When a friend told Melissa she'd found the guy for her, the San Francisco-based interior designer was skeptical. But two weeks later, when she met David at the friend's housewarming party, she became a believer. "The rest," she says now, "is history."
Two years after their life-changing introduction, David whisked Melissa away on a weekend trip to Santa Ynez, California, and proposed as they sipped wine at a local vineyard. "About two weeks before our trip, David paid a visit to my parents to ask for their blessing in marrying their daughter," Melissa says. "When we returned the next day, we had a celebratory dinner with both of our families, who were thrilled about the engagement."
Seventeen months of planning—spearheaded by event design team JOWY Productions—led to dramatic pink and ivory affair at the iconic Beverly Wilshire hotel in Los Angeles. "Being an interior designer, I was influenced by the design details, elements and textures that I use in the homes I design," Melissa explains, describing the couple's big day inspiration as the "eclectic and collected feel of a home."
Two flags personalized with the the couple's names hung from the facade of the hotel—a detail many guests recognized from Melissa and David's illustrated invitations. "When guests arrived to the wedding, they were so excited to find that the flags they saw on the invitation were actually there, and even visible from the terrace where the ceremony took place."
"I fell in love with my wedding dress from the moment I saw it," Melissa gushes about her Amsale ball gown.
A "dramatic yet elegant texture"—ribbon repetitiously pleated in a floral pattern across a full skirt—drew the bride to the dress, as did its deep sweetheart neckline, she says. The bracelet Melissa wore on her right wrist was designed especially for the couple's wedding day. "It had three medallions," the bride describes, "representing past, present and future."
Working with boutique designer Ivy & Aster, Melissa customized each of her bridesmaids' soft pink, peach and gray gowns. Because "I had a large number of bridesmaids," the bride says, "I wanted each of the girls personalities to show and to look unique, so my vision was for no two dresses to be the same."
For the couple's wedding program, Jennifer Hancock of Illustrated Bride sketched each of the bridesmaid's unique dresses—as well as the groomsmen and children's attire—to "help our guests identify who was walking down the aisle, and to make for a fun souvenir," Melissa says.
The white, pink and gray striped program, designed by Hello Tenfold, also included information about the ceremony, the couple's love story and their musical selections.
The bride carried an ombre-colored round bouquet of pink garden roses. Her engagement ring—a Victorian cut diamond—was designed by the groom.
Bridesmaids' bouquets mimicked Melissa's pink rose arrangement, but added fluffy white hydrangea. Melissa's cathedral length veil was embellished with ivory beads along its scalloped edge. "I love how it complemented the dress and added a little extra drama," she says.
David's slender boutonniere was made from berries and feathers, and was wrapped in pale pink ribbon.
Two flower girls—a niece and a friend's daughter—donned striped J. Crew dresses and teetered down a pink petal-strewn aisle hand-in-hand. The pair even made "a few stops along with way to check out the string quartet, and get close to the flowers at the end of the aisle," Melissa recalls. "They were adorable, and it was such a great way to start our ceremony."
Two white-washed urns—filled with pink roses and white hydrangeas—flanked a ceremony aisle created by classic Chiavari chairs.
Beneath a ribbon-woven Chuppah designed by the bride and groom and executed by JOWY Productions, Melissa and David exchanged their vows. The following day at an after-wedding brunch, "guests were asked to write us a wish on the same ribbons that we got married under," Melissa says. "We will wait to open these wishes on our first wedding anniversary."
Photos: Heather Kincaid
David's father performed the wedding ceremony, which took place on the Beverly Wilshire stone terrace. "It was so special to be married by someone so close to us, who knows us so well," Melissa shares.
Inside the ballroom of the Beverly Wilshire, event designers mixed rectangular, circular and square tables and crafted five distinct tablescapes to give each setting "a unique personality," the bride says, complete with their own unique linens and floral arrangements. To the side of the main reception space, a lounge area of charcoal linen sofas displayed customs pillows in the couple's wedding colors.
Centerpieces of white Dutch hydrangea held inside silver bowls topped reception tables, while crystal-cut votive candle holders decorated every table in the ballroom, including the bride and groom's own "table of honor"—a sweetheart table made from floating glass that revealed pink and white rose petals beneath.
Taking a cue from Melissa and David's sweetheart table, traditional tented escort cards could be found atop a floating glass table that held pink and white petals.
Some tables were draped in metallic gray linens that showed off an ivory-colored table runner.
Others were covered with taut ivory linens, a neutral base for the coral and blush-hued centerpieces that ran from end-to-end.
To tie the couple's custom ceremony Chuppah into the reception decor, florist Eric Buterbaugh wrapped ribbon around vases that held pink and white roses and dahlias.
The bride and groom created the three signature cocktails served at their reception: Two named for friends, and the third called Santa Ynez, in celebration of the city where the couple became engaged. Drinks were served on cocktail napkins bearing the couple's names.
Fabric draped from the ceiling and behind the stage, where West Coast Music played everything from Motown to top 40 tunes, masked the ballroom's less-than-desirable design elements and "accentuated the overall look and feel I desired," Melissa says. "Music was also important to both of us, and we really were hoping people would be up and dancing. We didn't leave the dance floor all night."
Melissa and David waltzed to Kings of Leon's Use Somebody atop a custom petal-patterned dance floor that, the bride reveals, "took hours to design and even longer to install."
The couple looks back on their wedding with no regrets, thanks in part to advice passed along from a planner with JOWY Productions. "She told us that no matter what we should stick together during the reception," Melissa shares. "She was so right.
"We felt so grateful to all of our family and friends for sharing in our special day with us," the bride continues. "Having everyone we love in one place was unforgettable, and something that we'll always cherish."
Wedding Planner: JOWY Productions || Ceremony Venue: Beverly Wilshire || Reception Venue: Beverly Wilshire || Bride's Wedding Dress: Amsale || Bride's Veil: Saks Fifth Avenue || Bride's Shoes: Prada || Bride's Accessories: Suzanne Felsen || Bride's Wedding Ring: Victorian Cut Diamond || Groom's Tux: Friar Tux Shop || Groom's Wedding Ring: Cartier || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Ivy & Aster || Groomsmen Attire: Friar Tux Shop || Mother of the Bride's Dress: A Exclusive by Arkady || Flower Girl Dress: J. Crew || Florist: Eric Buterbaugh || Caterer: Beverly Wilshire || Stationery: Papel Paper & Press || Cake Baker: Cake Divas || Favors: Name || Rentals: Revelry Event Designers, Classic Party Rentals and Town & Country Distinctive Event Rentals || Entertainment: West Coast Music || Photography: Heather Kincaid