Forget wearing something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue on your wedding day.
Mary-Cathrin McCarthy was lucky just to be wearing her wedding dress last Saturday when her fiance, Brandon Cassata, surprised her with the wedding of her dreams, nearly seven months before the wedding date they had originally set.
“I just can’t even handle it,” McCarthy, 27, of Fort Worth, Texas, told ABCNews.com today, still in shock nearly one week after her surprise wedding. “It was just the most beautiful, perfect day ever.”
McCarthy and Cassata, 26, met two years ago when they were maid of honor and best man, respectively, in a mutual friend’s wedding.
After Cassata proposed last July, the couple decided on a wedding date of Nov. 2, 2014, and McCarthy found her dream wedding dress, but the wedding planning stopped there. McCarthy was recovering from major surgery and a job change, while both were helping Cassata’s grandmother through cancer treatment.
“I’ve seen her stressed out before, and I don’t like seeing her like that,” Cassata said as he explained why he approached McCarthy’s parents and brother with the idea of a surprise wedding. “We all kind of agreed and said, ‘Hey, let’s do this for her. ‘”
After making that pact in early January, the foursome – Cassata, McCarthy’s brother, Tim, and parents, Kevin and Lisa – began a covert operation that saw them meeting every weekend, the two days that McCarthy, an actress, worked while the others did not, to say, “This is what you need to do and this is what you need to do,” said Cassata.
“The last few weeks were the toughest, because she was in between jobs and had the weekends off, so I had to sneak around to get my tux and get everything done,” he said.
Last Saturday, McCarthy arrived at the couple’s planned wedding location, a Hilton hotel in the nearby town of Southlake, dressed in her gown and makeup for what she thought would be bridal portraits.
Instead, she was greeted with a recorded video message from her fiance asking her to be his bride that day.
“That’s when I started to lose it,” McCarthy said.
Cassata and McCarthy’s family had not only planned the wedding but also invited 70 guests, flying in McCarthy’s man of honor and maid of honor, her two best friends from Chicago.
The guests watched the whole surprise unfold via a live feed that fed into giant screens in the room where the ceremony would take place just moments later. When McCarthy arrived at the altar, the minister said Cassata had something to ask her.
“He said, ‘Mary-Cathrin, will you marry me today?’ and I said, ‘Of course,’” McCarthy recalled.
The surprise celebration continued at the reception, where McCarthy’s mom had chosen a color scheme of baby pink, champagne and chocolate brown, and decorations inspired by their “nonstop” watching of the reality TV show “My Fair Wedding With David Tutera.”
“I would not have changed one thing,” McCarthy said. “To be honest, and I know this is a shock to a lot of people, there was not one ounce of my body that was mad or sad or had regrets. I was so full of love and appreciation.”
Most surprisingly, so to speak, was the fact that the couple’s family and friends managed to keep something as big as a wedding a secret for five months.
“I don’t know how they did it,” McCarthy said. “I’m usually pretty quick on picking up these things, but I had no idea.”
There was no surprise, exotic honeymoon destination to which Cassata whisked his new bride away, though.
“We had been trying to save for the wedding and had just bought a car, so we haven’t even talked about a honeymoon,” McCarthy said.