Verona, the hometown of those famous star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet, was where Matthias and Marie Claire Mula first met in July 2015. Both had gone up – separately – to watch a Mumford and Sons concert, and they ended up getting acquainted through mutual friends. “Back then, I was in a relationship with someone else, so there was nothing romantic between us, but we got on well,” says Marie Claire, a teacher. The newly-established friend group kept meeting after the trip to Verona, and in October, a few months after Marie Claire’s previous relationship had come to an end, she and Matthias started seeing each other as a couple.
“Soon enough, we realised that we were in it for the long-haul,” says Matthias, a portfolio investment manager. “You compare it to previous relationships that you’ve been in, and you realise that something’s different. When you know, you know.”
The surprise proposal happened on 20th June 2018. Matthias chartered a private sailing yacht trip for two that left from the Kalkara marina and headed north towards Xemxija. As the boat approached the Xemxija quay with the setting sun behind them, Marie Claire saw their two families holding up banners which read, “Marie Claire, will you marry me?” Naturally, the answer was yes!
The two quickly started planning their wedding. “We were aiming for March of the following year, so we didn’t really have much time!” Matthias says. Luckily, the couple’s preferred location, Villa Bologna, was free on the 30th. “It was the only choice for me. After attending a wedding there, that has always been my dream venue!” Marie Claire says. The couple worked with their lighting designer and florist to make sure that the villa, gardens and the marquee were decked out and illuminated exactly as they wanted it.
On the day, the bride chose a simple, ethereal gown by Lusan Mandongus from Camilleriparismode, with flattering lace sleeves and a v-cut neckline, as well as a second dress which was custom-made at the atelier. “I went for a natural look, both in terms of hair and makeup,” Marie Claire says. “I don’t wear heavy makeup and I always wear my hair down, and even though my hairdresser tried to convince me to do something different with it, I wanted to keep it as simple as possible,” she says. Her bridesmaids, meanwhile, also donned beautiful dresses from Camilleriparismode.
“When I saw her arrive at the church, my heart felt like it was going to pound right out of my chest,” says Matthias, who looked sharp alongside his groomsmen, wearing suits by The Groom. The church they chose to get married in was Ta’ Mlit in Mosta. “We are members of the Neocatechumenal Way, and we celebrate mass a bit differently – for example, the altar is placed in the middle of the church, and the congregation gathers around it. Ta’ Mlit was able to support that layout,” explains Marie Claire. “The homily was about self-giving, and to me the Eucharist, which is central to the Neocatechumenal celebration, is the perfect example of what a marriage should be,” Matthias says.
Following the mass, they headed off to the reception in cars provided by Daltons Garage, to greet their 450 guests. Music was what brought the couple together in the first place, and having good entertainment was one of their key priorities for the reception. The evening started off with a session by instrumental duo Mike Rapa and Shaun Vella, followed by the Tailors and Nadine Axisa, who were complemented with a brass section.
“The Tailors are friends of mine, and they know our tastes well. Our only request was to take Xemx off the playlist,” laughs Matthias. They shared their first dance to You Are The Best Thing by Ray Lamontagne. Not Mumford, then? “We tried, but we couldn’t figure out how to dance to any of their songs!” The afterparty, DJ-ed by Andrew Barthet, kept the crowd going for an hour after the couple cut the cake.
“I’m a perfectionist, but on the big day you just have to let it all unfold and enjoy yourself. We gave it our all and it just fell into place,” Matthias says. “I was checking about five different weather sources ahead of the day, but in the end, I didn’t have anything to worry about – it was absolutely beautiful,” Marie Claire adds. After the wedding, the couple took a short trip to Vienna and Bratislava, and hope to enjoy a longer honeymoon break in South Africa once the scholastic year ends and Marie Claire can take off for a lengthier period.
Have they any wedding wisdom to share with couples planning their own festivities? “Well, there’s the cliché to remember to enjoy yourself, which is true. But I also got a good piece of advice from my cousin: don’t walk around with a drink in your hand. Just take a sip and put it down somewhere – that way, there’s no chance of spilling!” Matthias chuckles.
Photos by Kris Micallef