Joy Belding was an improv comedy show host at the Nickelodeon Hotel, and Melanie was her manager. “We obviously got to know each other very well as we worked five days a week together,” says Melanie, who was in a downhill straight marriage at the time. “Joy opened my eyes and allowed me to just be me and be open to the possibilities.”
Melanie, who is French-Canadian, instantly sparked Joy’s interest. She noticed that Melanie was becoming more and more flirty with her as their friendship progressed. “It was a no brainer. She already had my attention with her beauty and personality. She just made everyone’s day better,” says Joy. They went on a date and their relationship began.
Melanie loved Joy’s outgoing personality (important for a comedian) and how she always loved to make everyone laugh (also important). “She wore her heart on her sleeve and went out of her way to help anyone who needed it,” says Melanie. Besides Melanie’s adorable accent, Joy loved her big heart and her ability to stay organized in the face of chaos. “I’m all over the place, so it’s great to have someone who has it together,” she says of Melanie.
Joy wanted to be the one to propose, so she planned an elaborate proposal at the couple’s home. “We both wanted to get married,” says Melanie. “We wanted to take the next step.” Joy agrees; she loved Melanie right away and it didn’t take long for her to say it. “I absolutely wanted to take her hand and have her be by my side.” Joy proposed in a room filled with 15 dozen roses and candles, playing “I’ll Stand By You” by The Pretenders on the guitar as Melanie walked in the front door after work. Melanie said “yes.” Melanie wanted to return the gesture and proposed to Joy on her 30th birthday in Cocoa Beach, where they eventually tied the knot.
“Planning was not as stressful as we thought it would be. I think Joy’s mom was the one who was the most stressed!” says Melanie. The venue and DJ were the most important venue to the pair. “Everything went very smoothly,” says Joy. “We knew we wanted it to be at the beach and we made decisions easily.” The only stressor on their beach wedding day: potential chance of rain.
The couple got ready in separate rooms and Melanie’s heart started racing when she saw the chairs being set up on the beach and the steel drum performer arriving. “Joy looked drop-dead gorgeous in that white dress,” says Melanie. As same-sex marriage was not yet legal in Florida, the couple exchanged symbolic vows and rings in front of their families and friends. Joy’s favorite moment was when their daughter, Savannah, looked up at her and said, “You look so beautiful, Mommy!” Joy recalls, “I will never forget her smile in that moment. We felt like a complete family.”
Joy says, “I remember our first dance, with Melanie singing to me, and I just thought ‘I am so lucky she’s mine!”
CURRENT CITY OF RESIDENCE: Davenport, FL
ENGAGEMENT DATE: September 5, 2011
WEDDING DATE: September 16, 2012
VENUE: Hilton Hotel, Cocoa Beach
FLOWERS: A1A Florist
COLORS: Purple and lime green
WEDDING SONG and ARTIST: “Runaway” from The Corrs
DJ or BAND NAME: Rubin Ervin
CATERER: Hilton Hotel
ATTIRE VENDORS: David’s Bridal
CAKE BAKERY: Publix
CAKE FLAVORS: Vanilla with raspberry filling
PHOTOGRAPHER/VIDEOGRAPHER: Chad Clegg