WHEN Aiden Nicholls added another fella of the same name on Facebook “for the craic”, he certainly didn’t expect the perfect stranger to show up on his wedding day!
However that’s exactly what happened on Saturday past, when the Omagh man wed the former councillor, Joanne Donnelly at the Killyclogher Chapel amidst a sea of loved ones, and his foreign Facebook friend, ‘Mr Aidan Nicholls’ from Portland, Oregon, USA.
And while the 24-year-old American dream didn’t steal away the beautiful Killyclogher bride on the special day, Aiden said that his namesake’s western charm certainly did win the hearts of many of their guests!
Explaining the bizarre connection made on social media, Aiden said that many years ago, he sat down and “added about 50 different people of the same name” into a group on Facebook.
“I just took the notion one day,” Aiden, 36, laughed. “But eventually they started to disappear, and this fella from Oregon, Aidan Nicholl was the only one who stuck around.
“We got chatting over Facebook, and we seemed to get on well. In fact, he even joked to people in the States that I was his pen pal!
“So when I got engaged to Joanne two years ago, I told him that he should come over here for our wedding day and celebrate with us – but didn’t for one second think he’d actually do it!”
However, straight after that conversation, the Portland man booked return flights to Dublin City – and just a fortnight before Aiden’s big day, the American Aidan dropped his surprise bombshell.
“I was shocked, and somewhat nervous because I didn’t know what to expect,” Aiden recalled.
“Talking online is completely different to chatting in person. And as he also wasn’t sure what kinda guy I was, he only booked a stay in Ireland for four nights as a precaution!
“However, we got on amazingly when we met. He was super smart, and very nice and we shared a lot in common.
“I even had a few drinks with him the night before my wedding, so I had a bit of a hangover on the morning of it!
“Our guests also just loved Aidan, and everyone wanted to know about him,” Aiden added.
“And as Joanne and I got on so well with him too, we took him to the Rope Bridge in Antrim and the Giant’s Causeway during his stay – and we even had him pulling pints in Broderick’s Bar!”