Melissa and Matthew's Fun Dance-Party Wedding in Los Angeles

Melissa and Matt

Jennifer Emerling

Who says technology's not romantic? Not Melissa Paulo, a social media manager, or Matt Cruzada, a global apparel merchant and one of her closest friends since freshman year at the University of California at Berkeley. Despite circumstance and distance—Matt was in a relationship in college; Melissa moved to Japan after graduation in 2005—the two stayed in touch with the help of modern media, bonding over Facebook catch-ups and e-mail. It wasn't until Melissa returned to her native Los Angeles, in 2007, during the pair's occasional long conversations over ramen, that she decided the timing was finally right for them to become more than buddies. After a weekend visit from Matt, who lived in San Francisco, she shared her thoughts, unplugged: She sent him a snail-mail letter. Turns out he felt the same way. Some 200 flights along the California coast and four years later, Matt proposed to Melissa with an elaborate, YouTube-worthy adventure through San Francisco's Ferry Building, as loved ones escorted her to where he waited on bended knee.

Technology lent a hand again in coordinating their big day, as Melissa's social-media savvy paid off: She found their industrial Los Angeles venue, Studio 1342, through the blogosphere. From there, she connected to Yeah! Weddings, a hip vendor collective that helped them pull together a midcentury modern look for their reception. "We basically just wanted to throw a big, fun dance party that had wedding elements in it," Melissa says of their October 12, 2013, nuptials.

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The Fun Invitations

Bryan Gardner

Matt helped design the poster-size invites, which outlined their courtship by the numbers.

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Fashion Forward

Jennifer Emerling

When outfitting their bridal party, the couple didn't play by the rules—bridesmaids chose their own dresses, and Matt asked two of his close female friends to share groomsmen duties with his buddies, who wore customized ties of Japanese Kaihara selvedge chambray. As for the bride and groom? They both opted for J.Crew ensembles.

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Vow Wow

Jennifer Emerling

Matt's brother designed the ceremony backdrop; the left and right panels called out some of the couple's favorite things.

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Up in the Air

Jennifer Emerling

Friends and family sent paper-airplane programs flying when the newlyweds were introduced as husband and wife. The planes were a nod to the two years Melissa and Matt dated long-distance.

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The Groom's Lapel

Jennifer Emerling

Billy balls, dusty miller, and handmade button flowers tied with twine dappered up Matt's lapel.

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Real Friends Cry

Jennifer Emerling

Given that everyone involved in Matt's elaborate proposal ended up in tears (don't take our word for it—see the video here), the couple hedged their bets on the ceremony being equally sentimental. Naglee Paper Products helped design the font that tied together of all of their signage and stationery, including this dressed-up box of tissues, with a note that read "You just never know...real friends cry."

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The Kiddos

Jennifer Emerling

For the flower girls and ring bearer, Melissa and Matt called upon their nieces, nephews, and godchildren, who flew from all over the West Coast to be there on the big day.

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The Ring Pillow

Jennifer Emerling

Melissa found their monogrammed felt ring pillow on Etsy.

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The Ceremony

Jennifer Emerling

"Our ceremony ended up being incredibly intimate—just perfect," Melissa says.

After the short and sweet nondenominational vow exchange officiated by a longtime friend, the ceremony space became an outdoor lounge for the celebration.

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Escort Cards

Jennifer Emerling

Even though seating was open, the couple wrote a personal "escort card" note for each guest.

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Photos and Flowers

Jennifer Emerling

Melissa and her future mother-in-law arranged flowers in vintage glass bottles, placing them alongside hand-painted picture frames in order to give the venue's interior space a homey vibe. "In the past, I've seen expensive details at weddings and thought, 'Hey, you could probably use a lot of recycled materials and it would still look great,'" Melissa says. "That was an important aspect of the process for us."

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Striped Straws

Jennifer Emerling

The bride sourced these striped paper straws on Amazon and then adorned each one with a hand-cut flag bearing a sassy quip, like "I'm single" or "3rd drink."

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The Reception

Jennifer Emerling

The indoor area was devoted to the dance floor, where, at 7 P.M., a flash mob arranged by Matt and made up of their guests broke out to Bruno Mars's "Treasure." Throughout the night, the 220 attendees sampled individual lasagna "cupcakes," sweet potato shepherd's pies, and mini chicken and waffles made by caterer Heirloom LA.

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Sweet Endings

Jennifer Emerling

Thanks to a s'mores-style wedding cake, sugar rushes kept the reception rolling into the early morning. "I had been to so many weddings where a beautiful cake was cut and then nobody ended up eating it," Melissa says. "I didn't want that situation, so we offered cookies and ice cream to our guests and then had a small, ceremonial cake for the wedding party." Heirloom LA delivered with a sinful s'mores concoction—a chocolate cake with marshmallow crème, graham cracker crust, and toasted marshmallow icing.

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Jennifer Emerling

Location: Studio 1342

Day-Of Event Coordination: No Worries Event Planning

Catering and Cake: Heirloom LA

Beverages: Liquid Catering

Photography: Jennifer Emerling of Yeah! Weddings

Videography: Shark Pig

Stationery: Naglee Paper Projects

Music: Mike Cruz of The Flashdance

Rentals: Town & Country Event Rentals; Yeah! Rentals

Hair and Makeup: Sherry Younge of The Artform Studio

Bride's Gown: J.Crew

Veil: January Rose Bridal

Groom's Suit and Shirt: J.Crew

Menswear: [pants] Bonobos; [blazers] Banana Republic; [shirts] Banana Republic, Uniqlo; [custom monogrammed ties] This Humble Abode

Valet: Power Valet Parking

Photobooth: Smilebooth

Event Logistics: Dovetail Logistics

Chalk Artist: Mark Cruzada of Handsome Oxford

Wedding Rings: Bridal Rings Company

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