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Melissa and Sam
Popping the question wasn't something Sam Davis Jr. had planned to do on December 7, 2002. That afternoon, for fun, he and his girlfriend of two years, Melissa McElhatton, went window-shopping for rings. When they found one they loved, Sam purchased it on the spot. He let her wear it home, warning that she'd have to give it back. Instead, he seized the moment by asking for her hand that evening. "I didn't want her to ever take the ring off," says Sam.
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Invitations are embossed with a gold monogram. Reproductions of stamps from the 1800s, ordered from the U.S. Postal Service, were used on the envelopes.
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Table centerpieces of garden roses in silver planters.
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Sam (center) with his groomsmen and an usher.
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Bridesmaids, in aqua-blue silk shantung dresses by Aria, carry monogrammed silk purses and smaller versions of the bride's bouquet.
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A garland of eucalyptus and bay leaves frames rows of seating cards decorated with botanical rose prints. The paper table runner evokes vintage wallpaper.
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Paperweights decoupaged with roses anchor a parchment-color paper scroll for family and friends to sign, a vintage ribbon fastens it closed. Above it, snowberries and garden roses are arranged in an antique blue-enamel loving cup.
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Parcels full of old-fashioned candies to be set at each place. The striped paper liner is sealed with a personalized sticker, and the guest's name is calligraphed on a menu bound to the favor with gold cord.
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On the balcony of the upper parlor of Ralston Hall, the couple gathers for photographs with Melissa's family. The bride holds a bouquet of garden roses.
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A selection of sweets accompanies the cake and is offered on vintage-glass cake stands, candy dishes, and compotes, some of which belong to the bride.
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The cake is crowned with fresh garden roses, and a fringe of gardenias encircles the bottom tier. The buttercream frosting is covered with a piped Swiss-dot design, and layers are devil's food cake with banana-cream filling and yellow cake with raspberry-cream filling.
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The couple takes to the floor for their first dance as husband and wife.
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In keeping with the theme of vintage glamour, the newlyweds stepped into a rented 1950s Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud upon their departure from the reception. Gold ribbon draped across the hood and tied to the hood ornament suspends a wreath of garden roses and their tiny buds in shades of pink, peach, and cream. Melissa and Sam were surprised to discover that the car's leather interior was aqua blue, a color prominent throughout their wedding. "The driver told us the car was once owned by Desi Arnaz, and I thought, 'I can't believe Lucy rode in this car,'" says Melissa.