Melody Kulesza and her husband Dan Pepper will be spending their first Valentine’s Day together as a married couple since tying the knot in front of millions of viewers at the 2014 Grammy Awards. Kulesza and Pepper were one of 34 couples who said their “I Do’s” to the tune of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Same Love,” in an epic performance that featured Mary Lambert, Queen Latifah, and Madonna.
Rock On Philly got the chance to talk to Melody about the experience in an exclusive interview- just in time for Valentine’s Day! We even have some behind- the- scenes video content as well. If you believe in love, music, and magic moments, please read on.
ROP: So you got married at the Grammys! So unbelievably cool. How did this all come about?
Melody: It was SO cool. I still can’t believe that my fiancé Dan Pepper and I were actually there and got married in front of millions of people. Like most things in my life, it all came about in a completely roundabout way. I was searching for PR opportunities for a client of mine, and came across a Facebook post from an acquaintance who runs a casting agency. The post was seeking engaged couples who wanted to get married as part of a live television event. We responded to it, and of course, since our plan was to only have a small, intimate wedding we got selected.
ROP: What was your favorite part?
Melody: My favorite part of the entire experience was seeing my fiancé’s expression the moment after Queen Latifah pronounced us “a married couple” – everything else fell away. My second favorite part was shaking hands with and receiving wedding well wishes from a tear-streaked Paul McCartney moments after the ceremony.
ROP: Excuse me for one moment. I need a geek- out moment. (Paul McCartney???!!!! Ahhh!!) Ok, I’m back. So I heard Queen Latifah actually signed your marriage certificate. Is this true?
Melody: Queen Latifah was incredibly gracious about the whole marriage endeavor. After the ceremony, she surprised us by coming backstage to our tent to sign everyone’s marriage licenses and joined all of the couples for a group picture. Here’s some backstage footage I caught with my phone:
ROP: How did your friends react? Was it hard to keep this a secret?
Melody: Our friends and family reacted to the news with an amazing and incredibly touching outpouring of love and kindness. Ironically though, most seemed more surprised that I actually settled down enough to get married than they were by the fact that my wedding took place at the Grammys. That said, of course my mom complained that “the videographer should have focused more camera time on your faces…” reason being that the camera was actually aimed at our backs as we passed by Katy Perry catching the bouquet…so of course there is now a gif of my tush immortalized on the internet.
We did have to keep our pending wedding story a secret up until the day of the broadcast because of a strict confidentiality agreement that was in place- the best we could do was to tell people to watch the Grammys because they might see some people they know. Talk about a torture test! But receiving such a warm response from our loved ones afterwards made it all more than worth it.
ROP: Did you get to go to the Grammy After party? Did you meet Madonna + Macklemore/Ryan? What was it like?
Melody: We were fortunate enough to attend the roaring 20’s themed official Grammy after party where acrobats, dancers and elaborate projections abounded while Ciara and Boyz II Men performed and DJ Michelle Pesce spun between the sets. We accidently crossed paths with Ryan Lewis in his SUV on our way over to the convention center and he gave us a nice shout out. We didn’t run into the elusive Madge, but then again we weren’t exactly looking for her since I remembered from my days working in music management that few celebrities attend the official Grammy after party, favoring instead more private gatherings like those thrown by Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group. Regardless, we had a great time celebrating our nuptials and even received a nifty Grammys tote bag with lots of tasty chewing gum fit for big-time high rollers like ourselves.
ROP: Very cool! So let’s backtrack a bit. Tell us a little bit about yourself when you’re not getting married at the Grammys!
Melody: Well I was born in California but spent most of my formative years in New Jersey. When I went to college, I initially had my sights set on becoming a psychiatrist but then switched to the study of philosophy and on whim, photography. I discovered that I had quite the love for it and soon found myself covering NY, LA, and Miami Fashion Week as a photographer.
Post- undergrad, I went to Temple Law School at night while still pursuing photography. While there, I was fortunate enough to mentor under Professor Lloyd Zane Remick, Temple’s highly-acclaimed professor of entertainment law, reviewing and drafting international music licensing and publishing contracts, literary publication proposals, celebrity endorsement deals, manuscripts, screenplays and television treatments.
Post- law school, I had planned to start my new chapter in NYC but before I decided to up and leave, brilliant attorney (an old Myspace friend) Dan Pepper contacted me, and asked me if I was interested in joining his firm, Pepper Law Group. Dan’s practice involved technology, Internet, and entertainment law, and was a perfect fit for my background and experience. I drove up to Central Jersey for an interview, and a few months later I joined the firm.
ROP: So if I follow correctly, you’ve known Dan for a long time then! How did you meet your hubby?
Melody: Strangely enough, our first meeting was a virtual one and it took place on the wonderfully kitsch original intersection point between music, visual imagery and technology otherwise known as MYSPACE after I had determined that we should combine forces professionally on account of being the only two people on the site to list: intellectual property law, high technology and progressive rock music as their key interests. Although years would pass before we would even meet in person, I knew that my fate was sealed the day that Dan updated his status to say “come to the dark side…we have donuts!”
ROP: That is such a sweet story! (donuts aside) Maybe there’s hope for me on OkCupid after all. So tell us, Melody, what’s next for you post- Grammys?
Melody: Well, when the great news came that we were selected to be part of the Grammy wedding, suddenly, even though I’m no stranger to red carpet events, I had to convert myself into a Hollywood bride for an event 3,000 miles away. I was fortunate enough to have clients and colleagues, past and present, who were able to help me do that. The success of bringing various fashion gurus together for my Grammy wedding sparked the idea of creating a standing beauty ‘swat team’ to help other brides and grooms, brides and brides, and/or grooms and grooms to create the wedding look of their dreams. So now I’ll be expanding Pepper Tree Entertainment to include a bride/groom image consulting and preparation service which will provide couples seeking a truly special wedding experience with their own dream team.
For more on Melody Kulesza and Pepper Tree Entertainment, visit: http://peppertreetalent.com/
For more on Melody and Dan’s Law Firm, visit: www.informationlaw.com
For more on Melody and Dan’s amazing Grammy Wedding experience, click here.