Corey Marshall’s proposal to Melissa Stepp experienced an unseasonal rain delay. When he suggested they go to the beach with their dogs that Fourth of July, he had something very important in mind. Corey had even arranged for his brother and stepsister to hide nearby to capture the moment when he popped the question. However, as soon as the couple arrived, it started raining and they had to turn back. Later in the day, they met with his family to watch fireworks and Corey ceased the opportunity. “During the firework show, Corey looked at me and told me how much he loved me and our life together and presented me with my grandmother’s diamond ring,” she recalls. “Of course I said yes, and the Fourth of July will now always be one of my favorite days of the year!”

In the course of the yearlong preparations, Melissa’s mother was a great sounding board for her ideas. The bride also credits Alexandra Rembac of Sterling Engagements for her assistance in handling the details that helped materialize the couple’s vision saying, “I wouldn’t have survived the wedding planning process without her!”

The couple chose a breathtaking ranch that provided different areas for their outdoor celebration. The ceremony took place in a shaded grove of olive trees. Ribbon-festooned crystal chandeliers suspended from tree branches marked the altar. Below, trumpet vases filled with baby’s breath sprays and ivory and pink tulips sat on mirrored stands.

The bride walked up the aisle delineated with pastel pink and pearl petals in a lovely strapless gown with a crystal belt and tiered skirt of undulating airy fabric. Her curls were kept in place by a beaded headband. Sapphire centers punctuated Melissa’s creamy bouquet of roses, hydrangeas, and peonies. Four bridesmaids in one-shoulder navy blue gowns by Monique Lhuillier carried nosegays of blush and vanilla roses.

After the cocktail hour, guests found their place cards pinned on a frame with an ivory and gold sequined background bearing the couple’s initials. Alabaster candelabra with crystal accents and baby’s breath in a variety of wood boxes, white vases, and mirror cubes were lined along champagne sequined runners on country tables.

“Our wedding was all about the food and drinks and just having a good time,” affirms Melissa. As part of the dinner menu, the bride incorporated one of her favorite foods with a pizza station offering baked-to-order pies from an outdoor oven. The mac ‘n’ cheese bar was a big hit, as the couple’s friends still rave about it. Lastly, a carving station served prime beef, turkey, and mashed potatoes.

For dessert, guests enjoyed slices of either marble chip or triple berry cake from the four-layer confection embellished with navy blue and crystal bands, as well as sugar-dusted blackberries. Poolside dancing was also fueled with late-night snacks of short rib sliders with sweet potato fries, and tomato soup shots with mini grilled cheese sandwiches.

“I wasn’t able to eat much of my dinner and to this day I keep looking for an excuse to reuse my catering company again to recreate my wedding menu!” reveals the bride. Her advice for other couples? “Relax and enjoy yourselves.”