Melissa & Nick’s Handmade Modern-Rustic with Quirky Touches Wedding


The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

You met Melissa and Nick through their playful e-session at Harkness State Park here on the blog last week and today you’ll be able to see their just-as-fun and beautiful wedding! When I asked Melissa to describe it in one word, she said it was “awesome” and I couldn’t agree more. What made it awesome weren’t just the pretty handmade elements per se (though they were a big part of it) but the fact that much thought and love — for each other, their relationship, their families, and the community — were injected into the details that made up the celebration. From the quirky ceremony program that looks like a wedding instruction manual to the heartfelt messages of appreciation on the tables, you will see this love in the photos and you will be able to read it between the lines in Melissa’s account of their celebration later.

Now I would like you to feast your eyes on the lovely images courtesy of Tim Brown at TAB Photographic who had this to say about the twosome:

Melissa and Nick… They are possibly more in love than any other couple I’ve ever shot. And their day, they took it on and conquered it. Many DIY items and if they weren’t DIY, they were etsy…  Just an awesome couple.

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

Wasn’t that an adorable first look? From this point on I think it would be best to let the beautiful Melissa tell you all about her and Nick + their wedding planning process herself:

We love each other – and not in a storybook hearts and flowers way, but in a real life, bills are due, vacuuming needs to be done, life is hard but there is no doubt we’ll make it through together kind of way. I know that may sound silly and bold to start off with, but, it’s important, and we do. We respect each other, we lean on each other, we support each other, we value each other, and we speak up when we feel the other isn’t doing any one of those things. We fell in love over a band covering my favorite rap song, have kitchen dance parties (and yes, the occasional dance off), prefer to sing our grocery lists to each other instead of simply creating a list, and can sometimes be found arguing over who owns what tee shirt in our joint collection, and maybe even who loves our dog more (I do. Clearly. Just look at my Facebook photos).  The best part of our life together? Being able to share in our often occurring “how the heck did I get so lucky, did we get so lucky” moments. Well – those are tied for best with the dance offs.

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

In a nutshell? It was awesome!  “We” had originally defined our wedding as ‘modern rustic’ (although, I still think Nick isn’t quite sure what that term means), but in the end we focused on three things: keeping everything as handmade as possible, sneaking in mustache themed decorations and accessories here and there, and infusing gut-bursting love into as much as we could into every detail – our love for each other, our love of our relationship, our love for our families and closest friends, and our love for those who couldn’t be there to celebrate with us.

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

When Nick and I were wedding planning, we had one main goal – to make every aspect of the wedding feel like us (ok  – two goals – we wanted it to be a phenomenally good time too).  To achieve that goal, we found people to work with that vibed with us and who understood us as people, not just as a paycheck. We also made the nontraditional decision to try to do everything else ourselves (with the exception of hair and makeup, because, hello … a bride needs to be beautiful!), or to buy only handmade items to compliment what we couldn’t do ourselves. Whatever we couldn’t make, we bought from people we felt a connection with on Etsy. Very little was store bought; even less was bought out of convenience.

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

We had our favorite lawn games available for our guests to play (which was a first for our venue!), my bouquet was made from fabrics and brooches belonging to women in my family, and our place card holder was made from our neighbor’s almost discarded fence (and yes, I did ask the fence company before I took it!).

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

We handmade our invitations, programs, escort cards, drink menus, guest book entry cards, favors, centerpiece flowers, and cupcake flags. At the end we were tired, and our printer was out of ink, but we were thrilled with what we had produced. It was our wedding, and to us, every single piece of it felt like us. The best part was that it felt that way to our guests too. So many of our guests told us over and over again that they could really see Nick and me in every detail. Success!

And, oh yes… how I could forget. My favorite color grey (yes, it is a color, and yes, it is my favorite) carried our color theme of neutrals, neutrals, neutrals! When people would ask about our wedding colors, most found it to be a very unusual (aka boring) choice, and one that only I would make. Little did they know (until the wedding day!) just how fabulous neutrals can be!

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

Important words of advice from the newlyweds:

After getting engaged, the toasts of congratulations, hugs, and high fives quickly turned into bridal war stories. According to most women I knew, I was going to hate wedding planning! It was going to tear Nick and I apart!  The dress, cake, invitations, catering, flowers, and everything else wedding related would just be too much! Ahhhh. Don’t listen to those stories, and try your best not to stress. At the end of the day, if you’ve married your best friend, things have gone 100% right. Things will go wrong. Details may turn out not quite as you had expected. Enjoy the planning process. You only get to do it once, and it’s a great bonding time with your soon to be spouse. Never forget why you’re getting married!

Do. What. You. Want. It’s your day. You are the bride and groom. Your wedding day is to celebrate your love, your relationship, and for you to celebrate each other. Do what makes you happy. Make choices that you’ll look back on years later and be so happy that you made. Nick and I made choices that weren’t popular with those closest to us  – we did a first look (gasp!), we didn’t get married in a church, we had our reception in a very old barn instead of a fancy reception hall, we didn’t use real flowers, have a “pop of color”, or have a big cake. But come wedding day, when everything came together, everyone finally understood why we made the choices we did, and everyone forgot how unhappy they were with some of the choices we had made.

Finally, don’t be afraid to be different and to do things that most people don’t do. We opted for donations instead of favors, and added a surprise brother-sister dance to the lineup of traditional dances.  Those are what create memories – for both you, and your guests.

The Barn at Wesleyan Hills Wedding

Huge thanks Tim for sending this wonderful wedding my way, and congratulations Melissa and Nick! I wish you guys a lifetime of married bliss. 🙂

Photographer: Tim Brown at TAB Photographic 
Venue & Catering: The Barns at Wesleyan Hills (Connecticut Wedding Group)
Dress: Galina, purchased at David’s Bridal
Suit: Calvin Klein
Bride’s Shoes: Enzo Angiolini
Bridal Party Jewelry: See Space (Etsy)
Bridesmaid Sashes: Project U (Etsy)
Makeup: Stephanie Loulakis-Moore, Larissa Lake & Company
Hair: Marie Palazzo, Vivid Images
Fabric Bouquets: Innstyches (Etsy)
Cupcakes for Centerpieces: Danielle Solak, Little Peace of Love
Cutting Cake: Margaret Soucy
Priest: Father Chip Elliott, Grace Episcopal Church
Transportation: Father of the bride’s private vehicle
“I’d rather be smooching” Pins: Button Empire (Etsy)
DJ / Photobooth: Harry Gambardella, HG Entertainment

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