Real {California} Military Wedding: Melissa + Ryan

With text messaging and emailing and Facebooking and tweeting being our primary means of communication these days,  the practice of writing handwritten notes and letters are long gone.  It just so turns out that Melissa and Ryan were first connected via a handwritten note…they were pen pals in the fifth grade.  It wasn't until they started dating in their senior year of high school that Melissa discovered a seven-year-old letter in her closet that was from Ryan.  Interesting, right?  Oh how we miss handwritten notes…

The couple married in sunny California in May of 2011 in a gorgeous military-style wedding.  Ryan was an active duty infantry officer for five and a half years and did three tours in Iraq. A true hero, he earned a purple heart and bronze star for being wounded in action.  He's ranked as a captain and just transitioned to a reserve unit to go to grad school. Their relationship has truly stood the test of time, especially with Ryan being away on active duty.  Nevertheless, they were able to hold steady and finally come together as one.   Kim of Kim Le Photography captured these amazing images.  What an awesome job she did!  You should certainly check out her blog.  For now, meet the couple

Bride:  Melissa Clinton
Groom: Ryan Clinton
Occupations:  Graduate Students at The Wharton School of Business
Wedding date:  May 29, 2011
Location: Vibiana, Los Angeles, CA

We just had to share some of their gorgeous engagement session images with you first...

And now for the wedding...


"Planning this wedding was particularly difficult because I was applying to business school at the same time. I kicked the planning process into high gear once I secured the venue, Vibiana, in September 2010. That left me with 8 months to put everything in place. I had been looking for a historic site with pillars, archways, and rod iron, so Vibiana was a perfect fit. 

The song that I walked down the aisle to, the Stravinsky's Firebird Suite was my first source of inspiration. There's a part of the song where the music begins to almost float (for the lack of a better word), so I added a row of Pipe and Drape provided by Pipe Dreams, to be drawn back for me to walk down the aisle and make the room a little warmer.

I knew that I wanted shades of pink and purple for a color palette, but beyond that I was open in terms of design elements. I really relied heavily on the professional advice of my vendors. My florist, Jose at Janelly Flowers, took the colors that I mentioned and ran with it. His centerpieces were amazing! The lighting that Carcano DJ provided put the finishing touches on everything and made the venue feel magical. 

My mom, maid of honor, fiance (at the time), sisters and bridesmaids were incredibly helpful in getting everything done. Additionally, once I started working with Cassandra Santor at Beautiful Day Wedding Planning, everything came together."


"Ryan's family is from Belize. At each guest's table setting was a gift-wrapped traditional Belizean black or white cake as a thank you for attending the wedding."


"The most memorable part of the day was walking into the reception under the sabre arch. Every element of the months of planning culminated at that moment. It was the first chance to see the reception decor and lighting. Our dj announced us for the first time as Mr. and Mrs. while "All of the Lights" blared through the sound system. Ryan's closest friends created a sabre arch for us to walk through, and then we kissed. It was perfect." - Melissa


"Simply put, aside from being my best friend, Melissa is the best person I've ever known. She's always been able to keep sight of what's most important." - Ryan

"Ryan genuinely cares about people. He is incredibly compassionate and is always trying to help whomever needs it." - Melissa


Thanks so much for allowing us to share your special day with our readers.  Be sure to pay their super-talented photographer Kim Le a visit on her blog.  Below, is an amazing video trailer from their wedding day courtesy of Table 8 Films.  Enjoy!

[vimeo url="" width="600"] [nggallery id=345]


  • Wedding Dress by Allure Couture - Dina's Bridal, Santa Monica, CA
  • Bridesmaid Dresses by Barijay - Cecile Reviore, Glendale, CA
  • Ceremony and Reception - Vibiana -
  • Wedding Coordinator - Beautiful Day Wedding Planning
  • Hair - Kim Gaskin
  • Bridal/Mother of Bride Makeup - Gaby Sanchez
  • Bridesmaid MakeUp - Kristina Alvarez
  • DJ and Lighting - Carcano DJ
  • Invitations - Designs by Liat
  • Photography - Kim Le Photography
  • Videography - Table 8 Films
  • Rentals - Classic Party Rentals
  • Florist - Janelly Flowers
  • Cake and Catering - Jay's Catering
  • Shoes - Badgely Mischka
  • Pipe and Drape - Pipe Dreams 
[divider] [fancy_header3 variation="teal"]More Sunday Love Stories[/fancy_header3] [raw][blog_list thumb="small" showposts="4" category_in="1331" disable="content,meta"][/raw] [divider]
  1. VIDEO: Melissa + Ryan’s Military Wedding | Black and Married With - A Positive Image of Marriage and Family

    […] Can you imagine marrying your fifth-grade pen pal? (Who even remembers having a pen pal?) That’s exactly what happened with Melissa and Ryan Clinton. Check out their wedding trailer in the video below, and get their full love story at Munalunchi Bridal. […]

  2. Weekend Love Stories Roundup | Munaluchi Bridal Magazine

    […] The couple married in sunny California in May of 2011 in a gorgeous military-style wedding. Ryan was an active duty infantry officer for five and a half years….Read the entire story here. […]

  3. Coretta's Elegant Events

    SO much to love about this couple! Purple, passion, regal & military! I’m Air Force but I’ll give a “HUA” to Go Army!

  4. oluchy

    l love military wedding very well, nice dress n bouquet.


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