Michaela Cusack, a teacher from Derry and Paul Hunter, a software engineer from Holywood, were blessed with perfect weather when they tied the knot in a ‘Secret Garden’ last July.
In the midst of the beautiful Mountains of Mourne and the seaside scenery in Newcastle, Co Down, the couple, both 27, were married in The Secret Garden at Hugh McCann’s, and treated their 85 guests to a barbecue rather than a formal sit-down meal.
Paul said afterwards that the weather and the scenery had been the highlight of a fantastic day.
The couple met in a nightclub in Belfast. “We were both out with similar friendship groups,” said Michaela. “I had been hearing about a Paul and a Hunter…. little did I know both were the same person!”
Paul proposed during a weekend break in Fermanagh. “He proposed as we were walking along Lough Erne, using a Pandora engagement charm and we went shopping for the ring together, ending up buying a square cut diamond halo ring in Ernest Jones in Belfast,” Michaela said.
They were together for six years before the wedding on July 14 2018.
Michaela went dress hunting with a friend the weekend after her sister’s wedding. They bought the dress in Pronuptia in Belfast. “There was a sale on so it was a bit hectic, but the staff were brilliant and my friend Rachel was a great help!” said Michaela.
She had three bridesmaids, her best friends Annie Stewart, and Jenna McQueen, while her sister Jennifer Lyttle was maid of honour. Their dresses were from True Bride from Uber Bridal, Carrickfergus, and the flower girl’s dress was from Monsoon.
Groomsmen were David Hal, Paul’s childhood best friend and Louis Massaro, his best friend from university, and best man was Paul’s brother Steven Hunter. They all looked smart in suits from Focus Menswear, Bangor.
As they prepared for the big day, the couple really enjoyed planning their honeymoon and doing arts and crafts with friends. They wrote their own wedding invites which proved time consuming, but they tried not to stress about things. “We tried to just keep very calm and keepg everything in perspective,” Michaela said.
The couple said the staff at The Secret Garden at Hugh McCann’s were fantastic from the moment they booked. The evening reception was held in The Loft Suite at the same venue.
Paul is a massive gaming fan and so the couple opted for a Shabby Chic/Quirky theme with a little bit of gaming which they felt was different to other weddings they have been to.
“We used quirky centrepieces for our tables, and had a barbecue as our meal rather than a formal sit down buffet,” said Michaela. “We had little games on the tables for guests, a Polaroid selfie photobook, we gave guests scratch cards as favours and we had afternoon tea. We also had a video log guest book.”
In preparation for their first dance, Michaela and Paul had learned a choreographed routine to ‘The one that I want’ from Grease. They went on to dance together for most of the night.
There were a few mishaps on the day. The traffic was very bad and a few of their guests didn’t make it to the ceremony which the couple say has now made for a very funny story. And the bride’s head from the personalised cake topper fell off at one point, giving everyone a laugh!
The couple say it was all perfect, and they wouldn’t do anything differently. “It was a fantastic day, probably better than either of us ever imagined it would be,” said Michaela. “When we were on honeymoon Paul kept saying he wanted to do it all again exactly as it was!”
Planning that dream honeymoon ensured that the couple stuck to their budget when planning the wedding.
“We toured the east coast of America. Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington and then flew to Orlando and went on a Disney Cruise to the Bahamas and finally spent two weeks in Orlando, Florida,” said Michaela. “So we went for a month in total – that was the part we were most excited about!”
They advise other couples planning a wedding to trust their wedding planner who will ensure everything goes smoothly. “Remember the reason you are getting married and try to keep calm, you’ll enjoy it more,” said Michaela. “Don’t get hung up on pleasing everyone, it’s your day!
Michaela and Paul have now settled into their new home with their new dog!
WEDDING SUPPLIERS INFO
Reception location: Hugh McCann’s
Wedding Dress from: Pronuptia
Groomswear from: Focus Menswear
Make-up by: Chloe Lowry
Hair by: Heavenly Hair
Flowers by: Hedgerows & Laneways
Cake by: Yummy Mummy Cakes
Stationery by: Pegs & Pearls
Transport from: Ideal Wedding Cars
Photography by: Gavin Lynn Photography
Videography by: Celebrations Video
Entertainment by: Songbirds