Although Melissa Wasser and Lee Miller went to the same university together, they did not date until 10 years after they first met. “If we consider 2004 our first meeting, I had a huge crush on Lee back in college,” Melissa muses. After reconnecting several years later, they enjoyed several weekend trips together and soon realized they were soul mates. While taking a stroll at a Philadelphia park, Lee got down on one knee and asked Melissa to be his wife. “Apparently, Lee had predetermined the spot with Dwayne, our dog, the week before,” smiles the bride.

Melissa always envisioned a wedding that highlighted the Italian countryside, and her dream finally came true. “Italy, and Florence in particular, has always been a special place for us because we both studied abroad there during college and have been going back to visit ever since,” she reveals. For their venue, the pair elected a Tuscan-style villa with a gorgeous panoramic view of the landscape. The ceremony featured a string quartet, harpist, and a stunning customized chuppah. “The florist built a structure with natural wood that would easily integrate with [the] beautiful garden. The greens that we picked were styled to look like spontaneous vines while the ceiling of the chuppah was created with greens and hanging flowers,” Melissa illustrates.

Due to the abrupt change in fall weather, the lovebirds invited their 80 guests inside the villa for the reception. Wanting to keep the décor simple and elegant, the couple pursued low centerpieces, soft hues, and minimal blooms, which perfectly complemented the grandeur of the locale. In lieu of a salad or another appetizer, everyone indulged in a pasta sampler for the starter. “We also had a gelato bar and an espresso martini bar for dessert,” the bride affirms. In addition to the Italian menu, guests enjoyed dancing and celebrating until 2AM. “We also sang from gelato-cone microphones,” Melissa remembers fondly.

Contemplating on her own experience, the bride confirms the importance of timeliness when planning a wedding. “Plan quick! You don’t want to spend over a year, as the longer you plan, the more likely you will change your mind.”