MISSY & JOE
July 11, 2015 • Portsmouth, Rhode IslandBy Lenore Cullen Barnes
Although they met while playing for opposing softball squads, Melissa (Missy) Van Hyfte and Joe Varao became a team when they got married on July 11, 2015—five years to the day from their first meeting as rivals.
Both avid wine lovers, the couple chose to host their nuptials at picturesque Greenvale Vineyards in Rhode Island. “Wine, winemaking and the culture surrounding it have important places in both our lives,” says Missy. “I wrote my dissertation on wine tourism when I was working on my Ph.D., and recently published a textbook chapter on the same topic. Joe’s family has long grown grapes and pressed their own wine.”
At their reception, the couple also emphasized their love of food and even opted for a non-traditional—and savory tasting—wedding cake. “Joe and I are not huge fans of cake but we both love cheese,” Missy says. “Having a cake made of wheels of cheese was such a fun and fitting detail for us.”
Keeping things as local as possible, Missy and Joe served items that had been locally farmed, harvested and brewed. “We had a raw bar featuring oysters harvested from Matunuck and a Del’s Lemonade cart at our cocktail reception,” notes Missy. “All of our wine was from Greenvale Vineyards and our beer was brewed in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.”
The local approach was complemented by the couple’s “vintage flower garden” theme, which came to life through a fresh palette of blush, green and gold tones. Details like the flower crown adorning Missy’s head and mismatched floral-patterened bridesmaid dresses amidst a field of sunflowers play up the motif. Halfway through the wedding reception Missy changed into a shorter dress for dancing that had been fashioned from her mother’s own wedding dress from 1970. As she stepped out in the dress, Missy recalls the look on her mother’s face as being one of the most meaningful moments of the day.
For the couple, seeing each other for the very first time was most memorable. “It was such a special moment to see one another before we saw anyone else. It was personal and romantic and absolutely perfect,” says Missy. “It brought us back to the fact that all of our guests, food and décor aside, the day was about us and our love for one another. We were able to take a breath and feel the magnitude of the day.”
Photography by Somerby Jones Photography
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