Where are you both from and how did you meet?
Bruce is originally from Dorchester, MA, and I grew up in Bridgewater-Raynham, MA. Bruce and I “met” in 2012 when we both started our careers in education as Teaching Fellows at the Epiphany School in Dorchester, MA. I had known Bruce through his older brother, but it wouldn’t be until 2012 that we would really get to know one another.
How did you get engaged?
Bruce and I were together for four years before the proposal. Bruce planned a surprise proposal in Boston Commons where he said I love you for the first time to me. I had entirely no idea about the proposal! I thought we were there to surprise his friend who had returned home from a tour overseas, and as we were walking, I actually spotted Flavio, our photographer! And I honestly thought nothing of it, but once I said out loud I had seen him, Bruce panicked. He began talking and dropped to one knee — I honestly don’t remember what he said, I just remember screaming and answering, “OF COURSE!” We then went out for dinner on Boylston Street at Abe and Louie’s, I barely ate because I was making Facetime calls to all my friends and family to share the news and invite them all to our house to celebrate. Before heading home, we needed to pick up his brother at work. We arrived at the building and went to meet him in his office only to have me walk into a decorated space with all of our close friends and family to celebrate!!! It couldn’t have been more perfect.
What drew you to the Botanical Gardens?
Sarah and I had met one afternoon at a local coffee shop and just started googling venues. I had been looking at places like estates, farms, industrial buildings, breweries and museums! I definitely wanted something different. Sarah came across an initial greenhouse, but it only fit 150. After some more searching, we stumbled upon Roger Williams! Once we visited the grounds, I wanted to be able to take advantage of as much of the gardens as possible. We had the ceremony outside on a patio overlooking a small body of water, the cocktail hour was to take place in the outdoor rose garden, and finally the dinner and reception would take place in the greenhouse. We did end up having some rain, so the cocktail hour was moved inside.
What were you favorite and least favorite parts of planning? Did you already have a theme in mind going in to it or did the theme/aesthetic develop over time? (Sidenote: we’re obsessed with all of the décor. All of it.)
Before I was introduced to my wedding planner, I knew I wanted a wedding that was minimalistic, natural, green, WITH FARM TABLES! When I was introduced to Sarah at Tenpenny Creative (by Flavio), I explained what I wanted and it was exactly her taste as well! I knew I had to hire her upon meeting her because our ideas just were so in sync. My favorite part of planning was having a planner! There was no way that vision could have been carried out without her. I would describe what I wanted and she’d be able to find it/ implement it. Sarah also offered her own ideas that I welcomed as well. The least favorite part of planning was guest list and budgeting. We both come from very large families and to stay under 170 was impossible, literally we had 192 at the wedding. I cried over money a lot. It was stressful to think about and more painful to shell out the money, but working alongside Sarah, we figured out ways to cut corners. For example, I handmade all of the napkin rings out of copper wire and hand cut the gauze napkins during one wine-filled afternoon with Sarah.
How did you come across Flavio?
Flavio had been a family friend of Bruce’s forever. It was Flavio who Bruce called on to capture and film our proposal, so it was only right that we had him capture our wedding day as well.
We love, love, love your bridesmaids’ ring bouquets. What gave you the idea?
Right off the bat, I knew my bridesmaids needed to be dressed in something that was going to be functional after the wedding, which is where the multiway jumpsuit came in. Along with that, Sara and I wanted to ensure that their whole look would continue to stand out from the rest. Sarah had worked with the hoops before and we thought it would be cool to incorporate them into the bridesmaid look.
Bruce, what was going through your mind when Melody was walking down the aisle?
I was speechless. Wow, she is beautiful. Her beautiful smile made me know that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. It was a dream come true. The vows that I wrote were crossing my mind and all I could think was, “Finally!”
Did you write your own vows? If so, do you have any advice for couples who are thinking of writing their own?
Yes! We wrote our own vows. Our advice would be to take space, in a physical space where you feel comfortable in order to begin the writing process. Begin with identifying the commitments/promises you want to make to your future spouse, and then outline them with why they are important to you and your future with this person. Don’t be afraid to leave your whole heart out on the page. We also each had a beer before writing ours 😉
What was your first dance song? How did you pick it?
Bruce and I are Cape Verdean, and knew that our first song would be one that represented our culture and style of dance called Passada. Bruce found the song: I.L.Y (I Love You) by Djodje.
Was there a vendor that you were particularly impressed with that day?
We were very impressed with the way Sarah and Flavio were really able to work together to help bring everything to life for us. Sarah with set up of the dinner room was amazing along side the Boston Rustic Rentals [E/N: now closed]. Flavio was still able to capture all these great moments despite the weather being less than perfect! It would be really difficult to pick just one, since the day really wouldn’t have gone the same if anything had changed.
Did you run into any issues while planning or on the day of the wedding?
The biggest issue that I saw on the day of was rain. Not something we could avoid and it didn’t spoil the day at all! Sarah had to battle late vendor arrivals due to an accident on the highway, so luckily she was able to handle that, and I was able to maintain focus on my wedding day without trying to problem solve. Issues while planning had to be balancing our budget and making constant changes to ensure we still were getting what we wanted, while still trying to save money.
If you had to narrow it down, what would you say were each of your favorite moments from that day?
My favorite moments were getting ready with my mom, mother-in-law and bridesmaids at the Airbnb. Getting ready was so stress-free, peaceful and on-time. Walking down the aisle with my dad, and towards Bruce, was really surreal, and finally hearing his vows was so amazing to hear and share with our friends and family. Bruce’s favorite moments of the day would have to be the ceremony as well; he enjoyed being able to look out and see our friends and family all in one place. And lastly, the reception because everyone seemed to have a great time — we were able to see our guests, and Bruce particularly enjoyed showing off his new wife!
Do you have any advice for recently engaged couples?
Our advice would be take your time to plan! Enjoy your engagement and practicing calling one another fiancé(e). When it is time to plan, be clear about whose opinions you are actually listening to. Family also can feel as though they automatically have a say in how things should go. Having those conversations often and early will help avoid any drama later on.
Ceremony & Reception: Roger Williams Botanical Gardens // Officiant: Rev. John Finley IV // Wedding Planner: Sarah Fisher, Tenpenny Creative // Hair: Bride did her own her // Makeup: Melissa Rodriguez // Bride’s Dress: Liv Harris, VOWS // Veils & Accessories: Blossom // Bridesmaids’ Jumpsuits: Gina Gado // Groom’s Suit & Groomsmen’s Formalwear: The Black Tux // Catering: Cozy Caterers // Cake: Sifted Cakes // Flowers: Boston Rustic // Reception Music: Helder Gomes, HG Production Services // Rentals (if applicable): Peak Event Services and Boston Rustic