When Noelle and Matthew met over 10 years ago at a “sweaty weekday party back in the summer of 2010,” little did they know they’d be spending the rest of their lives together. “At the time, we were both very young and leading very busy lifestyles. To be honest, we both didn’t think it would last very long but, in some way or other, we always managed to accommodate each other’s lives and be flexible with our relationship. With studies and other commitments, there were many months in which we only met twice a week!” they admit.
Seven summers later, while on a voluntary work trip to the Philippines, Matthew planned to pop the question. “After climbing over 700 steps to the top of Mount Tapyas in Coron, Matthew suggested we go further in to see the view of the sun setting on the rolling hills and on Coron Island. The view was fantastic and as soon as we sat down, Matthew popped the question. We had been going out together for seven years when the proposal happened,” Noelle recalls.
The couple set the date for 1st December 2019, but wedding planning began almost immediately as Noelle was heading off to the UK for the year, so they decided that Matthew would get the ball rolling to have everything ready in time for their 2019 wedding. Noelle notes what an “overly-organized person” her now-husband is, especially when it came to wedding planning. “He literally had an Excel file with the wedding plan and a checklist showing everything that needed to be done.” While Noelle took care of her bridesmaid’s dresses, hair and make-up, “most of the decision were made together, and then we split the tasks between us.”
“We weren’t fussy on anything really, except two things – the church and the photographer,” Noelle and Matthew shared, saying their wedding date varied on the availability of these two. They chose the Mgarr Parish Church as it is Noelle’s hometown and they both “loved how big it is inside and outside.” They then chose Katerina Vella from Wedding Photography Malta to capture their big day because her photos “are always natural and in the moment. Since both of us hate posing for photos, we though she would fit out character the most.”
Their 350-guest wedding was a simple and traditional one with a bit of a vintage twist and incorporated family elements – something that was very important for the bride and groom. “All decorations, except for the floral arrangements, were handmade by my amazing aunt and my sister in law’s mother; the Mini Minor is owned by my uncle; the hairdresser was my cousin and the make-up artist was my second cousin,” Noelle notes, saying their families’ opinions were important to them – even though, at times, that meant the decision-making took much longer.
Dancing was also an important part of their wedding, with Noelle have studied various dance disciplines over the years. “We had to have lots of dancing at our wedding. That was a priority! We both enjoy having a laugh and dancing a lot at other people’s weddings, so we thought we must allow enough time for it. Since the reception started relatively early, we opted to have an afterparty for another hour or so after the cake was cut.”
On their wedding day, the couple decided to give a donation to the Missionary Society of Saint Paul (MSSP), the missionary organisation they volunteered for in the Philippines. They then gave out small party favours: “small bags of MnMs which we prepared ourselves. Most people like chocolate and we didn’t think that the tradition almond sweets would fit our style.”
Noelle also recalls the moment she found her wedding dress, saying she was never the kind of girl to dream about her wedding day. “I went to 3 different shops and tried on about 6 dresses in each and every time I didn’t like the way I looked in them, even though the dresses were gorgeous. When the helpful saleswomen from Alamango helped fit my dress on, I looked in the mirror and thought “OK, this is really happening”, I started crying and decided there and then that that was the dress.”
Her wedding gown was simple, tight fitting with an open back and sequence detail on the shoulders and back. “I did have second thoughts on whether it was too plain or not “too special” as a wedding dress, but it’s the only dress I felt comfortable in,” she admits.
All in all, Noelle and Matthew’s big day went off without a hitch – except for one thing according to the groom. “Matthew would say that the only thing that he disliked was that the fact that I was 23 minutes late (Matthew likes being punctual). To my defence, one of the priests asked the bridal party to be a few minutes late just in case he doesn’t make it. The few minutes turned into more than a few!”
While they enjoyed “every single second of it,” if they really had to choose, Noelle and Matthew would say their favourite part was exchanging vows. “Matthew and I had been together since we were very young, so seeing us get to this point made us so happy we just couldn’t stop smiling throughout the whole celebration (and crying a bit when people weren’t watching!)”
Katerina Vella from Wedding Photography Malta