pandemic hit, the groom and bride-to-be were understandably ‘devastated’ when their venue, Hugh McCanns hotel in Newcastle, County Down, explained in April this year they would have to postpone their big day until 2021.
It was at this point that Francis and Fionnuala remembered their unfortunately specific tattoos, a permanent reminder of the happy day that should have been.
Remaining positive despite the setback, the lovebirds have since moved their wedding date up to April 22, 2021, and have also started thinking of ways in which they can keep their tattoos meaningful.
Software developer Francis said:
I had the idea to get the date in roman numerals, and we were extra careful to make sure that we got them exactly right – we didn’t want to make any mistakes!
The staff in the shop kept teasing us and saying things like ‘are you sure that date is right?’ and we all laughed it off.
After successfully rearranging the date, the couple were able to relax a little. However, after glancing at their arms, they both realised they would bear the disappointment on their skin forever.
We looked down at our arms one day and realised – they said the wrong date. I have a few small funny tattoos that I’ve got on drunken holidays, so I wasn’t too fussed, but it was the cherry on top of the cake.
All you can do is laugh at situations like this!
Fortunately, the couple have been able to see the funny side, and have even been chatting with family and friends for inspiration as to what they can do to mark their original wedding date.
Fionnuala, who was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, said:
Somebody suggested that we do a skydive, other people have said we should lie and tell people the tattoos say the right date.
I love the skydive idea and would like to use it to raise money for the Crohn’s disease charity, as they have really helped me. Whatever we do, we’re going to make it memorable.
At least the wedding has been rearranged successfully, and who knows, perhaps another tattoo is on the cards?