After eight years together, supporting each other’s dreams during their formative years, Kay and Matthew Schembri Vanhear tied the knot in front of their beloved family and friends. Here, they tell Bliss Magazine all about their big day, and share the emotions of their traditional yet modern wedding.
Back to the beginning
In 2005, Matthew and Kay certainly didn’t have wedding bells on their minds as they helped out at their local parish church in Santa Lucija. “He was an altar boy and I was part of the church choir back then,” Kay recalls. After spotting each other at various community activities, the pair started to spend time together with a group of friends after Sunday morning mass, and they “bonded immediately”.
The pair were spending even more time together as their O-level exams approached, with Matthew helping Kay out with a component of their Computer Studies assessment. That time together cemented their interest, and the teens became an official couple. Their first date – a ride out with their bikes – reflected their adventurous personalities, and left Kay reeling with excitement. “That night, I was so excited that I couldn’t sleep!”
The couple got involved in myriad social activities together in their Santa Lucija. “The more I got to know him, the more I fell in love with his willingness to help others, his morals, his calm demeanour when dealing with everyday work, and his intelligence,” Kay smiles.
After eight years together, the couple decided to step up their level of commitment and started house hunting. It took two years for them to find what they were looking for: a 300-year-old house that needed restoration which, once done, would make the perfect home. “Upon signing the contract for the house, we knew we were ready to tie the knot and, I guess, it was at that point that my hopes were raised in anticipation for a proposal!”
An enchanting proposal
Kay didn’t have to wait long. Just a year later, the couple were on holiday with two friends, Riann and Franco, in Scotland. The friends were on their way to Isle of Skye and drove past “a magnificent ancient castle in the middle of the Loch”. They decided to stop, and headed to the visitors’ centre for lunch, before deciding to go on a tour of the castle.
“After a few minutes, Matthew grabbed my hand and told me ‘let’s go and take a selfie’. He then turned, facing me, and put my two hands in his. But I hadn’t realised what was about to happen, so I tried to convince him to pose. At one point, I turned and saw Riann holding the Go-Pro and Franco holding the Canon camera, both prepared for a photoshoot. Matthew started talking again, knelt down on one knee and opened a box, saying ‘Will you marry me?” I burst out crying with tears of joy and I couldn’t even answer!” Kay recalls.
She said yes, and once back in Malta, the couple started preparing for the big day, which involved juggling between work commitments and house renovations. They decided to tie the knot on 9th November 2019 and agreed to be actively involved in logistics for the big day. Their priority, Kay says, was to organise “an enjoyable evening for all the guests, spiced up with special moments of us”.
Kay’s stunning dress
The bride’s decisiveness was also key to her choosing her wedding dress in record time! Years before, in 2015, she had saved an image of a bridal dress by design house Pronovias, and that provided the template for the bride-to-be’s wedding gown choice. Keen to get started as quickly as possible, Kay booked an appointment at Ivory & Co, where she was presented with several dresses to try on. None of them seemed to work, but, fortunately, her aunt spotted an exquisite gown on the rack.
“This was the fourth dress which I had tried on, and when I looked at myself in the mirror, I started feeling butterflies. It made me feel comfortable and confident, and I will never forget the moment when I opened the doors to the changing room. My mother and aunt looked stunned for a while and didn’t say a word. And, then, they broke into tears. I started crying too and I turned to the sales assistant and said: ‘I think this is THE dress!!’” Embroidered with rhinestones and boasting a mermaid skirt in Chantilly lace, the gown was complemented with a four-metre veil.
The big day
Family also played an integral role on the day itself, which was celebrated with 375 guests. Kay’s bridal team consisted of six bridesmaids – which included her sister as maid of honour – and one flower girl, Matthew’s cousin, who was only seven years old. The groom had one best man – his best friend, Jurgen – as well as three ushers and one witness, his brother, Julian.
The bridal car – a silver Rolls Royce from Meli’s Car Garage coordinated through Dalton’s Chauffeur Services – picked the party up on time. But a thick traffic jam threatened to upend the schedule for the day. “The main roads in the south of Malta had closed! Dalton’s immediately contacted my mother to devise another plan so that the I wouldn’t leave Matthew waiting at the church! They were so efficient that, although the streets were packed, everything ran smoothly and we all made it on time for the wedding mass,” Kay smiles.
And while there is no one moment which stands out as a ‘favourite’ from that day, Kay recalls the feeling of arriving at the church in Valletta – where tourists and passers-by applauded on seeing her about to walk in for the ceremony. “That definitely added to the excitement,” she recalls. “And as I held onto my father’s arm and walked into the church, I felt complete. I was proud that Matthew and I had made it to this day together, and I felt grateful to have so many family and friends supporting us through this journey. I couldn’t ask for anything more!"
From the moment the couple said their ‘I do’s at Valletta’s Our Lady of Victories Church, Kay and Matthew’s wedding was filled with magical memories, including a very special surprise organised by the bride’s sister. “Just before our first dance, Angele stepped up on stage and sang this beautiful song which reflected the story of our relationship! She had written the lyrics to the song herself. I was fascinated by how much my sister understood our relationship. I had always known I could confide in her and she had always filled me with words of encouragement, but the words to the song she wrote will forever remain imprinted in our love story,” Kay smiles.
Looking back, Kay explains that all the preparations that went into the wedding reaped their rewards. “Everyone knew the day’s programme by heart. There were some unexpected delays and some things did get forgotten, but our family and wedding team handled everything smoothly so we could enjoy the evening – which we did,” she says. For, everything does not have to be perfect, Kay adds. “All the work done by the couple, as well as their friends and family – as in our case – is a sign of something much more precious: the love and dedication felt by those closest to you.”