Oh my, we have the most enchanting, romantic, magical wedding to share with you guys today – and our jaws hit the floor when we found out that the date for it was set, just two months before the big day!
Melody & Dereje (aka Glad) – the coolest named couple, we’ve perhaps ever featured on the blog – got married on the bride’s family farm in Pennsylvania after meeting and falling in love in Ethiopia.
One of those weddings that needs to be seen to be believed (so scroll down a-sap to check out the photos and hit play on the film!), Melody & Dereje, along with their friends, family and planner A Cottage Gardener created a fantastical forest setting, filled with candles, fairlylights, branches and florals.
A magical settings you’d think could only be achieved with a big budget and a long time to plan, it’s pretty incredible to see what a special atmosphere this couple were able to conjure with a little creativity and (a lot!) of candles.
And at the centre of their stunning wedding, this awesome couple, and their very special love story – we defy you not to get goosebumps when you watch the film!
Wedding Day Snapshot
Our Love Story
We met in Ethiopia while I (Melody) was running a non-profit. The way we met and fell in love can only be described as divine, not so coincidental coincidences.
We met through a mutual friend from Norway. Dereje and I were acquaintances after that for a few years before we eventually started noticing each other, falling in love and eventually deciding that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together.
He called my father in the USA from Ethiopia while I was in the States for a visit to ask for his blessing then proposed at the airport when I arrived!
Our wedding was really a team effort. We started planning our wedding seriously this summer 2015 without knowing a date or even a season for sure.
We were hoping for fall or winter but as we were both in Ethiopia and were not sure when we would get Dereje’s visa. We set our date in the end of October for December 12th the day after we finished the visa and from there started the mad race to make it all happen!
It was awesome and we were just so excited to be able to get married we didn’t worry too much about the details but wanted it to be as magical as we felt!
Thankfully we had the absolutely incredible Cottage Gardener, Kim who took our little ideas and turned them into the most beautiful wedding decor I have ever seen!
Friends came together to offer help with the decorating, baking our cake, preparing playlists, creating sheet music for the songs for the ceremony! It was incredible.
Kim (a Cottage Gardener) chose all the flowers.
In my bouquet there were peonies, ranunculus, cottage roses, stock, anemones, juniper berry, and two different types of eucalyptus! the brides maids bouquets were similar to that.
She also used lots of greens throughout the barn and on the tables.
A few people had gotten married in our barn before and it is really a beautiful space. We were lucky enough to have it available so it wasn’t really a question for us!
Our dear friend and Pastor, Michael flew in from Iowa and got to meet Dereje after a few months of Skype premarital counselling dates.
For our unity ceremony we used a rosemary plant and used Ethiopian coffee pots to water them.
Our processional song was “In a Wooded Glen at dusk” by Lauren Mann and the Fairly Odd Folk.
Our recessional song was Forever is Better With You by The Humming House also performed by Pablo, Jenny and my brother.
I loved the piano and ambiance and Jenny and Pablo of Illuminera, along with my very talented brother on the bells played that live as we all walked down the aisle.
My bridesmaids came from three different countries so I just asked them to find something sequinned and Champagne and they all looked stunning!
The Decor & Details
The color palette was mostly neutrals, with pops of gold, rose gold and sparkles.
We used mercury glass and lots of candles, by lots I mean probably more than a thousand. We were going for an enchanted forest look!
It was a very DIY wedding. The decor was mostly salvaged from our farm. Dereje and I collected vines and got some help from my father and some friends to collect and put up all the vines.
My father cut up a few trees, we got tons and tons of lights and I have incredible talented friends who worked very hard to make the seating chart.
After that Kim worked her magic to make it all come together and look beautiful.
Advice for Other Couples
We used The Knot for lots of things like planning and for our website, Pinterest gave the basis for our ideas but it can be overwhelming at times because there are SO many ideas out there. T
The main thing, most important, love your wedding however it is, let it be you, and enjoy every minute of it.
Don’t let planning a day distract you from the main purpose of what you’re about to do; commit the rest of your life to the one you love!
In the end, no matter what happens don’t have any regrets because what really makes a wedding perfect is the fact that it’s yours.
Also I highly recommend hiring someone like A Cottage Gardener because the whole time I was so thankful to have someone else worrying about last minute decorations and making sure everything looks stunning, everyone is in their place, and that we all know what’s up!
It makes the enjoying your wedding part so much easier I can’t imagine our wedding with out her!
We had a buffet style meal courtesy of Kirkridge. A selection of mostly local wines and beers. Our good friend even made his own specialty chocolate stout just for us!
Our incredibly multitalented friend Shannon Almanzar baked a delicious and incredible wedding cake which Kim decorated for us with fresh flowers.
We also had requested a few friends to bake cookies and bring them for desert so we had lots of delicious homemade cookies!
The Photography & Videography
I love Kasey Ivan’s work and since he is a great friend of ours and offered to do it, we were so delighted to have him!
I heard about Peter through a friend and she recommended him highly. I saw his work and it definitely stuck out among others that I had seen.
After the wedding I can say these two are not only incredible talented but they are also incredible people who you would want to have at your wedding not just as the videographer and photographer but as guests! T
hey are both awesome I would recommend them to anyone who asks and their work speaks for itself really!
Definitely all of our friends being there especially the ones who came from all over the world to be there!
We had friends from Norway, Denmark, Ethiopia, and all over america who put lots of effort in to making there for the big day. That was the best. Teaching all of our friends and my family Ethiopian dance moves!
For most of my family and friends the first time they got to know Dereje was at our wedding. It was a big reunion and an awesome blending of our two worlds!
We went to New York for a few days and Stayed at the Millennium Hotel in Wall Street. The view was amazing!
New York is always wonderful and yes we would definitely recommend it!
Watch Melody & Dereje’s Romantic Wedding Film
Oh wow, just gorgeous, right? I love stories about couples from opposite sides of the world, it always seems so fated, like they’ve defied all the odds. And isn’t a fairytale setting just perfect for a love story like their one!
Be inspired by more unique real weddings.