Okay this wedding day is so full of raw emotion and feelings that I just can’t even deal with it. From Melissa getting dressed, to a first look with friends and Melissa’s father (Melissa’s mom and dad even had a sweet impromptu first look that just about killed me), to first dances during the reception, this wedding day had all the feels. Melissa and Seth built it that way. They decided to get married on a Wednesday with an intimate ceremony and reception, with only very close family and friends. Getting to be part of it felt like a huge honor. And speaking of honor, I have to talk on Melissa for a moment….
Radiant. That is the word that continually springs forth when I try to think of ways to describe Melissa. I arrived at Bernhardt Winery a little before Melissa did and began to unpack my equipment and get organized. As I was walking through the reception hall I looked up and saw Melissa was walking towards me with her arms outstretched, tears brimming in her eyes. She pulled back from hugging me and said, “I was hoping you’d wear Vans today! They’re your signature! You look so pretty.” I’m pretty sure I stumbled through a response because I was choking back emotion at how honored she made me feel. This happened within the first 10 seconds of me seeing Melissa on her wedding day, and it was only the first time she made me feel special, seen, and cared for on her wedding day. Multiple times during the day she displayed genuine thoughtfulness towards me. During family portraits (which can sometimes feel like a race against the clock) she took extra time to introduce me to her niece, when she and Seth recessed back up the aisle she actually thanked me for opening the door for them, and during their reception she came and found me, told me to take a break for a minute, and gave me the most thoughtful gift and note that blew me away.
See, I knew Melissa was special when we met for coffee for our initial consult, and that was further confirmed when I got to see her again for their engagement session. (What was also confirmed at the engagement session was my sneaking suspicion that Seth is an incredibly kind, special person as well. I was right.) But what I hadn’t gotten to see yet was how she interacts with others. Not only does Melissa make people feel important with basically every instinct of her personality (I mean, I think kindness and generosity just burst out of her uncontrollably), but she actually premeditates on ways to bless people before she sees them. Not only did I feel doted on by Melissa at her wedding, but I got to watch her do the same thing to at least 100 other people all day. As you’ll see when you scroll below to the photos, she picked out the sweetest, most thoughtful gifts for everyone in her family and I got to take photos as her dad opened his gift from her. But her love for others doesn’t stop at her family. When she and her dad entered the room during the ceremony – like, as she’s walking down the aisle – she busts out, “All my favorite people in one room!” Isn’t that precious?!?! Melissa can’t help but 1) make everyone around her feel loved, and 2) make everyone around her feel like they’re her favorite.
And then that brings us to Seth. If Melissa is the queen of thoughtfulness Seth is the king of kindness. First of all, it is actually impossible for him to not use “mam” or “sir” when he’s speaking with anyone. He just cannot not show people the utmost respect. Like, he won’t do it. Even if you ask him to stop. He will not allow you to tell him not to be respectful towards you in that way, and then if you fight him on it he’ll just tell you to blame his Mama (who, by the way, is just as kind and lovely as he is). But in addition to being the guy who’s going to make you feel like a million bucks by the way he speaks with you, he’s also the guy who will go with the flow even if it dries up, and he’ll do it with a great sense of humor, too. It rained on Melissa and Seth’s wedding day, and that juggled the timeline around a little. Did that bother Seth? No. I don’t think a stampede of elephants running through the venue could have bothered Seth. He is always calm, cool, and completely okay with whatever curve balls come his way. And yes, he’ll also make you laugh as he swings at them. But if I had to pick my favorite thing about Seth (which is hard to do, because Seth is arguably the most agreeable human I’ve met), it would probably be the way he makes Melissa feel, which is so intensely lovely that she couldn’t help but cry all throughout the entire wedding day. During the reception Melissa laughed and said she was tired of crying, but I loved every minute of it. He makes her feel special and loved and seen, which is exactly how she makes others feel. Isn’t marriage beautiful? And this day could not have been more lovely. From delicate details to a their little family reception I am so excited to share Melissa and Seth’s beautiful wedding day today! Congrats you two!!
Congrats to the Leals! You two are the kindest most genuine couple, and I’m so grateful to know you both!
Photography – Emily Boone Photography
Venue – Bernhardt Winery
Dress – David’s Bridal
Groom Attire – Men’s Warehouse
Cake – Baby Cakes Bakery
Florals – Bride and Bloom
HMU – Ulta