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Kelly Dooley

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My Manhattan Fairytale

Posted: 11/07/2012 1:26 am

Every Manhattan girl hopes to get lucky, to find her perfect match. In a city of 8.5 million people, the competition is fierce, especially when you consider the girl-to-guy ratio.

I moved from sunny California to the Big Apple in 2006 to pursue my M.A. in Media, Culture and Communication Studies at New York University. My Mom feared that I'd meet the man of my dreams, get married here, and never return.

She was right.

I met my husband, Andrew, in May 2009, when I was in the preliminary phases of developing my activewear company, BodyRock Sport. After our second date, I told my Mom I was going to marry this man. She said, "Yeah right, Kel...You will be over him in three weeks."

This time, she was wrong.

We got engaged in August 2010. I was in Lake Como for my dear friend Jason's 40th birthday party. Andrew said that he couldn't make the trip, much to my dismay, but he was secretly plotting my fairytale proposal the entire time. He showed up in Lake Como and proposed to me at the doorstep of our villa on one knee in front all of my friends. I couldn't believe that he pulled this off. I was literally speechless.

The second Andrew popped the question, my vision for our big day became crystal clear.

We planned our engagement party for January 29, 2011, the same weekend that I found my wedding dress at Kleinfeld's, the silver one-of-a-kind dress that Pnina Tornai designed for the grand finale of her London runway show. The dress fit like a glove. And I felt like a million bucks in it.

(Scroll down for photos)

They ended up filming me for TLC's "Say Yes to the Dress," a show I had never seen before.

The episode was a huge success, so the producers from "Say Yes to the Dress: The Big Day" contacted me to see if I'd be interested in having a 60-minute feature made about the planning of our wedding. Though hesitant, Andrew and I agreed that it would be cool to be able to show this to our kids someday.

Now that I knew what dress I'd be walking down the aisle in, everything fell into place. We decided to get married at The SLS in Beverly Hills, designed by French architect Philippe Starck. This hotel was a delectable combination of sleek, modern, sexy, and luxurious without feeling stuffy.

Because I am a designer with very particular tastes, the entire wedding planning process was anxiety-free and exciting for me. The film crew for "The Big Day" started to follow us around four months before our Bastille Day, July 14, wedding, and most of our plans had already been solidified.

That said, the crew essentially became an extension of our family, accompanying me to a wide range of appointments, including wedding dress fittings, jewelry design sessions, BodyRock Sport design meetings, invitation consultations, production meetings, flower girl dress design brainstorming sessions, ballroom dance lessons, and many more.

The crew loved working with us because we were so low-maintenance and were having so much fun. I was the polar opposite of a Bridezilla, which may be shocking to anyone who watched this show.

It was very clear while they were filming that they not only wanted me to portray me as Mama's Little Princess but that they also wanted to make it seem as though Andrew's opinion didn't count. This couldn't be further from the truth. The three of us are incredibly tight knit. My Mom adores Andrew, and my Mom has become the dream Mother-in-Law.

That said, while we were watching the show after our wedding, we cracked up the entire time. And I really felt that they captured our love for each other and properly honored our parents, which meant a lot to us.

Our big day was absolutely utopian. I had spent nearly two years planning this day, and I knew all of the details, but, of course, I couldn't predict how I would feel. The sense of peace that surged through my body was astonishing. I thought, "Wow, this is how it's supposed to feel." The entire day was joyous, up until we struggled to get my dress on properly. But that temporary bout of stress dissipated the second I walked down the aisle.

When I went downstairs at the SLS to walk down the aisle, I had an ear-to-ear smile and was beyond ready to marry Andrew. The second I saw Andrew, he burst into tears and time stopped. Despite the stunning flowers, incredible music and our beautiful guests, I could not see anyone but him watching me.

I could also feel the sense of spirituality overpowering the ceremony. There was no doubt in my mind that our deceased parents and grandparents were present. Once we exchanged vows, I literally skipped down the aisle. I have never been so enthused or ready for anything in my life.

The rest of the night was absolutely magical. Truly a dream. Everyone had an absolute blast and are still buzzing from the wedding. We got to celebrate our love with those who really and truly understand us. We danced the night away, and went to bed feeling more in love than ever.

It's now been a few months, and I absolutely love every aspect of marriage. I feel different from the inside out, and I know Andrew does too. Our love is divine. This was our big day exactly as we wanted it. We are one of the few couples in Manhattan that will in fact live happily ever after.

Click through the slideshow below to see photos from the wedding.

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