Sky high proposal: Bride-to-be says ‘I do’ on Antrim’s big wheel

Niall Smith's proposal to Leanne Andrews on the Antrim Castle Gardens big wheel came a day later than planned
Niall Smith's proposal to Leanne Andrews on the Antrim Castle Gardens big wheel came a day later than planned

The big wheel at Antrim Castle Gardens was the inspiration for a romantic proposal at the weekend ... although in typical Northern Irish fashion, the weather almost put a dampener on things.

While on board the big wheel on Sunday evening, Niall Smith got down on one knee to ask Leanne Andrews to marry him, safe in the knowledge she would say ‘yes’.

After bad weather forced a quick change of plans, Niall made his proposal  at a hotel on Saturday night

After bad weather forced a quick change of plans, Niall made his proposal at a hotel on Saturday night

The reason the 33-year-old could be so assured was due to the fact there had been a ‘rehearsal’ of the proposal the night before.

Leanne, a dog groomer from Antrim, explained that her partner Niall – a professional MMA fighter from Nutts Corner – had planned to pop the question on the big wheel on Saturday night. He had made arrangements with Antrim Borough Council to have their carriage kitted out with flowers and champagne, only for his plans to be put on ice due to the weather.

Not one to hang around, he put together a back-up plan to ask Leanne for her hand in marriage at the Templeton Hotel in Templepatrick.

Leanne, 35, said: “We’re five years together, we’ve one child at four and another on the way. Romance is sort of put to the side. I hadn’t a clue this was coming.

Leanne's four-year-old daughter Quinn was there to witness the romantic moment on Sunday

Leanne's four-year-old daughter Quinn was there to witness the romantic moment on Sunday

“We had our gym party on Saturday night. The idea was to go up the big wheel first then go to the party and be able to tell everyone, celebrate with them and show them the ring.

“Because of the weather warning, rather than wait, he went for plan B.”

At the Templeton they were taken to a reserved table decorated with crystals where staff brought out drinks and a plate with ‘Marry Me?’ written on it in chocolate.

Leanne said: “Then he got down on one knee and gave me the ring. It was really romantic. I was crying my eyes out. Then he told me what I could have won.”

She added: “At least we got a second go at it. The big wheel will probably be the story we’ll tell people if anyone asks how we got engaged.

“Our daughter Quinn, four, was with us the second time. I’ve a priceless picture of her wee face when Niall put the ring on my finger.”