Melissa and Justin Beck!

Alright everyone, get comfy...

I've been a fan of Melissa Beck's {yes, from the original cast of The Real World New Orleans} blogs for years {Princess Melissa and Melissa Beck on Tumblr}. Her husband, Justin Beck, is a musician in a band called Glassjaw.  When I say I've been following her blogs for years, I'm serious.  So when I read her post where she let us all know that she was engaged, I literally cried. {I still read that post randomly because it is hilarious and really beautiful}.

When I saw the pictures from Melissa and Justin's wedding, I sent all of my friends the link...I looked at them over and over pulling ideas, dying over how gorgeous Melissa and Justin are, marveling at how unique every aspect of their wedding was and just how much fun everyone was clearly having.

The details of this wedding are not to be kept a secret! Luckily Melissa was kind enough to let me share these pictures and some details with all of you. I asked her some questions about her wedding and she blessed my inbox with such a detailed description of her wedding...grab a pen a take notes!

The tone of a wedding is set by the invitation. We sent out a flier for a hardcore show. I was headlining (of course) so my name was at the top in Metallica font. His name was below mine in BURN font and then our parents were the opening acts. I wanted the invitation to say lots of things without saying lots of things. Be yourself. Please come. Don't dread having to come. It's not going to be stuffy, I promise. Can I please tell you? I've been to a couple friends' houses years later and my wedding invitation is still posted on their fridges! Not to pat myself on the back, but that was a cute invitation. I think.

We  decided the music would already be playing when the guests arrived. The bar would be open, all the way open. And a selection of hors' doeuvres would be going around. When the song I wanted to walk in to came on, I sorta just appeared at the already happening party and the ceremony started. He trusted that people would just get it. And they did. People that were on the top tier of our deck looked down. And people that were in the grass looked on. It was a pretty seamless thing. The crowd of people even parted as I walked through holding my dad's hand. It was a calming and pretty and relaxing thing to walk into. I came into a Brazilian jazz version of the The Girl from Ipanema, by the way. I don't know why but I liked it.

Anyway, as the interfaith rabbi wrapped up the vows, George Benson's Breezin -- complete with the bird chirping sounds -- cued up and we kissed and then spliced into that song September by Earth Wind & Fire and that's how the night truly began. I still listen to my wedding playlist in the car, all the time. Shalom loves Aaliyah Rock the Boat (inappropriate, I know). And yes, I made him play every late 80s early 90s R&B song that had to do with getting married. But we also had Lionel Richie, Chaka Khan, Jamiroquai, Stevie Wonder, Gregory Isaacs, The Ethiopians, Mariah, New Edition, Yung Joc. You get the point.

For catering, we ordered real food from a local steakhouse bistro. It was made fresh there and delivered to us throughout the night. We hid the staff in the neighbor's house which connects very easily to my backyard so you kinda just didn't know where all this food was coming from but it just kept coming.  I really don't like frozen catering hall food, and despite not eating that night anyway (brides never have time) I know the food was really good because Justin and I go to that restaurant.

My cake was a strawberry shortcake with whipped cream. Not that hard other weird frosting they usually use to make cakes stand up and do all kinds of other tricks. I wanted my cake to do what cakes do best -- which is to taste good. It was from a regular old bakery up the street. I specifically did not say it was a wedding cake. As a matter of fact, while making inquiries about pricing for everything about the wedding I never said the word "wedding." For some reason, you say "wedding" and the price miraculously skyrockets. Strange. The cake was $187 I think.

My only music request to my husband, who was in charge of the music situation, was ALL THE HITS. DO NOT PLAY ME, BOY. ALL THE HITS I SAID. He put together a billion hour list of every song we have ever liked with nice little transitions and stuff. He's into that sort of thing. We did not have a DJ. I didn't want anybody yelling over a loudspeaker or telling my guests what to do now. I just wanted this to be a nice cocktail party. Upbeat at parts. Mellow at times.

{This is Melissa's hilarious dad}

I decided not to do traditional wedding photography. My very good friend Brad Walsh had recently moved to New York and he was doing tons of night life photography and I wanted my wedding to look like his social life. I wanted the photos to be a true representation of what really happened on the night of my wedding so he did all candids. Plus, you know, it was Justin's day too. He is so not that guy that wants to stand around and do photos for a couple hours before or after any other required activity and I felt like I had to honor that piece of him. So I told him he did not have to do "real" photos and he was also free to dress himself (yes, I had to just let that go) and I was pleasantly surprised. He wore a very nice Dolce & Gabbana suit that was tailored to fit him. With Adidas and a yarmulke we had gotten in Israel the week before because we went on our honeymoon before the wedding. Umhmmm. a) I could be tan and refreshed looking in my dress - a Giambattista Valli cocktail dress I had shortened into a mini dress. And b) the studio was calling for him and if you're married to a musician you kinda just want them to be happy in their artistic realm and you make concessions where you can because ultimately you will be happier as a result.

Honestly, we would have been more than happy to go on down to the courthouse and have no fanfare at all but we didn't want to hurt our moms' feelings. So we decided to do something small and at home. We had about 100 guests. The last guest left at 3 in the morning just as the music slipped into some slow reggae and the fires in the pits were dying down. It was really chill, for lack of a better word. By that point, I was in jeans and t-shirt with my shoes on my lap -- so that all could still admire the tiger print Louboutins. I STILL DIE FOR THOSE SHOES TODAY.

{Melissa with her mother and mother-in-law}

{Melissa told me that her husband built this photo collage. He scanned all old images from both families that looked familiar to say that no matter where you come from, family photo albums all look the same...They had this hanging at the wedding...I love this!}

We had a low-key, modest cocktail party wedding thing. No pressure. No stress. No debt. And it's true. It's a great day, but it is just one day. That was just one sick day that ushered into this bigger other universe of our life.  That one day was awesome but will be and has been trumped by so many other greater days, like the day the pregnancy test finally had two pink lines. Like the birth of our daughter. It's up there, high on the list of great stuff we accomplished together and I'm happy we did it with practicality and with keeping each other's personalities in mind. Now if only I could get him to print the wedding photos in an oversized glossy magazine like he promised me he would. He has until our fifth wedding anniversary to get that done before I get crunk.

{Photography: Brad Walsh}


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  2. I love Melissa. I also cried when I read her post about getting engaged - she's such a great writer.

  3. awww, thanks for sharing. i started reading princess melissa ages ago...she is a great writer.

  4. I miss the Princess Melissa blogs! All her blogs are awesome though!!! Wishing Melissa and the fam all the happiness in the world!

  5. Great post! I too love Melissa and follow her blogs religiously. It was great to see these photos again and to get a little more backstory on that day. Hey Summer, I miss the old blog as well. I loved going back to reread a funny story (love the one about the day Shalom was born).

  6. Another Melissa fan here. I've followed her since RWNO days and love her humor and writing. It was great to read this story again.
    And yup, I'm part of the group that streamed tears reading the engagement story.
    I also love the laid back style of the wedding. I wanna be like Melissa when I grow up. :-)

  7. @Mita, I know, hopefully Melissa will bring Princess Melissa back. The stories about the journey from the wedding to bringing Shalom into the world is sooo inspiring! It has helped other women who have been on the same journey. Writing so full of humor and wit, that you hope Melissa eventually writes an official book. I have been reading her blogs for about 9 or 10 years! Thank you Melissa!

  8. Ditto. Another I-cried-at-the-grab-yourself-a-Coke-and-a-smile-engagement-post girl. Perfection.

    Love this too. Thanks for posting.

  9. I love love love her. I too have been a reader since she started her blog after Real World and anxiously await her updates.
    Beautiful pictures.... she's so unique and funny..and man, they had some smokin' hot tans!

    What great ideas.. I loved the invites, especially. I'm planning my own Long Island wedding this October and I love to hear the DIY stories.

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