When MaKaela and Tony got married, a slew of first graders showed up at their church! These kiddos weren’t pint-sized wedding crashers—MaKaela is a teacher, and her class came to the ceremony dressed in their finest. How adorable is that? It’s almost as sweet as the fact that Tony proposed on Christmas Day when they were in their PJs, with their Goldendoodle there to help celebrate!
While shopping for her wedding dress at Brides by the Falls, MaKaela fell for our Arabella top and Rose skirt…but then she slipped on our sleek Kate skirt. MaKaela and her mom couldn’t settle on a favorite, so MaKaela decided to be a two-look girl with Arabella and Rose for her ceremony and Arabella and Kate for the reception. For her something blue, old, and new, MaKaela put together a piece with tons of meaning. Her grammy, with whom she was close and who had met Tony, had passed three years before, so MaKaela told us she “had a rose petal from one of my grandmother’s old blouses plus a lace appliqué from my mother’s wedding dress sewn into my skirt.”
Read on for the details about that sweet Christmas morning proposal, how MaKaela found her gown, and about their wonderful day!
How did your sweetie propose?
“Tony popped the question bright and early on Christmas morning (2017). We are naturally early risers but on this holiday morning, we woke up extra early so we could exchange gifts and enjoy a cup of coffee together before heading over to watch my 3-year-old nephew and 4-year- old niece open their gifts from Santa. It was 6:00 am and we had just finished opening our gifts. This year, I was excited because I thought I had found the best gift ever for Tony… an espresso maker! Encouraging him to fire it up, Tony suggested that there was one more gift we must have missed. At this point, he directed me to stand over by our front window and proceeded to pull out that unbelievable, immediately recognizable box. Explaining how our lives have been intertwined since before we even met and how we are undeniably each other’s fate, he got down on one knee and proposed. The best part about it… he got it all on camera by hiding a GoPro in our wall art, me in my polar bear pajamas, hiding behind our sweet goldendoodle and all.”
How did you choose your gown?
“We were engaged on Christmas and had our July 20, 2018 wedding booked just 3 days later. Needless to say, I had a very short window to find my dream gown – as was made clear by the first few boutiques we browsed.
The day that I found THE dress was on a snow day. I am a first grade teacher and this particular winter was harsh in Ohio. I got called off due to snowy conditions, so my mom and I did the only logical thing… go on a hunt for my wedding dress. I booked an appointment at a shop that had great reviews but to my dismay, found nothing. As we were driving home, I remembered the wedding dress shop in the town close to my school. We called and the wonderful ladies encouraged us to come on in. I was the only girl there on this wintery day and we began playing dress up. I believe I tried on nearly every dress in the whole boutique, but the moment I tried on THE dress, we all knew it was it. My face lit up while my mom’s and the store owners’ eyes teared up. It was meant to be. Or so we thought. I chose the Lea-Ann Belter Arabella top with a fuller, lacy princess skirt. For the fun of it, the store owner suggested I tried on the sleeker skirt. I fell in love again. After much debate, the decision was clear… I’d do both skirts to give myself two looks on our special day.”
Tell us about your day! Did you have a theme or style in mind?
“Everything really just fell into place from the very start and, as it turned out, our day followed in the same pattern. It was absolutely perfect! We got married at the church we had been attending together since we started dating. That way it wasn’t his church or my church, it was our church. We then took pictures in Chagrin Falls, which happens to be where the school I teach at is located, and is truly the picturesque, All-American town, complete with a popcorn shop and waterfall.
Our reception was at the newest, sweetest venue in the area called Sapphire Creek Winery & Gardens. This magical place provided a romantic setting with indoor-outdoor capabilities with floor to ceiling glass windows making us feel like we were planted in a forest. Our first dance was outside, as our friends and family circled around us and the sun began to set over the treetops. Our florist added her touch by bringing in beautiful arrangements and touches of lanterns and mirrors. At night, the venue’s moonlighting complimented the bright starry sky and illuminating fire fountain. As we took it all in, we were so grateful to be surrounded by all the people who meant the most to us. It was an irreplaceable, unforgettable day!”
What’s your funniest wedding day memory?
“When nearly all of the first graders showed up at the reception, dressed in their suits and party dresses, nearly falling into the aisle as I made my way down.”
What was your favorite wedding day moment?
“Sitting at our satay at the head table, holding hands, as we looked out at all the beautiful faces that were there for US, to celebrate OUR love.”
What was your first dance song?
“From the Ground Up” by Dan + Shay
Describe your wedding day in 5 words or less:
“Simply the best day ever.”
What was your something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue?
“My grandmother was very special to me and had passed away 5 years prior to our wedding. My Grammy got diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that the doctors believed she would beat. I’ll never forget it, but when she got diagnosed, I was attending The Ohio State University for my undergraduate studies. I was working out on an elliptical at the university’s RPAC when I got the call. Grammy told me the news and then proceeded to inform me that she told the nurse that she HAD to beat this because she needed to be at her granddaughter’s wedding some day. She explained that she knew, in her heart, that I hadn’t yet found the one and she needed to know that I would be taken care of by a man deserving of my love. It broke our hearts that Grammy couldn’t be there to celebrate, but it was comforting to know she had met the man of my dreams. Although he was just a friend at the time, Grammy had met him and I know she approved. I had a rose petal from one of my grandmother’s old blouses, plus a lace applique from my mother’s wedding dress sewn into the skirt of mine. This was the something new, something borrowed and something blue.
My amazing uncle also drove his old, baby blue Chevy Nova from PA to OH and escorted us out of the church.”
Where did you go on your honeymoon?
“Greece – Athens, Mykonos and Santorini.”
Any advice for future brides/grooms?
“Soak it all in, every moment! And if you get the chance, take the extra hour extension. It’ll be worth every dollar!”
MaKaela + Tony’s Sapphire Creek Winery Wedding Vendors
bridal gown: Lea-Ann Belter Arabella top, Rose skirt, and Kate skirt via Brides by the Falls | photography: Birch Tree Photography | hair: Monica Hoogeveen and Skilled Hands Hairstudio | MUA: Lindsay London | ceremony: St Clement’s Church, officiant: Fr. Deogratias Ruwaainenyi, venue: Sapphire Creek Winery & Gardens | venue coordinator: Jacqueline Jaggers | caterer: Hungry Bee | wedding cake: Kelsey Elizabeth Cakes | DJ: Rock The House Entertainment | floral: The Budding Tree
decor: Kathy Banks, Borrowed, La’Nique and The Budding Tree