The gown was intercepted by airport security. The bride took a tumble. The cake caught fire. But these snafus simply "brought more character" to what Melanie Daniel says "was truly a fairytale wedding."
Melanie introduced herself to London-born DJ, Desyn Masiello, following his September 2004 performance at Montreal's The Bell Centre. "All the girls had the hots for him; I was more attracted to his music," she insists. Desyn, who was playing three or four countries weekly, says: "This was the start of a year-long chase around the world."
“THIS WAS THE START OF A YEAR-LONG CHASE AROUND THE WORLD.” - DESYN MASIELLO
Free to travel after completing her fine arts degree, Melanie joined Desyn. "Mel and I got to know each other as best friends," he says. "My job is quite strenuous and very competitive. Melanie's quite patient with me."
How patient? Eighteen months later in Miami, he finally invited her on a date. "Eventually, I realized: She's the most perfect woman I've ever met." But Melanie's Lebanese family expected her back in Dubai. Her culture dictated: "You're not going to travel around the world with him if you're not married," Desyn explains. For three years, "It was much more difficult to see him," says Melanie. They were "constantly on Skype."
In May of 2009, while dining with Mel, her mother and cousin, Bethany Kehdy, at New York's Daniel—"Nobody is expecting anything," Desyn foreshadows. Opposite the sweet selections on the dessert menu was Desyn's eloquent proposal. "The first person to scream was Bethany. Melanie's mother was crying her eyes out." Desyn got down on one knee.
With help from family and an international team, Melanie planned a multi-day celebration for 270. There were dinners, Vatican tours, and on the eve of their nuptials, a surprise: "It was the first snow they'd had in Rome in 25 years," Desyn reveals. "It was like a blessing."
Melanie fell for Rome while studying language there. "Once I met Des, I wanted to learn Italian," she shares. With help from an Italian contact, they eventually secured their dream church, Chiesa del Gesù, where weddings are not typically permitted. But there was no Skyping prior to their Greek-Catholic ceremony, and Desyn remembers "welling up" when he beheld "a big white cloud walking toward me."
At 78, Oscar de la Renta rarely designs custom gowns, but "I got lucky," Melanie says of his "masterpiece." When the dress box wouldn't fit through JFK's luggage scanner, security whisked it away. "I just started crying," says Melanie, who realized later: "They were teasing" when they said, "You'll be lucky if it comes back in one piece."
Guests were seated for dinner at Villa Miani, transformed to resemble a Roman outdoor scene. Ballerinas flown in from Paris, an Arabic singer, and a versatile 15-piece band entertained. Desyn's mashup of "The Power of Love" and "Staying Alive" was startling, but it was Melanie's first dance fall that "made everyone laugh."
The 10-foot-tall, one-ton cake, composed chiefly of a decorative sugar sculpture, traveled safely from Beirut, but special candles were confiscated by customs and as the couple cut the cake, it burst into flames. Desyn's friend and phenomenal DJ, Danny Howells, played underground electronic house music until 6 a.m.
A Valentine's Day party at The St. Regis Grand Hotel, Rome served as a bon voyage before the newlyweds left for their Seychelles and South Africa honeymoon. Brighton is home, but they're rarely there. "We decided to travel as much as we can this year. We're pretty much always together," says Melanie, although she counsels: "A bit of space is good because then we miss each other." "I miss her when I sleep," Desyn says.
Ceremony Location: Chiesa del Gesù, Rome, Italy; Reception Location: Villa Miani, Rome, Italy; Photography: Jerry Ghionis Photography, Melbourne, Australia; Cake: Nazira Catering, Beirut, Lebanon; Caterer: Relais Le Jardin, Rome, Italy; Event Design: Alain Hadife, Caractère, Beirut, Lebanon; Floral Design: Fleurs et Couleurs, Beirut, Lebanon; Linen: Classe Casa, Rome, Italy; Rentals: Palazzi & Gas, Rome, Italy; Stationery: Lela New York, New York, NY; Wedding Gown: Oscar de la Renta; Groom's Attire: Canali