A Classic, Vintage-Inspired Wedding at the Grant-Humphreys Mansion in Denver, Colorado

For their mid-summer wedding, Melissa Zyzda (22 and an elementary teacher) and Jonathan McCoy (25 and a healthcare consultant) wanted more than a venu

For their mid-summer wedding, Melissa Zyzda (22 and an elementary teacher) and Jonathan McCoy (25 and a healthcare consultant) wanted more than a venue and decor that exuded classic elegance, they wanted each detail to tell a story, not only of their own relationship, but of their families’ pasts as well.

The day started with a traditional Catholic ceremony at St. Thomas Aquinas in Boulder, Col. “My husband and I met in college at the University of Colorado Boulder, but not wander the Hill or on campus,” says Melissa. “We met at the local Catholic church, St. Thomas Aquinas. Although we don’t live in Boulder any longer, we couldn’t imagine not having our ceremony there.”

After exchanging vows, the newlyweds gathered their families and friends at the Grant-Humphreys Mansion in Denver for the reception. “It’s the epitome of classic beauty,” says Melissa. “The building itself is breathtaking with a terrace out back where we had cocktail hour and various rooms to host and serve guests.” Drawing on the mansion’s historic feel and beautiful natural setting, Melissa and Jonathan incorporated antique elements, including vases, books, globes and various trinkets belonging to their families into the centerpieces to infuse the space with personality and old world charm. “In every detail we hoped to build off the beauty of the past to make our future,” says Melissa.

Wanting their guests to mix, mingle and enjoy the summer evening as much as possible, the couple decided to skip the traditional sit-down dinner. They opted instead for a more interactive format, serving a selection of passed hors d’oeuvres during cocktail hour and offering stations later in the evening. Music from Frank Sinatra, Miles Davis and Ray Charles filled the air, lending the festivities a romantic, classic feel. Dancing was held on the mansion’s lower level, where Jonathan surprised everyone by DJing at the end of the evening. A tip for the taking from Melissa and Jonathan: “We wanted every decision we made, every decoration and every item we used to have a purpose. We wanted our wedding to be intentional and that is why we used so many articles of the past to tell our story on this day, from the lace on my shoes, to the groom's wedding ring, the center pieces and the cake. Our greatest advice to future couples; remember that you are creating a day and an experience for everyone else. If you are the one getting married, it will be one of the best days of your life regardless of the centerpieces you never actually see or the food you don't eat. We wanted our guests leaving joy-filled and to have seen us in every part of the day. Once you accept the reality that this day is, in part, to serve your guests, it becomes much easier to make certain decisions.”

Wanting beautiful invitations that wouldn’t blow their budget, Melissa and Jonathan decided to shop around on Etsy for unique printable designs. “We had the shop make it to our specifications, then we purchased bulk cream invitations and envelopes and printed them all ourselves one afternoon,” says Melissa. The bride-to-be then addressed each invitation by hand herself.
When it came to her bridesmaids’ wedding day attire, Melissa wanted the girls to feel like themselves. After selected three different dress styles and a rich shade of berry, she allowed the girls to choose their own dress, which they then paired with their own jewelry and nude pumps.
Early on in their engagement, Melissa made an appointment at the Emma and Grace Bridal boutique. With a time slot of only 45 minutes and with it being her very first dress shopping trip, Melissa didn’t expect to find “the one.” But that’s exactly what happened. “I honestly had no idea what I wanted walking in,” says Melissa. “By the end of my 45 minutes, I had tried on more than 15 dresses, but the dress I chose was the very first I tried on.” The dress’s elegant simplicity, romantic lace, delicate straps and striking low-cut back won her over instantly. She completed the look with gold heels accented with lace from her mother’s wedding veil, gold pearl earrings and a bracelet that had belonged to her grandmother and great-grandmother.
Long before Jonathan popped the question, Melissa came across a flower arrangement on a magazine cover that she knew she just had to have on her wedding day. “Once we were engaged I met with our florist and brought the magazine. I told her that was what I wanted, and I trusted whatever decision she made,” says Melissa. A Florae brought her vision to life with a striking bouquet overflowing with garden roses, dahlias, coxcomb, lisianthuses, delphiniums and vines in cheerful shades of red, peach, pink and green.
Every decision and detail was purposefully made, including the wedding cake. The cake itself is one that one of Melissa’s bridesmaids often makes for special occasions and it only seemed fitting that the couple would include it as part of their own. The three-tiered confection featured ivory buttercream frosting and clusters of vibrant red and pink flowers.
The flowers were a key element in bringing and element of vibrancy to the historic halls of the Grant-Humphrey Mansion. Bouquets of peach, pink, yellow and berry red blooms displayed in vintage vases and brilliant blue Mason jars dotted the reception tables and offered a colorful, summery backdrop for the couple’s unique collection of antiques.
Melissa and Jonathan wanted their decor to do more than dress up the halls of the Grant-Humphreys Mansion, they wanted each element to tell a unique story about their families’ histories. The pair collected antique and vintage details from their family members, including books, cameras, vases, medicine bottles and more to inject personality into each and every one of the centerpieces. “In every detail we hoped to build off the beauty of the past to make our future,” says Melissa.
Though sparklers were off-limits at their venue, Melissa and Jonathan’s send off was just as lively, with guests triumphantly waving colorful glow sticks as the couple made their exit from the historic mansion.
Wanting to create a laid-back environment in which could maximize their time together, Melissa and Jonathan decided to skip the traditional sit-down dinner. Instead the pair opted for an interactive format, complete with passed appetizers during cocktail hour and a series of food stations served later on in the evening.
The day’s festivities kicked off with a traditional Catholic ceremony at St. Thomas Aquinas in Boulder, Col. “My husband and I met in college at the University of Colorado Boulder, but not wander the Hill or on campus,” says Melissa. “We met at the local Catholic church, St. Thomas Aquinas. Although we don’t live in Boulder any longer, we couldn’t imagine not having our ceremony there.”
St. Thomas Aquinas’s choir conductor, Mark Thomas, helped put a personalized twist on Melissa and Jonathan’s ceremony by including songs he composed himself throughout the proceedings. “I processed down the aisle to an instrumental version of Ave Marie,” says Melissa. “We had a full choir with piano, violin, cello and organ. We received more comments on the beauty of the music than almost anything else!”