Melissa and Matthew's Fun Dance-Party Wedding in Los Angeles
Melissa and Matt
Who says technology’s not romantic? Not Melissa Paulo, a social media manager, or Matt Cruzada, a global apparel merchant and one of her closest friends since freshman year at the University of California at Berkeley. Despite circumstance and distance—Matt was in a relationship in college; Melissa moved to Japan after graduation in 2005—the two stayed in touch with the help of modern media, bonding over Facebook catch-ups and e-mail. It wasn’t until Melissa returned to her native Los Angeles, in 2007, during the pair’s occasional long conversations over ramen, that she decided the timing was finally right for them to become more than buddies. After a weekend visit from Matt, who lived in San Francisco, she shared her thoughts, unplugged: She sent him a snail-mail letter. Turns out he felt the same way. Some 200 flights along the California coast and four years later, Matt proposed to Melissa with an elaborate, YouTube-worthy adventure through San Francisco’s Ferry Building, as loved ones escorted her to where he waited on bended knee.
Technology lent a hand again in coordinating their big day, as Melissa’s social-media savvy paid off: She found their industrial Los Angeles venue, Studio 1342, through the blogosphere. From there, she connected to Yeah! Weddings, a hip vendor collective that helped them pull together a midcentury modern look for their reception. “We basically just wanted to throw a big, fun dance party that had wedding elements in it,” Melissa says of their October 12, 2013, nuptials.
The Fun Invitations
Matt helped design the poster-size invites, which outlined their courtship by the numbers.
When outfitting their bridal party, the couple didn’t play by the rules—bridesmaids chose their own dresses, and Matt asked two of his close female friends to share groomsmen duties with his buddies, who wore customized ties of Japanese Kaihara selvedge chambray. As for the bride and groom? They both opted for J.Crew ensembles.
Matt’s brother designed the ceremony backdrop; the left and right panels called out some of the couple’s favorite things.
Up in the Air
Friends and family sent paper-airplane programs flying when the newlyweds were introduced as husband and wife. The planes were a nod to the two years Melissa and Matt dated long-distance.
The Groom’s Lapel
Billy balls, dusty miller, and handmade button flowers tied with twine dappered up Matt’s lapel.
Real Friends Cry
Given that everyone involved in Matt’s elaborate proposal ended up in tears (don’t take our word for it—see the video here), the couple hedged their bets on the ceremony being equally sentimental. Naglee Paper Products helped design the font that tied together of all of their signage and stationery, including this dressed-up box of tissues, with a note that read “You just never know...real friends cry.”
For the flower girls and ring bearer, Melissa and Matt called upon their nieces, nephews, and godchildren, who flew from all over the West Coast to be there on the big day.
The Ring Pillow
Melissa found their monogrammed felt ring pillow on Etsy.
“Our ceremony ended up being incredibly intimate—just perfect,” Melissa says.
After the short and sweet nondenominational vow exchange officiated by a longtime friend, the ceremony space became an outdoor lounge for the celebration.
Even though seating was open, the couple wrote a personal “escort card” note for each guest.
Photos and Flowers
Melissa and her future mother-in-law arranged flowers in vintage glass bottles, placing them alongside hand-painted picture frames in order to give the venue’s interior space a homey vibe. “In the past, I’ve seen expensive details at weddings and thought, ‘Hey, you could probably use a lot of recycled materials and it would still look great,’” Melissa says. “That was an important aspect of the process for us.”
The bride sourced these striped paper straws on Amazon and then adorned each one with a hand-cut flag bearing a sassy quip, like “I’m single” or “3rd drink.”
The indoor area was devoted to the dance floor, where, at 7 P.M., a flash mob arranged by Matt and made up of their guests broke out to Bruno Mars’s “Treasure.” Throughout the night, the 220 attendees sampled individual lasagna “cupcakes,” sweet potato shepherd’s pies, and mini chicken and waffles made by caterer Heirloom LA.
Thanks to a s’mores-style wedding cake, sugar rushes kept the reception rolling into the early morning. “I had been to so many weddings where a beautiful cake was cut and then nobody ended up eating it,” Melissa says. “I didn’t want that situation, so we offered cookies and ice cream to our guests and then had a small, ceremonial cake for the wedding party.” Heirloom LA delivered with a sinful s'mores concoction—a chocolate cake with marshmallow crème, graham cracker crust, and toasted marshmallow icing.
Location: Studio 1342
Day-Of Event Coordination: No Worries Event Planning
Catering and Cake: Heirloom LA
Beverages: Liquid Catering
Photography: Jennifer Emerling of Yeah! Weddings
Videography: Shark Pig
Stationery: Naglee Paper Projects
Music: Mike Cruz of The Flashdance
Hair and Makeup: Sherry Younge of The Artform Studio
Bride’s Gown: J.Crew
Veil: January Rose Bridal
Groom’s Suit and Shirt: J.Crew
Valet: Power Valet Parking
Event Logistics: Dovetail Logistics
Chalk Artist: Mark Cruzada of Handsome Oxford
Wedding Rings: Bridal Rings Company