On the weekend of their seventh anniversary, Thomas Jackson surprised girlfriend Melissa McLaney with a wedding proposal that rivals most silver-screen romances. Atop the couple's Central Park West apartment building, with two dozen red roses, candles and twinkling Christmas lights, Melissa and Tom got engaged against the backdrop of the New York City skyline. "I remember thinking, Oh my gosh, this is the moment. Remember all of it!" Melissa says. "Instead, all I remember is being so excited and thinking how surreal it all was."
The admittedly shy couple met as co-eds at the University of North Carolina. After graduate school, Tom and Melissa moved to NYC when he was hired as a multimedia producer with The New York Times. Melissa began working with the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and also teaches high school journalism workshops in the city.
The two wanted a classic yet modern wedding back home in North Carolina, with overtones of NYC. In planning her long-distance wedding, the bride relied heavily on the Internet and her mom. "My mom was a huge help and never tired of wedding research," Melissa says. "I'd find places online and she would go in person to check them out."
While interviewing a potential DJ, Melissa learned of Cheyenne Schultz Photography. "We sent our deposit before even meeting them," Melissa exclaims. "Cheyenne and Geoff have such an eye for candid moments and unique camera angles. We also wanted a team, so while we were getting ready, one could be with each of us."
The bride selected a black and white pallette with splashes of color to blend the modern and classic theme. At a friend's suggestion, Melissa chose The Place for Flowers. "I wanted pink calla lilies and orchids as the focus," Melissa says. "I gave artistic license for the rest, and they made the arrangements work while staying within our budget."
To conquer the four-tier black and white cake design, the couple set the challenge before Gail at Cheesecake Etc. "She was this wonderful, comforting mother figure, and I was confident in her ability to pull it off," Melissa explains. "Plus, they have the best buttercream frosting!"
Melissa went to Poffie Girls to find her hand-beaded sweetheart neckline Enzoani gown. "I did not think it was the dress for me," Melissa says. "I'm a simple person and it seemed too fancy for me, but then I thought, Of all days, I should be fancy on my wedding day."
The couple said 'I do' at Trinity Presbyterian Church of Charlotte, the same church where Melissa's parents were married. The Schultzes snapped a photo of Melissa and Tom exiting the church to match a photo taken of the bride's parents on their wedding day. "My mom now has both pictures framed side-by-side," Melissa says.
After the nuptials, everyone partied at Roof with a View for the reception. Black-and-white photos of NYC street signs were used as table markers, and candies adorned with the NYC skyline were given as favors. Guests munched on a variety of meats and cheeses during cocktail hour and enjoyed London Broil, broccoli with hollandaise and rice pilaf all from Best Impressions Caterers. The Jacksons danced their first song as man and wife to Nora Jones' sultry ballad, "Come Away with Me," and kept things festive with songs like Adam Sandler's, "Grow Old with You" and the old-timey classic, "New York, New York" to end the evening.
"Everything went perfectly," Melissa remembers. "Tom and I couldn't quit smiling and had this feeling of total happiness all day. It was simply perfect."
Best Impressions Caterers
The Place for Flowers
The Schultzes (formerly Cheyenne Schultz Photography)
Videography & DJ Services
The Michael Catlow Group