Upon first look at Melati + Mark’s darling Charleston nuptials, I was overcome by how effortfully chic their entire day looks. The classic navy details combined with the relaxed burlap runners feel polished yet laid back — a difficult balance to strike that M + M couldn’t have made prettier! But, of course, you know I can’t just talk about how lovely their day is, after reading their interview. I know Kristin would agree that Melati’s outlook on married life is spot on! She said, with marriage, “there is added responsibility to always be the best form of yourself and added security, too, for when that doesn’t always happen.” YES!
Big thanks to Loren Routhier for sharing this sweet day!
Our work nickname (combining my first name and Mark’s last name) is “Belati.” We tied ribbons which were printed with “BELATI EST. 2013” around each set of silverware. The silverware was then laid across navy blue linen napkins at each table. This little touch, along with the hand-painted navy “B” on the burlap runners gave each table a special feel.
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My wedding dress was a silk strapless sweetheart gown from Nicole Miller. I absolutely loved the draping in the front and felt like it gave the dress a romantic vibe. It was one of the first dressed I tried on, and from then on, I went on a search to find the best deal. Believe it or not, I ended up buying my dress brand new from eBay for a third of the cost. There are tons of deals out there if you are looking to find them!
Describe your wedding flowers. I was looking for a rustic look. The flowers were assembled in muted tones with a mixture of Juliet David Austin roses, assorted textural flowers, lavender, succulents and scabiosa pods for a little edge.
Mark was a huge advocate of seeing each other for the first time when I walked down the aisle. The park had a beautiful winding brick path, which actually provided me the opportunity to have a special moment with my father and acknowledge several guests. However, as soon as Mark and I locked eyes, it was complete tunnel vision. I even had to go back after the ceremony to see what the flowers that lined the aisle looked like. It was exactly as we had hoped, the butterflies and tears. I don’t know if it would have been as overwhelming if we had seen each other before.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: There were three details in particular that were important to us. For our guest book, we found a North Carolina artist and asked them to paint the reception venue. We then installed a hard canvas on the back and had guests sign it. This painting will forever hang on our wall with the names of all who joined us. Second, our work nickname (combining my first name and Mark’s last name) is “Belati.” We tied ribbons which were printed with “BELATI EST. 2013” around each set of silverware. The silverware was then laid across navy blue linen napkins at each table. This little touch, along with the hand-painted navy “B” on the burlap runners gave each table a special feel. Third, we loved our custom stamp. The brown paper bag that Mark used in the proposal had the stamp from the bakery he bought it from on it (a funky rooster). Then, when we grabbed breakfast on our way to the soon-to-be-discovered ceremony and reception location, we were given our pastries in another brown paper bag with a whisk stamp. Last, that year, we picked up donuts in Kansas before our engagement party and, what do you know, but we got another brown paper bag with the store’s logo stamped on it. Needless to say we sensed the universe giving us a theme. We ended up framing those three paper bags and then created a custom stamp based off of the tree that we got married under. We used that not only on our own brown paper bags, but also throughout the programs and cards during the reception.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? In addition to the Spanish moss and old oak tree ceremony site and the Southern plantation reception, we wanted to give everyone a taste of the low-country in both style and food. Mark and the groomsmen wore navy blue bow ties (in assorted colors and patterns) in honor of Mark’s grandfather who was a tremendous influence in Mark’s life. We also featured a cocktail hour with crab cakes, peel-and-eat shrimp and prosciutto wrapped asparagus. For the main course we served shrimp and grits, beef tenderloin (for non-seafood lovers), cornbread, macaroni and cheese, roasted new potatoes and fresh green beans with almonds and bacon.
Mark has a serious sweet tooth, so when it was time for the tasting, we simply could not choose just one flavor. We featured eight wedding cakes with flavors ranging from lemon custard, strawberry buttercream (with local strawberries), grapefruit, coconut, peanut butter chocolate and more. Mini cupcakes were also available in fresh blueberry buttercream and mint chocolate.
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in 2009 at an ad agency we both work for in Durham, North Carolina. I was originally recruited to work for Mark, but, luckily for our future relationship, once I was hired, I was placed on a different account. Though we often saw each other in the office and out with friends, our relationship started more than a year after our first meeting. Since we both love the outdoors and our dogs, our first date was a five-hour hike during which we introduced our furry family members. Our second date was less than 24 hours after the first, and since that time, we have been inseparable. Mark and I pride ourselves on the DIY spirit we both infuse into our home and experience daily by living in Durham. Naturally, our wedding was an outdoor, DIY event in a romantic city that serves as our most frequent getaway destination, Charleston, SC.
Tell us all about the proposal! Early in our relationship, we developed the habit of going to the Durham Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings. When I was dying to sleep in, Mark would often go solo and bring home breakfast and flowers (I’m a lucky gal). In August of 2012, Mark came home at 8am and woke me up with a call to join him in the kitchen. Thank goodness I washed my face and brushed my teeth first, rather than stumbling in half asleep! There were two brown paper bags on the counter. Mark pointed to one that held my breakfast and then reached behind him to grab what I thought was his bag. Instead, he pulled out a ring and got down on one knee. It turns out he had called both of my parents and both of my sisters beforehand to get everyone’s blessing. We celebrated with mimosas and tearful phone calls. Even our dogs got special treats to mark the occasion.
When did y’all get married? June 1, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 101
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We thought it was very important to write our own vows to each other. Mark’s blew me away—we’re talking serious tears. My favorite lines were from his vows, which read: “I promise to always love you, stand by you, and protect you. I will be strong in times of challenge, tender in times of pain, as playful with our children as we are with each other and, above all, your steadfast partner and best friend for the rest of our lives.”
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Instead of religious readings, we opted for “The Blessing of the Hands.” “These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever. These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future. These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other. These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind. These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow, and tears of joy. These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children. These are the hands that will help you to hold your family as one. These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it. And lastly, these are the hands that, even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.”
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. (Guests Arrival) Mumford and Sons, Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder: We wanted a collection of low-key and upbeat music that represents the vibe we live by. (Mothers’ Entrance) “All You Need is Love” by The Beatles: It was such a celebratory song that really hit home because of how much both of our mothers have built their lives around showing, giving and nurturing love. (Wedding Party) “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)” by Natalie Cole: We love this song also because of the upbeat nature. It’s fun, a little old fashioned (which we can be), and gives folks a cute pep in their step when they walk to it! (Walk Down Aisle) “Forever” by Ben Harper: This song in so many ways represents the journey the two of us have been through and our pledge to each other. This was very much my song dedication to Mark, like our first dance was his song dedication to me. (Recessional) “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers (starting at 0:52) (First Dance) “I’ll Be Your Lover Too” by Van Morrison: This song represents Mark so incredibly well and was one of the first songs he shared with me when we first started dating. (Father/Daughter Dance) “Up on the Roof” by The Drifters: My father sang this to me when putting me to bed throughout my childhood. The song was a surprise to him until the morning of the wedding. However, he was certain that would be the one! (Mother/Son Dance) “Let it Be” by The Beatles.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something old was a baby bonnet Mark wore home from the hospital that was sewn under my dress. For my something borrowed, I also wore an heirloom pearl and gold bracelet from her mother’s side of the family in Malaysia. For my something new, I splurged on a pair of Miguel Ases pearl and gold chandelier earrings (they were to die for). For my something blue, I fell in love with a pair of navy suede Kate Spade wedges.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? There were two main challenges we faced when planning the wedding. The first was planning a wedding as an out-of-town bride. It became incredibly important that all of our vendors were personable and prompt on the phone/email. It was also important that we could communicate our vision and hopes and dreams and that they could not only echo them back, but add to them. Through vendors building on our ideas, we were able to get a feel for who really “got us” and who was just “giving good phone.” The second biggest challenge was planning a budget. For Mark and I, it was very important to have the wedding we had always dreamed of without compromising our financial future, as we were just starting the build a life together. There were a lot of times when I had to ask myself if an idea or detail was critical for the day or if there were ways that I could recreate a look myself. Etsy and Pinterest became my go-to resources for inspiration on achieving different looks myself or to finding an artist who could do it for less than I would be charged otherwise.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? There are two answers for this question too. One was my photographer, Loren Routhier. She was such a blessing throughout the entire process. She was flexible and responsive, and when she showed up on-site, she just fit right in and exuded warmth, making everyone feel comfortable. Additionally, she went above and beyond after the wedding to make sure I had everything I could have dreamed of to document the day! The other person was our day-of-coordinator who manages the reception site, Margaret McKenzie. She offered her services when we visited the site and I was sold. And thank goodness, because she played such a pivotal role.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? My favorite part of the wedding day was by far and away when we delivered our vows. We were holding hands, staring into each other’s eyes and were somewhere between laughing and crying the whole time. At one point, Mark forgot part of his vows because he was just overcome with the moment and my heart was so full. It sounds funny to say that that was my favorite part but I still smile just thinking about it.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Be sure that the wedding you plan is the wedding you want. It can be very hard when friends and family offer opinions (and sometimes they do so very strongly). Just remember that this is YOUR day. Respectfully thank them for their input and let them know that you’ll keep their ideas in mind as you decide how everything flows together. By addressing that type of feedback upfront, it will be easier to follow through with your own desires as your (and their) nerves and anticipation grow.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Just spending more and more time together. We postponed our honeymoon until early 2014, as we spent the week leading up to and after the wedding with our families. Everyone asks if being married feels any different. It doesn’t really. But, perhaps, there is added responsibility to always be the best form of yourself and added security too for when that doesn’t always happen.
Photographer: Loren Routhier | Ceremony Venue: Wide Awake Park | Reception Venue: Old Wide Awake Plantation | Florist: Wildflowers Inc | Wedding Cake Baker: Sugar Bakeshop | Caterer: Crazy Dutchman Catering | Rentals: Snyder | Bride’s Gown: Nicole Miller | Hair Stylist & Makeup Artist: Paper Dolls | Additional Vendors: In lieu of traditional wedding favors, the couple made a donation to the ASPCA.