Tall was good, tattoos sealed the deal


Hello there

Melissa had a profile on the OKCupid dating site for nearly three months by September 2010, and she had thoughts of canceling her membership. “I had a couple of first dates, and they were fun, but no one was what I was looking for,” she said.

Melissa at first discounted a message from Sean. It was just an electronic wink — a wordless message that indicates interest. From Melissa’s perspective, a guy should at least care enough to type a couple of introductory sentences.

But the fruitless effort of introducing himself to women, none of whom he’d wound up wanting to meet in person, had worn down Sean. Sean, who was working at the Advertising Specialty Institute and earning an advertising degree from Holy Family University, was sick of Internet dating. Yet he was drawn to Melissa’s dark hair and eyes and the amount of fun she seemed to be having in her pictures. He hoped his wink would convince her to look at his profile.

Luckily, on a second pass through her e-mails, Melissa’s curiosity got the best of her.

Sean’s interest in sports was promising. Then she saw his photos. “There was one of him showing off his tattoos, and that kind of stopped me dead in my tracks,” she said. Plus, Sean is 6 feet tall — plenty tall enough for 5-foot-7 Melissa to wear even the highest of her heels, she said.

She sent him a message: “Tall guy + tattoos = my weakness.” A flurry of e-mails and texts ensued.

Within days, Melissa, a Penn State business management and marketing grad who was then an associate manager at American Water Resources, met Sean at On the Border in Bensalem, where they both lived.

“The first thing I said to him was, ‘Who do you think is going to win the Super Bowl?’, and from there, the conversation didn’t stop for two or three hours,” Melissa, now 28, remembered. This, even though Sean is a huge Eagles fan and Melissa loves the Dallas Cowboys.

They talked about so many things that “it was like catching up with an old friend,” said Sean, 31.

Sean was soon ready for exclusivity. Melissa didn’t want to date anyone else, but resisted any boyfriend-girlfriend labels. A month later, she handed Sean a card at dinner. “If you’re ready, so am I,” it said.

Sean smiled.

Days later, on the way to a party, Sean said he needed to get something out of his trunk. He pulled into a parking lot and retrieved a card and flowers.

He gave Melissa the gifts, played “Your Guardian Angel” by Red Jumpsuit Apparatus on the stereo, and asked her to be his girlfriend. She said yes.

How does forever sound?

Sean graduated from Holy Family in May 2011. Melissa threw him a graduation party on Saturday, and they planned a Sunday dinner date at La Stalla in Newtown. All week, Sean said he couldn’t wait for that meal. But once his plate was in front of him, he hardly ate a thing. He didn’t talk much either, and he spilled red sauce on his shirt. “After 10 or 15 minutes, he asked them to pack it up for us,” Melissa said. “I was annoyed,” she said. “It was a beautiful day, and I had gotten all dressed up, and he just wants to go home?”

She was baffled when the man who barely touched dinner ordered dessert.

Then she saw a little black box sitting next to the tiramisu.

Sean’s two best friends were behind the waiter with a video camera.

Melissa couldn’t believe this was real. Sean had been telling her not to expect a proposal for awhile, because they’d been together less than a year.

“Are you really doing this now?” she asked.

He said he was. She said yes.

“Crisis averted — she said yes!” yelled a stranger at a nearby table. The restaurant burst into applause.

It was so them

Melissa, who is now a marketing manager at Crown Cork & Seal, and Sean, a sales manager at a Honda dealership, wanted a wedding day that focused on the ceremony.

They were married by Melissa’s uncle, an ordained nondenominational pastor. The couple asked three friends from church to sing an acoustic version of Dave Barnes’ “God Gave Me You.” And they said both traditional vows and ones they wrote for each other.

Melissa’s vows were playful, with a “how did we get here?” theme. “We were only dating seven months when we got engaged,” she said. “We have always been so surprised how fast our love for each other grew.”

In his vows, Sean thanked Melissa for helping him become a more positive, stronger person. “You were sent to me an angel,” he told her. “A damn tough one, but an angel nonetheless.”

At the reception for 140, Melissa gave Sean a groom’s cake that honored his favorite punk band, the Bouncing Souls. And the wedding band learned songs by the Bouncing Souls, too.

This was unexpected

Sean is Jewish, and the couple incorporated the traditional breaking of the glass into the ceremony. Sean stomped down hard, but instead of breaking, the glass shot out of its covering and a quarter of the way up the aisle. Everyone laughed. Sean fetched the glass for a second try. The pastor advised stomping with his heel, which did the trick.


Sean will always remember the first time he saw Melissa. “It was awesome,” he said. “She looked beautiful, and it was a culminating moment when things really felt real. We were getting married.”

When the couple was first engaged, Melissa’s friends advised them to take a moment during their wedding to look around at all their guests and take it all in. During the cocktail hour, Sean leaned over and whispered, “This is the moment your friends were talking about. Look at everybody having a good time.” Melissa said she suddenly felt calm, and eager to celebrate the rest of the night.

Discretionary spending

A bargain: Decorating tables with tea lights and candelabras they found online for less than $20 each cut the flower budget in half.

The splurge: A live band cost at least three times as much as a DJ.

The getaway

The couple, who live in Holland, Bucks County, spent St. Patrick’s Day weekend in Boston, where they saw the Dropkick Murphys play. Then they flew to Las Vegas for a week.


Rev. Gilbert (Jim) Rolon, nondenominational pastor and the bride’s uncle, Colmar, Pa.


Belle Voir Manor, Bensalem


Belle Voir Manor


Second Vision, Philadelphia


Artistic Imagery, Philadelphia


Sally’s Flowers, Philadelphia


White by Vera Wang from David’s Bridal, Plymouth Meeting