The Wedding Files: Stephanie and Melissa Hem – The Cut

14August 2020

When we ask newlyweds to think back on what they wanted most for their wedding day– and we have actually interviewed hundreds of them over the years– the most common response is” For it not to feel like a wedding event!”However in a monsoon of flower crowns and macaron towers, how do you see beyond the typical tropes and in fact manage a non-cookie-cutter affair? For the answer, we decided to question the cool couples whose weddings we would actually want to take– right down to the tiger-shaped cake toppers. Though we’re living in a minute where group events are either being called off or adjusting to severe social distancing, in lots of methods these pre-quarantine celebrations are simply the escape we need today.

Here, we spoke with Pittsburgh couple Stephanie Hem, a medical insurance strategist, and Melissa Hem, who works in Veterans Affairs. After fulfilling through Instagram and getting taken part in Rome (and then again Portland, Oregon), the couple “never ever imagined getting married in the U.S., “therefore tossed an intimate affair in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, last July.

Melissa: This is a great story. Stephanie: We fulfilled through a hashtag on Instagram. I took a soul-searching journey to Iceland in 2015, and while I was there I struck the #poetry tag and found among hers. I followed her, she followed me, and an entire year went by without talking.

Melissa: I took a look at her profile and well, she’s beautiful. I enjoyed her travel photos. There was this sort of mutual Instagram crush. Every single caption she composed resonated with me. In 2016 I blurted out, in a DM, “the things you compose constantly make my heart pound.” I’m sitting there sweating, awaiting her to respond, and lastly she writes, “I feel the same way about the things you write.” She resided in Pittsburgh, I resided in southern California, and by the time we chose to satisfy in L.A., one month later, we were talking every day for hours. I hardly saw her face before I hugged her, and I keep in mind sinking into her and thinking, I’ve missed you so much.

Stephanie: She transferred to Pittsburgh a couple of months prior to we got wed. I proposed in Rome in January 2018. We were walking by this gorgeous fountain and I handed her a book of Pablo Neruda’s poetry– I had actually cut the pages in the center and put

the ring within. Melissa: The book felt heavy and sort of funny and I understood what was occurring. I simply started crying and crying. Naturally I stated yes. I did a comparable thing to her– concealed her ring in an old 1960s Kodak Instamatic video camera.

Stephanie: We remained in Portland, Oregon, going to a friend in July 2018 and she

proposed on this beautiful bridge in the Japanese Garden there. Melissa: We knew we desired a location wedding event. Stephanie: We both love to take a trip, and I never ever envisioned getting married in the

U.S. Melissa: I figured it would help keep the guest list only to people that truly love us and wanted to come. I’m Cambodian, and the majority of our weddings are huge. I didn’t wish to put my family in the position of having to welcome all these people that hardly know us, and after that describe it’s a gay wedding event, and deal with all that. That’s a pretty uneasy thing, culturally– the Cambodian community is not quite there yet.

Stephanie: Costa Rica wasn’t too far. It’s an easy destination for individuals in California,

and we had a lot of people coming from California.

Melissa: And Costa Rica was good for our rate variety. We didn’t desire a resort wedding event , and didn’t desire a beach wedding. Stephanie: It’s funny, because when we hired the wedding event planners, Tropical Celebrations, they anticipated us to have a beach wedding event, and I resembled, “No, no, no, no. We don’t desire people appearing in sandals. We want to use our heels. We desire everyone to look their best.”We desired a house, an area where we

could have a long table, because I envisioned the actual dining experience to be the most magical part. Melissa: Stephanie was researching all the various rental properties. Our coordinators helped us narrow it down. The one we finally settled on in Tamarindo was a little bit of a risk due to the fact that no one had actually had a wedding event there in the past. We enjoyed it due to the fact that it had all the aspects: totally modern-day with gorgeous amenities, with space for a table and a dance flooring.

Stephanie: We needed to lease whatever. Melissa: Our planners did an unbelievable job discovering us the right suppliers. They found the lighting people, they leased the chairs for us, they discovered the perfect floral designer. Budget plan was a huge, huge consideration, as we were financing it mostly on our own. To cut expenses, we brought big luggage of stuff, like brass candlesticks we were hoarding from thrift shops.

Stephanie: We took more than 30 candleholders with us. We took a marble cake stand also. We desired a certain vintage-y appearance, and it was more affordable to bring smaller sized things with us. We chose 7 luggage and returned with five.

Melissa: My dress drifted to me in a dream. I understood I desired something form-fitting, not a lot of fluffy stuff. I found a designer I like, Milla Nova, and because we were on a spending plan, I looked at I’m looking and looking, and then one day I see the exact dress I want, in precisely my measurements. I got the dress and sure enough, it fit extremely well which was that.

Stephanie: I really didn’t have my dress up until a month before the wedding event. Talk about tension, right? I wanted something that was truly basic and that seemed to be really hard to discover– whatever was so exaggerated and huge. I saw this Safiyaa gown on Net-a-Porter and took a chance. I enjoyed it. It was classy, form-fitting but in an elegant way.

Melissa: Our wedding event was on a Saturday and we arrived on Tuesday. We went to a volcano, we drove through the jungle. It was a pre-wedding decompression, like,”Let’s relax before we head into the huge video game.”

Stephanie: We prepared in various bedrooms and didn’t see each other until we reached the aisle. We desired that first-look minute to be shared with everyone. It was practically like walking in a dream and everything became this blur. I was conquered– thrilled, and impressed at how our vision came to life.

Melissa: It made sense that I was the one awaiting her to walk down the aisle. I felt like I s hould await her. I’m a little older than her– I ‘d been waiting on her my entire life

. Stephanie: Melissa’s father walked her, and for me, it was my buddy Renee. We practically matured together. I grew up Jehovah’s Witness, and my family don’t concur with my” lifestyle,”as they put it, so they were not present. It was okay. I had my picked family there.

Melissa: My friend Kelly officiated. She’s a writer, poet, and spoken-word artist. She’s got her own unbelievable romance with her spouse. She really understood what we had gone through to lastly discover one another, be with each other, and make it to this point. We kept the faith out of it, however we both have a huge belief in our own spirituality. I absolutely think that God and the universe brought us together– I believe that we have been together in previous lives.

Stephanie: Right after the ceremony, all the visitors drove to the beach with us for a picture shoot. We wished to ensure we got group images with everyone, and it permitted time for the wedding planners to turn the place. When we returned, they invited everyone with Champagne.

Melissa: We had our supper on the villa’s outdoor patio. The menu products were all native to Costa Rica.

We wanted something that showed the nation that we remained in. Stephanie: We talked to 3 various chefs and went with the individual who had the most passion for Costa Rican flavors and local ingredients, somebody who shared our vision. We were talking with these people over the phone and could not actually taste their food, so we were simply going by their descriptions. We did take that possibility, however we made the ideal choice due to the fact that it tasted amazing.

Melissa: I didn’t eat a great deal of it. I believe there was a heart of palm soup. During the toasts, there was this insane lightning in the background, purple skies and insane bursts of light, behind these terrific people giving all their love to us.

Stephanie: My friend Jody offered a remarkable speech and anytime she said key words, there ‘d be thunder. It was like the sky was opening up for these speeches. It was another danger, deciding to get married in July, throughout the rainy season, but that’s why we picked your home with a roofing over the outdoor patio, a plan B.

Melissa: We had our first dance on the lower deck location, and it was beautiful, with string lights across the swimming pool. It was a fusion of” I Never Knew Love Like This Prior to,”by Jessie Ware and then “Kiss of Life,” by Sade. Then everyone went inside the rental property to dance. We had our DJ established there.

Stephanie: We offered him a Spotify playlist with over 200 tunes and said, “This is what we desire.”A little ’80s, some old-school hip-hop, some good dance songs– we even had some Cambodian music for her mama and her household.

Melissa: My cousin Cindy, who made me sob during her toast, she had just finished pastry school and has her own bakery-slash-doughnut store. We asked her to make our cakes, not just to cut expenses but because she’s an excellent artist. She made us this beautiful naked cake, and incorporated flowers from our flower designer. It was beautiful. We did a little cake-cutting ceremony.

Stephanie: The DJ was arranged up until 10 p.m., and when he left we placed on our own music and someone jumped in the pool, and as soon as someone leaps in the pool you understand what happens after that.

Melissa: We even got our wedding event coordinators into the swimming pool, and our makeup artist, Tara. We ‘d rented the vacation home for the full weekend, and the majority of our visitors were remaining there or at the villa next door. It resembled summertime camp. Two of our pals even made a love connection.

Stephanie: Everyone was dressed like they were going to a ball, so they were ready to take their clothing off and unwind by then. We were in the swimming pool and up and talking till maybe 3 or 4 in the morning.

Melissa: Our little love vortex, as we liked to call it.Source:

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