Mary Kate Hayden, a nurse anesthetist, and Michael Aiello first met at The University of Michigan during freshman orientation, but it was only until they ran into each other at a charity event in Chicago a few years after graduation that their relationship began. After dating for four years, Michael proposed at their first date spot, The Berkshire Room, as their song started to play.
The engaged couple originally planned for an October 24, 2020 wedding at the Country Club of Detroit in her hometown of Grosse Pointe, Michigan, but in early April 2020, they postponed to May 15, 2021. “As a nurse anesthetist, my primary role during the pandemic was intubating patients with COVID pneumonia,” Mary Kate explains. “On top of this, both of my parents had severe cases of COVID. I was so close to the disease, both clinically and personally, I just knew deep down that we wouldn’t be able to safely host our wedding by October.”
In January 2021, the two also decided to cut their 300-person guest list down to only 120 people and move the reception outdoors. Mary Kate also realized she needed help planning and enlisted Sarah Rhodes Boyce. “To call COVID wedding planning an emotional rollercoaster isn’t doing it justice—it was so hard to get excited with the mountain of uncertain logistics to deal with!” the bride exclaims. “Even though my family rolled out the red carpet with complete one-hundred support, it was so tough! There is no way we could’ve gotten through all of this with sustained hope and excitement if it wasn’t for my planner, my family, and my girlfriends.”
Aesthetic-wise, Sarah and florist Natalia of Violet Rose Floral “took my obsession with Zimmerman and infused my wedding with chic, vibrant, colorful, femininity that everyone had been craving after a year of being cooped up in a shroud of COVID grayness!” Mary Kate says. And Jade Social set the tone with a beautiful invitation suite and wedding stationery.
To find her wedding dress, the bride went to almost every bridal salon in New York City. “I thought going into the process without a specific vision would be a good thing…but I ended up loving everything I tried on!” Mary Kate shares. “Ultimately, I wanted to find a dress that reflected who we are as a couple. Michael loves simple, sleek, and clean lines, and I am feminine to my core and a sucker for sparkle.”
When she tried on the Athena dress by Marchesa, it was evident that this was to be her wedding gown. And Mark Ingram amazingly customized the design and altered it to fit her perfectly. To complete the look, Mary Kate chose sparkly Jimmy Choos. And on the day-of, she got ready with hairstylist Alyson Wenson and makeup artist Emily Gray.
For her jewelry look, the bride discovered designer Nicola Bathie through Over The Moon and found her dream earrings. “I brought them to my first fitting, and everyone thought I had them custom-made for my dress,” she says. Her parents also gifted her a Mikimoto pearl bracelet that matched pearls her father had given her mother on the day Mary Kate was born.
Michael’s tuxedo was from Suitsupply. “We had so much fun that day picking out fabrics and having the inside monogrammed,” Mary Kate remembers. After the ceremony, he changed into a white dinner jacket. “I was blown away and completely speechless—he looked so handsome. I couldn’t believe this was my husband.”
In the chapel affiliated with the parish Mary Kate attended while growing up, the two were married in a traditional Catholic ceremony. “Our priest is more like a family friend—he was so pivotal and supportive when both of my parents were battling cancer,” the bride says. “Michael and I wanted our Catholic ceremony to be inclusive of those guests that are not Catholic, and our priest did such a good job of this.”
Once officially married, the newlyweds rode two miles to the country club in a vintage car, rented from Motor City Vintage Rentals. “What started out as a rental to complement our classic taste became one of our favorite parts of our wedding,” the bride shares. “We got to have that decompressing moment alone to take it all in.”
When we walked into the reception, we were both on cloud nine,” Mary Kate remembers. After a delicious dinner, the new Mr. and Mrs. took to the dance floor with their loved ones and Jerry Ross Band.
Looking back at everything now, the bride wants others to know that all the stress was completely worth it. “I truly cannot even find the words to describe the magical joy and happiness I felt on my wedding day,” Mary Kate says. “I can honestly say that both my husband and I would do everything over again—that’s every postponement, waiting on the edge of our seats for vaccine distribution, all of the restriction changes, truly everything because it led us to this perfect day on May 15, when we were finally married [and] surrounded by so much love and happiness; it was enchanting.”