It was 2013. Freshman Dan Levin found himself in the laundry room at Tulane University in New Orleans facing a dilemma: He did not know how to do laundry.
Thankfully, a fellow student was doing her laundry as well – Mel Ash (now Levin) took pity on Dan and helped him sort his clothes, despite a sneaking (and lasting) suspicion that his “ignorance” was really a ploy to talk to her.
To this day, Dan insisted, “It wasn’t a line! I wasn’t purposely hitting on her.”
Regardless, it still took a bit longer for the couple to officially start dating – which they did during their junior year. They moved in together after college, gradually shifting to bigger apartments in Everett until finally buying a house together in Plymouth just over a year and a half ago. Their two dogs, Arya and Lola, went through the moves with them.
“I swear, we bought the house for them,” Mel said of the dogs, citing the backyard space. She currently works as a recruiting director at Randstad, and Dan is an art broker and consultant, though he is also studying to be a personal trainer.
The couple got engaged in the summer of 2021, at Mel’s parents’ house in Indianapolis, where she grew up. Dan, who grew up in Marblehead, went to great lengths to ensure that Mel would be surprised on the big day. Despite frequent hints that she was ready to get married, Dan – who had a ring designed for her by a friend months before the proposal – held his tongue.
“It took everything I had every time to not say, ‘The ring is in the closet!’” he said. “It is really one of the prouder moments for me, that I was able to get everything done, and she was genuinely surprised, had no idea that it was happening.”
After a day out with her mother, Mel came back to her childhood home to find a path of flowers leading to the backyard, where Dan waited with the question of a lifetime, an archway of flowers, and the ring. She said yes.
The couple opted for a long engagement, taking the past couple of years to plan, spend time with those in the wedding party, and continue bringing their two families together.
Immediately following the engagement, a group of friends came to spend the weekend with them in Indianapolis to celebrate (another part of Dan’s proposal surprise). That November, they held a more formal engagement party at the Institute of Contemporary Art in the Seaport. There was a bachelor party in Mexico, a bachelorette bash in the Bahamas, and a family week on the Cape for folks to get to know each other. By the time July 2023 rolled around, Mel and Dan’s sides of the family and friends were well acquainted.
The wedding took place on July 22 at Wychmere Beach Club in Harwich Port on the Cape. A rehearsal dinner/welcome party took place the night before at the Pelham House Resort in Dennis Port.
On the day of the wedding, there were 180 people in attendance. The bride wore a timeless white dress by Lela Rose, and the bridesmaids wore baby blue. The groom wore a black suit with a black tie; his groomsmen, also in black suits, had blue ties that matched the bridesmaids.
Per Dan’s request, the ceremony took place on the beach, and, in honoring Dan’s Jewish heritage, they were married beneath a chuppah, and he stepped on a glass at the conclusion of the ceremony. Mel’s older brother and Dan’s sister both spoke at the ceremony.
“A marriage is joining two families,” said Mel. “To have representation from both sides just meant a lot for us.”
Dan’s father’s cousin (who Dan calls his uncle) officiated the ceremony. “It was amazing to be able to be up there with Mel and see her walk down the aisle; to be able to look out and see everyone that we know and love watching it,” said Dan. “It was exactly what I wanted.”
At the reception, a band played to lively dancing and cheer, followed by an unstoppable evening buoyed by an afterparty in downtown Harwich. “It just felt like an extended beach weekend where we could all celebrate together,” said Mel.
The couple is planning a honeymoon to Italy as a one-year anniversary trip. Despite the whirlwind of their wedding adventures, their life together has remained solid – the most notable difference from when they first met is that now, Dan now does all the laundry (“the student has become the master!” said Mel).
“We’ve been together a while, and everything has felt like it’s meant to happen in that order,” said Mel. “It’s been very easy for us for a long time, which I hope is how it’s supposed to be. It’s all been good.” Θ