April 10, 2013 at 3:36 PM ET
While some men like to surprise their loved ones with a marriage proposal, one groom in Texas decided to startle his bride-to-be with an entire wedding.
Brandon Cassata gave his fiancée a shock when he moved their November wedding date up to months earlier than scheduled — all without letting her know until the very last minute.
Mary-Cathrin McCarthy thought she was getting ready to take her bridal photos when she donned her gown and got her hair and makeup done. But Cassata had other plans.
“I watched the show ‘Bridezillas,’ and I was like, ‘Uh, no, not for me,’” he said Thursday on TODAY. “We wanted to take the stress off of her and actually help her out with that, so in that we did.”
He also wanted to make sure close family members would be around to attend the ceremony.
So Cassata arranged for his bride-to-be to watch a video message he recorded on her iPad as she was being driven to the wedding venue.
“There’s going to be a lot of surprises today for you. And I just want you to know that I’m right there by your side,” he says in the video. “So I’ve decided, let’s get married today!”
McCarthy barely had time to process the request when she arrived at her destination and was greeted by her best friend, dressed up in her maid of honor gown. She then started seeing other members of her bridal party appear in formal dresses and tuxes.
In a video capturing her reaction, McCarthy repeatedly exclaims, “Oh my gosh!” with each additional surprise she encounters.
“I don’t think I could process what was going on. I was so overwhelmed with love,” she told TODAY’s Natalie Morales. “I looked in his eyes and everything just melted in my body. I was just so thrilled.”
Cassata said he was confident his bride-to-be would be open to his surprise, but it also helped that McCarthy’s family was supportive in the effort.
“I had reassurance from her mother as well. She had a big hand in that. She was kind of my coach in all this,” he said. “Her brother was definitely a big part of it, too.”
Still, Cassata said he felt nervous on the big day until McCarthy’s brother gave him a sign that everything was proceeding as planned.
“I was very, very nervous. When her brother gave us the thumps up, I was like, ‘Yes, that worked!’” Cassata said. “I was very relieved by that. You always had that, ‘What if she’s not ready?’ But I knew she would say yes, so it worked out well.”
When McCarthy finally arrived at the actual ceremony, she was met with applause by a room full of guests who had been watching the entire experience on a live feed.
In a TODAY poll, voters overwhelming said they would not like their fiancé to surprise them with a wedding.
McCarthy tried to reassure the doubters.
“It’s OK. If it happens, it’s OK,” she said. “It was beautiful. I’m so happy. It was perfect.”