After becoming inseparable on a trip to Miami with mutual friends, Melissa Belmonte and Christopher Lorippo’s love story began. A few years later, the two found themselves strolling the streets of Rome, Italy, after a delicious dinner together, when suddenly Christopher purchased all the red roses a street vendor was selling. He asked the gentleman to record a video with his phone, handed the florals to his beloved and immediately dropped to one knee. “It was perfect and romantic,” describes Melissa.
When the pandemic hit, the couple was steadfast on maintaining their original wedding plans and celebration date, though they did have to whittle down their guest list to 50 loved ones. “Just eight days before our wedding, we received bad news,” confides the bride. “We were told we were not able to have a DJ or dancing at our original venue – and that was a deal breaker for us.” Fighting off the temptation to cancel the entire event, Melissa and Christopher instead walked over to the restaurant where they had scheduled their rehearsal dinner to see if they would allow for the full reception. “The owner agreed to give us his entire outdoor space! We moved our whole wedding, and in just days our event stylist helped us create magic!” shares Melissa.
The couple always knew they wanted to get married in Manhattan. “We love New York City and spend a lot of our time there, including all our most memorable date nights,” explains the bride. Since the groom was adamant about a traditional church ceremony, it was an easy choice to select the gorgeous and historical St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which was thankfully in close proximity to the reception venue. The grand sanctuary has strict rules about decorations and musicians, so the betrothed were not able to personalize the décor and simply got married with only the beauty of the church as is. They selected their music for the big day from a list of approved traditional songs that were performed by the church’s own pianist, organist, and cantor.
Melissa walked down the aisle alongside her father in a stunning fitted lace gown with long sleeves and a timeless cathedral veil all purchased from Bridal Reflections. She carried a luxe feminine bouquet of light-colored roses, white orchids, and pampas grass. Bridesmaids carried nosegays of roses in muted tones and wore classic ivory-hued evening gowns. Since Melissa and Christopher had opted out of a “first look” at the request of the groom, he was dazzled to see her for the first time upon meeting at the altar. They were only able to recite customary vows while in church, so the following morning, the new Mr. & Mrs. read their handwritten vows to one another privately.
“My ultimate request was for the area to look like ‘flower heaven...’ I wanted a ton of neutral-colored flowers, along with pampas grass to keep it modern.”
As guests arrived to the restaurant for a sit-down supper and late-night dancing, they quickly took notice of the magical transformation of the space. Oversized “M” and “C” letters crafted from white roses, moody candlelight, and a jaw-dropping path of flower arrangements were displayed at the entrance. Melissa desired a timeless look with a modern twist and had selected a romantic color palette of off-white, nude, and mauve. “My ultimate request was for the area to look like ‘flower heaven.’ My exact words! I wanted a ton of neutral-colored flowers, along with pampas grass to keep it modern. Flowers are my favorite!” illustrates the bride.
Mirrored tables surrounded by chairs with vanilla-hued cushions were bedecked with glamorous tall floral arrangements, complemented by further collections of blossoms and pampas grass, as well as customized place settings. Tablescapes were dreamy, as was the sweetheart table adorned with its own sprinkling of flower creations. The pièce de résistance, however, was the cake table. A five-tiered confection with delicate detailing inspired by the bride’s exquisite gown was showcased on a table completely covered in roses. “It was my favorite detail!” admits Melissa.
After a rough year due to Covid, the newlyweds emphasize how happy they are for going through with a small, intimate wedding. “We kept reminding each other it was about our love story and nothing else mattered. It turned out to be better than our dreams,” says the bride, who advises other couples to live in the moment and enjoy every second. “It will be the perfect day to you no matter what happens because it is your love story. If you keep that in the forefront of your mind during the entire process, you will be so happy with the end result.”