Carolina Bride

Floral enchantment

Melanie Rousso and Eliot Brown first met on a blind date. “We didn’t want the date to end, so naturally we had the fastest service possible at dinner,” says Melanie. The date was a success and the couple wanted to see more of each other, so Eliot made sure to ask for her number before the evening was over.

Over a year and a half later, they’d meet for dinner again; this time, however, Eliot would ask for more than her number. “It was my birthday, and I thought we were going out to dinner,” she explains. “But when I arrived at his place he had the door locked.” When she got inside, Eliot had decorated the room with flowers and candles. He told Melanie that he was going to cook for her instead, but first, he wanted her to have her gift. As soon as he brought over the champagne, Eliot got down on one knee and pulled out the ring from Brownlee Jewelers. Since the father of the bride, Harold Rousso, is known as the “Rock Doctor” of Brownlee Jewelers, the ring was even more meaningful to her. “He told my parents that he wanted to get the ring from them, and they helped him design it,” says Melanie. “It’s one of a kind and he did a great job.”

When she started planning the big day, Melanie didn’t have a theme in mind. All she knew was that she wanted to create a romantic atmosphere and keep all of the details a surprise for her guests. Although she had chosen a palette of pink and cream shades for the day, Melanie worked with Amore Paper to create simple invites with slate-colored lettering. “I didn’t want to give away any of the colors for the wedding,” she says.

With an abundance of flowers and soft hues, she brought her vision of a romantic wedding to life. “The chuppah was draped with large bouquets of roses in creams, light pinks and soft peaches,” Melanie says. She incorporated garden and cabbage roses into her centerpieces, which she accented with hanging crystals. For additional ambiance, she covered the tables with candles in mercury votives.

Melanie wanted the wedding party table to be unique from the others, so she had the chair covers custom designed. “They looked like the bottom of the flower girls’ dresses,” she says. “That was my favorite detail.” To complete the romantic vision of the day, Melanie had soft white linens draped from the ceiling to the floor and white roses on the tablecloths. “To me, the room looked like it was out of a fairy tale,” Melanie says.

Melanie and Eliot made sure to spend plenty of time with their loved ones, too. Before the wedding, the couple had a Jewish ceremony where they signed the ketubah (a Jewish marriage license). Only their immediate families and the wedding party were invited, which made the ceremony more intimate.

To capture the details of the day, and to take her bridal pictures at The Duke Mansion, Melanie chose Critsey Rowe Photography. “I loved working with Critsey,” she raves. “She was great, and she got so many pictures. She just really captured the wedding.”

With all the romance they incorporated into their wedding, it's no surprise that Eliot and Melanie were swept up in the moment. “Seeing each other for the first time was an anticipated moment for us,” Melanie says. “I wanted it to be a special moment when he first saw me in my wedding gown, and when I saw him for the first time, I couldn’t have been happier knowing that I was going to be spending the rest of my life with him.”

Featured Vendors

Bridal portrait location

The Duke Mansion


Engagement and wedding rings

Brownlee Jewelers



Critsey Rowe Photography



Amore Paper


Continue reading real wedding stories! Up next: ’A Love that Lasts’