Big news

Big news

I have big news to report, but not about bishops or scandals or anything of the sort. In fact, this big news is only really important to me and Melanie and our families and friends.

I am happy to report that Melanie Scott has agreed to marry me. It is to my joy and credit that I happened to catch her in a brief moment of bad judgment where she said Yes to my proposal for marriage.

Seriously, I could not be happier today. The actual proposal was on Friday, but I had to wait to tell you all until after we had talked to both of our families. I finally got hold of my dad this afternoon, so now I’m letting you all know.

The tentative wedding date is Saturday, August 13. We know that’s quick, but between her teaching schedule and my publishing schedule, it was either then or in December after Christmas. With the amount of bad weather we’ve had this winter, we don’t want to chance it then. August it is!

We’ve already been the recipients of a lot of advice and I’m sure there is more to come. We appreciate it all, even the stranger suggestions, because I’m sure it is all well-intentioned.

Melanie and I first met in 2000, when she first moved to Salem from Dallas. We were both apparently at an impromptu beach jam session, although neither of us remembers seeing each other. My first recollection was meeting her at Mass when she was sitting with our mutual friend Meghan, who Melanie had just moved in with. I do remember thinking, “Hey, check out the tall, pretty girl.”


    May all of your days be sunny.  May all of your problems be small ones.  And may God bless both of you abundantly.

  • Well, Dom, I was getting close to giving you a nudge in that direction.  I kept thinking “what a catch”….“when is he gonna move?”.  So, great to hear and the best of best wishes to you both.  May God bless you both.  Melanie sounds wonderful and I know you two will have a wonderfully love-filled, Spirit-filled life together.  We’ll hold you to the information about all of the wedding plans….even if you are the guy here!  Just curious to know if it was a one knee down kinda asking for her hand??!!

  • Best wishes to the haple … er … happy couple and may they have many years of holy deadl … er … wedlock. One moment of bad judgment can define one for life. Why, Melanie, why!?!?!?

    Sriously dombud … congratulations and God bless both of you.

  • Congrats!  You are joyously welcomed to the ranks of the living wed!

    Did I hear the word “advice”?  Here’s my canned spiel about wedding preparations, recently dropped unsolicited at another blogger’s site, with a couple of modifications.


    As to the stress of rapid wedding preparations—Been there, done that, went through 12 Step afterwards. [Nervous tic returns…]  And we had 18 months to plan, and you don’t. 

    Some recommendations:

    If you are going to “splurge,” so to speak, on any aspect of the wedding, do so on a videographer. It was the single most expensive item on our list ($1200) after renting the reception site, but we haven’t regretted a cent. We even had the videographer convert it to DVD.

    Bottom line—the food gets eaten, the flowers die, and you never wear the clothes again. But you can always go to the video. And the video will do a lot of your “remembering” for you. The day goes by in a dizzying flash.

    Another tip: impose a moratorium for discussion of the preparations. I got to the point where I said there would be no discussions after 10pm. Even my beloved eventually appreciated that one. It is essential that the bulk of your talk time is spent on other things—like life together as husband and wife. This will be difficult, but worth it.

    Also, one from my wife to your intended—leather shoes, not satin. Much, much more comfortable, and almost no one is going to see, much less remember, your footwear. I endorse it for you, Dom, as well. Go comfortable—I didn’t, I was begging to have everything below the knees amputated by the end of the night. Tuxedo shoes are evil.

    Finally: Keep your sense of humor on that day. Something will, will, will go wrong. It doesn’t matter. You’re no less married.

  • Congratulations on the upcoming nuptials.  It is rather amazing how people meet and come together in this day and age.  It truly is a sign of God’s continual blessing upon us as His people that he calls us forth into the wonderful sacrament of marriage.  My only advice (from a newly married husband) is for you and Melanie to do things the way you want.  Don’t let people impose upon you how to envision your wedding mass and reception.  And lastly, don’t be so consumed with memories of that one day alone – there is a lifetime of memories to be had as a married man. 

  • My wife and I heard one too many times about how bad marraige is from folks …


    We have been married five years and it has been bliss. Devour everything you can on what the Church teaches about the matter and everything will be joyful, even when it is hard. Marriage is intense life … 

  • Dom:

    “Moment of bad judgment”? Hah! Fat chance. As long as she was in control of her senses (that is to say, not too much wine with the requisite romantic dinner), she knew what she was doing. Besides, we’ve all seen her picture, and of your occasions shared with her, and I’m sure no one blames you for not waiting until next year.

    By now the bride-to-be and her mother and an assortment of female relatives have already conspired, having all the curtains and china patterns picked out, so your job of showing up on time and reasonably sober should be pretty easy.

    Whatever you do, pull-EEEEEZE don’t wear black tie before six in the evening. Something just comes over me when that happens; I can’t explain it.

    Oh, and be sure to post the location of the wedding, so all your devoted fans at St Blog’s can crash it. (Just the church part. We’ll leave the rest to the “A” list.) Congrats to you, best wishes to Melanie.

    (Memo to Dale: Ditto on the tuxedo shoes.)

  • Excellent!
    Now you get to be an honorary Texan.
    Drats- I never got to see a picture, though- can you post one of the happy couple?

  • I think you’ll accept my advise to you—- Love Her!

    Guess that wasn’t too hard.

    Congrats Dom and Melanie and many blessing for your future.

  • Wonderful news!  I’ve been married almost 44 years and we have had great joy and hard times, as do all married people.  My husband recently had open heart surgery—let me tell you, the little irritations no longer seem important after finding out he was a candidate for instant death.  My companion is my dearest friend and lover even now.  The sweetest years are at the end when the rough edges of the relationship have been worn smooth.

    The wedding is a happy memory, but the most important thing is your future life together.  Don’t waste too much money on the celebration; don’t sweat the small stuff—just revel in the gift God has given you.

    May God bless you both abundantly.

  • Domerino:

    As I said, congrats to the max.  I’m so happy you can finally sign out of  lol.  The blessings of marriage include: a lifetime of declined kisses; severe limits on the number of Scotch ‘n stogies you can enjoy; good-bye unilateral decisions!; honeydew weekends “honey do this, honey do that;” and no more trips to the sporting goods store because you can.  The burdesn?  Aw, forget it.

    Wedding day advice:  It’s the fastest day of your life.  Let the video camera handle the memories, as someone said above.  Some things WILL go sideways— Your uncle will show up drunk, the salad won’t resemble what Melanie meticulously ordered, the DJ will play a gangsta rap song (sic) and then another one after you ask him not to.

    None of it matters.  You’re in!

    Marriage advice to a fellow no-long confirmed bachelor:  Let the sandpaper of the relationship make you even more holy; wonder what on earth St. Paul had in mind for wifely submission in the, uh, real world (Eph 5:22-25); and…pray for fatherhood.  It’s a BLAST and a half.

  • Congratulations and may the Lord bless you all, however many you may become!

    One thought and one piece of advise.

    Thouhgt: while your request for a kiss on the “first date” was probably inappropriate, it was definitely useful, as it allowed you both to discover your characters and your foundation of Faith and love.

    As for the advise, it is the same I will give to my children when they will become engaged, but don’t think about it until the current exhilaration is fully enjoyed.  Because the advise is to discuss what you will do if and when one of you becomes incapacitated, ill, ugly or otherwise not as appealing as you are today.  Given the events we are currently discussing in these “pages” and the experience of so many people, it is not an uplifting topic, but surely a foundational one.

    And, of course, I give this advice knowing very well that you know the Catholic approach and will abide by it, so that the discussion will just help you both gain strength in your common journey.

  • I was wondering about this girl Melanie.  Always treat her very nicely.  I’m glad you are getting married.  Remember to model your marriage after the Blessed Trinity.  Marriage should be an icon of the Most Holy Trinity.

    Also, keep the wedding simple.  As a parish priest, I have known many brides and mothers go way overboard with the preparations.  If you are worried about bad weather is December, have the wedding in Texas.

    Anyway, my congratulations to you and Melanie.  May you have many, many blessings (aka children).  The pastor will love you two because you ain’t living together.

  • Father Ethan is right.  Keep it simple.  There were 35 people at my wedding.  When it was over we all had dinner together at a hotel.  By 3 p.m. my husband and I were changed and headed to the beverage store to get a bottle of champaign for the evening.  My sweetest memories of the day are those hours we spent together after the festivities were concluded, and it is those hours we talk about when my husband and I talk about our wedding day. 

    We planned it in 3 months.  I remember nearly all of it 35 years later, though I seldom get out the wedding photos.  The movie in my head is quite enough.

  • I am happy to report that Melanie Scott has agreed to marry me.

    Which is as it should be.

    About time you asked the lady, Domenico o’ Mine.


  • Thank you, everyone, for the good wishes and advice. 

    I’ll let Dom’s version of the story stand, since it’s his blog—though, of course, I’d tell it differently.

    If you want to see pictures of Dom and myself, look in the photo gallery.

  • Congratulations to both of you!  Enjoy every moment of the planning, wedding, and most especially the marriage- it’s awesome!

  • Congratulations!

    All the advice is great but I can’t believe no one told you to leave the seat down & put your dirty clothes in the laundry basket (secrets to a happy marriage). wink

  • Congratulations.  As you prepare your prenuptial agreement, be sure it is stipulated you are to have 4 hours a day to read and write blogs.

    (for the humor-challenged, the above advice is a joke…)

  • Congrats, Dom-boy! 

    Specify to the D.J. that you don’t want to hear the song “Feel Like Makin’ Love” at your reception.  If I’d had a gun….

    Melanie, don’t let the photographer take a picture of your father turning his pants pockets inside out, or any other dumb poses.  Waste of time and money!

    Keep the wedding music sacred and Catholic.  But you already know that.

    And when you’re married and you have troubles, remind yourselves that your union is sacramental.

  • Another piece of advice, if I may.  This advice was given to me by a fellow Catholic who had been married for 50 years and raised 6 children:  never ever criticize your wife in front of another person.  It’s simple and very helpful for a happy marriage (and harder than you might think.)

  • In the midst of the struggle, God send us an occasional smile. This one is so resplendent that I need sun glasses to contemplate it!

    I waited over 20 years for my beloved Sonia Maria, and while I would have waited 20 years more if need be, I am grateful to God I that I did not have to and for the 5 children he has entrusted to our care—one but for a small time within her mother’s womb.

    Our family’s prayers are with Melanie and you. The deepest joys are yet to come.

    May God bless and keep you both and bless you abundantly with new lives to love and care for on His behalf.


  • Melanie Bettinelli….wasn’t that a singing duo from the 80’s that got busted for lip-synching?  Oh…no…that was Milli Vanilli.  My mistake.

  • Thank you everyone for the felicitations and advice. It all brings a smile to our faces.

    A few responses: We’re actually going to keep things very simple. Video will be a stationary camera and perhaps another camera for during the vows. I’d rather not have cameramen running around the altar during Mass. Still photos will be kept to a minimum and very tasteful.

    I don’t think we’re going to use a DJ. Instead, I’m going to load my iPod with music we choose and let it run.

    The wedding music will be sacred and the ceremony will be very traditional. If you know us we’re simple and uncomplicated people and our wedding will reflect that.

  • Ahah! I’m not the only one to point at the alliteration, Melanie! Good job. See? sisters know best.
    And as far as not getting pictures of parents doing silly stuff, I’m not sure Mel’s going to have a choice…..

  • Joy! This is superb news. The best marriage advice I ever got from anyone came to me from Father Paul Williams, who told Julie and me in our marriage prep that we should never go to bed angry with each other. We haven’t always followed it, because I have this magical masculine ability to fall dead asleep in the middle of a late-night argument, but on the occasion that has happened, the very first thing I do in the morning is make up. You’d be surprised by how few arguments you have overall if you make that your policy. Of course, men being men, it’s HARD to apologize, especially if you think you were the wronged party. But it’s humbling, and it’s good, and its part of what makes marriage such a joyful thing.

    Indeed, when I look at older people whose marriages are not happy, the key element seems to be that both parties nursed grievances for years, until they forgot how to heal them.

  • Theresa,

    There’s nothing wrong with getting some goofy shots of the family.  Just don’t pay a photog big bucks to do it!  Photography is an excellent place to trim unnecessary expense from the wedding budget.

    While we’re at it, how about a shot of Melanie running to Dom while your parents feign uncontrollable sobbing?  Cheesy!

  • Congratulations you two crazy kids!! 

    Is the stationary camera also going to be a webcast?  I have no doubt Dom that you are geeky enough to have considered that for the plethora of blog visitors you have. 

    Wouldn’t that be an event?  A Bettnet webcast wedding!! 

  • You know I think I could do that….

    Uh, oh, Melanie says no deal. She says that you get a smack for even suggesting it to me.

    … but I really do think I could do it. (Imagine mad scientist giggles now.)

  • So where’s it being held?  Who’s doing the music?  How many Marty Haugen songs can you fit into one wedding? 

    What is proper geek attire for a wedding?  Can we get plastic pocket protectors in Apple Aqua?

  • It’s not going to be one of those clown masses, is it?  Hey, somebody had to ask.  Congratulations.

  • Father Paul, as noted by Rod Dreher above, is absolutely right.  Forgive and FORGET.  I have heard people who have been married for years bringing back up old arguments or hurts from previous years- those are corrosive over time.

  • Congratulations Dom and Melanie!  May your marriage be blessed and full of joy, with all of the graces needed to grow deeper in the love of Christ!

  • Rod’s comment about marriage and not taking your quarrels to the next day reminded me of some things he said about a favorite recent movie of mine—THE SECRET LIVES OF DENTISTS. You and Melanie might want to watch it together some time in the next few months during marriage prep—a portrayal of what dying to self means and looks like. (The film is entirely secular, but as a dry-eyedly romantic depiction of love and marriage, it has no recent peers of my acquaintance.)

  • Dom, be sure to

    (a) Place all the arrangements in the hands of your mother-in-law and encourage her to call the priest with questions and directives
    (b) …late at night so he has fewer distractions as he is listening to her
    (c) Rose petals. Definitely rose petals to be thrown outside the church. Rice is too easy to sweep up
    (d) There’s some obscure anthem that is based on the tune that was playing when Leonardo DiCaprio drowned in that dopey movie. Ask for it. It will take the Music Director eight to ten days to track down. Besides, the lyrics are pantheistic.
    (e) PLEASE, PLEASE be sure, when you’re making the arrangements, and the Priest asks if this is a Mass or a ceremony, to ask, “What is the difference?”
    (f) …then, ask, “Well, how long is the Full Mass? Our cocktail hour begins at 5:30PM.”
    (g) To make the wedding truly memorable (for the priest), have your cousin who truly reads beautifully and is to be the lector step up to the pulpit, open up a carefully folded sheet and say, “Before I read this reading, there is a poem by Helen Steiner Rice which I think perfectly expresses The Spirit of This Day…”
    (h) I offer this directive service not as a one-shot deal, but to accompany you throughout your life. Please, feel free to call me for Father Wilson’s Funeral Suggestions if a loved one should ‘pass.’ For example, my all-time favorite, the babe who insisted on giving a eulogy, and, standing in the pulpit, said, “Well, Ah know that y’all are just feeling awful that Momma has passed, buy y’all know what Momma would say. ‘If you’re havin’ a bad day, just go out and get laid…’”
    (i) Go back and read (a). The mother-in-law is the key to a memorable wedding.


  • I think that’s the best advice so far, Father. The only difference is that Melanie’s mom is far from the bride-zilla type. She’s more of the “tell where and when to be and I will” type.

    Now her sister Theresa on the other hand….

  • Dom.
        All blessings on you and Melanie.  May your wedding be joyous and your marriage long and happy.

  • No, no, no, no, no … Dom, Dom, Dom. You’re off to a bad start already.

    Do NOT, under any circumstances, ever say your mother-in-law is anything other than The Beast From Hell. Even if she isn’t, you may need to say that in the future or some unforeseen contingency. The Husband’s Greatest Weapon is the Overbearing Mother-in-Law.

    Do not disarm yourself even before walking to the gallo … er … altar.

  • No, no, no. Dom has it right. My mother is sweet as a peach, and if a little kooky, (so are we all) wouldn’t dream of interfering. I on the other hand… Am already spending too much time thinking about it, and I have schoolwork to do before I need to stick my head too deep in that sand. My mother’s top concerns I’m sure will be convincing my sister to let her bring good Texas BBQ.

    And I appreciate the helpful suggestion about the goofy pictures… Don’t worry, I have a camera, and if I’m not a pro, I have at least some idea of how to use it. And friends to help…

  • Fr. Wilson,

    That post is hilarious.  LOL.  Sounds like you could write a book of priests’ horror stories.

    Thank you for ‘sharing’, as they say.

  • Right now this is the best thread in St. Blogs.  It’s wonderful to have something happy to talk about for a change! 

    Fr. Wilson should write a regular column on funny priest stories.  “A Mass or a ceremony…What’s the difference?”  Too funny!  Maybe you could persuade him to write a column for your blog, Dom.

    Speaking of humor and good advice, something that has worked well for us…when you’re at the end of your rope with something your spouse does, use humor instead of anger to make the point.  It has prevented lots of arguments in our house.  And when humor fails, as occasionally it does, keep reminding yourself that God hates divorce.  wink

  • Dom:

    My ex-mother-in-law is a sweetheart. Actually felt sorry for me when the roof caved in on everything. I still call her on Mother’s Day and Thanksgiving, stuff like that. She asks about my parents. I had one of THOSE sisters-in-law too, by the way. But it didn’t prevent me from pulling a cute little stunt at the reception. You know the part where the groom removes the garter? Well, I had this old-fashioned girdle tucked up my sleeve, and when you’re at an angle where no one’s looking, you give her a little pinch at just the right moment and then…

    Hey, sorry Melanie, but I had a lot of people fooled. Including the bride.

    Oh, and about what Carrie said. My parents had this built-in fail-safe mechanism. Whenever their discussions (never called an argument) got to a certain threshold, one of them would then make some ice-breaking remark, as if to break whatever tension was there. The other would respond in kind, and it sort of defused from there.

    Oh, one more thing. Never, EVER use the “d” word. It’s one of the few things in life you can’t take back, and you’ll change the landscape forever.

    But you already knew that.