Melissa Santos and Joshua DaCosta

Draw inspiration from their stylish celebration.

September 13, 2014
The Century House
Acushnet, Massachusetts

Photograph by Angela Greenlaw Photography

Photograph by Angela Greenlaw Photography

If a couple is lucky, they can step away from their hectic schedules to enjoy a getaway from it all. When their calendars were proving a little too packed, Melissa Santos’s beau Joshua DaCosta suggested they spent some time away—but little did she know that he had an ulterior motive: to propose. She agreed, and off they went for a weekend in Boston. They brought along their dog, Gypsy, for a Park Plaza Hotel stay and spent a day shopping on Newbury Street. On the following day, the couple rode up to New Hampshire for a hike.

“He had plans to propose on the top of the mountain, but the funny thing is, we couldn’t figure out how to get there! We kept hiking in circles,” says Santos. “I think he envisioned this beautiful summit and getting down on one knee, but of course it didn’t happen that way.” After a frustrating hike and no engagement in sight, DaCosta changed course. That night, the couple took a walk around Boston Common. It was there on the bridge of the Public Garden, to the sounds of a violinist he’d paid to play, he finally popped the question.

And the planning began. “We just wanted a traditional, classy, warm, rustic feel filled with laughter and fun,” says the bride. “We come from large Portuguese families, so we knew we didn’t want a small, intimate wedding.” And so the guest list grew and grew, until 230 people came together for the couple’s celebration.

The bride was a DIY queen, planning everything herself with the help of our parents. “I absolutely love crafts, and am always up for a project,” she admits. “I gathered many ideas from Pinterest and with the help of my mother-in-law, who is also very crafty (she made our cake), we made it work! My mom designed and made all my bridesmaid jewelry, and also spent many long nights ironing all my linens—230 chair covers, satin bows and napkins, and about 30 table covers! Both of our mothers are truly amazing and contributed so much to our wedding. We couldn’t have done it without them.”

Here’s a look inside their gorgeous day.


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Photograph by Angela Greenlaw Photography

The “happily ever after” sign was at the entrance of the reception hall. “My mother-in-law made it using an old fence that was hanging around the yard,” says the bride.

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Photograph by Angela Greenlaw Photography

“I wanted our sweetheart table to be special so I chose the beautiful rosette cloth in gold,” says Melissa. “I wanted something simple, not to distract from us, so asked my florist to use my favorite—white hydrangeas.” The birch wood container with the couples’ initials engraved on it was a wedding shower gift from a friend.

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Photograph by Angela Greenlaw Photography

“My husband and I love animals and wanted our donation help our favorite shelters,” Melissa explains. “I love the idea of a donation as a favor, because honestly, what does one do with a favor? They usually just get tossed, or left behind!”


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Photograph by Angela Greenlaw Photography

To combat the tap-a-glass-for-a-kiss nonsense, the couple made “requesting a kiss” super fun with a kissing menu. The night was full of fun stories, love songs, and example smooches.

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Photograph by Angela Greenlaw Photography

They had a cute rustic fence post with all of their “firsts.”

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Photograph by Angela Greenlaw Photography

A family tree of the couples’ parents’, grandparents’, and great grandparents’ wedding photos was a great conversation piece. “Our wedding even made the tree that night,” Melissa says of a photo someone printed out of that very day.

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Photograph by Angela Greenlaw Photography

The couple did their formal pics at the ruins of White’s Factory in Acushnet, a structure that dates back to 1746. “It’s an old broken-down building they have kept from being town down because it’s become such a popular spot for pictures,” Melissa explains.


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Photograph by Angela Greenlaw Photography

The couple surprised guests when their “fur child” Gypsy, a now-three-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog, came bursting through the doors with them. “We would have had her as our ‘flower girl,’ but since we got married in a church, that wasn’t going to happen,” remembers the bride. “She hung around for a few minutes and greeted everyone. Everyone got a kick out of it!”


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Photograph by Angela Greenlaw Photography

Joshua’s mom is a well-known cake baker in New Bedford (Cakes by Kim). She created her favorite flavor: vanilla cake with homemade caramel filling. “It was to die for,” exclaimed the bride.

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Photograph by Angela Greenlaw Photography

Joshua’s great grandfather (a/k/a “Papa”) surprised the couple by playing “You Are My Sunshine” as his kids and grandchildren all joined him on the dance floor.

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Photograph by Angela Greenlaw Photography

In addition to the cake, the couple chose to honor their Portuguese background with traditional desserts and custards made by family members.

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Photograph by Angela Greenlaw Photography

The couple asked guests to place their fingerprints on a hand-painted tree created by Joshua’s mom. The painted tree is now hanging up in their home.

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Photograph by Angela Greenlaw Photography

The bride asked the photographer to capture a photo with her mom holding her own wedding day pic. “I also wore my grandmother’s (my mothers mom, who passed away) wedding band pinned inside my dress over my heart,” says Melissa.


Cake: Cakes by Kim, Kim DaCosta
Catering (Venue): Century House, Acushnet
Music: Lima Entertainment Group, Joe Lima
Gown: Julie’s Bridal Boutique, New Bedford – Maggie Sottero, designer
Florist: Stop & Shop, New Bedford
Groomswear: Main Street Formals, Acushnet
Hair: Luxx Beauty Bar, South Dartmouth
Ring: Hannoush Jewelers, Dartmouth – Mars, designer
Invitations: Made by the bride from kit from Michaels
Shoes: JC Penny


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