Rain couldn’t dampen this deeply personal humanist wedding day, complete with personally written vows and big bridal party.
Tell us about the proposal.
Michaela decided to propose because she knew how much Amy loves romance. As Amy is usually the more romantic of the two, it felt important to Michaela to propose first, to show her commitment and her romantic side too.
One weekend in December 2017, while Amy was away, Michaela went shopping for an antique engagement ring, knowing that Amy would like something unique, with a history, that no one else would have. Eventually, she couldn’t sit on it for long when she eventually found the right one.
The following Friday was a special day for Michaela as it was her late father’s birthday, and it felt like the right day to propose. Amy and Michaela love Brighton – they met there and have built their lives there. So Michaela chose to propose one beautiful moonlit evening to Amy on Brighton Beach, under the stars. The beach was peaceful and empty, except for a fox who wandered by and glanced at them knowingly. This delighted Amy as she loves foxes and even has a tattoo of one. Once Amy said yes, Michaela whisked her off for a celebratory dinner and champagne at their favourite restaurant, proving her romantic credentials.
Little did Michaela know that Amy had bought her an engagement ring just the night before! Amy, who had been planning her proposal for April 2018, now realised that she needed to bring it forward as she couldn’t hold on for another five months.
Thankfully the hotel that Amy had booked in Paris were very accommodating and rescheduled for the February half term, which fell on Valentine’s Day. Coincidentally, the hotel Amy had booked used to be frequented by Michaela’s icon, Audrey Hepburn. When Amy discovered a photograph of Audrey on the hotel’s roof terrace, she knew that it would be the perfect place to propose. On arrival at the hotel, Amy discretely asked if they could have access to the roof terrace and was devastated when she learned that it was closed for refurbishment. Amy decided to go ahead in their hotel room without a backup plan. As Amy produced the ring, Michaela started to cry. And at that very moment, there was a knock on the door, and someone walked in. Awkward doesn’t cover it! Once the red-faced porter left, tears turned to laughter, and Michaela readily accepted Amy’s proposal.
What was the inspiration behind the vibe of your wedding?
It was held at the town hall in Brighton for Friday’s ceremony. We made the most of the beautiful sunny day and took all our loved ones down to a seafront restaurant for drinks on the terrace. We wanted it to be laid back and just enjoy the day before the humanist ceremony.
For Saturday, we wanted a really relaxed, woodland-style wedding. We originally wanted most of the day to be outside. The venue had a 500-year-old Oak tree under which we were to be married. Unfortunately, as it rained, we changed the setup the morning of. So our ceremony (still as beautiful) ended up within a byre, an old wooden beamed structure adjacent to the main barn. Our bridesmaids (eleven of them!) were dressed in blush pink. We let them choose their own styles and shades, so they looked different but cohesive. Amy’s passion for gardening led her to build a flower arch using many flowers within the bouquets and pampas grass to create a real summer vibe.
Talk to us about your experience finding the perfect outfits.
We had a few dress trials together and some independently, with friends and family. In the beginning, I think we both had a solid idea of what we wanted. Then that changed and changed over time for both of us. As our legal ceremony was the day before, we decided to buy those outfits together. As we both love shopping, it was a lovely experience together. Having an excuse to spend money is always much more fun!
Amy- As for our humanist ceremony, we kept our dresses a secret from each other. Amy tried on around fifteen dresses in total at six different shops. Ultimately, I went for a dress from a Watters company. They’re a U.S company, to be honest, I fell in love with all of their dresses! They had a range that was so fairytale and ethereal, and it was exactly the look I wanted. As our wedding was going to be mostly outside, I wanted a dress that fit perfectly with the trees and gardens surrounding us.
Talk to us about the wedding day!
We originally planned and rehearsed our big day under a 500-year-old Oak tree on the grounds of our venue. Sadly the morning of our day and the unpredictable English Summer weather dictated that the whole ceremony would need to move to a sheltered area adjacent to the barn. Initially, we were both gutted. We had envisioned our day for so long that to change plans the morning of was devastating. However, with our team of eleven bridesmaids, we absolutely nailed it. And in hindsight, it was so much more intimate, and none of our guests knew any different. We also realized that it would’ve been difficult for some guests to hear in a bigger, open space.
Our ceremony was deeply personal, and our humanist celebrant had written a story of our relationship from the moment we met to the present. Amy had learnt French and written vowels, which were a poem to Michaela. Michaela’s vowels were beautiful and spoke about her unconditional love for Amy.
Advice for other couples planning a wedding?
Compromise! We didn’t argue much over anything. But I think it’s because we made sure 100% that this day was about us and no one else. Make sure that you stay open to each other ideas and make sacrifices for each other. Ensure you have thoughtful and honest communication and don’t bottle up anything inside. It will eventually come out. Don’t invite people you feel obliged to! It’s your day, and you won’t be able to take anything back or change it after. Making sure all the people who mean the most are there is more important than the great uncle’s second removed cousin, who you haven’t seen in fifteen years.
Don’t stress about money. It’s just money. Get a wedding party who you trust and who will be your absolute pillars of strength on the days leading up to and on your wedding day itself. So many hands make light work on your wedding morning!
Photography by Jordanna Marston Photography