Melanie & Greg

Vineyard Military Wedding (U.S. Armed Forces)

Wedding Day - June 6, 2015   

Groom:  Lieutenant Colonel Gregory Scrivens and Bride: Melanie Liles

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A Touch of Culture 

This very lovely vineyard wedding embraced army traditions, heartfelt patriotism, and love of family and friends. It was a celebration of the coming together of two people, their loved ones, and two Allied cultures with the groom being American and the bride’s family hailing from England. With their wedding celebration, Greg and Melanie wished to ally themselves together with a promise of forever surrounded by the people who meant most to them – their families, including their “army” family, and cherished friends. As well, the couple wanted this special event to portray the ideals and values which mattered most to them.

The Wedding Date

Impeccable planning and contemplative reflection went into this wedding. Seven Ivory Brides strived for excellence as always, and the bride and groom made thoughtful decisions. Each wedding detail had a special significance for the couple. Their wedding date – June 6, 2015, the 71st Anniversary of D-Day – was the most significant choice of all.

  • D-Day…The Day That Changed The World

With Greg been a Member of the U.S. Armed Forces and Melanie’s roots lying in England, as well as many of their guests been in service to their country, and with friends lost in combat, the Anniversary of D-Day was a most meaningful choice for this couple’s wedding date.

When Allied Forces landed at Normandy beaches on June 6, 1944, it was the beginning of a liberation. Members of the military, and residents of the US, England, and the free world in general, appreciate the role which D-Day played in our freedom today. No doubt everyone at this extraordinary wedding – especially Lieutenant Colonel Scrivens and the active and retired military members – can understand the depth and meaning in President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s speech on D-Day.

“…The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you…” ~ President Dwight D. Eisenhower 

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Army Traditions 

  • Saber Arch Ceremony

The Saber Arch Ceremony is a wedding tradition in which sabers or swords are used to salute a newly-married couple. When leaving their wedding ceremony, the bride and groom pass under an honorary arch of sabers positioned just outside the doorway. The tradition is performed worldwide. In the US and England, the ceremony is usually performed at the weddings of military service members.

The actual ceremony details can vary slightly among different branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. Officers and enlisted personnel in the bridal party wear formal dress uniforms according to the seasonal regulations of the services. Generally, there are between four and eight saber bearers who position themselves in formation.

They raise their sabers into a high arch – with tips nearly touching – and the blades facing up and away from the bride and groom who proceed into the arch. As the couple passes through, the last two saber bearers usually lower the sabers in front of the couple detaining them for a moment.

  • Grog Bowl Ceremony

The Grog Bowl Ceremony centers on making “grog” by combining several liquids – each signifying a different piece of a unit’s military history. The men call out one another for so-called “infractions” to go up and take a drink or they can voluntarily drink the grog.

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The Celebration 

The Ceremony

This memorable wedding ceremony took place in Westminster, Maryland, at an enchanting private vineyard belonging to a long-time friend of the groom. They have been friends for 18 years. No doubt Greg and Melanie were appreciative and ecstatic about having their wedding in such an exquisite location.

The guests were just awe-struck by the beauty and serenity of this expansive emerald-green setting. With grapevines in the background and lush, peaceful surroundings, this wedding venue provided the ultimate space for such a special event. What a beautiful place to celebrate this couple’s love and commitment to each other!

  • A Touching Surprise

Although Melanie had walked down the aisle by herself at the wedding rehearsal and told Greg that was her wish, things didn’t work out that way in the end. At rehearsal, even Greg seemed surprised with Melanie’s suggestion.

At her wedding ceremony, however, it was touching to see Melanie walk lovingly down the aisle with her father. That had always been her intention. The “walking alone” story was just “pretend” so she could surprise Greg and arrive with her father on the actual day. Melanie planned the perfect surprise and provided everyone with memorable moments.

The wedding walk down the aisle was accompanied by the emotional notes and stirring sound of traditional bagpipes.

The Reception

Cocktails were served on the deck. The reception took place in a splendid garden at the rear of the gorgeous home on this spectacular property. Everyone could see the deck dance floor from the garden.

Seventy special guests enjoyed a delectable sit-down dinner in a laid-back family style atmosphere created by using long dinner tables, soft candlelight, and rustic burlap suited to the rural setting and the Italian theme.

  • Wedding and Honeymoon 

Since Gregory and Melanie planned to honeymoon in Italy, they incorporated an Italian flavor into their décor. This idea of bringing the wedding and honeymoon together with wedding décor was a very stylish choice on the couple’s part. Having symbols of the honeymoon destination show up in wedding details, fashion, or photography is a popular trend in contemporary weddings.

Recently, Seven Ivory Brides brought the news of this latest wedding trend to the attention of our social media followers. It is possible to celebrate your honeymoon choice at your wedding – just as Greg and Melanie did by picking the Italian theme. It only takes a little thought and a few extra touches, accents, or fashion details to create this connection. Happy Honeymooning, Greg and Melanie!

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  • Family Style

The total ambiance of the wedding dinner and reception exuded a friendly, family-like vibe – the exact feeling which the couple had hoped to establish throughout their celebrations.

Greg and Melanie considered their guests to be one big, happy “family.” Greg’s army “family” have shared many life-changing experiences together in their service to their country. This exceptional gathering to celebrate the marriage of Greg and Melanie also doubled as an unforgettable reunion for comrades and friends.

A Special Moment

There was a marvelous mini wedding cake for the couple to cut on this momentous occasion. The guests enjoyed delicious cupcakes in delightful flavors – chocolate/raspberry, lemon/vanilla.

The cake-cutting was an extra special moment for the bride and groom. Indeed, everyone at the wedding was touched by this awesome gesture. Gregory and Melanie used the same knife to cut their cake as the groom’s parents had on their wedding day.

The cake-cutting was a treasured time channeling love, family, and tradition. It was the first time that our Seven Ivory Brides team had seen such an extraordinary cake-cutting ceremony – and we were honored to witness this amazing moment.

Fabulous Fun

Greg and Melanie had the time of their lives at the wedding reception as they celebrated with their family and close friends around them. The guests also had spectacular fun as they danced to the 80s most popular songs.

Meeting the Challenge 

Wedding planning would be very boring if there weren’t any challenges – and every wedding has its share. None have ever proven insurmountable, however, for our Seven Ivory Brides team and super clients.

  • Logistics

The SIB team started working with Melanie and Greg a year before the event. The logistics for this wedding presented a challenge – but  not an unsolvable one. The bride and groom live in South Carolina; the wedding site was in Westminster, Maryland, and Seven Ivory Brides is located two hours away from the venue. In other words, the wedding planning extended through three U.S. states. Seven Ivory Brides’ term for this remarkable event: a “short destination” wedding.

Our SIB team always took photos when we visited the wedding venue. These pictures taken on location served as our inspiration for creating the best and most suitable plans. As well, we shared our photo portfolio with the bride and groom. Therefore, they could see the venue and how the SIB plans would work in this specific setting.

A photo is definitely worth a thousand words. In this instance, email communication and file sharing proved to be effective for all parties. Once again, Seven Ivory Brides and their wonderful clients were up to the challenge. Distance is no barrier to love – or to wedding planning – when you know the business of weddings from every angle.

  • Weather

As is often the case, weather can be unpredictable at times. Since wedding planners can’t predict the forecast with 100% accuracy – even meteorologists can’t do that – then they must have a back-up plan for outdoor weddings. The forecast on the days leading up to this wedding showed its unpredictable side – rain on one day and sun for the next.

The Seven Ivory Brides team needed to complete the preparations, but the weather proved to be a challenge. Forecasters predicted scattered thunderstorms. So the team decided to go ahead with our “rainy day” plan – just in case there were showers on the big day. The SIB team brought in spacious tents for protection from the elements.

In the end, the weather surprised us – and the sun shone its brightest for the happy couple. Of course, the tents were already in place and ready to accommodate 70 guests. Even though they weren’t really needed then with the sunshine, they turned out to be a delightful addition to the event. The tents looked terrific on the property; they provided an intimate setting and cozy enclosure.

Behind the Scenes 

Melanie and Greg wanted a specific seating arrangement for their wedding guests. Seven Ivory Brides was pleased to organize it for them. Whether it required seating the 70 guests in the back garden or the tents, our SIB team was determined to have guests sit in the pre-arranged order which Greg and Melanie felt would work best for their family-style wedding dinner and celebration.

The couple needed each seat to be named and Seven Ivory Brides excelled with this wedding project. Our team’s vast experience, as well as our attention to details and diligent efforts, meant that everything went according to plan.

Melanie applauded us for our excellent work. She wanted to set up the wedding dinner to perfection; having the best seating arrangement was very important to her. Melanie was extremely grateful to Seven Ivory Brides for our flawless execution of this task.

Client Feedback

Melanie told the Seven Ivory Brides team that she wouldn’t have changed a thing about the wedding planning process. Both Greg and Melanie were very satisfied with the end result. Melanie said that everything she and Greg had envisioned for their wedding was accomplished exactly by Seven Ivory Brides and they genuinely appreciated our efforts.

Seven Ivory Brides: This couple – Melanie (a lovely lady) and Greg (a thorough gentleman) – were a joy to work with during the entire process. SIB spent a lot of time with Melanie on the wedding plans. She was always friendly, easy to collaborate with, and most responsive to our messages. She welcomed the ideas that were presented to her and appreciated our dedication and detailed and prompt, professional work.

Seven Ivory Brides: “It was a pleasure, Melanie and Greg, to work with you creating the perfect wedding. We wish you both a lifetime of happiness.”

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Favorite Moment 

Seven Ivory Brides always struggles trying to choose a favorite moment from each event. So many amazing moments stick out in our memory!  

Yet since we have to choose…the Seven Ivory Brides team felt tremendous satisfaction about pushing ourselves to our creative best at this wedding. Meeting the challenge was a pivotal professional moment for us – and a great feeling.

SIB created all the floral designs for the wedding including table decorations and wedding bouquets. We also created a fun Bar setup. Our planners started with just a ladder and a few wooden planks.

The task at hand inspired us to explore the depths of our creativity. Seven Ivory Brides was proud of the final look. We received phenomenal feedback on these simple but stunning décor ideas. The photos speak for themselves.

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Lasting Inspiration 

Even after numerous successful planning experiences in our portfolio, Seven Ivory Brides continues to be inspired by each event. Whatever the occasion, every event leaves a lasting and memorable impression on our entire team.

This wedding reinforced one of the basic mottos of Seven Ivory Brides Event Planning. There are no limits to the creativity or perfection which can be achieved with utter dedication and committed effort. As well, this couple had a specific plan – and a meaningful one in which the tiniest detail had special significance. The combined effort and cooperation between the couple and the event planning team resulted in a harmonious partnership and – ultimately – the perfect wedding.


“Be thankful for the beautiful moment.  

Be thankful for the gift of today.  

Be thankful for how far you have reached.” 

― Lailah Gifty Akita


Content courtesy: Mary @ Seven Ivory Brides

Photo credits: Sarah Mitchell @ Sknow Photography

Wedding Planner: Seven Ivory Brides Event Planning