Hundreds of viewers wrote in asking for The Early Show to give them the perfect wedding in a week, but there was one letter that stood out above all others.
Marc Stein, a matrimonial attorney from Long Island, wrote:
To Whom It May Concern:
If you've ever loved someone so much that you would do anything for them, then continue reading this message.
My name is Marc Stein and I am engaged to a stunningly beautiful woman named Melissa Rihn. I am a fresh-out-of-law-school attorney and she is a chef. We both work in Manhattan and are deeply in love. We've been engaged for the past month and before that, dated for close to four years.
We met while working as camp counselors at West Hills Day Camp located on Long Island where we both currently live with our parents. The attraction and mutual respect for each other was there from the start. We had the same common interests (pop culture), the same love for our family and friends, and eventually the same love for each other.
Our first date is a story for the ages. We had plans to go out on a date on a Saturday night (July 22, 2000 to be exact.) Unfortunately, she got invited to a wedding that day from a long lost friend she came back into contact with. She called me and kindly broke the date. I was left alone that night with nothing but the Blair Witch Project to watch on TV. I decided to risk it and crash the wedding. I got dressed in my nicest suit and as I was leaving my house my parents walked in and asked me where I was going. I told them what I was doing and my father said words that to this day I would never forget. He said, "Either she'll slap you or kiss you." I drove to the temple that night repeating those words in my head. When I got there, the guests had no idea who I was, but they did not care. They thought I was a friend of the bride or a friend of the groom. I saw her at the bar and she saw me walking towards her. She looked beyond stunning. We walked over to each other and without a word she kissed me. My father was right. And ever since then it's been just like that.
Our families are both amazing. They give us an abundant amount of love and support. They see our love for each other and want nothing but the best for us. Both our parents come from a poor Jewish background where a lot of our relatives were killed in the Holocaust. Because of that, they instilled in both of us what it is to live life to the fullest and love one another unconditionally as if it's our last day on Earth. A funny coincidence is that her parents wedding anniversary is the same day as my mother's birthday and both parents share the same wedding song.
Our engagement was another devious plan conducted by myself. She was invited to a Sweet Sixteen at the Atlantis in the Bahamas. She was to go down from Wednesday to Sunday. I decided that there was no better opportunity to surprise her with a diamond ring. I spoke to the family she was flying down with and we set it up so that I would surprise her on the beach at sunset. I flew down on the Friday and picked a good spot to do it. I called the mother of the family and told her where I was standing. She told Melissa that one of the girls left a bag on the beach and asked her to retrieve it. When she came to the beach and saw me standing there instead of the bag tears, started coming down from both our eyes. Again no words were spoken. I only walked up to her knelt down on one knee and asked her to marry me. She was so emotional that the word yes couldn't come out for some time. She eventually was able to swallow her tears and say YES!!!
I picked her up in my arms and twirled her around kissing every tear off her face. We still have not stopped twirling.
Words cannot express how much I love this woman. She is my fiancée, but most importantly, she is my best friend.
Please choose us for your Wedding in a Week. I want our wedding to be planned by the best because she deserves it. Unfortunately, we do not have the funds to do everything we want. Please makes our dream come true.
Happy after hearing Marc's letter for the first time, she says on The Early Show, "He is just amazing. He is my best friend and my soul mate and he just completes me. He's just a gift. I love him and I can't thank him enough for writing in the letter and doing what he did because this is amazing."
Marc wrote in at the urging of a secretary in his office. He says he wrote because "It wasn't going to be good enough for her. I mean, because she does catering for people who have more money than us. She runs extravagant events, and we couldn't afford to have that type of event for her. So I wanted to write in and bring her an extravagant event."
Ironically, Melissa said she'd always known that she was "going to win her wedding." She says that she has always had a gut instinct that she would somehow "win" her wedding - so this is truly kismet.
"I guess it's just being in the line of industry and doing what I do," Melissa says. "Just knowing what type of events could happen. And I always wanted something like that and my aunt said, 'You always said you were going to win.' And my mom is thrilled. Everyone is thrilled."
On Friday, the couple got to meet David Chase, director of catering and conference services for the The Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park, where, the reception will be held.
Chase says, "We're going to take them down after the show, spend some time to get to know you better, plan the details that are going to make you comfortable, make your family and friends comfortable."
The couple will be married by the rabbi who officiated at Marc's bar mitzvah ceremony; Melissa will be wearing her dream dress, their reception decor and cakes will be completely done in their chosen style, and they'll start off on their future together.
Stay tuned to share their joy. The Early Show invites, you, the viewer to participate in the planning process. Each day, starting Monday, let us know which of the selections of wedding gowns, bridesmaid dresses, tuxedos, and cakes would fit the couple best. We'll compare your choices with the ones the couple decided on. Voting begins at noon each day and ends at midnight. Your choices will be announced the next morning on The Early Show.