An Elegant, Rustic-Chic Wedding at Rhinegeist Brewery in Cincinnati, Ohio

Melissa Pinguely (27 and invitation designer) and Alex Havlin (29 and a lawyer) met through a common friend and hit it off immediately. After dating,

Melissa Pinguely (27 and invitation designer) and Alex Havlin (29 and a lawyer) met through a common friend and hit it off immediately. After dating, Alex proposed with a ring, designed by Melissa, using diamonds passed down from Melissa’s grandmother. “I know my grandparents would have loved it,” Melissa says. Less than a week after they got engaged, the couple toured Rhinegeist Brewery’s event space in Cincinnati, Ohio, and decided it would be the perfect place to host their ceremony and reception. When planning their wedding, they envisioned a combination of styles—rustic and modern glam, trendy and classic, old and new—and used shades of gray, white, tan, gold and sage to achieve this vision. “I love all things neutral and knew that if I made myself choose a color, I would regret it before the day was even here,” Melissa says. An invitation designer by trade, she spent many hours creating the perfect bridal suite using gold foil, florals and silk ribbon. Details included a wooden ceremony trellis made by Alex, vintage wooden box centerpieces from Alex’s grandfather’s workshop (with a note reading  “These boxes held tools and parts that Joe used to help anyone who needed it and, by extension, teach us how to live. In memory of Grandpa Joe and all those we miss tonight”) and carefully selected ceremony music (from Louis Armstrong to Death Cab for Cutie, played by a classic guitarist). During the reception, guests enjoyed plated meals of braised beef short ribs, rosemary-garlic herb chicken or vegetarian lasagna with a Cape Cod salad and homemade corn bread along with a variety of good craft beer before dancing the night away. There were no favors—instead the couple donated to a local hospice—and the dessert was a doughnut bar rather than a traditional cake. Melissa has some advice for other couples: This is your day—it’s okay to think outside the box and do what works for the two of you. “Your love and relationship is unique, so your wedding should be too.” —Chrissy Sorenson

After Melissa’s grandparents died, her parents found her grandmother’s engagement ring. Her dad generously offered the ring—and her grandmother’s diamond watch—to Alex. Melissa and Alex discussed designs and met with a jeweler, and then Melissa drew a rough sketch. Alex and the jeweler worked together to bring Melissa’s vision to life. “My ring is exactly what I had in mind when I drew it,” she says. “I know my grandparents would have loved it.”
Since Melissa is an invitation designer, the stationery was the most exciting part of the planning process. “Creating wedding suites for brides across the country on a daily basis made it very difficult to make any decisions for my own stationery,” she says. She knew gold foil and florals were a must, and from there. She tried to keep it classic and fresh while thinking “that this was a great opportunity to show my loved ones what I do every day.”
When Melissa walked out of the fitting room with her dress on and looked at her mom, they both knew this dress was different. “It just felt like me,” she says. With a flowing tulle skirt, a beaded bodice, and a deep V neck, “it was the perfect combination of boho and glamour,” she says. She didn’t want a flashy veil to compete with her gown, so she chose a simple floor-length tulle veil to “feel like a bride.”
Melissa wore gold heels for the ceremony, then changed into comfortable gold glitter Toms for the reception at Rhinegeist Brewery in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The bridesmaids got ready together, enjoying drinks in custom "bridesmaid" wineglasses, complete with swizzle straws (to avoid spilling on their dresses or messing up their lipstick).
With eight bridesmaids in the wedding party, each with their own style, Melissa wanted them to feel as beautiful and comfortable as she felt. “Picking their own dresses was a must,” she says. She scheduled individual visits to the bridal salon with each bridesmaid (eight trips total) so they could choose their dresses. After everyone had selected a style, Melissa chose the color for each gown based on the designer’s options. “It may have been a little more complicated than it should have been, but I am so happy with how they came together.”
Melissa’s white bouquet consisted of garden roses, baby’s breath, gardenias (Alex’s one floral request, based on a song he loves) and hydrangeas. Succulents and eucalyptus added texture. The bouquets were tied with dupioni silk ribbon; Melissa’s bouquet also included lace from her mom’s wedding veil.
The flower girl's accessories included gold glitter ballet flats and a crown of roses in her hair.
Alex wore a gray Calvin Klein suit with a solid gray tie (the groomsmen wore tan and white polka-dot ties). Melissa surprised Alex with a pocket square made with a piece of his grandfather’s blue bandana.
The ring bearers wore gray chinos, white button-downs, gray and white polka-dot suspenders and bow tie, and cognac leather Toms.
Big fans of Rhinegeist Brewery’s craft beer and grassroots success and the industrial-rustic aesthetic, “it was pretty much a no-brainer,” Melissa says of their decision to host their ceremony and reception at Cincinnati, Ohio, venue. (Her mom wanted her to check out other venues “just to be sure,” but there was no need. Melissa and Alex knew, without a doubt, that this was their spot.)
Rhinegeist Brewery in Cincinnati, Ohio, had an event space that could accommodate Melissa and Alex's 250 guests for the ceremony and reception.
Alex created a trellis to serve as the backdrop during the ceremony, decorated in baby’s breath and greenery. Each side had an X that reflected the logo used on the stationery and decor.
Each centerpiece was different, but all of wood, gold, white and mercury glass. There were three styles of centerpieces: a lantern, a large vase and a vintage box.
Melissa and Alex served doughnuts instead of a traditional wedding cake.