The Bridal Party
It consisted of nine people total, five on Melissa's side and four on Martin's side.
These nine very special people are presented here.
The Maid of Honor - Kelly McFarland
Kelly and Melissa met in 1999, playing tennis for their apartment tennis league. They quickly became wonderful friends and do tons of stuff together from dining out to vacationing! Kelly is a registered nurse and is engaged to be married to Mark Hughey on 4 September 2005. Due to the unfolding of a family tragedy, Kelly almost missed the wedding, but ultimately still made it. We wish you both all the best anyone could ever imagine!!!
The Maiden of Honor - Sarah Neale
Sarah is Melissa's "baby" sister. She is 14 and in the eighth grade in Manassas, Virginia. She plays soccer, tennis, the piano and the violin. Sarah's signature style marker is a purple elephant.
Bridesmaid - Petra Schmidt-Bremer
Petra is Martin's older sister. She lives in Oldenburg, Germany where she is an excellent physical therapist. She is the proud owner of an Airedale Terrier, named Dusty. Dusty is progressing to be one of the best trained dogs out there! Melissa is most impressed with Petra's fluency in German, English, French and Dutch.
Bridesmaid - Jeanine Stefanucci
Jeanine (J-9) and Melissa met in sixth grade where they shared many middle school classes. They also share the same birthday month, therefore J-9 and Melissa threw joint birthday parties for their 13th and 14th birthdays! They continued on together in high school and when both were accepted to the University of Virginia (UVA), they decided to become roommates. J-9 is still at UVA where she is finishing up her doctorate in psychology.
Bridesmaid - Tara Nikituk
Tara and Melissa also met in middle school and became even better friends in high school. They shared the same classes, clubs and committees (they were always staying after school for something). Tara graduated from The College of William and Mary with a Bachelor in Business Administration. She is now working for a consulting company Virginia, which keeps her on travel most of the time.
Best Man - Jörg-Hagen Zoller
Jörg is Martin's oldest and best friend. They have known each other since first grade and have been friends ever since. Jörg is a very successful pilot for Lufthansa Cargo, flying all over the world including the US. He is the happy and proud father of Maximilian Hagen Carl since 02 April 2004! Jörg's speech at the reception was deeply moving, reiterating the strong friendship between him and Martin.
Groomsman - Stefan Blassat
Stefan, Martin's second oldest friend, has shared life's ups and downs with him since 10th grade. They have stayed in close touch after graduating and Stefan has visited Martin on several occasions. Having remained in Northern Germany, Stefan works as an IT Revisor for a large German bank. His girlfriend, Melanie, was of tremendous help throughout her first stay in the US. THANK YOU, MELANIE!
Groomsman - Marcus A. Neale
Marcus is Melissa's younger brother. He briefly moved back to his parent's domicile in Manassas after successfully graduating from Virginia Tech (VT) with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. He is currently trying to determine the most successful path for his future. Marcus and his wife Bridget Noelle are now living together in Chantilly, Virginia. She was a great help throughout the wedding planning and during the wedding itself - as the "silent" wedding coordinator. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!
She has graduated with a degree in Communication from Virginia Tech in May 2004. She now works as a staffer, but is aiming for higher goals. They have set their church wedding date for 28 May 2005.
Groomsman - J. Paul Douglas
Paul is Martin's oldest friend in the US. They met in the first semester of college in Melbourne, Florida, where they mastered many classes together. Fascinated with astronomy, space and space travel, Paul works for NOAA and has his own publication! He was one of the lucky people to see the first manned commercial space craft to enter into space and keeping up with the X-Prize development is ony one of his many successful ventures.
Honorary Ringbearer - Oskar Schmidt-Bremer
Oskar, who had been a long-time member of the family, demanded to be the Honorary Ringbearer. Since he had the tendency to disappear without letting anyone know, he ended up not coming to the wedding.
Besides ...... he gnawed on everything!
Update 1: Unfortunately, he passed away 10 October 2004. We miss him.
Update 2: Oskar has been replaced by Oliver! He is a guinea pig whose fur is just as messy as he is!