ARDROSSAN means a lot to so many people - and for Fiona and Shaun Harper, their connection to the town is a lot deeper than most.

So when it came to their wedding day - there was only one town they wanted to have it.

The couple wed earlier this month, Saturday, May 13, in a first for one local restaurant - as Cecchinis at Clyde Marina hosted its first ever full wedding ceremony.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Fiona and Shaun on their wedding day.Fiona and Shaun on their wedding day. (Image: Submitted)

Fiona, 50, and her partner Shaun, 52, have been together now for over eight years, though their story goes a lot further back than that.

Shaun's mum died from breast cancer in 1975 when he was five and he came to Ardrossan to be brought up by his "Nanny"- the late great Betty Harper - a well known Ardrossanite.

Fiona's father, the late, also great, Sam Morrison, found out about Betty bringing up her grandson and took Shaun under his wing.

Fiona explained: "Growing up, Shaun was very much part of our family. Our families went on holiday together to Arran to a cottage in Whiting Bay.

"Shaun and I have been to the cottage. It seemed huge as kids but it's small.

"Fast forward 30 years and we've both been married and had kids but start chatting and commenting on each other's Facebook page and met up one night to catch up.

"Eight hours of looking through photographs, letters and chatting about our childhood and school day memories, we realised we were both smitten.

"Four days later, Shaun moved in."

From then, the couple were very much in love, and knew they wanted to get married. They got engaged in July 2020 but circumstances persistently put their plans on hold.

The pair had originally planned to be married at Ardrossan Winton Rovers Football grounds and social club due to Fiona's dad's love and connection with the club. John Sheehan and Bobby MacNamara were helping Fiona plan the events.

However when the fixtures were announced, it transpired that Winton had a home game against Vale of Clyde on the day that their wedding had been planned.

However, not content on letting their big day plans ruined, the couple looked into alternative arrangements.

They had already planned a meal after the ceremony in Cecchinis so Fiona spoke to Jordynn Clements from the restaurant and asked if she and Shain could be married there.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Fiona during her big day.Fiona during her big day. (Image: Submitted)

"She was ecstatic," Fiona said.

"Shaun and I both wanted our whole wedding in Ardrossan as we love our home town.

"Ardrossan Winton Rovers would've been a connection to my dad however, Cecchinis used to be the harbour powerhouse and the now sunbird office was the Clydeport Authorities office where my dad was the office manager so it felt right to get married somewhere so special.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Ardrossan means a lot to Fiona and Shaun.Ardrossan means a lot to Fiona and Shaun. (Image: Submitted)

"Jordynn was amazing . We had several meetings and emailed regularly and planned everything together.

"We just wanted a nice, intimate, personal ceremony with lots of twinkley lights and flowers.

"I decorated hurricane lamps and Jordynn and the team dressed the restaurant upstairs. We got married at the bottom of the feature staircase. It was perfect."

Fiona continued to reminisce about just how well her special day had went.

She added: "There were 70 guests, a piper and I made my entrance to a combination of the 'How do you solve a problem like Maria' procession from the sound of music (my mums favourite film) and the song 'Diamonds and Pearls' by our favourite artist, Prince.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Around 70 guests were at the ceremony.Around 70 guests were at the ceremony. (Image: Submitted)

"Tracy Taskan from Alba Celebrants married us in a very personal ceremony.

"We had lovely two course meal which the chef at Cecchinis advised us on followed by our wedding cake which was a delicious carrot cake and individual Kandy Bar cakes!

"It was an amazing day."

The couple then headed to Ardrossan Outdoor Bowling Club for their wedding reception.

Fiona was just blown away at how well the day had went, especially given it was a first ever wedding at Cecchinis.

She continued: "Cecchinis have never had a full wedding at their restaurant before. However. Jordynn and the team went over and above to make this a day to remember.

"They were professional through and through and we've had so many lovely reviews and positive feedback from our guests who had a lovely time."

While the couple also managed to pay homage to those who are no longer with us before their ceremony.

Fiona explained: "John Sheehan, Bobby MacNamara, Shaun and I went to Winton Park before our reception to pay our respects and lay flowers on the park for my dad.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: The couple paid their respects to Fiona's dad Sam at Winton Park.The couple paid their respects to Fiona's dad Sam at Winton Park. (Image: Submitted)

"I also organised a surprise for Shaun by having a bench at Holm Plantation dedicated to his Nanny. We went there for photographs after ceremony."

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: The bench at Holm Plantation dedicated to Shaun's Nanny.The bench at Holm Plantation dedicated to Shaun's Nanny. (Image: Submitted)

While she added: "My mum was able to attend the wedding. She recently went to live at Caledonia care home and they got her all organised to attend."

And Fiona added just how grateful she was to everyone who played their part in making the day so special.

She commented: "A special thank you goes to Jordynn especially and all the Cecchinis team.

"Also, thank you to Tracy Taskan from Alba Celebrants for her very personal ceremony and support, help and advice, talking us through every step of the way.

"Ardrossan Winton Rovers, John Sheehan and Bobby MacNamara for their love and respect of my late dad, Sam and for allowing us into the park to pay respects to him.

"To my cousin and wife Davie and Jean for organising the use of the outdoor bowling club.

"There are too many others to thank but everyone who attended made it a day to remember always."