When I first sat down with this gorgeous wedding from Jillian Modern Photography, I was in absolute love. The style, the spunk – the perfect mix of modern and inviting, it’s basically SMP gold. But then I read the description, and I realized this wedding has so much more depth than that. That all the perfect details almost didn’t happen because of Hurricane Sandy, and when it all did come together, these two newlyweds only cared about one thing – marrying each other. And that ultimately makes me love this wedding even more. See why here.
From the Bride and Groom… We met one summer at Philadelphia University where we both went to college. We lived in garden apartments across from each other and on the last day of school, Graham’s friend shouted to Melissa as she was walking home. He told her to come up and hang out – and Melissa met Graham. That Fall semester, we both happened to be studying abroad in Rome, Italy where we fell even more in love. The rest is history.
When planning our wedding, we wanted the wedding to represent us as a couple. We are not the traditional type – we wanted something unique and modern but also warm and inviting. Inspiration came from our passions. Graham designs beautiful installations, so of course we wanted him to create something for our space. Melissa loves to paint so she wanted to make the space bright and cheerful with her artwork. Graham is an idea man, his designs are big and his ideas even bigger. Melissa loves the details. She could sit for hours painting flowers or practicing calligraphy. We wanted to combine our strengths to create a space where our family and friends would feel welcome and reflect our passions.
The fact that our wedding was the week of Hurricane Sandy was quite unique. We had been planning the wedding for over a year and a half. Just 5 days before the wedding, Sandy hit NYC and NJ. It was devastating to see the destruction that Sandy created in NY and NJ. Having no power in downtown Manhattan for the entire week was an extreme challenge. Our caterer could not get the food she ordered, and her kitchen had no power. Our rings were stuck at the jeweler. Some of the bridesmaid dresses were stuck at the tailor. How would we get flowers? Our officiant and photographer were stuck in California. On top of this, there was a gas shortage. How would guests get to Brooklyn? The tunnels and some bridges were closed. Subways were not running. Many of our guests had severe damage to their own homes, or no power. At one point in the week, Melissa really wanted to give up. How could we be having a wedding during all of this? Our family and friends were so supportive and figured out a solution to every problem we had. They went above and beyond to help ensure this wedding would happen. We are so grateful to them for everything they did this week. The wedding turned out better than it ever could have been. It was a day filled with love and joy – and gave everyone a reason to celebrate during a harrowing week.
DIY and handmade elements…
-Our sculptures hanging above the bar: Graham designed and built
-Lasercut wood panels: Graham designed and created
-Save the Dates: Melissa hand-painted each one and made a stamp out of her calligraphy
-Invitations: Melissa hand-painted the design and had them professionally printed. She did the calligraphy for the envelopes as well.
-Menu Cards: Melissa hand carved stamps, and menus – one for each guest.
-Escort Cards: We found old tickets to a boxing match at an antique store. They were a beautiful shade of blue and blank on one side. Melissa did the calligraphy and used washi tape on plexi glass to create a seating chart.
-Notebook Favors: Melissa hand-carved a pretzel stamp (a nod to their Philadelphia and NYC background). She stamped a mini Muji notebook for each guest.
-Bride and Groom Signs: Melissa hand-painted on kraft stock.
-Card Box: antique metal box, Melissa painted cards onto the inside.
-The Bosco: the BEST photobooth.
Food Choices (which, by the way, was AMAZING!): a cheese + bread charcuterie station, tomato soup shooters with grilled cheese, Samosas, Maryland crab cakes, a seasonal flatbread station with fresh herbs, a fried buttermilk chicken station with brussel sprouts and roasted fingerling potatoes, a make-your-own shrimp taco bar (with guacamole, pico de gallo, black beans, spanish rice), and sliders (beef and black bean). Late night snacks included quesadillas. Desserts were Pumpkin and Apple pies with fresh whipped cream plus Blue Marble Organic Ice Cream (pumpkin, pistachio almond, vanilla and chocolate choclate chip served out of a cute little cart.) Our Signature Cocktail was a Dirty Martini, Melissa’s favorite drink. Graham loves Black label. We also had PBR and Natty Bo (and full bar). For favors – Bosco photobooth pictures and Muji notebooks!
Processional- Big Wheels by ELO, Can’t Help Falling in Love by Elvis (for Melissa walking down aisle)
Recessional- Going up the Country by Canned Heat
Grand Entrance- Foxey Lady by Jimi Hendrix
First Dance- Don’t Worry Baby by The Beach Boys
The Most Memorable Moments:
From Melissa… Walking down the aisle with my Dad. Seeing all of our family and friends, and of course Graham. It was the happiest moment of my life.
From Graham… Our “first look” when I saw Melissa in her dress. She looked so beautiful! It signified the beginning of the wedding for me.
Melissa’s Advice – Keep it all in perspective. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the details, but just remember why you are really planning this awesome wedding – to marry your best friend and spend your lives together. If that remains your number one priority, you will have a beautiful wedding regardless of what goes wrong the day of.
Graham’s Advice – Unexpected things may happen – roll with the punches. Don’t over-plan and leave room for the people to make the experience.
Question to the Newlyweds from Jillian Modern, photographer: If you could go back and do it all again, what would you change (if anything)
Answer: not one thing
Photography: Jillian Modern Photography | Floral Design: Sprout Home | Wedding Dress: Saja | Stationery: Papier Fabrik (the Bride, Melissa Kelman) | Bridesmaids Dresses: Shareen Vintage | Catering: Five Spice Catering | DJ: Sugar Town Industries- Colleen | Groom's Suit: Tallia | Officiant: Bari Braun | Groomsmen Attire: Alfani | Hair + Makeup: Self Salon | Pies: BJ's | Wedding Venue: The Green Building