While Melissa and Ryan share a career in the film industry and had known each other professionally for some time, it took a mutual friend playing matchmaker to put these colleagues on the path to the altar. “She managed to have us all meet at a local bar, Timmy Nolan’s, for some cocktails one evening,” recalls Melissa. “We ended up having the best time and hanging out until the wee hours of the morning. We were both hooked.”
At the conclusion of an intense time at work, the couple embarked for Bora Bora to enjoy the beaches and some much-needed relaxation. “As we were getting ready for our trip, my family was convinced that Ryan was going to propose while we were on vacation and teased us both about it,” Melissa says. Ryan assured Melissa he didn’t have a ring (or even the time to look for one), but one night over a sushi dinner, the topic of marriage came up in casual conversation and the couple decided right then to get engaged! “It was certainly not the most traditional way to get engaged, especially without a ring present, but it was perfect for us,” says Melissa. The next day, Ryan bought her a Tahitian pearl ring to commemorate the occasion; after returning home, they selected a perfect Philip Press engagement ring.
The couple wanted their wedding to be a gorgeous party outdoors, reminiscent of a magical and wondrous fairy tale. When their wedding planner, Joyce Scardina Becker of Events of Distinction, planned a visit to Stone Manor the bride was stunned. “It was beyond beautiful. I knew immediately that this was the place where Ryan and I should wed. I adored all the nooks and crannies of the property—it was an enchanted secret garden.”
As people who work in the storytelling and design business, it was important to Melissa and Ryan to create an event that was rich in personal details, revealing their story both as individuals and as a couple. “We wanted to highlight a feeling of grandeur,” says Melissa, “making sure it stayed true to our love of charming details and an overall intimate setting. I love gold and Ryan loves grey. Since we were going for a romantic feel, we decided to create a foundation of silver and golds, with touches of pinks, creams, and whites.” Melissa’s bouquet by The Mille Fiori was a perfect representation of this idea, incorporating lace roses from Melissa’s mother’s wedding dress along with sequined flowers and satin fabric from Ryan’s mom’s veil. “I cried the moment they handed it to me—it was completely overwhelming,” remembers Melissa.
On the wedding day, Melissa dressed in a Vera Wang gown with the help of her best friend Vanessa. She added diamond stud earrings that belonged to her mother, along with additional jewelry by Philip Press to coordinate with her engagement ring. The groom was attired in Paul Smith, and wore a vintage gold watch that belonged to Melissa’s grandfather. As Ryan and the couple’s dogs walked down the aisle to “Only You” by Yaz, the pups were decked out in wedding finery from My Formal Dog.
After the ceremony, the couple continued their celebration, greeting guests with a glass of Veuve Clicquot Rose or pink lemonade with basil. Later, jalapeño margaritas (a favorite of the couple’s) and cucumber martinis were served. Guests also received a special favor from the couple. “A dear friend of mine, Elaine Seamans, has a line of adornments, jewelry, and pet items, under the name of At-‐Choo, and all the proceeds help rescue animals from local shelters,” says Melissa. The couple chose bottles of bubbles, hand-stamped with their initials and the date. After dessert, they took a moment to toast each other and blow bubbles in honor of their love and the celebration.
Looking back on the big day, Melissa has some advice for brides-to-be, “Try to be aware in every moment of planning, prepping, and celebrating on the actual day. Always remember why you are doing this. No matter what may go wrong, you will end up marrying your partner, best friend and love of your life—which is pure perfection.”