They say love is blind but after going on a blind date, it was love at first sight for Anita Ross and Matthew Mackey. After many more dates Matthew had plans for Anitas birthday!
What was supposed to be just a birthday shopping tripto Dublin was in fact much much more, Matt proposed to Anita inSt Stephen’s Green in Dublin and for Anita, ‘yes’ was the only answer. “Mymum and dad, Matt’s mum and dad and his granny and grandad all got engaged in St Stephen’s Green so it is sentimental to both of us.” Matthew had another romantic surprise in store for his new fiancée and drove her to the airport to board a plane to New York so they could celebrate their engagement in style!
As owner of My Sister’s Closet – fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog, My Sister’s Closet – The Label and The Boudoir Ladies Boutique at The Linen Green in Dungannon, Anita always dreamt of designing her own wedding gown and she made it happen. She explained: “I knew what I wanted in my dress so I designed it myself and got it made by my friend in Paris who works for a design house In Paris. I wanted my dress to be quite traditional and plain. I wanted to look like myself on my wedding day and feel comfortable.”
Anita’s sister Donna Ross, who is also her business partner, played the role of bridesmaid with ease and elegance and the two sisters bonded over designing her bridesmaid dress. Anita recalls: “We wanted something that was different from my dress but still a little unusual and in keeping with my general style, we felt the embellished cape added a bit of glamour to the dress but still kept the frame of it simple.”
Groom Matthew, a press photographer for Press Eye, looked dashing in a suit from Bogart Menswear in Dublin alongside his Best Man Matthew Graham.
Anita and Matthew enjoyed a year-long engagement before taking their solemn vows in Saint Patrick’s Church, Donaghmore followed by a lavish marquee reception for 150 guests on the Castle Leslie Estate in County Monaghan.
Anita walked down the aisle to Gabriels’ Oboe played by her friend Helen Morris whilst a professional five piece choir, directed by friend Ashley Fulton and a string quartet played throughout the ceremony. “I was extremely laid back when it came to planning,” said Anita. “I didn’t get stressed. I did a lot of the planning a few months before the wedding but the best part was selecting my wedding shoes! I love shoes and found this part the most difficult as Katie at Petticoat Lane had so many amazing pairs it was hard to decide on which I liked best. Both Donna and I got our shoes there and they were both by Badgley Mischka.”
Thankfully, Anita remained stress-free throughout the entire process and everything ran like clockwork. “Matt was amazing,” gushed Anita, “he was such a help! My wedding suppliers were fab too. SBD Events made the decor for the wedding so special, they took such a weight off my shoulders. I probably would have been stressed had it not been for Leanne and Sarah being so competent at dressing the marquee – it was like something from a television show; they literally came in and transformed the marquee in a few hours! They made it truly magical for Matt and I.”
Anita’s finger was never off the fashion pulse as she incorporated metal of the moment – rose gold throughout the marquee accompanied with soft lighting and lots of flowers. Floral motifs were incorporated onto everything from the invitations through to the venue and a sparkle dance floor, rose gold Dior chairs, floating flower bombs, light up LED letters and an extended floral arch at the church really gave the wedding the ‘wow factor’.
Anita remembers: “The day was wonderful from start to finish. We were surrounded by friends and family and we partied through to the early hours of the morning! Wish I could do it over again!”
As the reception kicked off, The Manouché Boys got everyone in the party spirit and the dance floor was buzzing all night and an impromptu performance from a friend of the family just roused the crowd even more. Anita laughs: “My dad’s friend Albert went up to the band and took the mic off the lead singer and sang three songs! Everyone was in stitches (he is a great singer anyway) but I don’t think the band expected it but they didn’t mind.” The coupled shared their first dance as husband and wife to ‘I have told you lately’ by Rod Stewart.
The couple wouldn’t change a thing about their perfect day and had this advice for other brides-to-be: “Choose the right wedding providers. They can make your wedding preparation go smoothly and make it an enjoyable experience, and on the day enjoy yourself as it goes by in a flash. The highlight for us was when we walked into the marquee at Castle Leslie and the manager John introduced us as Mr and Mrs Mackey while all our nearest and dearest were there cheering for us!” And did they stick to their budget? Anita answers: “Not exactly but it was worth every penny!”
The couple honeymooned in Dubai for a week, before heading onto Bangkok, Koh Samui and Koh Pangan! Anita and Matt are blissfully happy and Anita adds: “Married life is wonderful – if I had known it was this good I would have tied the knot sooner!”
Reception: Castle Leslie
Wedding Dress: Designed by The Bride
Bridesmaid Dress: My Sister’s Closet, The Boudoir
Menswear: Bogart Menswear
Make-up: Clare McKinney, Make-up and Beauty
Flowers: Victoriana Floral
Room Décor: SBD Events
Light Up Letters: Electric Alphabet
Rings: Lunn’s The Jewellers
Stationery: Lily Annabella Stationery
Wedding Signs: Signs by Rachel
Photography: Laura Parkinson Photography
First Dance: Have I Told You Lately, Rod Stewart