Earlier this year I was delighted to be asked to photograph Samantha Coster and Justin Knox’s wedding at The Drummond Hotel in Ballykelly. Having met this couple previously I knew it was going to be a day to remember, and thankfully I wasn’t wrong. What I love about Sam and Justin is their zest for life and I knew they’d be the perfect candidates to interview for my blog. Now I know the day is mostly about the bride, but sometimes it’s good to get a man’s perspective (or so I’ve been told) and so this Mr and Mrs interview was born! Here, Samantha and Justin share both sides of their wedding day story.
Biggest surprise of the day
He said: I wouldn’t say there were any major shock moments on the day. The real surprise though was just how well everyone enjoyed themselves. Our guests were all of varying ages and with different interests and it was great how well they gelled!
She said: Although it happened the day before the wedding, the biggest surprise for me was when Justin got me a horse for my wedding present. My dad had actually given my mum a horse on their wedding day too so it was a really special moment.
On the day itself, I was surprised by just how well everyone got on. People who had never met before our wedding day are now great friends. We hoped everyone would have a great day and we’re delighted that they did.
Best moment of the day
He said: When we finished saying our vows and sealed it with a kiss, everyone clapped. I felt a bit of pressure had been lifted. There were so many emotions and it was a nice, happy moment.
She said: I loved walking down the aisle with Justin and seeing everyone. I also loved our dance off at the reception, which was the perfect way to kick off the night.
How were you feeling before the ceremony?
He said: I wouldn’t say I was nervous – I was really looking forward to marrying Samantha – but I felt a little pressure as I really didn’t want to mess anything up during the ceremony. I just wanted the day to go smoothly.
She said: I was surprisingly calm, so much so that everyone from the florist to the make-up artist thought I was going to have a breakdown. I was just really looking forward to the day.
How did you feel when you saw your other half for the first time?
He said: I felt lucky. It was nice to see her and she looked stunning.
She said: It was really good. I remember thinking he looked a little pale and nervous initially. I felt relieved to see him.
How would you describe the style of your wedding?
He said: Pretty relaxed, which is exactly what we were aiming for. We tried to keep everything neutral, elegant and relaxed. It was a day for the people as much as it was for us and I was happy that everything seemed to easily fall into place.
She said: We wanted to go for timeless and classic – something that would stand the test of time so that when we look back at our wedding album in 40 year’s time, the photos still look great.
What was the most fun part of wedding planning?
He said: Seeing everything come together. Samantha did most of the organising and I was happy to leave her to it. We tried not to worry about anything. Within a few weeks we had a list of everything that we wanted and it all fell into place.
She said: I loved involving our families and friends with everyone making decisions together. I really enjoyed the days out organising the different elements.
What was the most difficult thing to agree on?
He said: I don’t think anything was too difficult to agree on. The hardest thing to source was the cars as we wanted something different. Apart from that, everything was pretty easy. Me and Samantha have the same tastes and personalities so that definitely made things easier.
She said: Probably the budget but when we decided on it we didn’t waver from it. We were buying a house at the same time so it was important that we stuck to it. If something was above our budget, we just looked for an alternative. I’m lucky that Justin is laid back. It definitely helped when planning.
How does it feel to be married?
He said: It feels great! Some people might think we’re quite young to be married but I think it’s nice to have more time together as husband and wife. Sometimes it felt weird referring to Samantha as my girlfriend – I thought it underplayed just how important our relationship was.
She said: For us, it was actually quite a big change. We weren’t living together before the wedding so we’re still in the honeymoon period and plan lots of weekends away together. Marriage is everything I wanted it to be.
How was your honeymoon?
He said: It was amazing! We had four days in New York before heading to Mexico for two weeks. We ate and drank like kings and lay on the beach! The high point for me was snorkelling with turtles. I was amazing!
She said: Amazing! I think Justin would have liked a little longer in New York as it was his first time there but we really enjoyed it. We were lucky to be able to go away for so long.
Any advice for other couples?
He said: Relax! People often stress about it but we had a short engagement and it was easy. A lot of people say you can’t plan a wedding in less than two years but I disagree. The longer you have the more time you’ll spend changing you mind about different things. We basically picked everything in three weeks.
She said: Try to enjoy it as much as possible. So many people said I was surprisingly calm. The way I looked at it was that at the end of the day, if we were married, that was the important thing and everything else was beyond our control.
Sum up your day in a single sentence
He said: I had the time of my life!
She said: It was the best day of my life so far!