Bride of the Year 2010 - Winner

Michelle Swadling, ACT




Michelle Swadling, from ACT,
married 1 January 2010


Bride of the Year 2010 Winner

There were twenty gorgeous finalists in the 2010 Bride of the Year Competition, True Bride's tenth annual competition. Each of the twenty entrants had become finalists from hundreds of contestants throughout the year, each deserving a chance to win. But there can only be one winner and in the end Michelle Swadling received the highest amount of votes, and was crowned 'Bride of the Year' 2010. Congratulations Michelle!

Our Winner

During the preparation for my wedding, I found out about True Bride through forums and through my own online searches.  I enjoyed reading the stories of the previous Bride of the Year winners and there were so many photo inspirations that helped with my planning.  So after my wedding, I thought "Why not?" I spoke to my workmates, family, friends and my mother’s group about entering and  I was amazed by how supportive they were!  Everyone was so excited and encouraging.

When voting for the Finalists were on, my friends and family were stoked to be supporting me.  They were more than happy to vote and wish me all the best.

When I received the call to say I had won, I was in a state of shock!  I didn’t quite believe it, but then I was so excited!  I remember saying "Thank you" so many times! The first people I told were my husband Ben and our 5-month-old baby, Tyler.  I told him his mummy was the Bride of the Year! My husband, Ben was stoked and wrote on Facebook that he always knew he had the hottest bride!  Lol!  My friends and family were so excited and told me how much I deserved it.  It made me blush!

With the prize money we will put it towards landscaping our garden so Tyler has a lovely yard to play in this summer. Thank you again, True Bride!

The Proposal

We met and started going out when we were just 17 whilst working after school at a pizza shop. There was instant chemistry and we shared the same sense of humour. We bought our first home a little later on, renovated and sold it, travelled overseas then came back and moved to Canberra where we built a new home.

Eleven years down the track, Ben asked my father's permission to marry me, then a week later Ben proposed in the evening. It was pretty laid back and very surreal! The following day, Ben was shaving his hair off for the charity "Shave for a Cure". Our family and friends joined us for a BBQ after the shave and we announced our good news that we were finally engaged!

The Planning

We gave ourselves a year and two months to organise the wedding. It was the perfect amount of time- it gave me plenty of time to research and plan the perfect wedding day. I LOVED planning my wedding! It was so much fun! I spent hours online researching everything and found some unique touches to add to our day- including personalised m&ms, personalised napkins and my amazing wedding dress!

We loved the concept of travelling away with our guests for our wedding. We spent three nights at Charlotte Pass in the NSW Snowy Mountains and booked out the Kosciusko Chalet-Hotel. It was summertime, so it was lush and green, with all the alpine flowers in bloom. It was a great opportunity to spend quality time with our family and friends over a three-day weekend. We had 5 bridesmaids and 5 groomsmen. They consisted of our closest friends and family members.

Our Wedding Day

I started the day early with my bridesmaids. We drank champagne and danced around the honeymoon suite whilst having our make-up and hair done. The boys spent the day relaxing and playing pool. Ben & I both felt nervous and excited. The girls wore black dresses, in the style of their choosing. The groomsmen wore pinstripe suits and silver ties.

We held our ceremony in the Rotunda at the Koscuisko Chalet-Hotel. Michelle, the events coordinator sprinkled diamantes on the ground to form an aisle. Fairy lights sparkled in large vases and the Rotunda was decorated with glitter votive candles. I descended from the grand staircase to the Rotunda, with my parents walking me down the aisle. I walked down the aisle to our song, "Stay with You" by John Legend, Our wedding day was perfect! We held the reception in the Charlotte Adams Lounge.

Our wedding ceremony was at 4 pm, followed by photos. We then returned to the Kosciusko Chalet-Hotel , it the Charlotte Adams Lounge, a cool retro bar with large leather couches and a huge fireplace for a cocktail party reception, where we caught up with our family and friends. It was cosy and intimate, with fairly lights and candles providing a warm ambience.

Having a cocktail party reception allowed us to mingle with our guests. It also allowed guests to get to know each other, without being constricted to a table. We had the speeches and cut the cake first, then spent the night socialising and dancing. Special personalised cocktails were served, with tasty morsels of elegant cocktail food. The guests also feasted on cupcakes and personalised m&ms.

Our wedding day was exactly what we wanted! My only regret was that I spent too much time dancing on the dance floor and not enough time socialising! It was an amazing day- everything went to plan. It was very special to share our wedding with our closest family and friends.

Planning our wedding was such a great time in our lives. I enjoyed it so much! The simplest thing to arrange was our photographer. I fell in love with his work before we got engaged and I always knew I wanted him to take our wedding photos! The hardest thing to arrange was my wedding dress. I searched high and low for it. I ended up purchasing it from the United States. There was a nail-biting couple of months before it arrived because I had never seen my dress in real life! When it arrived, I was relieved and ecstatic. It was (and is!) my dream wedding dress. Kate Middleton, eat your heart out! Lol!

Honeymoon and Happily Ever After

We honeymooned in Hawaii. A few years before we were engaged, we stopped over in Hawaii and I always knew I wanted to come back for our honeymoon. We stayed at the pink hotel on Waikiki Beach (the Royal Hawaiian) for a few days, then flew over to the Big Island. Our Honeymoon was spent drinking cocktails, eating incredible food and relaxing. Plus, we got to fufil two of my lifetime experiences- to swim with the dolphins and to see an Active volcano.

Our Wedding Day, the lead up and the Honeymoon was one of the most incredible times in our lives ... only to be topped by the birth of our baby son in December 2010 (just shy of our 1 year wedding anniversary). Even though we have been together so long, being married is so special. I love sharing my life with Ben and our gorgeous baby boy, Tyler.