Limerick couple tie rainbow knot: 'It was like a forgotten dream, and then it was real'

Kate and Billie got engaged at count centre as marriage referendum was carried

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

Limerick couple tie rainbow knot: 'It was like a forgotten dream, and then it was real'

‘A surreal feeling’: Cappamore couple Kate Stoica and Billie celebrate their marriage at Hotel Doolin Picture: Emma Jervis

ON MAY 23, 2015, an overjoyed Kate Stoica said ‘Yes’ when her long-term girlfriend Billie proposed to her with a sapphire engagement ring — on the same day Ireland said ‘Yes’ to marriage equality.

“Kate, we make a great team. I love you inside and out, head to toe, I don't want to waste another minute of my life without you as my wife,” Billie said to her bride-to-be at the count centre at University of Limerick, surrounded by friends, family, and flashing cameras capturing the special moment.

They quickly became Limerick’s iconic LGBT duo, after the sensational moment was given the spotlight by numerous newspapers, radio stations and TV networks across the country.

And the Cappamore couple have now tied the rainbow knot, following their special wedding ceremony at Hotel Doolin, in Clare, last Sunday.

But Billie, 44, who doesn’t use a surname, admits that she watched a layer of dust cover the sapphire stone over four years, doubting that the prospect of a proposal would ever become a reality.

“That day was important because we had spoken about getting married for a long time. Kate was very clear that I had to be the one that proposed. And I had a ring made, and we were four years waiting to use this ring, because we had agreed that we wouldn’t get engaged until we could get married.

“The ring was dusty. The box was dusty. It was like a forgotten dream, and then suddenly it was real.”

Billie and Kate, 29, first met in 2008, and it was later a “friendship that had blossomed into romance”.

Billie is a community support worker with GOSHH on Davis Street, while Kate is an art psychotherapist. 

The wedding, attended by 120 guests, was festival-themed, with a marquee adorned with colourful decor from floor to ceiling, designed by Grace Events.

On their special day, Kate wore a soft cream vintage dress with chantilly lace and a matching headpiece, from Lilac Rose. Billie brought about her Scottish ancestry with the family tartan, a kilt designed by Stephen Lynch of Bowman Lynch Designs. Including her family heritage was “extremely important because my mother died in 2004, and that was the only way she could be with me”.

The bridesmaids’ navy dresses, from Be Fabulous, matched Kate’s sapphire engagement ring.

“It was overwhelming, the amount of joy that was in the room, it was just mind-blowing. I spent the day watching Kate moving around, looking absolutely stunning, feeling quite breathless and not being able to get hold of her!” an elated Billie said. 

Still relaxing in Doolin this Tuesday, Kate said: “It was so special. We designed the ceremony ourselves with Marry Me Ireland, so it was really personal. And so many family and friends wouldn’t be used to a wedding outside of a church, and they thought it was better than any other wedding that they had been to, in terms of how personal and touching it was. I was overwhelmed by that.”

A unique feature of the wedding, they said, was the knotting of colourful ribbons for the handfasting ceremony.

“So we ended up with a rainbow flag of ribbons tying our hands together. And that was really special.”

The newly-weds will celebrate their honeymoon in Crete.