Melissa and Shawn Day wed in November at Fairfield Manor.
Thirty-five years after an accidental kiss – to the man dating her best friend, no less – Melissa Day now kisses Shawn Day on purpose.
The Shreveport newlyweds were married last November, long after that May afternoon in the yard of Melissa’s college rent house, just off the Ole Miss campus in Oxford.
So, how does one “accidentally” kiss someone? Call it a case of mistaken identity.
“We were sitting on a hammock, and our eyes were closed,” Melissa remembered. “I leaned over and said, “Kiss me.” And he did. I thought I was asking my boyfriend to
kiss me. I looked up, and I ran!” Over the next three-plus decades, Melissa and Shawn spent their lives with others. Both married. Both divorced. But they stayed in touch. Then, in 2019, Melissa invited Shawn to be her date at a Christmas party. Almost a year later, they were married.
“It was like a new beginning to the rest of my life,” Melissa said.
The “new beginning” took place at John Cariere’s Fairfield Manor Bed and Breakfast. “It’s such a beautiful place,” Melissa said. “It’s like a fairy tale setting.”
A fairy tale setting with Covid protocols:
Tables and chairs were socially distanced. On each chair was a package with hand sanitizer and a mask. The ceremony was
live-streamed on Facebook for those who could not attend. Melissa said there were more than 2,000 viewers – some from as far away as California.
The night before, the rehearsal dinner was held in the bed and breakfast’s courtyard – though the setting looked – and the food tasted – more like Italy. The Italian theme was a tribute to Melissa’s late mother, Barbara Sugar.
“Barbara Sugar was one of the original members of our old school Italian night that we have at Fairfield Manor Bed & Breakfast,” Chef John said. “She and a group of ladies would have a table – the regular corner table. There would be eight of them. They would be at every one of the dinners, drinking and having fun.”
As for the wedding, Melissa wasn’t involved in a lot of the planning. Shawn and Chef John did most of the heavy lifting.
“The only thing I knew is that I wanted to have hammocks,” Melissa said. “And, Shawn and John did their magic.”
To commemorate Melissa and Shawn’s “accidental” first kiss, hammocks were hung throughout the property. Even the groom’s cake was a three-dimensional hammock cake.
But it was something else located throughout the property which stirred Melissa’s emotions.
“Melissa said in a meeting, ‘I just hate that my parents can’t be here,’” Chef John remembered. ‘“I really hate that they’re missing this.”’ Turns out, Barbara and Alan Sugar were there – in spirit and in cardboard.
“There were about 20 lifesized cutouts of mom and my dad, who had also recently passed away,” Melissa said. “They were everywhere. People were getting their pictures taken with them. I did not know they were going to be there. It was a shock. It was a huge surprise. I had no idea.”
In fact, Melissa said, the cutouts were so realistic, “One guest tried to take them, and John had to run after her and get them back!” But the cutouts weren’t the only surprise waiting for Melissa.
Her favorite song is “Marry Me,” which a string quartet played as Melissa’s son, Bennett Carby, walked his mom down the aisle. But when it came time for the reception, Melissa unexpectedly heard the song again.
“Shawn came out from behind a curtain, singing the same song,” Melissa said. “He sang that to me, and that was our first dance, with him singing the song to me while we danced. It was phenomenal.”
“Phenomenal” is a good way to describe the food, which was a collaborative effort between chef and groom.
“Shawn is a foodie, and he wanted to put some of his ideas into motion, and I put my spin on it,” Chef John said. “It was back and forth, kind of like a gourmet/foodie collaboration. We came up with things like Balsamic Deviled Eggs and Corn and Crab Bisque.
And then there was this. “We had an artichoke topiary,” Chef John said. “It’s like a tree, and the artichokes became the branches. We stuffed the artichokes with (marinated crab claws), and they picked the claws off the tree of artichokes.”
Melissa and Shawn plan to go on a honeymoon this summer. In the meantime, they are finally enjoying life together. And yes, they have a hammock in their back yard.
And that’s not by accident.