EMMA Armstrong’s marriage to Fivemiletown man, Ivor Johnston this week has been something of a talking point across Fermanagh thanks to the straw bale bride and groom specially erected in Lack to celebrate the occasion.
Last Monday morning Emma set off from her home farm at Stranahone, Lack, to attend a few wedding appointments. Upon her return she was greeted with the surprise creation of herself and her husband-to-be in straw bale form, standing proudly at the bottom of her lane.
Since then, the couple’s straw bale ‘likeness’ has been attracting plenty of attention from the people of Lack and further afield, all keen to catch a glimpse of the sight ahead of the big day yesterday (Wednesday).
“I was probably only away for about two-and-a-half hours on Monday morning,” said Emma ahead of yesterday, “I couldn’t believe it when I cam back to find this bride and bride-groom at the bottom of the lane!
“No one is blaming anyone for it, but I think family and a few neighbours were involved in creating it! I caught one of the culprits leaving the scene on my way home! My neighbour was coming back down the road with his front loader on!
“He said to me: ‘We all knew you would take it as a good joke!’.”
Both from farming backgrounds, Emma and Ivor’s straw bale attraction was the perfect tribute to the couple in the run up to their wedding at Colaghty Parish Church, Lack yesterday.
“I cannot believe how may people have stopped to have a look at it and take pictures of it over the last week,” said Emma, “The local school came down to have a look at it when they broke up for Easter, and I know people from as far as Derrylin have driven up to have a look at it too. A picture that was posted on Facebook has had a lot of likes and shares over the last few days too. It’s incredible -- it really has brought people together and created a lot of hype around this wedding!
“I just couldn’t believe it when I first saw it. It is amazing -- there must have been a lot of work put it into it behind the scenes before Monday when I left.”
Emma, a teacher at Queen Elizabeth II Primary School, Kilskeery, and Ivor, an engineer at Tyrone Fabrication Limited in Ballygawley, met through mutual friends and have been together for the last three and a half years.
Their big day yesterday was on the anniversary of Emma’s mother and late father’s wedding.
“I am going back to my mother’s maiden name,” Emma explained, “She was Johnston before she married, and her mother before her was Armstrong. So we have been switching between the two surnames for generations now!”
The Matron of Honour yesterday was Emma’s twin sister, Stella and bridesmaid was Alison Armstrong.
Best man was Keith Johnston while groomsman was Jason Chartres, friend of the groom. Pageboys were Jack Armstrong and Alex Miller and flowergirls were Isla Miller and Lucy Armstrong.
The wedding was conducted by Reverend Alan Irwin and family and friends gathered at Corick House afterwards for the wedding reception.