"Today" show wedding winner still surprised, excited

Saturday, August 28, 2010 | 10:57 a.m. CDT; updated 12:29 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Melissa McMillin and her soon-to-be husband, Jeremy Gebhardt, pose for a photo before their senior prom. The Columbia couple won the “Today” show’s wedding competition.

COLUMBIA – The winner of the “Today” show’s wedding competition has returned home to Columbia from New York after her Wednesday appearance on the show, but not for long.

With viewers planning a different aspect of the wedding each week, as mentioned in a previous Missourian article, Melissa McMillin will travel to New York once a week until the wedding September 30.

About the planning process

Each week, viewers will have the opportunity to vote on a different wedding detail. According to the "Today" show's Facebook page, here's what the planning process looks like.

  • Week 1: The rings
  • Week 2: The reception location
  • Week 3: The dress and tux
  • Week 4: The bridesmaids' dresses
  • Week 5: The dessert
  • Week 6: The honeymoon

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After a few days, the win is still difficult for McMillin to believe. She said it’s surreal when people approach her while she is out shopping and tell her they saw her on TV and voted on the wedding bands. Voting can be done online through the "Today" show website or Facebook.

McMillin saw the four sets of wedding bands during the show on Wednesday. She said she was so stunned, she did not hear the descriptions.

“I was still not digesting the fact that I had just won,” McMillin said.

McMillin cannot disclose her preference on rings, but she said she could hardly believe that one of them would be hers.

“This is way better than I would ever be able to plan,” McMillin said.

Jeremy Gebhardt , McMillin’s fiancé, watched Wednesday’s show from Afghanistan, where he is stationed with the U.S. Air Force.

“The highlight was seeing Jeremy on Skype because it was the clearest I’ve ever seen him—they must have really strong internet connection,” McMillin said.

She said that she wished he could be there to celebrate with her, but that she is used to the separation, andthat she remembered that she was there for both of them. She said they are uncertain on their plans for the months following the wedding.

Since Gebhardt could not be there, Kate Garrett, McMillin’s roommate and a maid of honor, accompanied her. Garrett said she waited in the green room, and when McMillin left the set, they ran to each other and hugged. 

“I was shocked,” Garrett said. “I just kept thinking, ‘They deserve this. They deserve this.’”

McMillin she said appreciated Garrett’s help throughout the day, especially when they experienced flight delays because of weather conditions in New York.

Although future trips will cause McMillin to miss some of her nursing classes at Central Methodist Univeristy, she said her professors have been supportive.

“I know I’m going to be exhausted,” McMillin said.

Beyond her friends and family, McMillin also appreciates everyone who voted for her and Gebhardt.

“There’s no way we would have won without the support of the entire city of Columbia,” McMillin said. “We are very blessed.”

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