An Elegant, Industrial Wedding at Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation in Waltham, Massachusetts

Desta Lissanu (24 and a medical student) and Benjamin Likis (25 and a graduate student) planned a rustic-chic fete for their midwinter wedding at Charles River Museum in Waltham, Massachusetts. With its warm exposed brick and lofty ceilings, the historic space set a cozy, inviting tone for the affair, which was only heightened by a palette of olive, champagne and merlot. The day unfolded with a ceremony officiated by the couple’s college choir director, in which Desta and Benjamin exchanged vows under a rustic wooden arbor draped in eucalyptus, white flowers and cascading vines. “He is so laid-back and fun and just really gets us,” Desta says. “He helped us incorporate our Christian faith into the wedding in a way that felt authentic to us and respectful to those in attendance who don’t share our faith.” Since met through choir during college, music featured prominently throughout the day. During the ceremony, Benjamin surprised Desta by serenading her with Leon Bridges’s “Coming Home,” accompanied by close friends who sang backup and played the guitar and saxophone. The couple’s officiant also led guests in one of Desta and Benjamin’s favorite choir songs. After the “I dos,” the festivities kicked into high gear with a cocktail hour followed by a sit-down dinner featuring a menu of mouthwatering seasonal eats. Before digging in, the choir performed a benediction to bless the dinner. “I wish we could have sung even more,” Desta says. A full-on dance party followed, thanks to the couple's carefully curated playlist. “Our friends are incredible dancers, so it didn’t take much to get them on the dance floor,” Desta says. A tip from Desta and Benjamin: “We did our best to honor our families when possible, but there were times we needed to trust our instincts and do what was most comfortable for us. Also, cut 10 percent and breathe. We decided not to do favors a few days before the wedding--it was so liberating, and no one even noticed. Doing this at different stages during the planning process will help keep you sane and balanced.” —Libby MacCarthy