Oscar (aka “Ocky”) and I met over 10 years ago, him being best friends with my now brother in law, Justin, and my sister, Kathryn, we were always finding ourselves at mutual get togethers. Every BBQ, party or holiday, I always looked forward to seeing Ocky and having our usual hilarious conversation together. Laughing with him has always been my favorite.

March 17, 2012: A bunch of us were out for St.Patty’s day celebrations in down town Rochester. We spent the day dancing on an empty dance floor of one of the clubs, pretending to be the DJ by sneaking behind the DJ station, and eating garbage plates to round out the day’s festivities. What’s so special about this particular St.Patricks day? Well, I’ll tell you! That was the day that Ocky asked if he could kiss me (yes he was a gentleman and asked, and I most certainly said yes!). That moment was what established that we had mutual feelings for one another. However, the dynamic of my older Sister and Brother-in-Law being close friends with Ocky along with me being “the little sister” scared us away from jumping into any serious relationship following that first kiss. We both were important to Kathryn and Justin, and did not want to risk anything that would end up ruining friendships or causing any sense of awkwardness.

Don’t panic! Obviously that didn’t stop us! Skip through a few years of us constantly being drawn towards each other at those same BBQs, parties, and holidays, to the point where we finally felt confident enough that we could be in a official relationship and have it work out in the long run! Needless to say, our gut instincts were right, and we have been together ever since April 2015.

Towards the end of December 2016, I ended up moving in with Ocky and Macho (our hilarious, attention hungry, 5 pound..well maybe 7 pounds ever since I’ve been around), Morkie (Maltese/Yorkie Mix). We spent that year really making that house into “our home”, remodeling the bedroom, transforming the kitchen, and as Ocky’s mother and sister like to say, “adding a woman’s touch” around the place (mainly framed photos, the occasional vase of fresh flowers, and unnecessary home decor from Homegoods)! We have learned that we love to cook together while bumping music in the kitchen, Oscar being my dancing sous chef, and Macho being the official taste tester (like I said, that dog may be closer to a whopping 7 pounds because of this acquired duty). We have hosted friends, family, the occasional boys soccer team, and love having our home filled with our favorite people.

After living together for a year, Oscar proposed to me December 23rd, 2017, in front of both of our immediate families in our home.

From my (Melissa) perspective, I had arranged to host a Christmas Eve Eve with my side of the family at our house. I was the one to check in with oscar to make sure that worked for him, and he was all for it! Little did I know he had purchased a ring in the beginning of December, and was planning to get our families together to pop the big question, so this was a perfect opportunity for Oscar! He arranged for his family to show up to our house once we had reached the dessert portion of dinner. His sister was the first to show up, and she simply said that she wanted to pop in with her daughters to wish my family a merry christmas, so I thought nothing of this! I started to think something was up once more of his family showed up unannounced, but even at that point I was thinking that Oscar had just wanted to surprise me by getting our families together as a christmas gift, because I had been saying that I wanted that! The idea that he may be proposing did not occur to me until he started to get everyone’s attention as he stood on the step of our kitchen leading to the living room. He began with thanking everyone for showing up and coming together for the holiday, and that it meant so much to the both of us. He then said that he had wanted to get everyone together, so that he could give me one of my christmas presents a little early, which is when he knelt down on one knee and pulled out a small box from his pocket and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. I felt like I was in a dream, I had a combination of laughing and crying going on, but I managed to nod my head and say YES! I was so happy and in shock that he had arranged all this with me having not a clue! It was perfect and so unbelievably special to me to have the people we love most all there to witness such a wonderful moment in our lives, in that home we had made for ourselves.

Thank god for Pinterest!! After looking through some inspiration on Pinterest, I really started to have a consistent look that I was drawn towards, which was a soft, romantic, and organic vibe. When I think of those things combined, I would picture soft colors, like blushes, and pale greens, and light peach. I knew that I didn’t want things to look super buttoned up and “the same”. I like the idea of mixing in elements that coordinate, but not necessarily match. So this played into the bridesmaids having different dresses in various shades ranging from blush pink, to dusty rose, to deeper mauves. Our center pieces were also an assortment of different shaped terrariums filled with mixtures of moss, succulents and flowers. I wanted to have that genuine and organic feel to every element. And yes, I say “I” a lot here, because, let’s be real, Oscar knew this was not his realm, and he put full trust  and support towards my vision!

I utilized theknot.com a lot! Especially for my “to-do” list. They had elements to that list that I would not have even thought of! So that was a huge help! Good old excel helped us out too, when it came to budgeting, guest lists, thank you card/gift trackers etc. And as mentioned, Pinterest brought forth a lot of good ideas and inspiration that lead to the final result! Youtube also helped us out when it came to DIY projects!!

I have always had a love for photographs and home videos from a young age. I love the idea of capturing memories to look back on once those memories start to become a little fuzzy. My sister did not have her wedding recorded at all! And she told me that was her biggest regret looking back on her wedding experience. We also knew that the day would be a whirlwind, and that there would be parts that we miss or forget due to emotions running high! So, having a videographer was a no-brainer, and a must!!!

I think our vows surprised us all! We both put a lot of thought and effort into our vows, and I don’t think our guests knew we had written our own. It was a beautiful moment to be a part of and to witness. I think it really gave our loved ones a peak inside of the emotional aspect of our relationship, rather than the goofs that they always see on the outside.

Things will not go according to plan. No matter how planned out you think you have everything, something will go astray. DON’T let that ruin any ounce of what the day is about. I got lipstick on Oscar’s collar seconds into our first look, I panicked for a second, but seeing how Oscar could have cared less, and seeing how happy and in love he was snapped me out of that panic right away and it really told me that there is no point in stressing about those little things. Focus on the big picture! You’re marrying the love of your life! Nothing should bring you down from that natural high!!!

With that, I will say, make sure you communicate (more than once) the day’s time line to ALL vendors. Our DJ messed up some cues in the ceremony and some other moments through out the day, so I recommend just triple checking with all vendors that they have the right times and order of events.

Our first look. Oscar’s face was priceless, and I will never forget it. We both were so excited to see each other, and the relief and ease of nerves is indescribable. I was SO happy in that moment, and so was Oscar.

I also LOVED the speeches that my sister and Oscar’s brother gave. My sister, Kathryn,  ended her lovely speech with a meditation that guaranteed Oscar and myself a moment to really take in our wedding day, from the sounds, to the smells, to the sights of all of the people that we love, sitting there so peacefully, focusing on sending us so much love and hopes and well wishes towards our marriage to eachother. It was truly a breathtaking moment, that really got the water works going for us! Jasen’s speech was amazing as well! He had us cracking up and crying through out his speech. Both of them put so much thought and feelings into their speeches, and it meant the world to us!

HAVE FUN! I had an absolute blast!! I even am highly considering getting into the wedding planning biz, because I loved it so much!! Don’t stress too much about it! And I say first steps should be: Venue to set the date, then photographer & videographer! The sooner you start booking, the better chance you have at getting who you want!

Crispin Hill
Crispin Hill
Heather Thompson from Crispin Hill
Katie Finnerty
Pepper Gown by Hayley Paige, purchased at Lovely Bride in Victor NY
Betsy Johnson (shoes), accessories from Allure Wedding Accessories on Etsy
Birdy Grey
Allure Wedding Accessories (Jewelry), and they bought their own shoes
Incognito Menswear
Incognito Menswear
April Birchler
Christina Matiash
Designed by me, printed from Cards & Pockets
Misc. places..Home goods, At Home, Amazon…
Scratch Bakeshop
Charisma Jewelers
Keuka Taxi
Dave Olson from Go Sound Productions
Michael Ameele from Pittsford Wegmans Floral