It was Melissa’s daughter Brooklyn’s first day of kindergarten, and as her mother was full of the kinds of nerves and feelings one would expect a mom to have on their child’s first day of school. “I can’t tell you how many times I thought about grabbing my tiny redhead and running in the opposite direction and never letting her go again!” Brooklyn had to go through an intake process in which her classroom and teacher was decided upon. When the office directed them to Mr. Sowah’s class, Melissa begged for more details. “I immediately said, ‘Who’s Mr. Showah? Is he good?’ As if they would’ve told me if he wasn’t.” While her impulse was to turn around with Brooklyn and never come back, Melissa dutifully took her daughter to Mr. Sowah’s classroom. “Despite all that was happening and all the emotions of that moment I noticed him immediately ‘in that way’.” Considering Tony was Brooklyn’s daughter, he and Melissa took things slow. Fast-forward some time later, and “Brooklyn’s last name, as well as mine, is now Showah,” says Melissa. “I don’t think it gets more memorable than that!” Guess you could say Melissa and Tony’s story is one for the books.
Photography by Virginie Carolina
What were your first impressions of each other when you met?
Melissa: We actually both thought of each other as dedicated and thoughtful. He thought I was a very attentive mother and I thought the same about him as a teacher. I also immediately noticed him physically. He has the dreamiest blue eyes that you just get drawn into and forget about everything around you. When he smiles there’s something about his teeth – I know, that sounds ridiculous but it’s just one of those things.
What aspect of your day was most important to you when planning your wedding?
Melissa: Food! I’m Italian and food is everything! I also love NYC and I wanted my guests to have a really amazing New York experience with my wedding. Having been a concierge for over ten years, I thought primarily of my guests and what they would love. I’m not at all comfortable with being the center of attention, so the only way for me to try and forget that element was to focus on my guests in the planning process.
What were the personalized components of your day?
Melissa: The entire day was peppered with our own personal sentiments. The vows were incredibly written: funny, heartwarming and included a huge focus on Brooklyn who is basically responsible for our meeting. They also included some lyrics to Stevie Wonder’s “For Once In My Life,” which was fun. We had a classical guitarist play “Here Comes The Sun” by the Beatles when Brooklyn walked down the aisle, and Foo Fighters’ acoustic version of “Everlong” when Tony walked down the aisle since they are his favorite band. Our guestbook was a drawing Tony rendered (he was previously an artist) of the house from the movie Up – which Brooklyn loves – and people had to impress their fingerprint as a balloon holding up the house within which they signed their name. Our cake also had a personal story. The first time Tony expressed his feelings to me, we were at Miss Mamie’s on 110th Street. I discovered their amazing red velvet cake that night and decided we needed a giant version of it as our wedding cake.
The vows were incredibly written: funny, heartwarming and included a huge focus on Brooklyn who is basically responsible for our meeting.
His presence even made me forget that everyone was looking at us.
Did you plan your wedding around a specific theme?
Melissa: I don’t care for themes, but if there were any that naturally surfaced they were our love for each other, our love and appreciation for Brooklyn, and our love of NYC.
Did you learn anything about yourselves or each other or your relationship throughout the planning process?
Melissa: We had a very small wedding, but no matter how simple you strive to keep things, planning a wedding is stressful. There were family planning meetings and sometimes everyone wasn’t on the same page. I think getting the guest list where you want it to be is tough. Your parents have a lot of say and in the end I had to make some guest list sacrifices which were difficult. Tony just supported me through it all which helped a lot.
Looking back on your day, what was your most memorable moment?
Melissa: Not to take anything away from the exchanging of vows, but the parts that stick out the most today were the temporary loss of the wedding bands. They were left behind in the car that drove me to the ceremony. After running back to the car twice, my maid-of-honor found them right before we were ready to exchange vows. As I mentioned before, it was awesome for me because the focus of my guests was on this cliffhanger of whether the rings would be found in time – rather than on me – and I was just able to focus on the moment.
Another moment that stands out was after we had our photos taken in the south garden when we were supposed to be picked up by our car. We waited and waited, but the car had forgotten about us, so we had to hail a cab to our reception! Fortunately, this made for amazing photos of me hailing a cab in my wedding dress, having a very enthusiastic and sweet driver and some fun kisses in the back seat. It turned into a very NYC moment, which ended up being perfect. I certainly didn’t mind.
It turned into a very NYC moment, which ended up being perfect. I certainly didn’t mind.
Did anything surprise you?
Melissa: How incredibly nervous I was driving to the ceremony and walking through the park to the Pergola where we exchanged vows. Once I saw him I was fine, but the lead-up to that moment was overwhelming! His presence even made me forget that everyone was looking at us.
Tony: How chaotic the park was before our ceremony. We had been told that there would be a parks person on site to manage the events happening before and after ours but that didn’t happen. I had to kick out a bride and groom who were still in the pergola roaming around when it was our time to be in the space.
What memory of each other on your wedding day stands out the most in your mind?
Melissa: How insanely handsome he looked and how much I felt in his arms – the same way you feel when you’re wearing sweats on a couch at home on a rainy day holding a hot cup of tea.
Tony: How calm and poised Melissa was throughout the entire ceremony, even during the ring debacle. She was holding a special embroidered handkerchief for stray tears but never needed it.
I don’t care for themes, but if there were any that naturally surfaced they were our love for each other, our love and appreciation for Brooklyn, and our love of NYC.