In the Fall of 2009, Francesca Mardenli and Matthew Mello were in an “Intro to Criminal Justice” class together at Roger Williams University. The two students never spoke, but Francesca ended up telling her roommate about Matthew right after class. Still, nothing more transpired until five years later.
“I saw him out in Providence, Rhode Island and felt compelled to walk up to him,” Francesca says. “I tapped him on the shoulder and asked, ‘Are you Matt Mello?’ To my surprise, he responded with, ‘Francesca, right?’ I guess you could say the rest is history.”
“We wanted a party from beginning to end and that is exactly what we got.”
The couple moved to Washington, DC in January of 2020, unaware of the events that would shortly follow. Both felt pangs of homesickness from time to time, so Matthew told Francesca that he had booked them a trip back home to see family in August. During their visit, he said they were going to meet up with his sister and two nieces at a park on the water in Bristol, RI.
“When we arrived, they were nowhere to be found,” Francesca describes. “Which I found odd, as they are normally very punctual, and Matthew is not. He suggested we get out of the car and walk down to the water to wait for them. As we began to walk, he became very sweaty, and I couldn’t tell if he was nervous or if it was due to the 90-degree weather that day.
Once we reached the water, we sat on a bench – the same bench we had sat on in November 2016, after a few months of dating. He started reminiscing about our relationship and how far we had come. I knew then something was up. He stood up, took my hand to stand with him, and the next thing I knew, he was on one knee and there was a photographer just a few feet away. We ended up back at my mom’s house where a party was waiting, filled with family and friends to celebrate with!”
Once the couple decided to have a destination wedding in Boston to accommodate older family members who couldn’t fly, they knew they’d be needing some extra help. Fairmont Copley Plaza had been Francesca’s dream wedding venue for as long as she could remember – especially the iconic ballroom, with its elegant and gorgeously detailed interior. For the bride-to-be, there was no backup option; so she had no preference for her wedding date and booked what was available.
The next step of the wedding planning process was hiring Jasmine Rose Events, who helped orchestrate all the logistics. Since the couple could not be in Boston for every walkthrough of the venue and church, it was essential to have a planner who could handle everything in their absence.
“She was an angel every step of the way, with constant attention to detail and always checking in on me and keeping me on track,” Francesca adds. “I had a hard time verbalizing exactly what I wanted the aesthetic to be, but somehow she just knew, and she nailed it. I wanted the color palate to stay in the black and white wheelhouse, as this was a black-tie event and I didn’t want to take away from Fairmont’s ballroom, but rather complement it – i.e. the baby’s breath centerpieces that mimicked the clouds painted on the ballroom ceiling. GENIUS!”
When the bride and groom envisioned their wedding, their main priority was that it was an “amazing, unforgettable evening filled with smiles and laughs” from their friends and family. While they wanted the aesthetic to be beautiful, it was all about providing a memorable guest experience for everyone in attendance.
The wedding ceremony took place at St. Matthews Syriac Church in Boston. With Francesca’s family being Lebanese, it was important to blend elements of her culture into the wedding day however they could.
“The tradition of the groom and bride wearing gold crowns at the altar was the most special to me,” she shares. “It was something I was looking forward to ever since I saw the photos of my parents at their wedding. It was a beautiful moment.”
The following events unfolded perfectly, and the entire day felt like a dream. For the newlyweds, the ballroom reveal was incredible. The head table was stunning, and the entire room was filled with baby’s breath, white roses, and candles, complementing the gold décor and white dance floor.
“We skipped elements such as menus and place cards, because we felt that the seat itself was less important than being up and dancing on the dance floor,” explains the bride. “We wanted a party from beginning to end and that is exactly what we got. The entertainment at our wedding was also an incredible surprise and we cannot wait for the video! Elio is a master entertainer.
He was the Emcee, provided lighting, belly dancers, and DJ for the reception. The belly dancing performance was unlike anything we had ever seen. They came out multiple times with different props and costumes and it was absolutely amazing. We knew they had been hired for the wedding, but we didn’t know what the performances were going to look like, and it exceeded any expectations we had!”
Towards the end of the night, the newlyweds and their guests moved to the room across the hall for an afterparty, where there was a photo booth, disposable cameras for all, light-up balloons, and a large marquee sign that said, “THE MELLOS.” There were also glow sticks, music being played by the couple’s favorite DJ from DC, and a buffet of McDonalds – the best nightcap to end an epic celebration.
Location: Fairmont Copley Plaza, Boston, MA; Wedding Planner: Jasmine Rose Events, Boston, MA; Floral Design: Sarahs Florals, Boston, MA; Cake: Dessert Works, Boston, MA; Photography: Henry & Mac, Boston, MA