Melissa McMillin, 21, and Jeremy Gebhardt, 22 — separated for years because of Gebhardt’s tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan — earned the most votes on Facebook to become the recipients of TODAY’s annual wedding giveaway and gala on the Plaza. With a theme of "modern love," TODAY viewers chose everything from the wedding cake to the honeymoon location.
At left, the groom gets some touch-ups before the ceremony, live on the Plaza on Sept. 30, 2010.
TODAY's bride Melissa McMillin lets loose while getting ready for her wedding, planned by viewers and TODAY Facebook fans.
The groomsmen, clad in chic bathrobes, are a festive entourage.
Viewers picked the "Old Hollywood" style for the bridesmaids. The ladies wore a gray Bari Jay dress with a dropped waist and shirred bodice.
The groom takes a moment to relax before his wedding on the Plaza.
Bride Melissa McMillin spends a sweet moment with her mother, Mary McMillin, before the ceremony on the Plaza.
The bride shows off her stunning hairstyle.
Melissa McMillin came prepared for a rainy wedding! She wore a champagne lace Paloma Blanca dress with a sweeping train.
The mother of the bride Mary McMillin looks on as her daughter prepares for the big day.
Bride Melissa McMillin gets her hair and makeup done by the TODAY crew.
The TODAY crew fusses over Melissa McMillin.
A string quartet played the "Bridal Chorus" by Wagner and "Empire State of Mind" by Alicia Keys.
Flower girl Abigal Warczakoski received enthusiastic applause from the wedding guests.
Of the wedding, the bride said "Everyone is just so excited just to be a part of this whole process and we’re just so glad that everybody’s going to be able to come and have such a fun time for our wedding."
Members of the bridal party make their way down the aisle.
Father of the bride looks on as his daughter prepares to exchange vows.
Melissa and Jeremy exchanged vows with rings from celebrity jeweler Neil Lane. Melissa’s platinum band is set on three sides with 116 brilliant-cut diamonds, while Jeremy’s platinum band is designed and signed by Neil Lane.
Melissa and Jeremy become man and wife on the Plaza.
The bride shows off her stunning bouquet.
The newlyweds kiss before family and friends. "Everything thus far has been great," the bride said of the TODAY wedding experience. "It’s been perfect."
Viewers voted to send the couple off for a luxurious seven-day vacation to a private villa in the Turks and Caicos, complete with a private butler. Melissa beamed when she opened an envelope on the plaza telling her where she and her new hubby were headed. “We’re so excited! We can’t wait to go to a beach.”
Melissa and Jeremy enjoy their first laugh as husband and wife.
Melissa and Jeremy exit as newlyweds.
TODAY's Al Roker, Meredith Vieira and Matt Lauer share their wedding wishes. Al Roker raised a glass and said, “Melissa, you are studying to be a nurse, which shows you care about compassion and kindness. And Jeremy, with your service to our country, you’ve showed that you put that above all else, and for that we thank you.”
Gorgeous setting at the the Hudson Terrace, an urban oasis featuring a retractable glass dome, where guests enjoy scenic views of the Hudson River. Executive chef Thomas Besnard kept things light, serving smoked salmon with caviar, Swiss cheese and prosciutto with truffled eggs and frisee salad.
Reception cocktails included peach Bellinis, strawberry mimosas, Bloody Marys and coffee martinis.
The bride shows off her platinum ring from celebrity jeweler Neil Lane.
Jeremy made a quick change out of his military dress to the Kenneth Cole tux TODAY viewers had selected for him. Guests mingled with the happy couple while nibbling hors d’oeuvres, fruit salad and chocolate mousse laced with coffee, along with goat cheese and fruit tartlets.
Treated like celebrities, Melissa and Jeremy had the renowned Colin Cowie as their wedding planner. Cowie, who has written five best-selling books on planning the perfect wedding, is known as the party planner to the stars, with a client list that includes Jerry Seinfeld, Oprah Winfrey, Nicole Kidman and Elton John.
With their loved ones looking on, Melissa and Jeremy enjoy their first dance to "You Got What I Need," an original piece performed by Joshua Radin. Melissa noted the song reflected her own situation with Jeremy in a very profound way: “It was the perfect song for us.”
The couple enjoy their first dance.
The groom, clad in an ivory Kenneth Cole Black Label tux, poses with his groomsmen before cutting the cake.
The bride, in a lace Paloma Blanca dress with a sweeping train, poses with her bridesmaids at the Hudson Terrace.
Melissa and Jeremy's loved ones have a bit of fun for the camera.
Guests share personal notes for the couple in a custom engraved wish box.
The happy couple cut into the winning wedding cake by Ana Parzych Custom Cakes. The dessert has alternating tiers in four flavors and is adorned with hand-made sugar flowers. Celebrity wedding designer Colin Cowie planned the reception at Hudson Terrace.
A sweet end to a perfect wedding.