Hayley and Mike decided to exchange vows overseas, and it looked amazing! Bride Hayley tells us more…
Location: Koutsoupia, off the island of Kefalonia, Greece, through Ionian Weddings
Photographer: Bethany Howard Photographer
How did Mike propose?
This is actually one of my favourite stories. Mike used to ask me what my dream proposal was and I’d always say the same thing: a private yacht with champagne and Take That playing live. Obviously this is a ridiculous dream and one you wouldn’t expect to come true. But in 2015 when we holidayed to Gran Canaria, he said he had a surprise for me to celebrate our anniversary of 7 years. He kept telling me to not get excited as I might overthink the day – he was trying to pre-empt that I might think he’d propose so was trying to cover his tracks, and with what followed you can see why. He arranged for a private transfer to a harbour and the lady walked us around and finally stopped outside this beautiful yacht and said, “so this one is yours for the day!”. You can imagine my surprise, a private yacht for just us, this was when I had to keep telling myself to not get too excited, just like he warned me (not that it worked). We went aboard and sailed the beautiful oceans taking in the gorgeous scenery, when he said he’d arranged lunch. So down we went to the table, which had been set up with champagne and rose petals, and he’d arranged for my favourite meal of paella to be served with fresh salad. Before we ate, he popped open the champagne and asked me to walk to the front of the yacht. Just as we reached the peak, a playlist he’d created started playing, with, you guessed it, Take That! (They may not have been live, but it’s pretty close). He held my hands in his, said the most beautiful things, and then got down on a knee, took the most beautiful diamond ring out his pocket and said “I love you with all my heart, but I don’t want you to be my girlfriend, I want you to be my wife, will you marry me?”. I swear my heart stopped beating and tears started streaming. All I could do was shout yes and throw my arms around him! The lady who owned the yacht started ringing the bell just as another boat passed and everyone was cheering. This day was my dream proposal and more!
What dress did you wear and where did you buy it?
My dress was actually from WED2B. It was this beautiful slim-fitting gown that had a low back covered with opaque lace and detailed with pearl buttons all the way from the neck to the bottom of my spine. With booking a beach wedding, I didn’t want anything too much or anything with a train, but I still wanted a full-length gown. I compromised with a small fan at the bottom that showed all the beautiful lace detailing, which could be lifted when walking on the sand.
And the accessories?
I’m a big fan of making the dress the statement so I kept my accessories to a minimum letting the dress do all the talking. All I had was a simple silver chain with my engagement ring on around my wrist, a diamond toe ring (because marrying on a beach meant no shoes, so I had to glam up my feet!) and some delicate drop diamond earrings that actually all came from Debenhams. They were simple yet beautiful.
What did the groom wear?
Mike looked amazing! He didn’t wear the traditional three-piece suit – in 30 degree heat, I can’t say I blame him – but he did wear some camel trousers, a brown leather belt, crisp white shirt and brown woven loafers. The groomsmen all wore very similar outfits, so to make his outfit stand out a little more, he had all the buttons changed to brown ones on his shirt. A small detail but just enough to show he was the groom. He looked amazing!
How did you feel when you saw him up the aisle?
Our first moment seeing each other was actually on the boat! He had a big taxi with all the guests from the hotel and boarded the boat, whilst my dad and I had a wedding car. I can just remember getting out the car and looking up, seeing the boat and seeing Mike at the top looking back at me. He had the biggest smile on his face and looked so handsome. He was surrounded by all our guests who just cheered me as I walked towards the boat. It was so overwhelming and surreal, I just remember saying to my dad, “I think I’m going to cry”. My dad just looked at me
and said: “Hayley, you are not going to cry, everyone here is here for you and Mike and you are going to smile. Every
time you think you will cry, you squeeze my hand and I’m here”. I somehow held it together and just looked Mike in the eye, and everything somehow just became suddenly perfect.
Who were your bridesmaids and where were their dresses from?
Despite our wedding being complete at 16 people, I
still had two bridesmaids. My beautiful sister Sarah, who wore this gorgeous natural pink lace dress from a small boutique in Nottingham. My sister is not a shopper so when she found this unbranded lace dress that fit her like a dream, I was thrilled, it was like her own little Carrie Bradshaw moment – ‘she wore a dress by no one’ but she looked phenomenal. My second bridesmaid was my sister-in-law, Laura, who got her dress from David’s Bridal, who also wore a natural lace dress that had a lovely V neck front and lace skirt. They both looked like something out of a bridal magazine, both so beautiful.
What was your wedding theme?
Although it sounds potentially a little cheesy, we kept the beach theme, which all started with the invitations where we made a ‘message in a bottle’. The message was the invitation and we filled the bottom with sanded shells. This theme then ran for the rest of the wedding, with soft blue and green colours in our centrepieces to reflect the ocean and a pop of orange in my bouquet for the gorgeous heat of the sun. Because of our intimate wedding, we wanted a fairly simple design and theme and kept everything else to whites, creams and nudes. On a beautiful beach, what more beauty do you need?!
What was the highlight of your day?
This must be the hardest question to answer as the entire day was just amazing, but I think if I had to pick a moment, it would be when we first saw the island from the boat. We had never visited the venue before, we booked it and saw pictures, but we never did a recce as we wanted the surprise. So seeing the island, completely empty of tourists with only our white silk carpet for the aisle, the archway made with beautiful flowers, and waiters waiting with canapés and champagne, was just amazing. It was so breathtaking, that Mike and I just looked at each and said “wow”.