About a year ago, Melissa McNeeley got a call from two women who were getting married and wanted her to help plan their wedding.
The couple (who preferred to remain anonymous) said, “I do” on Saturday, June 17. I spent the eight hours leading up to the ceremony shadowing McNeeley as she orchestrated the setup and dealt with last-minute crises. McNeeley stayed for more than 13 hours, and didn’t head home until about 10:45 p.m. — which is typical for her on a wedding day.
The 150-person wedding took place at Dobbin St, a hip event space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Ultimately, the whole affair cost upwards of $ 100,000.
Though I’d been to a bunch of weddings, I didn’t realize just how many moving pieces are involved in the preparation. Throughout the day, McNeeley and her assistants directed florists, catering staff, and a furniture-rental crew until everything looked absolutely perfect.
I couldn’t believe how calm McNeeley stayed the whole time — even when the ceiling started leaking. I asked her how she managed it, and she told me: “I’ve done this a million times.”
This is Melissa McNeeley. She’s been in the wedding-planning business for a decade, and she’s worked on some high-profile weddings for people including actors Steve Martin and Jim Parsons.
On the day of her most recent event, I met McNeeley at Dobbin St just before 9:30 a.m. She greeted me with a big hug.
McNeeley and I walked inside and saw the empty reception room. It was the calm before the storm.