Northern Ireland

Peace walls, Pride and a Norwegian wedding in Belfast

Lene and Harald
Image caption Lene and Harald fell in love with Belfast during a visit in 2008 and decided to go there to get married

Getting married in a foreign country? Somewhere hot perhaps? On a beach? Away from the family?

Norwegian couple Lene Johansson and Harald Krokaa fell so in love with Belfast they flew 2,100 miles to tie the knot.

They brought 60 guests from their home country for the nuptials at Belfast City Hall.

It was a full-blown 1920s affair, with guests dressed to the nines in Art Deco glamour.

And the guests stopped off on the way to the reception for a guided tour of the city's peace walls.

Image caption The arrangements were not easy but the couple have no regrets about getting married in Northern Ireland

Lene explained that she and Harald, who are both from Brønnøysund in Norway, first visited Northern Ireland in 2008, invited by her close friend, Mona, who married a local man.

"We loved it here and we thought our friends and family should come to see the place. Everyone has been loving it," she said.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption For the Norwegian guests, the Pride parade added to the enjoyment of the day

Harald said they were attracted by more than the scenery.

"It was first and foremost the people and the atmosphere in Northern Ireland that made us want to share that experience with our friends and family," he said.

"Our guests had a really fantastic time, and there are now 60 Norwegians who have fallen in love with Belfast and its fantastic people".

Image caption A midnight smooch by the City Hall

The wedding took place on a day when Belfast was thronged by revellers for its Pride parade, with demonstrators at the front of the City Hall.

Lene said the couple had no idea about the parade before arranging the wedding but said it added to the fun of the day.

"We didn't know about it, but everyone just loved it anyway," she said.

Image caption The stars of the show were the couple's children, Mikal, aged five, and Henriette, three
Image caption Guests had a history lesson on Belfast's troubled past

The stars of the show were the couple's children, Mikal, aged five, and Henriette, aged three.

To avoid that lull in proceedings when the couple were having their photographs taken, the guests, still in their 1920s finery, were treated to a bus tour of political murals in west Belfast.

Image caption The Empire Music Hall - better known for concerts and stand-up comedy - was the venue for the reception

The reception was held in the Empire Music Hall, a well-known Belfast music venue.

Image caption The happy couple's special song - the Pogues' 'A Rainy Night in Soho'.

Converted from an old church, the venue had just the right atmosphere for a 1920s wedding.

Image caption The guests enjoying Belfast hospitality

Lene and Harald are spending a few days in Newcastle, County Down, with family members before returning to Norway, but you can be sure this will not be the end of their romance with Northern Ireland.

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