MEMORABLE WEDDINGS – Melissa & Ben
Text by Melanie Saxton Photos by A Sea of Love Photography
Melissa Murphy grew up in Fort Bend, and Benjamin Livingston grew up in Midland. They met when a fortuitous turn of events landed them both in California. Their long-distance love story came full circle when they both returned to their Texas roots.
Melissa attended Clements High School and Texas Tech University. She earned a graduate degree at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and is a handbag designer for Fossil, Inc. Ben attended Lee High School, joined the Marine Corps, and earned a BBA in real estate at the University of Texas-Arlington. He is currently an intern at PM Realty.
The couple celebrated their beautiful wedding and reception on Dec. 19, 2015 at Camp Lucy in Dripping Springs, Texas.
Meeting and First Date
Melissa was invited to tag along with her college friend who was going to visit a former high school classmate-turned-Marine in California. The trio met in San Diego, and Melissa struck up a friendship with Ben. But they didn’t truly start dating until years later when she was in fashion school in Los Angeles and Ben happened to be a couple hours away in El Centro during a training exercise. Unfortunately, the training was only temporary, and he was ultimately stationed in North Carolina.
The couple patiently navigated their coast-to-coast romance. Melissa returned to Texas, as did Ben when he finished his military service. They figured out how to live in the same city and were soon discussing their dreams and future aspirations. Ben began planning a unique manner in which to pop the question, something that would totally catch his intended by surprise.
According to Melissa, the proposal couldn’t have been more perfect. Ben opted for a small intimate setting with just her parents present, under the guise of celebrating her dad’s birthday. As her dad shared some relationship advice, he asked for Ben’s opinion. At that moment Ben got down on one knee and proposed. Of course, Melissa was in shock and can’t remember a word he said. But she does recall saying yes!
The couple’s engagement was 14 months long and filled with love and support from friends and family. “The wedding showers were just so overwhelming because we could not believe all of the people who came together for us,” says Melissa. The wedding planning was a lot of fun and included several trips to Dripping Springs with her parents.
The bride is a hopeless romantic and wanted her winter wedding to be whimsical and dreamy. She incorporated soft hues and pops of color into the rustic, woodsy venue. An antique, carved wooden cross was decorated with eucalyptus and hypnose roses. Aisles were lined with candles. A harpist and other musicians played music.
Bridal Party: Deacon Edward Rositas from St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church in Dripping Springs officiated. Parents of the bride, John and Lisa Murphy, and parents of the groom, Ken and Mary Helen Livingston, were in attendance. Anna Kurkjian served as maid of honor. Kelsey Fink, Megan Nelson and Traci Doan served as bridesmaids. Jordan Livingston was the adorable flower girl. KT Livingston served as best man. Brian Bowler, Michael Nelson and Joe Elsass served as groomsmen.
Attire: The bride wore a stunning custom gown and veil by Houston designer Miles Davis Atelier, made with Sophie Hallette French lace, as well as a Sakowitz fur stole and Badgley Mischka shoes. Her “something old” was a vintage beaded clutch. Her “something new” was a BHLDN back drape necklace. Her “something borrowed” were her grandmother’s teardrop diamond earrings. Her “something blue” was her great-grandmother’s embroidered handkerchief. Bridesmaids wore Annabelle convertible tulle gowns in cameo pink by designer Jenny Yoo.
The groom wore a herringbone suit by Studio Suits. Each groomsman wore a different colored herringbone suit.
Walk Down the Aisle: The greatest father-daughter moment came when they rang the church bell together before the ceremony started, which helped work out some of their nervousness. The bride had a smile so big on the way to the altar that it made her cheeks hurt after the ceremony. Seeing Ben standing at the altar was the most incredible feeling because she knew in just half an hour he was going to be her husband.
Top Wedding Moments: The couple exchanged traditional vows for the ceremony but wrote their own vows separately to give each other before the wedding. Their first kiss was incredible! They were both so ecstatic to be finally married and were ready to celebrate with everyone.
The bride recalls the most amazing feeling when she and her new husband first walked into the reception room. All the guests were standing and smiling at them!
Floral and Décor: The reception was filled with special touches, such as a wine barrel bar and signs hand-painted by the bride’s mother. Florals included eucalyptus, hanging amaranthus, thistle, brunia, garden roses, dahlias, hypnose roses and succulents, which also appeared in bouquets. Tabletops mixed plain ivory linens with lace overlaid linens and hemstitched ivory napkins. Table centerpiece “one” was comprised of a wood box with sandblasted manzita branches and filled with a mixture of mosses, succulents and florals. Mercury glass votives were also hung from branches. Table centerpiece “two” was a stone pedestal vase with mossy branches, succulents and florals. The head table was adorned with loose greenery down the length of the table with mossy branches and display vases for bouquets.
The Cake: A three-tiered red velvet naked cake was frosted in cream cheese and topped by woodland deer, which mirrored the winter season.
Specialty Items: Favors were mason jars full of hot chocolate mix that was put together by the bride, her mother and her grandmother. The couple’s specialty cocktail was a Cranberry Moscow Mule.
Top Reception Moments: The newlyweds slow danced to How Long Will I Love You by Jon Boden, Sam Sweeney and Ben Colemen. Father and daughter danced to Daughter by Loudon Wainwright III. Mother and son danced to Landslide by Fleetwood Mac. The band kept guests dancing the whole night and a congo line ensued. Everyone had a fabulous time!
The Exit: Mr. and Mrs. Livingston exited through a line of dazzling sparklers outside the church in which they were married.
The couple honeymooned at the Excellence Resort in Playa Mujeres, Cancun, Mexico.