Bride: Melissa Elyce Beene, 29, Graduate Student, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Groom: Ryan A. Clinton, 29, Graduate Student, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government

Married On: 5/29/11

Wedding Location: Los Angeles

Wedding Style: Classic Elegance

Pen Pals
Love always finds a way to bring two soul mates together. Melissa and Ryan know this to be true. Fate brought them together long before they even knew what true love was. Back when they were fifth graders who attended rival schools, their teachers paired their two classes for a pen pal program and they were assigned to be each other’s buddies. Melissa wrote kind letters to Ryan, and he wrote her back, but as pre-teens often do, they forget all about it soon enough. Fast forward to high school. A mutual friend had a hunch they’d be perfect together and set them up on a date. “I found an old pen pal letter from Ryan just as we started dating senior year,” says Melissa. “We really are best friends and have been for a long time.” And just like that, the couple realized they were always meant to be.

You Bring Me Up
One summer, on a warm Sunday evening, Ryan asked Melissa, whom he’d now been with for seven years, to join him for a romantic stroll in the nearby woods of Mount Baldy. Just as they got to the point where they could see all of the lights from all of the surrounding towns, she noticed he was up to something. “We were talking and I saw him bend down on one knee,” says Melissa. “I thought he was tying his shoe, but then he took my hand, said some really beautiful words and asked me to marry him.” Ryan has always been a jokester, so at first, when she didn’t see a ring, she assumed he was only messing around with her. Not amused, she told him that wasn’t funny. He wasn’t laughing when he pulled the small ring box from his pocket. “I was shocked,” Melissa recalls. “I think I was shaking.” It took them two years to plan their dream wedding ceremony and when the big day finally came around it was every bit as spectacular as they’d hoped. Share their beautiful love story!

Photos: Kim Le Photography