Design Director Jessica Mehlman met Ian Kirkman in October 2010, when she worked on a freelance project for him. Immediately, Jessica was intrigued—but Ian was already convinced. He told his roommate he’d met the girl he was going to marry. And he was right; by May 2011, the two were engaged.
“We went to Barbados for an impromptu trip, and, on our third day, as we were walking on the beach, Ian proposed,” Jessica says. “He asked me if I knew how much he loved me. I asked, ‘How much?’ and he said, ‘This much’ and pulled out the ring and got down on one knee.”
They married on Solstice Sunday—the longest Sunday of the year—in front of 150 guests at The Grandview in Poughkeepsie, a venue they loved for its tent, great lighting, and riverside location.
“Fun, fun, fun,” is how the bride describes the celebration. “We really wanted people to have a great time, and remember it as much as we would. We wanted it to feel relaxed, with great music, good food, and lots of booze.”
For the ceremony, Jessica wanted to incorporate her deceased grandmother’s wedding dress into the chuppah. She enlisted her fashion-designer friend, Michelle McCurdy, who used the overlay lace in the middle of the chuppah and satin overlay and tulle as trim.
“It was absolutely stunning, and it was so wonderful to have that piece of her there throughout our ceremony,” says Jessica. “The florist [Lavender and Leaf] also made the most beautiful flower arrangement to go above the chuppah.”
Jessica’s rabbi uncle officiated the ceremony. “He really knew both of us and made our ceremony special and unique,” she says.
Jessica took her DIY approach to the wedding very seriously. She designed the invitations, menus, and programs herself. “Instead of table numbers, we made icons that represented different aspects of our relationship,” she says, explaining that icons included Barbados, Ella Fitzgerald, wine, and bike rides.
Her DIY projects even inspired her career. Soon after her nuptials, she started a wedding-design business called Lucky Elefant. “I had so much fun doing my own wedding,” she says. “It’s really exciting.”
Together, the couple created their wedding favors. “We figured vodka was a cool favor so we created signature drinks with different flavors,” says Jessica noting she and Ian infused and bottled the vodka themselves. For example, they made a habanero-mango-infused vodka to be used for Bloody Marys and pineapple-peach vodka for Screwdrivers.
Another whimsical wedding touch? The couple rented a yellow school bus as transportation for their 18-person wedding party. What started out as a practical idea turned into a memorable experience: “Everyone was singing on it and it was an awesome, awesome way to go to our venue,” says Jessica.
Jessica and Ian, who live in Hoboken, New Jersey, thoroughly enjoyed their wedding. “I wouldn’t change anything and we were both so stress-free,” says Jessica. “The vibe was exactly what we were hoping for.”
THE DETAILS: Photographer: Cappy Hotchkiss of Cappy Hotchkiss Photography, (917) 741-2730, cappyhotchkiss.com. Ceremony and Reception Location/Caterer: The Grandview, Poughkeepsie (845) 486-4700; grandviewevents.com; Florist: Lavender and Leaf, Lagrangeville (845) 656-9129; lavenderandleaf.com. Music/Entertainment: Downtown Fever, (855) 383-2263; downtownfever.com. Invitations and Favors: Jessica (Mehlman) Kirkman, Lucky Elephant; luckyelefant.com (coming soon). Wedding Gown: Gabriella’s New York Bridal Salon, New York, NY (212) 206-1915; gabriellanewyork.com. Shoes/Accessories: Nine West; ninewest.com. Hair: Hair to be Wed; facebook.com/hair.tobe. Bridesmaid Dresses: JCrew; jcrew.com. Groom’s Suit: Mysuit; mysuitny.com. Men’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse; menswearhouse.com.