Melissa Cohn got the ultimate surprise on " Good Morning America" this Valentine's Day when her boyfriend, Brian Bondy, proposed on live television and then asked her to marry him in less than an hour in a flash wedding in Times Square.
"There's a catch," Bondy, 38, told his shocked but ecstatic bride-to-be after she said yes. "I need you to marry me today."
"Right now?" Cohn, 35, asked, nearly speechless. "OK!"
The bride-to-be was serenaded by her family and friends who had secretly been waiting in the wings to be part of their bridal party for the surprise "GMA" flash wedding.
"On a scale of 1 to 10, I'm a 10 right now, but a very shocked 10," Cohn said. "This is amazing. It doesn't happen to people every day."
With Cohn on board, she had less than an hour to pick her dress, choose the cake, and prepare to say "I do."
Bondy asked for "GMA's" help in pulling off his most romantic surprise ever for the woman of his dreams, and the planning for the first-ever morning show live wedding began. While a "wedding in a flash" was slightly risky, it was in keeping with the couple's adventurous courtship, Bondy assured.
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The two met on Match.com. Bondy recalled the exchange that got them started: "I'm a scuba instructor, I want you to come try diving with me," he said in his Date Spark, a tool which allows daters to describe their potential ideal date with someone who catches their eyes. "And she responded with only two words, 'I'm certified.'"
Their first date was pedicures, then dinner. Shortly after they met, they were on their way to Fiji together.
"It's just kind of hard to tell someone you just met that it's a great idea for you to come halfway across the world with me in six or eight weeks," Bondy said, but after a little bit of conversation "and a lot of questions," she agreed to go with him.
"It was the best decision I made because I knew after that trip that she was the one I had to marry," he added.
And when people ask him why she's the one?
"She's so positive about everything," he said. "She's just always smiling and there's just a glimmer in her eye, and it lights up a room."
Cohn's father, Mark, gave Bondy his blessing, although her mother, Vicky, said, "I've never heard of this, getting married on national TV."
"I was sure she'd say yes," her father said.
Their daughter had no idea about what had been planned for her. She believed she was on "GMA" for a story about extreme romances.
"It wasn't until 7:30 this morning, things started to get a little crazy," Bondy said.
The Dress, The Cake, The Ring, The Wedding, Oh My!
To make her instant wedding a success, "GMA" brought in the experts in bridal fashion at Kleinfeld Bridal, the-go-to store for all brides and setting for TLC's hit show "Say Yes to the Dress," to give Cohn the dress of her dreams.
Terry Hall, the Kleinfeld fashion director, looked at Cohn's Pinterest page, where she had posted pictures of her dream gowns, and selected four contenders. Hall described them as a "sexy sophisticate" fit and flare dress, a "modern traditionalist" look with a mermaid silhouette, a "flirt-tea" black and white tea-length a-line gown, and a more classic Princess Bride look encrusted with rhinestones and pearls. He also brought along some headpieces and shoes from the salon to complete the look (even blue heels in case she wanted something blue!).
With help from her matron of honor, Stacey Sakakini, Cohn chose the Princess Bride look by designer Pnina Tornai, which has a corseted top covered in bling and a full ball gown over 30 layers of tulle.
"She is doing amazing," Sakakini said. "For what just happened to her and to happen that fast, it's incredible. She may have looked shocked, but she really is so overwhelmed and so happy right now. We were all crying in the bathroom."
No proposal and wedding is complete without a ring and Bondy chose a 1-carat cushion-cut center diamond ring, set in 14-carat white gold, from Robbins Brothers.
Buddy Valastro, the star of Cake Boss, designed three cake options for the couple, using Cohn's Pinterest page again as a guide. The three options were a traditional ruffle wedding cake with a funky scuba diver sticking out from the bottom, a hot pink cupcake cake, and a bejeweled bling buttercream cake, which she picked.
The groom was outfitted in a tuxe from Kleinfeld Men. The bridesmaid dresses were provided by Jim Hjelm Bridesmaids.
Before she knew it, it was time to walk down the aisle. Captain Arnold from Nautical Wedding Bells officiated.
"Every experience you have ever had, everything you have ever done, everything you have ever learned has brought you to this moment in time as you now stand before these witnesses to take each other as husband and wife. As you walk hand in hand into the future, cherish each moment as a gift, a gift given to strengthen the bond between you," Arnold said.
The two exchanged vows and Arnold told Bondy he could kiss his bride. "Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, Mr. and Mrs. Bondy," "GMA" anchor Josh Elliott announced.
"They say your wedding day is one of the most amazing days of your life and this is one of the top two now for me," Cohn said. "I never thought I'd get married on television. This is amazing to get married on 'GMA.'"
The party didn't stop after the ceremony this morning. The wedding party will dine at Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse. The custom menu consists of some of their favorites, including filet mignon, prime ribeye, and oysters on the half shell. GraciousBridal.com provided wedding favors for the party, including customized matchbooks with their names and the date they met.