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Rachel Melvin Wedding Interview

You’re Cordially Invited

Who: Rachel Melvin (ex-Chelsea, DAYS) and Kevin Barrett

Where: Joshua Tree, CA

When: October 15, 2022

Meet Cute: “Kevin and I met at Home Depot, standing in line at the checkout. He and his best friend, James, were in front of me and I got a splinter in my finger and I was with my friend Laura and I was complaining about it. They overheard me and then they offered to try to take it out with tweezers that they had in the car. I was like, ‘I’m not gonna go back to some random guy’s car,’ but then they ended up getting it out of my finger just with their fingers. And then they were like, ‘You guys wanna go out for drinks tonight?’ And I said no and Laura made me go because I didn’t know anyone in the desert. I ended up hitting it off with James, who’s gay, so it was not romantic. And then I hung out with James for, like, a year, and kind of ignored and avoided Kevin because everyone kept trying to set us up. And then a year or so later, I had this weird sound bath experience — this sounds so hippie — where I was trying to get clarity about my career. And instead I got clarity about the person I was supposed to marry. The image was of this person whose face I couldn’t see, but they rode a motorcycle and were very sensitive but tough and good with their hands and blah, blah, blah, and I already knew them. And then one day I matched with Kevin on Tinder and it was like a light bulb/Eureka moment and I was like, ‘Oh, my God, it’s him,’ and then it ended up being him.”

The Proposal: “I told him I’m not a wedding person. I told him I didn’t want anyone around, I wanted it to be very low-key. It was supposed to take place on my birthday but Mark Hapka [ex-Nathan, DAYS] is my best friend, and Kevin wanted him there. Mark had to be back in L.A. on February 9, which is my birthday. So, Kevin and Mark had been talking for a week leading up to it, trying to create this clever, cute way and it all kind of came to a head on the 8th. We have an outdoor movie theater, and I thought we were starting to watch a movie but it was a video that Kevin and Mark had been working on of all of our family members and friends, giving a video message that they compiled wishing me a happy birthday. And and then the second half of the video they played after Kevin proposed, which was all of them congratulating me on the proposal and all that other stuff. So it was really cool.”

Planning Stages: “I said maybe we should just elope like everyone else, but, that was because of Covid. We thought, ‘No, let’s just like actually have a wedding next year where we can see everybody again, maybe Covid will calm down.’ It was kind of like Sex and the City, the movie. I saw the dress and then everything just spiraled from there and it became this big event that I don’t think either of us ever really wanted, but we got excited because we got to build our venue and decorate and design, which is something we’re really focusing on. And we got caught up in it, like, ‘Hey, this is the venue we built and we’re also getting married and everyone’s here for the first time to see where we’ve been living because no one’s come to see.’ So I found the dress and then we started looking at florals and then we had the photographer. We wanted to do dinner and the whole thing was supposed to be in celebration of my grandma, who really loved Kevin and didn’t live to see the proposal, but she really, really wanted us to get married while she was alive. So, we were gonna do a whole pasta dinner and I was gonna make all the pasta from scratch, using all her recipes that we felt like she was there and everything was so nuanced and inclusive. And we were really excited.”

Prep Work: “We had rented a dance floor and chairs; we had a DJ come out from L.A. and we put together and compiled all these songs that meant something to either us or our guests. For the D.I.Y. stuff, we had hired a florist, but for the tablescape, we had been thrifting for all these antiques because my grandfather loved secondhand shopping, so that was a nod to him. We found all these candlesticks and old picture frames and we designed our own signs. Kevin is very good with technical stuff, so he had bought a projector and lights and put together this wonderful slideshow that was supposed to play during dinner. Everything was so orchestrated and set up like to completely succeed.”

Storm Watch: “We knew that there was going to be a storm, but it wasn’t supposed to happen until Tuesday and we were getting married on Saturday, so we thought we were fine. Of course, Friday was a beautiful, sunny day and Sunday was a beautiful, sunny day and Saturday started out to be a beautiful sunny day and then right at 4:30, down to the minute we were supposed to get married, is when the storm clouds broke. My bedroom window overlooks where the reception was and I was watching guests pick up shovels and digging trenches and running in the rain wearing ponchos trying to cover all the tables so all the things wouldn’t get ruined. When there is a flash flood in the desert, it’s not so much about the actual rain, it’s about the aftermath. We had puddles or lakes underneath all of the tables, so there was no way we were gonna be able to eat. People were building tents so that we could still have a ceremony and they could be sheltered from the rain. When I turned the corner to walk down the aisle, all the runners were just completely obliterated, covered in mud, there were no chairs, nothing, and I was like, ‘This is my worst nightmare.’ And up to that point I still hadn’t seen how bad everything was. After the photos that we tried to take before we ran out of light, Kevin and I jumped in the golf cart, and as we were driving like back to the reception area, I just saw all these trenches and mud and uneven ground and it started to sprinkle again. And so everyone panicked and brought everything upstairs into the main house, which we didn’t expect. So we had 100 people pile into our main house, which is only like 1700 square feet; it’s not built to accommodate that many people. I think it was really awkward for everyone because they didn’t know how I would react, but for me it wasn’t like, ‘Oh my wedding day is ruined.’ We still got married, I was still with the people I loved, but for us it was more superficial, which sounds terrible. We were just like, ‘Oh this big event that we worked and planned for for nine months just got ruined in 15 minutes.’ So that was a bummer. There was always this stage direction in my soap script: crestfallen. ‘Chelsea is crestfallen.’ I never knew what that meant until my wedding day. I was just like, ‘Oh this is that feeling.’ We were so distracted by that that I don’t really feel like we were able to be fully present in the way that most bride and grooms are.”

The Aftermath: “We were looking at the photos that we got a couple of days ago, and our guests just looked like they had the best time. So I guess we’re grateful for the story. I’d be lying if I said there was a level of embarrassment, which is so ridiculous because we did nothing wrong. I mean, no one can control the weather, but I think we felt really embarrassed and ashamed because we really had just isolated ourselves for nine months and we missed family gatherings and celebrations to really work on making this an incredible event that everyone just really enjoyed.”

But Wait, There’s More! “Eight days after the wedding, we decided to be social and we went to an event in town where we contracted Covid for the first time. We successfully avoided it for two years, then got Covid three days before we were supposed to leave for our honeymoon. I got it a little bit worse than Kevin, but there was no way even if we weren’t contagious, that we were getting on a plane to Thailand. Then our dog almost died and then the day after that, our water main broke. And then Kevin broke his leg a week after that. It got to the point where we were genuinely afraid to wake up the next morning, because we didn’t know what was gonna happen. But it felt like all these things kept happening to get us to laugh because the minute it got so ridiculous that we had to laugh is the minute it all stopped. It wasn’t until we got sick and became very vulnerable and had neighbors offer to bring us soup and watch our dogs and drive us places, just out of the kindness of their hearts, that our eyes were opened up to the bigger picture. I realized I am so blessed and have so much good in my life. And I’ve been focusing on all the things that I think make a life good and well-lived and successful, but I’m missing what actually does. So I actually feel a lot more full and grateful and present and at peace since everything happened.”