Melissa Llewellyn, real estate developer and entrepreneur, and Mahdi Alston, assistant executive director/director of operations, Philadelphia OIC Workforce Academy exchanged vows on the lawns of Pattoo Castle, Negril.
The two have known each other since they were teenagers growing up in Connecticut; they shared mutual friends but, surprisingly, had never actually spoken to each other. In fact, after losing contact in 1999, at the end of junior high, 15 years passed before they reconnected.
Mahdi proposed to Melissa on December 23, 2017. A surprise Christmas-cum-engagement party was planned with the help of a few friends. The ruse was that a few intimes would be joining them for dinner in downtown Philadelphia. They ate alone! Plans had changed, was all Melissa got out of Mahdi. Their friends Brandon and Mandy would instead meet them at the house and they would take it from there. At that point Mahdi became totally confused but decided to just roll with the plans.
When the Uber pulled up at their house and they got out, Melissa was shocked see about 30 people running out of her house. Her befuddlement deepened when, prompted by the guests, she turned around to find Mahdi in the middle of the street on one knee, asking, “Will you marry me?” Melissa, in tears, said, “Yes!”
Here comes the bride
Surrounded by their family and friends, Melissa and Mahdi were about to embark on the most important journey of their lives under the theme “Vivid and Vintage”. The processional began as the bridesmaids, who wore long floral print ballroom gowns, made their entrance to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. The groomsmen, dressed in black pants, charcoal grey jackets with black lapels from Bachelor Formal Wear, Los Angeles, proceeded to Dru Hill’s Beauty.
To the strains of Time To Say Goodbye by Andrea Bocelli, Melissa, radiant in her ivory Kitty Chen gown from LH Bridal, Philadelphia, was escorted by her mum Vivelyn to her father, Glendon. To Fancy by The Dream her dad then walked her to her groom, who stood dapper in a bold striped black charcoal tuxedo jacket and black pants by international menswear designer Carlton Brown.
Pastor Damion Austin presided over the ceremony, blessing the couple and guiding them through their vows as well as the Scottish tradition of sawing through a log together, which was symbolic of the fact that they were always building or renovating something.
Held under the arches of the Pattoo Castle, this was as exquisite an experience for the newly-weds as it was for their guests. The bride with the help of Kara Anderson from Petals and Promises employed a monochromatic palette and incorporated metals using brass candlestick holders and elegant flatware to bring about the Vivid and Vintage theme. Marble acrylic chargers finished with a simple rose and eucalyptus accompanied by the menu card further elevated the tablescape.
The wedding party entered to a medley of songs including Ding Dong’s Flair is in the Air and Koffee’s Toast after which Melissa and Mahdi danced their way in to Kanye West’s Good Life featuring T Pain.
Post-formalities, guests enjoyed a sumptuous five-course meal by Chef Alex D’Great and witnessed the cutting of the chandelier cake by Camille Flimn of Cake Couture JA.
The newly-weds opened the dance floor with Latch by Disclosure featuring Sam Smith and Stars by Kindred The Family Soul. Guests, thereafter, joined them partying into the night to the sounds of the Elite Media Concepts deejay.
Photos: Dwayne A Watkins