Couples in wonderland after Fota proposals

He’s been making wedding dreams come true for years but celebrity wedding planner Franc played cupid for two festive proposals yesterday.

Amid the twinkling lights and snow-sprinkled woods of his Believe winter wonderland Christmas experience at the Fota Island Resort in Cork, flamboyant Franc was on hand to ensure everything was just perfect as two brave men popped the question.

Soldier Sean Walsh, 25, from Ferns, Co Wexford, who has served on the frontline in Chad, was first over the top.

The private, based with the 3rd Battalion in Kilkenny, said he was a bag of nerves and hadn’t slept a wink the night before he and his beautician girlfriend, Carol Murphy, 27, left home to bring their children, Mia, 5, and 9-month-old Oisín, to visit Santa at Believe.

As the family arrived, Franc was in hiding inside the winter wonderland, poised to help Sean execute his romantic plan with military precision. “We went through the gates and the snow started falling, and we were surrounded by elves,” Sean said.

“Then I turned around, went down on one knee, produced a ring, and asked the question. And she said yes.”

Franc then appeared from behind a snow-covered tree and congratulated the couple.

A stunned Carol, who is a huge fan of Franc and his show, Brides of Franc, fell to her knees in shock and wept. “I love Franc, his wedding ideas. They are just so natural, and his attention to detail,” she said.

“It’s every girl’s dream to have Franc plan your wedding, but to have him there for your engagement was a dream come true.

“I’m coming down off cloud nine. I’ll have to sit down and take it all in. It was magical.”

She even made a wish that Franc will be available to plan their wedding.

The family stayed in the Midleton Park Hotel last night, and will return home to their delighted families today.

When 25-year-old carpenter Anthony O’Beirnes last night dropped to one knee to propose to Amanda Gilmartin, he admitted that even though he was confident she would say yes, he was still “nervous out”.

Nonetheless, he at least had moral support in the form of the Cobh couple’s 4-year-old son Kahlum, as he waited to surprise his girlfriend of five years.

Amanda, who works as a hairdresser, had no idea of what was about to happen.

“We were waiting to go in the big wooden gates and suddenly Anthony was gone,” she said. “I thought he had gone to the toilet with the child. They began to open the gate and I was thinking, ‘where are they?’ and then when the gates were open, there he was. I was in shock. He was down on one knee with Kahlum who was holding a bunch of flowers.”

She admitted she was in so much shock that she started crying, but still managed to squeeze out a yes.

Anthony said he had been a bag of nerves all day. The only people who knew he planned to propose were one of his close friends and his brother, who works as a bodyguard in Afghanistan.

Last night, the couple were going into Cobh to meet a few friends for celebratory drinks at the Titanic bar.


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