Melissa and Lloyd first met at a steakhouse bar in Cleveland, OH where they were both living at the time. They had mutual friends so it was only natural that they began talking to one another. But there would be no spark until some time later. Cleveland being so small, the pair crossed paths on numerous occasions. Six months after they’d officially met, Melissa and Lloyd finally began spending time together. After four years of dating, living in three cities, and using their frequent flyer miles to see each other, Melissa made the leap and moved to Memphis, TN to be closer to the love of her life. A year later, Lloyd’s career took him to Melissa’s hometown of Philadelphia where the two would eventually get married and build their lives together.
The beautiful couple wed in a “sunshine” themed wedding in Philadelphia. Cute mementos could be seen throughout the ceremony and reception, capitalizing on the lyrics “you are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray.” But it wasn’t the song’s lyrics that inspired the theme, in fact “Sunshine” was the first nickname Lloyd had ever given Melissa; that and her proud obsession with the sky and sunsets made it an ideal theme for the couple. Take a look at their gorgeous wedding in Philadelphia and read the rest of their love story below.
Bridesmaids/Groomsmen gifts: We created personalized gift boxes. Bridesmaids gifts included candles, robes, earrings, champagne, and inspirational magnets. Groomsmen received bow ties, handkerchiefs, personalized gifts, and fresh white Nikes (reception swag). Because we are big fitness and music lovers, we gave all of our bridal party fitness bands (Jawbone UP) and wireless headphones (Beats by Dre).
Favorite item on the wedding menu: Our venue had the most amazing food! There was a late night breakfast buffet (waffles, hash browns, bacon…you name it!), and they also offered mini milkshakes and french fry shooters around 11pm. So many delightful little surprises! The food was nonstop.
First dance song: Medley of “I Choose You” by Ryan Leslie, “Still the One” by Shania Twain, “Share My Life” by Kem, and “Golden Touch” by Shinehead.
Bride: Melissa Ghoston
Groom: Lloyd Pierce
Wedding date: 08/14/2015
Wedding location: Cescaphe Event Group’s Vie – Philadelphia, PA
Tell us all about the proposal!
In 2014, Lloyd proposed to me on the hottest, stickiest day of the summer, right on the sidewalk in front of the house where I grew up. Though it was 6 years in the making, I was completely unprepared for the moment; I never saw it coming! My sister, Rachel, and her family were in town visiting, and we’d been all over the city that day. Lloyd had just returned that afternoon from 3 weeks away for work, and I figured he’d want to relax. He instead suggested we visit one of my favorite parks, and then check out my childhood home (I’d been trying to get him there since we moved to Philly, but he avoided it all along because he knew that would be the site where he proposed). I am super sentimental as it is, so I was emotional as we approached the now poorly maintained house (my parents moved away in 2005). Lloyd parked the car and suggested we get out. Why?? “Come on – tell me the story of Norristown…,” he said. He knew this place was so special to me; it represented family, security, and love. I began to reminisce about playing Barbies in the yard, painting the stones with water, birthday parties, riding bikes up the street – so many great memories! Once I was all warm and fuzzy with happy thoughts of childhood, Lloyd asked Rachel to take our picture in front of the house, and before I knew it, he was down on one knee. Total disbelief! It was like one of those weird dreams where the setting is familiar and the people are familiar, but they just don’t go together. Apparently, I said “wait, what? Are you serious?” about 20 times before I found YES!! Lloyd then told me that he had taken a red-eye flight from Las Vegas to Buffalo that very morning to visit my parents and ask for my father’s blessing. That meant absolutely everything. I think that’s when the tears finally started flowing!Lloyd and I have traveled all over the world together, but he chose to propose in such an intimate and unpretentious way – in a place and manner that truly represents the essence of what we both value: home, family, simplicity. He knows my heart, and that is the most magnificent joy of all.
Describe your wedding dress. How was your shopping experience?
Wedding dress shopping was so much fun! I probably tried on 70 dresses across 6 shops, accompanied by some combo of my mom, sisters, and bridesmaids. I am not the most decisive person, and there are so many gorgeous gowns. I wanted something fitted in the hip, but I wanted to be able to move (read: dance!) freely, so the mermaid of my dreams wasn’t practical. I narrowed it down to 3 top contenders, each one a very different style. The winner was a lace Allure gown accented with just enough sparkling embellishments that it shimmered all over. It was a fit and flare style with a sweetheart neckline, a lower back, and a band of bling at the drop waist just beneath my hips. Though I initially loved the chapel length veil, I opted to go with a fingertip length so as not to cover the gorgeous, intricate alencon lace train and the button detail that went all the way down the back of the gown.
How was culture incorporated in your wedding day?
Family is everything. We found ways to incorporate our nieces and nephews into the ceremony with special roles for each of them. After the rehearsal dinner, we held a Sunset Soiree for all of our guests to meet and mingle over cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and great music. The day after our wedding, we opened our home and invited everyone over for a homemade spaghetti dinner before we headed off to Italy for our honeymoon the next day. Since everyone had traveled from far and wide to be here for us, we wanted our celebratory wedding weekend to emphasize our gratitude for our close-knit family and friends.
What is your favorite memory of your wedding day?
It was a truly extraordinary day! If I had to narrow thousands of incredible moments down to one favorite memory, it has to be our “be present in all things and thankful for all things” moment in our ceremony. After our vows and the exchange of rings, we had planned for our pastor to allow a dedicated pause for us to turn to our guests and simply take in the magnificence of the moment. More than 200 of our dearest friends and family members traveled many, many miles to celebrate with us, and being surrounding by so much love was the most overwhelmingly beautiful part of our wedding day. Moreover, we had an “unplugged ceremony,” so when we paused to appreciate our guests, we actually saw faces and smiles and happy tears instead of cameras and cell phones! It was indescribably fantastic.
What advice do you have for engaged couples?
Be PRESENT and enjoy the planning process! It is so much work but so much fun. Wedding planning is such a deeply involved and emotionally charged process. When your eyes begin to cross looking at all the dollar signs, try to think of it as an investment not just in one day, but in the beauty of the yearlong journey as you plan your most amazing wedding – the dress shopping, the tastings, the Pinterest obsessing…there are so many individual and collective joys between engagement and your wedding day! Don’t miss them.
Also, resist the urge to start wedding planning right after you get engaged. Take at least a few weeks to just enjoy one another – your fiance!! – and this new stage of your love; it’s an amazing feeling. Wedding planning is all-consuming, and soon you’ll get down to business and nearly every exchange will be about wedding, wedding, wedding…which brings me to my last gem: Plan together! It’s way more gratifying that way and keeps you both centered throughout the process.
Keep all this in mind and it will help you to stop, breathe, and cherish the journey. You’ll be much more relaxed to fully take it all in and savor your wedding day.
Photography/Videography – BG Productions Photography & Videography
Venue – Cescaphe Event Group’s Vie
Catering – Cescaphe Event Group’s Vie
Florist – Beautiful Blooms Events
Dress salon – Sposabella
Dress designer – Allure Bridals
Bridesmaids dresses – Adrianna Papell
Hair & Makeup – Philly Hair & Makeup Co.
Stationery – Wedding Paper Divas