From Houston to Denver to Singapore, this adventurous couple has committed to love each other in sickness and in health. Dave and Melissa's beautiful wedding features a delicious but super healthy meal, vintage and steampunk decor, and a tech savvy solution for guests who couldn't celebrate with them in person!
Here's an excerpt of Dave and Melissa's story, written by their dear friend Megan for their wedding website:
Dave lived in Houston and Melissa lived in Denver when they met online. They spent several months getting to know each other by exchanging messages, sending emails, and video chatting. Finally, Dave decided that he absolutely had to meet this girl, so he purchased a plane ticket to Denver.
Their long distance relationship continued on for some time. They flew to see each other as often as they could. The trips were never long enough or frequent enough, so Melissa took a chance on love and moved herself to Houston.
While they were still enjoying the glow of their new permanence in each other’s lives, something completely unexpected and rather heartbreaking was discovered. A few months after arriving in Houston, Melissa was diagnosed with a rare and incurable autoimmune disease. Dave bore the news with compassion and fortitude, never wavering in his commitment to her.
Dave and Melissa continued to build their lives together for several years. Marriage was often thought about and discussed, but Melissa didn't know Dave had picked out a ring or that a proposal was on its way. A few days before Christmas, Dave proposed to Melissa at her favorite restaurant. They were ready to not only plan a wedding, but a marriage.
Next, we'll hand things off to Melissa to tell us about their big day!
I was born in Colorado and moved back for college. Capital Hill and downtown were my stomping grounds, so it just seemed appropriate to have our wedding where Dave and I first met instead of in Houston. We wanted the theme to be simple and elegant. I'm a huge fan of vintage furniture and jewelry as a result of going to auctions all of the time with my mom when I was growing up. We chose to do our wedding in grayscale. Black and white is popular, but I found it a bit limiting and I love metallic colors tied in with the matte colors.
Dave and I were lucky with wedding costs because I have a B.A. in Graphic Design from the Art Institute of Colorado and had picked up a lot of diverse tech skills at my job. I was able to design all of the save the date magnets, invitations, envelopes, RSVP cards, website, cupcake table signs, wedding party app signs and app setup, and html email announcements regarding the wedding day details.
We kept our wedding party small, which was a huge help. We had always talked about a very small wedding and only had a maid-of-honor and best man at our side. With the size of the Clock Tower venue, it's good that we did!
The things we splurged on were the food and cake because we are both very into fitness and nutrition. It was important for us to have good food that we could eat and food that our guests would enjoy. Bistro Boys Catering helped us out immensely with a Paleo menu and Azucar bakery provided us a Paleo cake with gluten free and regular cupcakes.
The Clock Tower venue was a bit of a splurge too. We looked at doing our ceremony at one place and holding the reception elsewhere, but it was actually going to run us more with the venues we were looking at. They provided chairs, tables, and some decorations, and planning a wedding from Houston while we were both working full-time made this a no-brainer. Less things to have to source! The big commitment with the Clock Tower is that you do have to pay for it all up front.
We decided not to go with a DJ because we knew the music we liked and had it all on our computers. It was easy enough to come up with a playlist and put it on an iPod because the Clock Tower had a sound system we could hook into. One of the workers there just had to hit play at the right time.
No need for a videographer. I brought my laptop and we bought a 100 foot ethernet cable so I could plug it in directly to the internet so there'd be no streaming issues. I borrowed a camera, tripod, and microphone and set them up on my own right before the ceremony. Guests that couldn't make it could watch us get married live, and those that weren't available at the time could access the video any time after that on my YouTube account.
My iMovie video skills allowed me to make the rehearsal dinner slideshow video, showing photos of Dave and me as a couple and as we were growing up.
My mom found a very inexpensive florist with great reviews and we really didn't need a lot of flowers because the venue was already decorated with some nice fake ones. Flowers weren't a big deal for me, but they were for my mom. I could have gone with just bouquets for my sister and me.
Photography was something worth splurging on. I have a design background and having taught Yearbook, I know pictures make the story. Pictures fill in that bit of the story you miss while you're getting ready and running around. Pictures are how you will see the guests you didn't get a lot of time with at the actual event. Pictures are what will trigger your memory years after the event has happened. Dave Camara was phenomenal. We booked him for our engagement photos as well. He's laid back and very professional with a creative eye. He'll get the standard shots, but he also gets ones you'd never think to frame how he has.
I really wanted to get my dress from a consignment shop. I don't believe in splurging on something you're only going to wear once, and I planned to consign my dress after the wedding. I had some trouble booking a time at Marry Go Round (a bridal consignment shop in Houston) and we ended up at David's Bridal just to get a feel for what I had in mind. The only issue is that I tried on a dress that was perfect and it was $1000. I said I only wanted to spend half of that at most. Peer pressure won out. I don't regret it, and still plan to consign that dress.
Dave and his best man rented tuxes from Men's Wearhouse. It was easy because we were in Houston and he was in Raleigh, North Carolina, and they have stores in both areas.
I chose 3 Little Birds Salon due to location, affordability, and reviews. We were traveling from Houston to Denver for our wedding and I was relying on family to get me where I needed to be since Dave had the rental car. They did a great job and nailed the more vintage hair style I was going for with the pin curls. I'm very low-maintenance and wanted to look like me for my wedding. I did a test run with the salon, but my sister ended up doing my makeup just because I wanted a very understated look. Free definitely wasn't a bad price.
We didn't do a registry and chose to use honeyfund.com to help pay for our honeymoon instead. It didn't make sense to gather a bunch of things we'd just have to pack that might not work once we headed to Singapore.
I pooled my resources of friends and family to make some of the details come together that would have normally ended up costing me a lot more. One of my best friends and college roommate officiated the wedding for us. It was so much more personal and again, didn't cost us a dime. Meagan is a pro and I recommend her to anyone who is looking for a ceremony that is a bit less traditional.
We did our save the date magnets using vistaprint.com. They were definitely the cheapest and most reliable print vendor and I've been using them for a long time. I designed the graphics for the envelopes and made separate files with every recipient's unique address. We printed those at home and used the same files to print on the pearl, off white envelopes we sent out with our formal invitations.
I also designed our wedding invitations in Adobe Illustrator, tying in steampunk elements to match our venue. I bought clock parts on eBay and in Hobby Lobby, and we spray painted them silver on brown packing paper in the garage. I glued a couple of gears onto the invites along with two hands on a clock that showed the time our ceremony was to be. I also found silver paper doilies that I used to help add a vintage feel to the invitations, and then we glued silver/black ribbon to the cards and tied them. They were very labor intensive, but we sent out less than 100, so it only took a few days of long hours to get them done.
I designed the RSVP cards to match the custom wedding invitations and had them printed by vistaprint.com as well. They always have sales running for business cards, so that's the size I made them. Rather than doing a pre-stamped and addressed envelope, we only provided our phone number or website to RSVP in order to save some money.
In the end, was all of the stationary cheap? No. Were they cheap for highly custom and intricate designed invitations? Yes. I priced them out and I think I would have paid about $12-15 each for them if I had outsourced them. Thank heavens for Hobby Lobby sales and some ingenuity.
If you know Dave and I well, you know we love to laugh. I had gone down the the 14th floor to use the restroom and just happened to catch Dave walking out. He left the toilet seat up! Dave Camara, our photographer, just happened to be there and captured the moment. It was so funny and out of the norm.
I found it really difficult to try to plan a wedding in a different city and wrap up the school year as a teacher. Not only that, we were moving to Singapore less than two weeks after our wedding. We used Google spreadsheets to keep ourselves organized and we were able to share the sheets with our parents and anyone else involved. We had tabs for the guest list, vendors, budget, invitations, RSVPs and thank you notes. It was really helpful and I still use that document as my address book for family and friends. Thank heavens for email. Otherwise, I don't think anything would have been planned!
(For help planning a wedding long-distance, check out the Colorful Colorado Weddings blog post, "Tips for Planning a Wedding from Out-of-Town".)
We also had a challenge with our venue because I have elderly aunts and uncles who wouldn't be able to walk up the stairs from the 17th to 21st floor of the clock tower. We discussed so many options and nearly changed our venue. Ultimately, we came down to the solution that we could live stream the ceremony on the 18th floor to the 17th floor where tables would be set up for those relatives. The caterer would be on the 17th floor and would make special plates of food for our guests. The restrooms were also on this floor, so I knew they'd see all of the guests and there'd be no problem with everyone mingling and being involved. I was so stressed out, but none of those guests RSVP'ed yes or showed up. It was all for nothing. But, we were ready!
I wish I would have known how much it would all cost. You start out thinking you're going to put on this great event on a crazy small budget, and there are some things that just won't meet your ideals unless you're willing to fork over the money for those things (ie - venues, etc). Then you realize that the venue doesn't matter. The decorations don't matter. Very few of those details really matter. The people you are sharing this event with matter. It wouldn't matter if it was potluck in your parents back yard. Don't stress. It's not worth it.
(For budgeting help, check out the Colorful Colorado Weddings blog post, "How to Create a Wedding Budget".)
Tips for Engaged Couples
Start early. Don't stress out because some of those small details won't make a bit of difference on your big day. Ask for help!
Now that you're married, what marriage advice would you share with other couples?: Communication and laughter are our tricks to success. There was a point in time that Dave and I read The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, and it has come in handy so many times. It talks about 5 different ways people feel loved, and those ways can change over time. Communicating these with each other has made a world of difference in our relationship.
Guest Count: 50 // Photography: Camara Photography // Venue: Clock Tower Downtown Denver // Bakery: Azucar Bakery // Caterer/Bar Services: Bistro Boys // Videographer: BusyMo Media & Design // Event Rentals: Clock Tower Events // Stationery: BusyMo Media & Design // Florist: Ed Moore Florist // Hairstylist: 3 Little Birds Salon // Wedding Dress/Bridesmaids' Dresses: David's Bridal Houston Galleria // Groom's/Groomsmen's Wardrobe: Men's Wearhouse // Shoes: Ebay // Accessories: Amazon // Wedding Website: mywedding.com // Wedding Guest Photos: weddingpartyapp.com