Michelle and Matt
10th May 2018
Michelle and Matt are both qualified psychotherapists who married in a beautiful Italian Villa in Poole, Dorset. They won Vegan Wedding of the Year for Vegan Life Magazine, providing inspiration for a feature on recipes for beautiful wedding cakes in the latest, August 2018, edition. Michelle and Matt have kindly given us even more details of their special day. It's such a pleasure to read as you can really tell the thought that went behind every detail.
Michelle became vegetarian in 2015, took the Vegan Society’s one-month pledge in February 2016 and transitioned to veganism that November.
"I am passionate about supporting, educating and empowering others to grow, develop, and understand themselves better to live more authentic and balanced lives. For me, living a plant-based lifestyle has nothing to do with restrictions and diets, and everything to do with educating myself, living a compassionate lifestyle, eating what I love, and consuming things that feel good".
Matt became vegetarian after talking to his vegan friends.
"I made the swap to vegetarianism at the beginning of 2014, after watching a video on Youtube where the cows had been locked up all winter, and were let out into the field for the first time during spring – they looked so happy and free and were jumping around, sticking their noses in the grass. It really touched me. I took the Vegan Society’s one-month pledge with Michelle in February 2016 and transitioned to veganism that November".
Matt and Michelle met on our Masters in Counselling Psychology course after both travelling.
Matt: "I thought she's going to be my best friend. I wasn't wrong. I'd left behind so many people in Japan and I felt so unbelievably fortunate to meet this fun, interesting, wonderful, and beautiful person - I still do".
"It didn't take long for us to become besties over our love for life: food, beer, the sunshine, long walks (to the fridge), talking about just about everything, and of course the inbetweeners".
"The venue is in Dorset which is now our home town. We had looked at a destination wedding because majority of our friends and family are elsewhere in the world. But we wanted all our friends and family from all over the world to visit us here, get to experience our lovely home town, and have them over to our new house too (we became first time buyers too this year as well!!...They do say buying a house and planning a wedding are two of the most stressful life events… alas!)".
"The venue is absolutely stunning. Everything under one roof on three floors – top floor for ceremony; middle floor for wedding breakfast, speeches, etc., and bottom floor for dancing/partying, buffet, and cake cutting!! This meant less stress and more enjoyment for us! No need to organize transportation, and no need to leave the venue for photos or anything".
"One thing led to another and I came running down the stairs (late as usual) before leaving for our weekly dinner date to find Matt down on one knee with a Donut in a box, saying a bunch of the mushiest words, asking me to marry him. I laughed and I cried and I asked him if he was serious....I said yes (of course because he proposed with a donut), put the donut on my finger and we obviously ate it. I've always said I'd rather have a donut than a diamond ring any day!!"
"I’m not into diamonds, especially due to the ethical dilemmas behind the industry). So instead he opened up a joint account for us and named it the 'adventure fund' and stuck a bit of money in there as my engagement present instead of a ring – which was absolutely perfect!!!!! It sums us up really well! Though apparently after that I wanted something on my finger (this came as a shock to both of us!) so I dug out a gold ring my mom had gifted me years ago with two small rubies on it and stuck that on my ring finger. I fell in love with it and it was my sit-in engagement ring till we got married".
Michelle bought her wedding dress from a charity shop in Dorset.
"My dress is ivory, and tea length. It’s got a cut out back and was an absolute dream!!!!! It was so comfortable and went perfectly with my cathedral veil! When I saw it in the shop, I fell in love with the back more than anything. I figured a seamstress could rework the front to make it more of what I was looking for. I bought it in August 2017 actually more as a ‘back up’ in case I don’t find anything else I loved. I didn’t realize it was a size 10 – apparently the seamstress had her work cut out for her as she ended up making it a size 6!! It was really comfortable, there was room to move in it as dancing and eating were a priority for me lol!!!!"
“I’ve never been the type of person to go for very extravagant huge poofy dresses, and as stunning as long trains are on dresses, I didn’t think that was really my style. I do love to dance and I wanted to be able to (and I did!!) do that all night long. I have 30 small birds tattooed on my back and the cut out back was perfect to show some of that off. It was elegant, light, and comfortable – these were important for me!! Also it was very different!! We don’t see tea length dresses much".
Thrifty Michelle bought her veil off Amazon for just £30.
“It was a stunning loooong cathedral veil. I ordered it on a whim expecting something of terrible quality that I would return. Actually it couldn’t have been more perfect. The embroidered flowery bits on the end of it were the exact same as the ones on my dress. And they were sort of shabbily stuck on to the veil but it really didn’t show unless you looked really closely. I was so pleased! I thought long and hard about a tea length dress with a cathedral veil. And decided it was different, a bit of fun, and something that I wouldn’t regret since I’d only be wearing it for two hours!! It worked perfectly on the day.”
“I knew I wanted the style of the wedding to be simple, elegant but fun, and full of bright colours. I wanted lots of natural, fresh flowers – but did not want to pay the £900 that the florists were quoting us so resorted to Tesco bouquets instead to fill our wine bottles and jars for centre pieces. We also did not want to waste all of those flowers so pawned the centre pieces off to local guests as they left!!
The only flowers we bought from the florist was my bouquet (bridesmaid size), the garland for the signing table, and two arrangements on small stands that stood on either side of the signing table. Oh and three buttonholes – one for the groom, and one for each of our dads!”
“I bought my shoes from a shop called Stilleto Shoes in Karachi, Pakistan when I went home (one of my homes – I’m Pakistani!) in february before the wedding. The shoes are a blush pink with champagne glitter. They’re pencil heels, open toe and have a sandal like strap at the front. They seemed vegan as there was no leather or suede and all synthetic. Matt had bought me blush pink glittery Toms as a present to change into during the party part of the wedding which were perfect. The Toms were vegan too.”
“I struggled with deciding the colour theme. I didn’t have one for the longest time, knowing that I’d pick whatever flowers were at Tesco two days before the wedding. Though I fell in love with the blush pink/champagne/rose gold palette I found all over the internet. I figured it would be a good palette to go for with the bridal party because those are easy shades to find. I love teal so decided to use that as the ‘color pop’ for the theme. The table numbers, signs, and big wooden M&M letters were painted teal by us! Matt loves blue so he chose a blue suit for himself, and navy ties for the lads. Generally I steer very clear of gender stereotypes with the blue and pink and like to oppose the norm. But this felt natural, accessible, and very ‘us’. So I had to work on letting go of some of that stuff!!”
Michelle and Matt had a three course wedding breakfast from Beales Gourmet, as they provide the catering at the Italian Villa. They also had a buffet later in the day with recipes inspired by Vegan Life Magazine and online.
The main 3 course meal consisted of a leek and potato soup with mounds of truffled croutons, a butternut squash and sweet potato tart and a chocolate praline tart for dessert with ice cream, chocolate drizzle and edible flowers.
Michelle and Matt opted for two tiered cake from Kate’s Dairy Free Cakes. One tier vanilla sponge, the other chocolate sponge; both with oreo buttercream icing; topped with more oreo buttercream icing, and gold dusted oreos. "It was out of this world!!!”
Michelle and Matt made soy candles and put sunflower seeds in miniature bottles as wedding favours.
We LOVE Michelle and Matt's beautiful day. We asked Michelle what her favourite part of the day was and I think she summed it up quite well:
"Everything! I couldn’t choose. Maybe seeing matt and walking down the aisle – I was so happy and smiling really big. It was just magical. All of it!!"
Congratulations to you both! You are definitely going to look back at these photos and remember those smiles!
Venue - The Italian Villa
Caterers - Beales Gourmet
Entertainment - 217 Events
Cake - Kate's Dairy Free Cakes
Photographer - Cuong Tran
Videographer - Leg of Productions
Rings - Cara Jewellers