Vows - Our Love Was Meant To Be

Monday, October 21, 2019

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September 19, 2019 was the date chosen by Melissa Llewellyn, real estate developer and entrepreneur, and Mahdi Alston, assistant executive director/director of operations, Philadelphia OIC Workforce Academy, to exchange vows on the lawns of Pattoo Castle, Negril. Vows brings you the “Vivid and Vintage” moments.

Their story

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.

Melissa had migrated to Jamaica after college in 2005 to dance with the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) of Jamaica. She also taught dance at Meadowbrook High School, Hydel and St George's College when she wasn't on tour or rehearsing. Mahdi meanwhile was living in Omaha, Nebraska, working as senior district executive for the Boy Scouts of America, before being promoted to the Philadelphia head office in 2012 as a director.

In 2013, Melissa was getting ready to transition from Jamaica, where she had spent the past eight years building her life and an exceptional career as producer and co-managing director of The Production Lab.

Her move took her to Los Angeles to work on a feature film.

It was on a brief trip to Connecticut soon after, however, that she met Mahdi in a nightclub. They exchanged words this time: lots! And, too, telephone numbers.

Daily phone calls and regular commutes from Los Angeles to Philadelphia kept the romance alive. What sealed their relationship, however, was when they were both cast on an HGTV home renovation reality show called Beach Flip for eight weeks. The show wrapped but Melissa kept the spark going by relocating to Philadelphia. She also discovered a new career in real estate where opportunities abounded. Besides, she knew anyone crazy enough to be absent from work for eight weeks to join her on a TV reality show, exposing themselves to the world, would definitely have her back forever.

 

The proposal

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.

 

The reception

…was held under the arches of the Pattoo Castle and 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.

A honeymoon will follow at a later date.


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