Like many modern love stories, Shanice and Matthew met on the popular dating app Tinder. “I was in my second year of university,” says Shanice. “After many phone calls, I finally agreed to meet him in person and, being the romantic he is, he picked me up and took me to McDonalds for our first date. I was so nervous, as this was technically my first date ever, if you count McDonalds as a date! I had already spoken with him so much that, when we met for the first time, it felt like I’d known him for years.”

Two proposals

“Matt first asked to marry me a year after we’d been together,” says Shanice. “I was 20 at the time and we were in Venice. It was on the roof top of a restaurant, overlooking the city and of course I said, ‘Yes!’. However, we were both so young and we had so many other milestones and life experiences to go through before we considered planning and actually getting married.”

“So, four years after that (and after five years together) we were living in our first house,” says Shanice. “ Matthew decided it was time to take this next step, so he proposed all over again. This was in the middle of lockdown. With restrictions lifting, I went for a walk with my Nan one morning and when I came home it all unfolded.”

Second time lucky...

“I opened the front door to heart balloons, rose petals and a letter, which guided me upstairs where a new dress was laid out on the bed. Then there were several envelopes with hints, hidden around the house and alongside each one was also a handwritten letter from a different family member. The last letter was from Matt and the last clue led me outside where I was found him and my dog with candles, balloons and a picture collage. My dog ran towards me with a bandana saying, ‘Will you marry me?’. At this point I knew what was coming but the overwhelming feeling of love was just perfect. And, of course, I said yes again! Everything was perfect and it was just so magical. I had no idea he was planning this and it takes a lot to surprise me. I loved it and love him!”

Shopping for the dress

“I followed a number of groups on Facebook and a lot of brides were talking about their WED2B dresses and experiences,” says Shanice. “The Milton Keynes store was less than five minutes away and before I went I wrote a list all of the dresses on the website that I wanted to try on. It was my first bridal shop visit and I went by myself one Thursday afternoon, as I had the day off work. I wasn’t planning on buying anything, I just wanted to see if the styles suited me.”

“When I arrived the staff were so friendly and informative. The lady helped me find the dresses I had written down and had my top four ready for me to try on. The staff were amazing. I was by myself but they gave me so much confidence and great advice when it came to choosing a dress. I didn’t want to make a decision straight away and wanted to invite my mum, step-mum and mother-in-law to choose a dress with me. So I reserved one dress and then came back the following Saturday with my mothers.”

The perfect outfit

“In the end, I decided on a different dress than the one I reserved but that wasn’t an issue, I was able to take the reservation deposit off the other dress. My dream dress was Stockton. The detail was just beautiful. It’s a fitted dress with a beautiful button-up design, gorgeous beaded detail and an elegant lace trail. My favourite feature was the detailed cross-over back straps. It was just perfect!”

Accessories to match

“I also went with the Willa veil, which matched the dress perfectly, and a Wunderskirt, which helped shape me and the dress. It made me feel like a princess and I knew that this was the dress I wanted to get married in. I had so many compliments from people saying they’d never seen a dress like it and how beautiful I looked. Following the advice from the staff, I also bought a hanger and a travel case. It was the perfect size to allow me to take my dress as hand luggage for our Cypriot wedding.” (For similar styles try Kylo, Otis or Fynn)

A dreamy Cypriot wedding venue

“We decided on a destination wedding almost right away,” says Shanice. “Making it a Cypriot wedding reduced the cost and we also got a holiday out of it. The packages available cover most aspects for you, so it really does take the stress away from planning a wedding. It was the most easy and stress-free experience for me. Firstly we contacted a destination wedding company. After setting out our requirements, they narrowed down the selection and we landed on a Cypriot wedding at the Asterias Beach Hotel. You could say we took a risk booking a venue that we’d never actually seen in person. Neither of us had ever been to Cyprus before either, but the wedding planner was a godsend. She made everything so easy and the pictures sold it to us. “

“The Cypriot wedding venue was overlooking the beach and had perfect views for both the ceremony and reception. The food was delicious, the drinks package and the decorations were great, I wouldn’t have changed a thing! We stayed for a total of 13 nights at the hotel. We arrived eight days before the wedding day, which was on 3rd June 2022. Then we had a meeting with the wedding planner. She walked us through the day, the locations and showed us some pictures, and we knew we made the right choice. It was just perfect.”

The big day

“The ceremony wasn’t until 3pm, so on the morning of the wedding I woke up at a reasonable hour and headed down to the hotel spa to get my hair and makeup done. My bridesmaids and I enjoyed bubbles and sandwiches and we took lots of pictures and got into our dresses. I kept my dress a secret from everyone except my mothers. So seeing their reaction when I got into the dress was amazing. They made me feel beautiful.”

“It was a lovely hot day with clear blue skies and I walked down the aisle with my Dad,” says Shanice. “It all happened so quickly but taking my vows and reading our own vows to each other was something I will never forget. After officially marrying, my mum did a reading of the poem ‘He Never Leaves The Seat Up’, which sums up our relationship. Then we walked back down the aisle as husband and wife.”

A gold and white beach theme

“Our wedding planner was amazing and provided a PDF with all the decorations and table décor they offer in-house. I simply selected what I wanted and she made it happen. We went with a gold and white beach theme. I also decided I wanted more decorations, so I was given the details of a local provider who again was able to make my dreams a reality.”

Stunning details

For the groom and groomsmen we went with a sand/stone suit and the bridesmaids were in champagne colour multiway dresses. The wedding cake was a simple two-tier, Victoria sponge naked cake with real flowers. The cake topper was mini crochet versions of ourselves plus mini knitted versions of our dogs hidden at the back, so it looks like they were eating the cake. As it was a beach wedding, we also got personalised paper fans for our guests. These were a big hit, as it was so hot everyone was fanning themselves!”

Speeches, drinks and music

“The cocktail reception felt like something out of Bridgerton, with instrumental music, group photos and delicious canapés. We then had some couple photos, before heading back to the reception where everyone welcomed us as Mr and Mrs Harrison. My dad and brother-in-law (best man) then gave speeches, which brought a tear to everyone's eyes. And, untraditionally, I delivered a speech as my husband isn't a fan of public speaking.”

A late-night dip

“Our first dance was to ‘The One’ by Kodaline and everyone joined in,” says Shanice. “Having your family and friends surrounding you having a great time and sharing the love between each other is a feeling I wish you could bottle. As we reached midnight it was a sad knowing it was all over but also a great feeling because we’d just has the best day ever. But the party didn’t end there. We’d decided it would be a great idea to run into the ocean to end the night. I was in my dress and Matt was in his suit and we ran into the sea! I was dripping wet, cold and sandy but it was a memory I will cherish forever. Plus, after the dry cleaning, the dress was good as new!”

So many happy memories…

“Everyone says the same thing when they reflect on their wedding, ‘The day goes by so quick’. And it does! I am so grateful for the photography and videography, so I can see the moments we missed. The most memorable parts were walking down the aisle, seeing all my family and friends there waiting to watch me and Matt make a life time commitment to each other. Seeing Matt tear up as he waited for me at the end of the aisle was so precious.”

“I loved the couple photoshoot, which gave me and Matt time with each other. And finally it was running into the ocean at the end of the night, after a fun evening celebrating, eating, drinking and dancing with all our friends. To all be so carefree and happy, running and splashing around in the ocean, is something I will never forget. Being with my husband, seeing everyone happy, was magical. Unfortunately though, now the wedding blues are a real thing!”

My top tips…

“I would recommend a destination wedding to everyone. It can be so much cheaper and you can be more selective with the guests, reducing your per head cost. Venues and suppliers can work out cheaper too. Plus, if you chose the right hotel/package, it usually comes with the open bar included and covers most of the key elements, leaving you stress free.”

Shanice and Matthew’s Dream Team

Photographer and videographer: Wedding Photography by the Kellys

Venue: Asterias Hotels

Wedding Dresses Milton Keynes: WED2B

Wedding Planner: Susanne at Asterias Beach Hotel

Cake, Hairstylist, Caterer, Makeup, Flowers and Entertainment: All organised by Susanne at Asterias Beach Hotel

Personalised Fans: Ali Express

Wedding Stationary: Canva/Vista Print

If you would like your big day to be one of our real weddings like this Cypriot wedding, please click here to share your story and photos with us and we’ll be in touch. Or click here for more details about WED2B’s bridal shops Milton Keynes