COLUMBIA — The Columbia couple who won the "Today" show wedding contest found out Wednesday morning what they would wear at their wedding as they stood side by side on the show for the first time.
After spending seven months apart, Melissa McMillin, 21, and Jeremy Gebhardt, 22, were reunited Tuesday night. Gebhardt returned to Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska last week after his deployment in Afghanistan with the U.S. Air Force. While he was gone, the couple stayed connected using Skype, according to a previous Missourian article.
The “Today” show also used Skype to connect with Gebhardt during McMillin’s weekly appearances on the show since they won the contest Aug. 25.
Viewers chose a Paloma Blanca dress and Kenneth Cole Black Label tuxedo, which the show's website described as “classic elegance.” Gebhardt will wear military attire for the ceremony, but will change into his white tuxedo for the reception.
“I love it," McMillin said on the show when she saw the dress. "I thought it was the one that most looks like me.”
“Today” show host Matt Lauer handed Gebhardt a mask so he wouldn’t see the wedding gown before the ceremony.
With the bride and groom’s attire selected, viewers will next choose the dresses for the bridesmaids and flower girls. McMillin’s bridesmaids modeled the dresses, and her cousin, who will be a flower girl, modeled one of the flower girl outfits.
McMillin and Gebhardt also received a surprise gift: a new Chevrolet Equinox LTZ. Chevrolet is sponsoring the wedding and decided to give the couple the car as something extra. They will pick a color when they return to Columbia.
“They were just incredibly moved by you guys — by your story and your love for each other,” said “Today” show anchor Meredith Vieira as she led them to the car.
McMillin wiped away a tear in surprise, and Gebhardt repeatedly kissed her forehead.
The bride and groom will wear Neil Lane wedding bands, which viewers chose the first week. Last week the viewers chose the reception location — Hudson Terrace in New York City.
After the next set of outfits is chosen, viewers will vote on the dessert and the honeymoon location.
The wedding will take place at Rockefeller Plaza on Sept. 30.