When Melissa Mahan met Alayna Holkesvigon on Bumble in May of 2019, her head wasn’t fully in it. “I was very jaded and aloof when we first started talking on the app,” Melissa admits. “I’m not quite sure why Alayna continued to put up with me, but I’m so lucky that she did!”
Although Melissa was distant online, their first in-person date at Dave & Buster’s was a completely different experience. After meeting in real life, Melissa knew Alayna was the one, and Alayna felt the same way. “I fell head over heels for Melissa, the ‘gamer girl’, when she brutally defeated me at Mario Kart,” Alayna jokes. “We bonded over a mutual love for music and festivals (Bonnaroo specifically), which is harder to come by than you’d think!”
Since both of them knew they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together, they each planned separate proposals the following year. In June of 2020, Melissa organized a scavenger hunt around the house that led to her propped up on one knee and holding a ring box. A week later, Alayna produced a video that documented their relationship and included a song that she wrote for Melissa. At the end, Alayna popped the question. For both of them, the answer was “yes.”
Instead of enlisting a planner to tackle their special day, Melissa took the reins. Right away, the bride-to-be created a schedule on Airtable and blocked off certain days every month leading up to their wedding with several tasks to complete. For the last two months before the big day, the couple used every weekend to plan and prepare for the affair. Besides Melissa’s organization and time management skills, her creativity also came in handy. The future bride was responsible for creating most of the signage and paper products that made an appearance at their wedding. “Melissa is very artsy and talented,” Alayna says. “Without her, this wedding would not have been as successful and beautiful as it was. She is a DIY queen!”
Although the creative expression was the most rewarding part of the process for Melissa, planning the wedding wasn’t free from challenges. Due to the pandemic, the duo had to postpone their wedding date and look for a different venue. Although shifting gears was stressful in the moment, it actually ended up being a blessing in disguise since the setback allowed them to book Pinewood Weddings and Events in Cambridge, Minnesota. “Immediately after seeing photos of Pinewood, we decided it was perfect for us,” they note. “The vibe and the aesthetic were exactly what we were looking for.”
On April 8, 2022, Melissa and Alayna traded vows in front of 75 guests. Keep reading to see how their vision came to life, planned by the couple with day-of coordination by Keyed Up Events and photographed by Lauren Baker Photography.
Melissa designed and hand-made floral invitations with a wooden border and black piping, which perfectly captured their neutral color scheme and botanical aesthetic. “We wanted the vibe to be bright—but airy and ethereal—with a natural woodland twist,” they summarize. “I love eucalyptus and collect houseplants, so floral was a huge focus.”
Melissa slipped into an A-line Watters Designs gown featuring a sheer mesh bodice and a ruffled organza skirt, which were covered in floral lace appliqués. As soon as she tried on the dress at her first bridal salon appointment, she knew it was meant for her. “I cried as soon as I put it on,” she remembers. “I have struggled with my body image for many years, and when I put this on, that all melted away. I just felt like a bride.”
Since Melissa wanted her dress to be the focal point, she opted for an understated beauty look. “I wanted to look dewey and natural with a more dramatic winged liner but subtle colors throughout,” she explains. She also rocked a pink-and-white ombré design on acrylic nails, which featured a sparkly accent on the ring finger and thumb. To finish off her glam, she added a spritz of Flowerbomb Eau de Parfum by Viktor & Rolf.
For Alayna’s attire, she donned a black suit from Kirrin Finch, which she paired with a black floral bow tie, black studs, and Nike Air Force 1 High Utility 2.0. Alayna spent the morning getting primped by Ziel Bridal, which included layering on foundation, light eyebrow liner, and mascara. Just like her future wife, Alayna tapped Viktor & Rolf for her fragrance of choice: Spicebomb Extreme.
The rest of the day, we were surrounded by family and friends. But in this moment, it was just us.
Before becoming newlyweds, Melissa and Alayna shared a first look in the forest next to their venue. Although Alayna was hesitant to spend the morning apart from Melissa, it ended up being a worthwhile decision. “Spending the hours prior to our wedding separately confirmed the reason why I wanted to marry Melissa,” Alayna shares. “I felt like a piece of me was missing all day. When I saw her face, I instantly felt a sense of relief. She is my safe harbor.” While showing off their attire, the duo snapped photos and basked in one another’s company. “The rest of the day, we were surrounded by family and friends. But in this moment, it was just us,” Alayna reminisces.
Melissa held an oversized bouquet of eucalyptus, orchids, peonies, and roses, which she arranged herself.
A highlight of Melissa’s wedding look was her DIY hair accessory—a rose-gold beaded hair vine, which was woven into her long braid. The bride even made the beads herself. “While shopping for beads, she couldn’t find exactly what she wanted, so she bought FIMO clay to make her own,” Alayna recounts. “A couple YouTube videos later, and she made her own beads.”
Melissa and Alayna’s wedding party selected their own outfits in the designated olive-green hue. “We wanted our bridesmaids to have freedom with their selection and hopefully find a dress that they will want to wear again in the future,” they explain. Each bridal party member carried hoop bouquets of eucalyptus and white buds. To keep a cohesive look, Melissa’s older brother, Tucker, who served as best man, sported green chinos, brown suspenders, and a white dress shirt.
The duo decided to get married in the great outdoors. Rows of wooden benches faced a modern triangular arch adorned with blooms in front of a backdrop of towering trees.
Melissa and her 5-year-old son, Avery, held hands down the aisle while an instrumental version of Christina Perry’s “A Thousand Years” by The Piano Guys played.
During the ceremony, the pair recited heartfelt vows that they drafted themselves. Alayna promised Melissa that she would constantly grow with her and support her many new hobbies. Melissa pledged to always serve as Alayna’s “safe harbor” and express unconditional love. “It was kind of hard to speak while I was crying,” Melissa says. “I was just so happy.”
To symbolize their union and reflect Melissa’s love of plants, the couple also incorporated a unity ceremony. They each planted a hoya in the same pot to represent their journey growing together. “I Choose You” by Sara Bareilles wafted around them.
After swapping wedding bands and locking lips, the couple recessed to “Still Feel” by Half Alive. Since the California band was the first concert the duo attended together, the song was especially meaningful for the newlyweds.
While the newlyweds documented their first few moments of marriage, their friends and family flocked to cocktail hour, where they enjoyed meatballs, mashed potato and bacon croquettes, and caprese skewers.
Inside of the venue, a floral-lined staircase led to a mirror seating chart within a black frame. Melissa wrote each guest’s seating assignments by hand.
A greenery runner, single-stem flowers in thrifted glass vases, and white pillar candles lined the tables, which were draped in simple white linens. For a personal touch that captured their love of music, each place was set with a record coaster that Melissa painted and hand-lettered with each guest’s name. The bride sourced old vinyl records on Facebook for the place settings.
As another nod to their favorite pastime, the duo replaced the traditional guest book for a record player. Friends and family signed their names and shared well wishes on several record discs.
One of the couple’s favorite moments was listening to speeches from their loved ones. The newlyweds took a stroll down memory lane when Alivia, Alayna’s older sister, read a thread of texts that Alayna sent her sister about Melissa years ago.
Melissa and Alayna shared their first dance to their favorite song from The Greatest Showman, “A Million Dreams” by Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, and Ziv Zaifman. “We both sang to each other the entire time,” Alayna reminisces. “I was completely mesmerized by Melissa during our entire dance. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her.”
The duo also saved a few dances for their family members. On the dance floor, Melissa held Avery while Alayna swayed with her dad. The couple also shared an emotional moment with their moms during their combined mother-daughter dances.
After cutting into their two-tier semi-naked cake with a rose accent, Melissa and Alayna joined their guests at a silent disco after-party. “Taking off the headphones to watch everyone party silently was hilarious, and our DJ had the best transitions,” the couple says.
From their handmade décor to their handwritten vows, the newlyweds say their wedding was a dream. “We hired the best people to work with, had amazing food, and overall, had the best, stress-free wedding experience—better than I ever could have imagined,” Alayna summarizes.