Michael McLaughlin and Nicola Bathie, the owner of a namesake jewelry brand that specializes in the kind of earrings that make for the perfect bridesmaids’ gifts, got engaged during a Thanksgiving dinner on his family’s ranch. The meal was prepared by South African caterers (Nicola was born in South Africa), and she was told his parents were testing them out for an event they were hosting later in the year. “It was all a daze, but somehow, I missed all signals, flowers, and the tea candles and believed the ‘test run’ story,” Nicola jokes.
The bride had never planned out her wedding in her head, as so many brides-to-be have, and they were both in their early 20s when they tied the knot, so the couple started with a blank slate. Nicola originally wanted to plan a trip around her wedding dress search and look for her gown in England with the complete experience of “waking up in a castle and having racks and racks of gorgeous gowns to choose from,” she says. However, her mother quickly brought her back down to earth and suggested a destination wedding in England as a compromise. As the U.K. holds a special place in the couple’s relationship, they were delighted when they found Bovey Castle, near where Nicola’s grandparents lived and where her parents married, to host their event. To help with planning and execution, they hired Lynn Huntress from San Antonio and Sally Lemar from England.
“A large part of my interest in the aforementioned venue was that they had a beautiful dining room that was fitted head to toe with de Gournay wallpaper and floral Manuel Canovas dining chairs. Unfortunately, two months after we secured our contract, they had a leak, and the de Gournay wallpaper was destroyed,” says the bride.
Below, Nicola shares her something borrowed, blue-ish, and old as well as wardrobe regrets, and the trend she wishes had been around at the time of her 2015 English castle wedding.
How did you choose what you wore? Can you walk us through your thought process for clothing, jewelry, and beauty. We’re sure accessories were a large part of your look!
“We found my dress while dress shopping in New York City at Vera Wang. I knew I wanted long sleeves on my dress, and they were able to tailor that for me.”
I wore a pair of my mom’s floral diamond earrings (something old and borrowed) and a De Beers ring on my right hand (something new). My shoes were bright pink Giambattista Valli. (Although there wasn’t any blue in them, I told people my shoes were my something blue.)
“I personally handmade all my bridesmaids pearl earrings, and we gifted them matching ivory gowns from BHLDN. I wanted the ceremony to be white all-over with hints of dark green foliage and tiny pops of light pink.”
Years later, are there any wardrobe regrets?
“I had a hand-beaded belt made for my wedding dress from Vera Wang, and although, I didn’t end up wearing it, I regret purchasing it. I had the mentality to keep adding ‘more,’ and it was unnecessary.”
Any style or dress tips you’d give a bride to be?
“When looking for your dress, don’t assume you know exactly what styles you want. Try on everything and anything because the shape of a dress is so powerful. I was shocked at the shape we landed on. Don’t feel pressure to do more or better than someone else’s wedding or to need to wow people. They are coming to see you marry, and that’s wow enough.”
What was your favorite part of the ceremony and reception?
“During our ceremony, the windows were opened to the English country side; you could hear birds chirping, and the lighting on that day in England was perfect.”
“We got married on my husband’s best friend’s birthday, and they brought out a birthday cake for him and walked it in with loads of sparklers in a very grand way—only come to find out that they had swapped his birthday cake with the groom’s cake!”
What’s one recent trend that you wish had been around when you got married?
“Organically arranged flowers (Putnam & Putnam-style).”
Did anything funny or unexpected or disastrous happen?
“Funny . . . years later. My dad had strict instructions to not step on my veil, when he walked to his seat, so he was so focused on that, when he pulled out the front of my hair with his watch band while lifting off my blusher.”
“And my eldest brother wasn’t feeling well during the ceremony, and the Vicker, in a strong English accent, stopped the ceremony during our vows (YES), looked at him, and said, ‘Are you alright?’ and asked someone to bring him a glass of water.”
What song did you dance your first dance to?
“‘L-O-V-E’ by Nat King Cole.”
What is one thing you would do differently if you could get married again?
“I would have a smaller wedding and would have gotten married earlier in the day!”
What’s one piece of marriage advice you like to give out?
“Always remember your vows. Stay blissful and don’t take life too seriously. Forgive and forget.”