I always love chatting with brides who choose to get married in the winter, which is just one reason I’m excited to introduce Melissa to y’all! Please join me in making her feel welcome! (Also, be sure to check out her intriguing question at the end — I know I’ll be chiming in!)
Hi! What’s your name?
Melissa Vause (here’s my blog)
What’s your fiancé’s name?
Landon Jacob Productions
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story.
Stephen and I met during his first year as a grad student, and my last year as an undergrad, at USC. He was teaching a lab that I had begrudgingly signed up for in order to graduate. The first day of class, I immediately noticed him, and was so glad I’d signed up for “Weather and Climate.” I had a crush on him the entire semester and made a lame attempt to flirt, but he didn’t seem interested. Being a moral teacher’s assistant, he paid me no special attention, and I earned that “C” fair and square!
Once the semester was over, we continued to talk, and got to know each other a little better over the next year. Finally, we set a time to hang out, and my best friend went with me to a favorite local bar to meet up with Stephen and his friends. Continuing with my impressive flirting skills, I asked him if he wanted to watch season one of Lost. It actually WORKED and we watched every single episode together. On St. Patrick’s Day 2010, we had our first “real” date, and we’ve been together ever since.
Now tell us alllll about the proposal.
Starting around Christmas 2010, Stephen and I joked and flirted with the idea of getting engaged. One particularly hot summer night, he mentioned that we should get a blender to make milkshakes. My response? “No, people put blenders on wedding registries.” Taking the hint, we never got a blender… not even a cheap one. We joked about the blender for months, and talked all the time about how much we wished we had one, but instead, we just held out and made our milkshakes with a spoon.
On December 6th, Stephen came into the room with a giant smile on his face and a cold glass in his hand. He had made me a peanut butter banana milkshake! I looked inside the glass and thought, “This looks rather emulsified.” I squinted my eyes and asked, “How did you make this? Not with a spoon…” He proudly declared that he’d bought a blender, then got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! It was perfect‼
When’s the big day?
December 1, 2012
Where might you two be tying the knot?
My home town of Charleston, SC! I may be partial, but this city is hands down the MOST beautiful place to live. It is rich in culture, heritage, and good ol’ Southern hospitality.
How did you pick your ceremony and reception venues? What do you love most about each space?
Stephen and I love downtown strolls together, and I think we chose venues that encompass all things historically beautiful. The ceremony will be held at St. Luke’s Chapel in the heart of the downtown area, and the reception will be held alongside the Cooper River, at the newly renovated Harborside East. It’s stunning inside and out and has the BEST view of the peninsula you could ever imagine. Harborside East is also right under the famous Cooper River bridge, which houses the nation’s third largest 10k, a race Stephen and I have run together with my family for the past three years.
Beautiful Charleston, as captured by Virgil Bunao and Joey + Jessica
Who or what has been most inspiring in the wedding planning process?
Pinterest and SW Mag, of course!! I am such a frugal McDougal; I refuse to pay for anything I can do myself. Those two places and Green Bride Guide have inspired lots of crafts and projects. Stephen and I pride ourselves on being a green household, and anything you will find at our wedding is either upcycled or recycled! Blue Planet Green Events has been a wealth of information, too!
How have you involved your “community” in the wedding planning process?
Our families and my bridesmaids have been so helpful the past ten months, especially my mom. You would think a year to plan a wedding would be enough time, but you’d be surprised how quickly it sneaks up on you! After I designed and printed the formal invites, my mom spent countless hours with me cutting, sticking, gluing, and addressing them all. She has also done a lot of the leg work running around collecting vintage items for the reception! My MOH has been extremely helpful, as well, collecting over 1,000 corks and over 50 wine bottles from local restaurants out of which Stephen and I will create our centerpieces.
On the left, Melissa’s inspiration for her bouquet (from Martha Stewart Weddings, photo by Simply Bloom). On the right, her inspiration for the gents’ boutonnieres – they’ll be made from fabric leftover after the bridesmaids’ dresses are hemmed!
What part of wedding planning, if any, has made you the most anxious?
Finding a baker! I’m not much of a cake person — years of eating Funfetti cake and canned icing are probably to blame :) I had originally planned to have an old friend make our cake because it was NOT a priority in our budget. However, I started feeling anxious about the hundreds of different flavors and fillings there are to choose from, so I attended a wedding expo with my MOH and ran across a very small, local bakery. With one bite, McKenzie’s Bake Shop changed my mind about cakes. Forever. She is as sweet as pie, and so great at what she does, that we now go to her for every event that needs dessert, as well as the occasional Monday that simply demands a cupcake.
What wedding-related decision have you been the most indecisive on?
Oddly enough, picking a wedding gown! Years of shamelessly browsing wedding dresses in college (before I even had a boyfriend!) was not enough to prepare this bride for actually choosing a gown of her own. I love lace, I love beading, I love fluff, I love asymmetry… I just. Love. Wedding dresses! And no, I don’t think I have ever missed an episode of Say Yes to the Dress!
Which part of your wedding have you been most intentional about planning?
A few years ago at the annual Flowertown Festival in Summerville, a catering company, Cricket & Kyle (family-owned and formerly run out of a church kitchen), had a booth of the most DELICIOUS crab cakes I’ve ever had in my life. Growing up on the beach, Stephen and I both have high expectations for our seafood. Based solely on their crab cakes, we promised the owner that, whenever we got married, we’d have him cater! I carried his business card in my purse for TWO YEARS, and he was one of the first vendors we booked once we got engaged. Lucky for us, we found out at our tasting that he can dish up more than just amazing crab cakes, and I must say he has a mouthwatering spin on shrimp ‘n grits!
from Bon Appetit
We’re also really excited about our photographers! When Stephen and I moved to a house in Columbia, we got to know a nice couple down the street from us, who just so happened to be the talented photography duo Landon and Jordan of Landon Jacob Productions! I have been a HUGE fan of their work ever since, and it’s been kind of an unspoken agreement that when we were ready for a wedding photographer, we’d have to look no further than outside our living room window. When we got engaged, I think Jordan was just as excited as I was!
Have you picked your dress yet? How’d that go? What will you be wearing on the big day?
Oh golly! I am example no. 1 of “the girl who bought two dresses.” Two weeks after getting engaged, I brought my mom, aunt, cousin, and MOH dress shopping with me on my birthday. We quickly breezed through the first two stores in Charleston before heading to NY Bride and Groom in Charlotte. I had one set style in mind, and didn’t really try on anything else. I ended up falling in love with a beautiful beaded fit and flare lace dress, and we bought it that day.
But I didn’t stop looking. Something was missing, so I continued to browse dresses in the hopes of either dismissing or validating my initial dress decision. Eight months later, I was STILL looking, and dragged one of my bridesmaids to go with me to try on yet another dress I’d spotted in a magazine. I ended up hating it on, and was this close to settling on my first dress. On the way out, however, my bridesmaid pulled a dress off the rack and begged me to try it on, simply because we both thought it would look ridiculous! It was a giant ball gown, champagne in color, and the exact opposite of anything I had ever tried on.
I put it on, and my heart stopped beating. I immediately started crying, and knew this was the dress I wanted
to walk down the aisle in. I love it so much and can’t wait to put it on again!
We love the choices of these two brides, just two of the many featured on our Southern Styles board! (Left by Phindy Studios, right by Belathee Photography)
Do you have a favorite online shop you’d love to tell us about?
I am in love with Jenna Lou Designs and I would be remiss not to mention her! She creates, among many other items, custom clutches. She designed the clutches for my bridesmaids and personalized them with a hand-stitched patch on the inside!
What has been the biggest challenge so far in wedding planning?
Sticking to a budget! As much as I would like to splurge on vendors, we have done as much as we possibly can ourselves. The stationery was a big one. It’s so easy to get caught up in spending a lot of money on save the dates, invitations, and calligraphers, but I am handy enough with graphic design and was able to design and print both our save the dates and the formal invitations myself. The bridesmaid flowers, groomsmen bouts, centerpieces, and wedding favors will all be DIY, as well. Luckily, we have completed nearly all of our planned projects, and we hired day-of-coordinators to pull it all together for us!
Another one of Melissa’s DIY projects – paper flowers made out of old maps to decorate their cake!
What are you most looking forward to on your wedding day?
Seeing Stephen for the first time as I walk down the aisle. I have loved him since the moment I laid eyes on him. The several seconds it will take to walk towards him will feel like an eternity; it’ll be hard not to start running! One of our readings sums up my emotions perfectly.
Any advice you’d like to pass along to fellow brides?
I have two major pieces of advice. 1) The wedding is not just about you and your fiancé, but your families as well. Appease and be flexible. 2) Try on more than one wedding dress style! Even if you think you have a clear idea of what you want, try everything else on anyway. This is the only time in your life you have to try on wedding dresses… don’t sell the experience short by limiting yourself to one style. Who knows, what looks ridiculous on the rack might turn out to be the dress of your dreams!
Now it’s your turn to ask for advice – is there anything you’d like to poll the SW readers on?
What is one thing you wish you’d done in planning for your wedding that you didn’t get around to?
Thank you so much for joining us today, Melissa! We’re excited to see how everything turns out in December! Readers, if you’d like to apply to be a Southern Bride of the Month, check out this post for all the details! If you’ve already emailed me, you’re still in the running for future months!
P.S. Check out all our past Southern Brides of the Month here!
Landon Jacob is a fabulous member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!