Love was in the air at Federal Hill’s Little Havana when the owner of the popular waterfront restaurant and bar, Chris Whisted, met his soon-to-be wife, Melissa Lembo. They immediately hit it off. Although Whisted knew after their first date at Corvino (then-called Junior’s) that Lembo was “the one,” he waited a year to pop the question. He took the opportunity to propose on a rainy day just outside of Fenway Park during a trip to Lembo’s Boston College reunion. With the damp ring glistening on her finger, she said, “Yes.”

When planning their wedding, there was no Bridezilla in sight, as Lembo “refused to conform to the wedding madness,” she says. Her goal during the six-week engagement was to remain focused on spending the rest of her life with Whisted. “The planning process was very simple. We’d have it no other way,” says Lembo.

On July 17, 2009, the couple’s immediate families gathered at Holy Cross Church in Baltimore for a Catholic Mass and intimate ceremony with Lembo’s cousin Father Frank Tumino and family friend, Father Vito Buonano as the priests. The wedding party, consisting of the couple’s nieces, bride’s nephew and groom’s brother, stood at the altar with Whisted, as both of the bride’s parents escorted Lembo down the aisle.

With Whisted in a pale pink sport coat and bow tie and Lembo in a simple, elegant Nicole Miller gown, they recited their vows and listened to Father Tumino’s personal homily about a couple who was “patient to wait for the perfect person.” Says Lembo, “The best part of the ceremony was that it was intimate and we were surrounded by the people who are our support system in our lives. It really made it special that it wasn’t a big show.”

With a small ceremony and a big party, they had the best of both worlds. The next day, more than 150 guests celebrated on Little Havana’s sunny deck for an island-themed cocktail party. When guests arrived, they were greeted with a celebratory mojito, then mingled and enjoyed live music performed by two of the newlyweds’ close friends. Other drink offerings included a homemade Limoncello made by the groom himself, as well as a raw bar, an assortment of made-to-order sandwiches and dessert and fruit from Vaccaro’s Italian bakery.

During the four-hour reception, a handful of guests and friends took turns toasting the happy couple. “The atmosphere at our party at Little Havana was unique, and it’s still providing us with stories from our guests about what a good time they had,” says Whisted.

Locations Holy Cross Church, 108 E. West St., 410-752-8498; Little Havana, 410-837-9903,
Photography The Annapolis Photographer, 410-224-0088,
Flowers Earl F. Jackson Flowers, Cross Street Market, 410-539-7077 
Gown Nicole Miller, Nordstrom, Annapolis, 410-573-1121

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