Tender is the Heart

Real Wedding: Melissa and Greg

When looking for the right gown, some brides channel fairy-tale princesses, others imagine Hollywood starlets. But Melissa, who married Greg in a traditional Mormon ceremony at the Salt Lake Temple followed by a reception for 200 guests at Wadley Historic Farm in Salt Lake City, wanted to look like she stepped out of a Jane Austen novel. "There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart," wrote Austen in her 1815 classic, Emma. It was as if the author was writing about Melissa and Greg's wedding.

So when Melissa saw the modest gown that could accommodate her 6-foot-tall frame, she knew it captured the Regency Era romanticism. "The dress was the most stressful part of the entire wedding process," recalls the bride. "But when I saw this dress I was instantly drawn to it. I loved the capped sleeves and the detail around the waist."

Melissa and Greg embraced many heartfelt do-it-yourself touches for their day. For one, Greg didn't ask for Melissa's hand in marriage until he'd fully restored a vintage table he sanded, refinished and painted for the occasion. Then he proposed under a gazebo, where the table displayed photos and the engagement ring--hidden within a book hand-bound by Greg's mother. Later the table would serve as a place for guests to sign-in and view photos of the couple's family at the wedding.

The couple also featured a DIY "Cake Bar," offering an assortment of pies and cakes hand-made by the groom's aunt. Even the food, catered by a professional chef encouraged guests' involvement. Since their wedding took place during the day, the couple offered a vast "crepe station" so guests could personalize the toppings.

Audience participation was also appreciated in the array of lawn games that the couple provided. There was plenty of bocce, croquet, and badminton gear to go around. It was a day Jane Austen would approve of.

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