Nestled beautifully in the heart of the picturesque Co. Down countryside, Montalto Estate is a privately-owned demesne which dates back to the early 1600s. Originally a 19th-century threshing mill, the Carriage Rooms were the venue for Katherine McCurdy and Michael Blewitt's wedding on Saturday the 29th of July 2023. Their wedding was filled with personal touches and beautifully captured by Under The Veil. Just wait until you see their gorgeous pooch!

In 2017, Katherine bought a house in Bristol with her older brother, not realising that her future husband had bought a house in the neighbourhood two months prior. "When we moved in our lovely neighbours had organised a street party for us all to get to know everyone better. It was one of the hottest days of the year, the streets were filled with bunting and there was a real buzz in the air. My brother and our housemate were out so I went along by myself and Michael and his sister happened to be the first people I got talking to. He lived in the house just behind mine and our gardens backed onto each other." Over a few months, the two got to know one another before it became clear they both had feelings for each other. 

In December 2021 Katherine and her family were in the Cotswolds for Christmas. She had organised for Michael and his family to come up from Bristol for a Boxing Day lunch in The Slaughters. He had suggested a Boxing Day Walk just the two of them and the couple's precious little Dachshund Charlie before lunch. "We were down by the river and he went to go wash his hands in the water, I was telling him not to be silly as we were nearly at the restaurant and then he pulled out a pure white leather box from his pocket and got down on one knee. I think I blurted out “Yes” before he’d finished asking. It was just perfect and so special to be able to have both our families with us to celebrate straight away!"

For her beauty journey, the biggest things Katherine focused on were her skin and smile. "I really wanted a lovely glow but didn’t go crazy with beauty appointments. I got cut and a few little highlights from the fab team at Stafford Hair in Belfast (I still love them more than anyone I’ve found in London, worth the flight home for!) I had Invisalign and Boutique Whitening with my dentist in Islington which gave me the confidence to smile brightly all day long." Having lived away from home for many years, Katherine found it a bit hard to find the right team for her hair and make-up. Both were actually recommendations from friend’s weddings and her decision was cemented by the fact that Katherine kept seeing both Kim Annesley Hair and Jennifer Ireland Make Up as vendors in weddings she loved online or in magazines for N. Ireland weddings. "I had lusted over the AERIN Fleur de Peony perfume for years – the scent of my favourite flower is divine and the bottles are so beautiful, my lovely Mother-in-Law actually bought it for me and had it engraved as a present for my wedding morning."

Katherine had an absolute ball picking out her wedding dress! "I had always had an idea of what I wanted but there are SO many styles of white dresses!" She found a beautiful boutique in Marylebone and went with her Mum, a couple of bridesmaids and her mother-in-law. "I absolutely loved two dresses one of which was the dream dress I had always envisioned and another my Mum found and wanted me to try on – when Mum’s wild card was on we all knew it was my dress. It was classic but a little bit different to anything else we had seen. I definitely got a little bit emotional when I tried it and could picture Dad walking me down the aisle to Michael. It had also actually been Dad’s favourite dress all along, which I will always find really special."

The couple had a few different ideas for the groom’s suit. Katherine wanted Michael in something a bit special but the groomsmen and their Dad’s suits also tie in. "We ended up going for a wander and decided to try on Navy Tuxedos in Hawes and Curtis and the boys just looked so sharp. My dress felt quite formal and it just seemed to tie in quite well."

Katherine's bridesmaids were best friends from each stage of her life. "Ayesha has been my best friend since school, Emma was my best friend from day one of university, Niamh was my Maid of Honour and is like a sister to me, Shelly-Ann and I have been inseparable in London and often joke we see as much of each other as our partners and Joanna, Michael’s sister, was there for quite literally day one of our relationship so of course she was a bridesmaid." Katherine fell in love with the Jenny Yoo dresses quite soon after getting engaged and the Wild Rose colour felt the perfect shade of pink without being too girlie or insipid for pale Irish skin tones! She tried a few others for her bridesmaids, but nothing remotely compared. "I found Nabbd in Wimbledon and could not have had a better experience. The girls chose the style they felt the most comfortable and confident in and I thought they all looked incredible."

The couple had a Church ceremony at Hillsborough Parish Church in Katherine's childhood village. "The ceremony itself meant so much to us and we put a lot of thought into making it personal to us. We each had one of our closest friends do a reading during the ceremony, my brother Mark said really beautiful prayers and my Mum read a gorgeous poem “What is a Soulmate” by Emily Matthews. Ayesha, my incredibly talented bridesmaid, sang whilst we signed our register and our closest family friend sang John Rutter’s “The Bless You and Keep You” which was also sung at my parent's wedding and means a lot to our family. Champagne and strawberries were served on the lawn afterwards and we drove away from the church in my grandfather’s 1959 MG TD soft top."

For Katherine, Montalto Estate has always been at the top of her list for her wedding. "We had considered a couple of other venues in Northern Ireland but from the moment we drove up the sweeping drive to Montalto we were blown away. As an architect, Michael loved the design of the venue and the way it flowed so you had a different space for each part of the day. The grounds are breathtaking: the manicured gardens, the banquet hall and the fab evening space downstairs for the evening party!"

For the reception entertainment, the couple hired House Party, having seen them play at a friend’s wedding. "I hadn’t been myself but everyone was raving that it was the best wedding party they had been to and the dancefloor was never empty!" It's safe to say the reviews paid off and the dancefloor was filled with people singing and having fun into the wee hours.

Regarding the best decision, Katherine had to say, "Our absolute best decision was having Under The Veil as our wedding photographers. Jess and Dan were outstanding and exceeded every expectation we had. Photography plays such a huge role in how you feel and remember the day, they have such an intimate view into your wedding day and our with you for almost every part of the day. As a couple, we are both very camera shy, but they both truly made us feel so comfortable and feel our absolute best. They were kind but let us enjoy every moment of our day without feeling conscious of the camera being there. One of our favourite parts of the day was the hour or so around the grounds where we got photos of just the two of us – other than the drive from the church it’s really the only time of the day you are alone as a newlywed couple. My biggest compliment to Jess for the last six months is that I have found it nearly impossible to narrow down my favourite photos because she is too good at her job! Michael has also picked up a few tricks from Dan and I managed to bag myself an insta-husband for honeymoon photos so thanks for that!"

Regarding the worst decision, Katherine had to say, "Worst decision is almost impossible – we feel so lucky to have enjoyed almost everything. It wasn’t a decision but I did forget my bag with my evening shoes and touch-up makeup at the house on the wedding morning in the excitement of leaving the house. So not having someone designated to have a final mini checklist on the wedding morning would is probably my only actual regret!"

- Gráinne