Melissa + Matt
8.25.12 • The Woodwinds, Branford
Every bride is beautiful. But Melissa Marottoli, who stood triumphant at the altar of St. Mary Church in Branford on Aug. 25, 2012, and promised one Mr. Matthew Hogan her undying love, well, sweet Melissa was (and is) something else entirely.
Yes, the bride wore a show-stopping custom mermaid gown by designer (and family friend) Matthew Christopher, and her “something borrowed” was an ethereal $3,000 Rivini veil on loan from Bridal Trousseau on Main in Branford. Indeed, “my sister looked stunning,” says Lindsay Marottoli Greenberg. “She took everyone’s breath away.” But it was much more than surface details that the crowd of 275 family and friends saw before them that late-summer day. They saw a young woman’s strength, her courage and, most of all, her will to survive, thrive and stand tall at that altar despite having spent the past five years of her life in a ferocious battle with stage IV lung cancer.
“My sister is a true fighter,” says Lindsay. “She inspires everyone around her and teaches us to never give up. She’s our hero.” Witness: Lindsay, Mel’s identical twin, is the one sharing her sister’s love story with us, because at press time the new bride, her groom (and former college sweetheart) by her side, was hospitalized and fighting pneumonia once again—when just three weeks earlier she’d been a proud participant in the Free to Breathe 5K Run/Walk in Glastonbury in support of lung cancer research and awareness.
“Melissa dreams big,” says Lindsay, and “she’s not one to ever back away from what she wants.” So, a big wedding it was—celebrated at The Woodwinds in Branford, where Melissa and her sisters (Kristen Marotolli Peck is the eldest) have celebrated most milestones since their parents built the banquet facility in 1992. The sachets attached to the wedding programs were made by Melissa’s mom, Ali, who faithfully dried and saved the flowers given to her daughter throughout her illness, knowing that she would use them one day at her wedding. Melissa and her dad, Sal, danced to the Allman Brothers Band’s “Melissa,” the song the bride had been named for 31 years ago. There were speeches and laughter, still more speeches and tears, and at the end of the night, fireworks to light up the smiles.
But the best part of that most miraculous of days? “Seeing the glow on my sister’s face,” says Lindsay. “She didn’t have a look of fear. She had a look of happiness.” And that is just what we wish Mel and Matt—for many years to come.
Editor's Note: Sadly, Melissa passed away in December 2012. Our condolences to Matt, Lindsay and the Marottoli and Hogan families.
dress: matthew christopher
veil: rivini, bridal trousseau on main, branford
hair + makeup: robyn dostie, bravada hair lounge, branford
cake: j cakes, north branford
floral design: flowers by danielle, monroe
photography: king vincent storm, west haven