Real Wedding: Melissa & Grant – Photography by Samm Blake Weddings
Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love, what is unique about you and your relationship…
We consider how we met pure serendipity! We crossed paths for one night in the crazy, vibrant city of New Orleans, while travelling separately through the USA back in April 2011. We connected through social media at the time, however it wasn’t until I made the move to Sydney a few months later we reconnected and caught up over a casual meal, and well… the rest is history! It didn’t take long to realise how much we had in common, and how effortless our connection.
We both love the simple things, and consider ourselves a pretty laidback, easy going couple. Travelling is something we both love, and we’ve been blessed to share in many amazing experiences.
For us, the idea of eloping was always there, and we spoke of the idea countless times. We had not long booked a trip to the US and Jamaica, two countries we love, and it got us thinking… so, while in NYC we decided to marry, and although eloping is not for everyone, it really was for us. We have the most beautiful families, however we both knew we didn’t want the pressures that seem to come with traditional weddings.
Our main priority was photos, such an important part of any day and especially for us as we made the decision not to share our intentions to marry overseas. We came across Samm Blake online while searching for New York elopements. Her work is incredible, and she took the most beautiful photos beyond our expectations. Samm was not only our photographer, but also our witness and guided us through every aspect of planning the afternoon.
When it came to the ceremony, we knew we wanted something unique and authentic, and came across Brooklyn Grange. We hired the private rooftop and exchanged vows with views of the Manhattan skyline in the distance.
We saved our engagement until New Orleans, the first stop on our holiday and a city special to us being where we first met. So, we went from engaged to married in a 72-hour period, with 7 months of secret planning (a true elopement!) and made our time in Jamaica our honeymoon. We did have little moments of guilt during the months before, but to have that moment together, exchanging our words with just us, was our idea of perfect. If we had the chance to do it all over again, we wouldn’t change a thing.
Tell us about your special day, was there a specific theme or style? Tell us a little about the setting, the styling and some of your favourite details…
There wasn’t much to our day, which is how we planned it. Being in New York, we wanted to showcase the city as much as possible in our photos, and lucky for us Samm knew of the best locations to have some photographs taken!
The morning was spent doing little, we had a late breakfast together followed by all that comes with getting ready back at the Refinery Hotel New York. I had my hair and makeup done in-room, which eliminated any possibility of stress with getting to appointments around the city.
Central Park provided a gorgeous setting for photos before we made our way to Brooklyn. New York’s backyard is full of charm, and Samm took us to Trefoil Arch and Conservatory Water, and given the time of year we were lucky to have the cherry blossoms in full bloom which made for some beautiful backdrops.
Our ceremony was held at Brooklyn Grange, one of the largest rooftop urban farms in the world. We had the entire rooftop to ourselves to exchange our vows with amazing views of the Manhattan skyline. This venue was so unique, and although it was early in the season and the plants were young, it offered a stunning and intimate setting amid the city.
We made our way to Dumbo, Brooklyn around sunset for some final photos. The area offers views of Manhattan and New York’s beautiful bridges – it was definitely a highlight! We celebrated our wedding with dinner at the River Café, a restaurant nestled under the Brooklyn Bridge, and were lucky enough to be placed by the window to take in the skyline. Spoilt is an understatement, as the staff went to every effort to help us celebrate and make our evening memorable, best meal ever!
Tell us about your main outfits:
We shared all elements of the planning together, including purchasing our outfits. I wasn’t after something traditional, and it was important for me to find a gown that offered comfort and allowed me to move freely as we ventured around NY. I came across Grace Love Lace, and with the help of the amazing GLL stylists, and a nod of approval from my now ‘hubby’ I decided on the Kiki 2.0. The gown was simple, elegant and timeless, and the process that came with ordering online was seamless. Grant wore mostly M.J Bale on the day, and this was actually one thing we went out and purchased in-store.
What were some of the most memorable/unique moments from the day?
The ceremony! Our officiant, Larissa Martell, made every effort to create a beautiful and intimate ceremony for us, and shared words from questionnaires we had completed about one another. Our vows were our own words, and to commit to each other and share that moment together was truly special.
Any advice for other couples planning to spend the rest of their lives together?
Enjoy the excitement that comes with getting married, and the commitment of forever. Plan together; your wedding day and your life, keep true to yourselves and what you want. The day should represent who you are as a couple and remember “the world is your oyster!”
“We were together. I forget the rest.” ~ Walt Whitman
Photographer: Samm Blake Weddings Ceremony location: Brooklyn Grange Reception location: The River Cafe Celebrant: Larissa Martell Hotel: Refinery Hotel New York Flora: Flower Girl NYC Hair and makeup: NOMI Beauty Wedding dress and shoes: Grace Loves Lace (“Kiki 2.0”) Earrings: Samantha Wills Groom’s attire: M.J. Bale Shoes: Windsor Smith Engagement ring and wedding bands: Grew & Co. Wedding magazine album: Bow & Arbour