“My favorite thing about Candace is she has a beautiful heart,” Melissa says. “She has so much love in her, and not just for me but for everybody—and it just shines.”
Candace Salemi, who is a senior higher education specialist, and Melissa Crispo, who is a musician/songwriter and paramedic, hung out in the same circle of friends for 15 years. Candace came to see Melissa perform regularly, but they only ever considered themselves acquaintances.
One day when they were both single, they started to hang and became friends. At that time, they were looking to find love and wanted to find someone they could share a serious relationship with.
Melissa says one day she finally realized that when she went down the list of qualities she wanted in a woman, Candace possessed them all and vice versa for Candace—so they started dating.
“The best part about it was when we started hanging out, I was in my raw form, because I only looked at her as my friend and somebody to hang out with,” Melissa says. “I was so honest and never had to put on a front or put on a show or try to get her to impress me. I was just rawly myself, which I think was the best thing about it.”
They officially got together in January 2014, and by July 4, 2014, Melissa proposed to her. She even asked Candace’s dad, which she thought was very sweet.
They had a get together at Santiago’s Bodega for Fourth of July, and Candace didn’t think too much about it at first. She said, as the night went by, more friends started to show up. Melissa went outside to her car to get “something,” but she really went to get the ring. When she came back, she got down on one knee in front of all their close friends and asked Candace to marry her.
“She said a lot of really great things, and she told me that she had called my father,” Candace says. “My father is my best friend and most important person in my life, so of course that made me cry.”
Both women were excited as the wedding day approached, and Melissa admits to being nervous on the wedding day. But she was positive about one thing: It wasn’t because of whom she was marrying.
“It’s so funny,” Melissa recalls,“I get up in front of people all the time and sing and play music, but walking down the aisle and having everyone stare at you with your dress on, I was more nervous about tripping down the aisle than anything.”
The couple spent their honeymoon on an eight-day cruise.
“I’m just happy I get to spend the rest of my life with my best friend,” Melissa says.
YEARS TOGETHER: More than 2 years
ENGAGEMENT DATE: July 2, 2014
WEDDING DATE: January 31, 2016
WEDDING VENUE: Winter Park Farmers Market
WEDDING PLANNER: Jessica Robinson of My Favorite Things Inc.
WEDDING CATERER: Cocktails, catering and a dessert buffet by A Sweet Little Bakery in Oviedo, Florida
WEDDING THEME/COLORS: Their wedding colors were yellow, tan and black with lots of sunflowers for decoration.
FIRST SONG: Phillip Bonnano, a musician and good friend of the couple, played and sang “Stand By Me”.
INTERESTING FACT: Two weeks prior to the wedding, Candace thought Melissa was traveling to St. Louis to see her best friend and have a bachelorette party, but Melissa was actually there for three days recording a new song for her upcoming album—a song written about and for Candace. It was played as a surprise during the ceremony and part of Melissa’s vows. Meanwhile, Melissa was completely surprised when Candace presented her with a portable piano to perform with at her live shows.