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Wedding plans rekindled

| Saturday, June 17, 2006

Melanie Revitsky refused to believe her wedding plans had gone up in smoke.

Two days before she was to wed Michael Love in Transfiguration Roman Catholic Church, Melanie learned from her father that the West Deer church was destroyed in a fire.

"How often does that happen?" the 20-year-old bride-to-be said. "After I found out it was a reality, I didn't know how to react."

After a frantic search Friday afternoon, which included pleas for help on local TV and radio stations, Melanie found a church to hold her service -- Holy Sepulcher along Route 8 in the Glade Mills section of Middlesex, Butler County.

The service is scheduled take place at 1:30 p.m. today before 250 guests.

Jackie O'Toole, Transfiguration Church secretary, said weddings are a rare thing at Transfiguration because of the advanced age of most parishioners.

"We get maybe one wedding a year here," she said.

Many of Melanie's and Michael's guests, flying in from all over the country, had no idea Transfiguration Church burned down until Friday evening, Melanie said.

"I'm just thankful it didn't happen the day of the wedding," she said. "At least we had two days' notice."

Melanie has been a Transfiguration parishioner since she was 2 years old. She also attended Transfiguration School from kindergarten through sixth grade.

The new couple will live in Butler.

Melanie's mother, Anne Revitsky, said she broke down and cried when she heard that Transfiguration Church was gone -- not primarily because of her daughter's wedding, but because of the memories she'd forged at the church during the past 19 years.

Anne Revitsky has memories of her daughter walking down the aisle at Transfiguration Church as a child and as a student.

She's just disappointed she won't get to see her daughter walk down the aisle as a bride.

"I'm OK with this," she said Friday. "We'll go on, and it will happen tomorrow. "But I think it hit me more that way than in reference to the wedding, itself.

"We lost a piece of our lives."

For some superstitious brides, having their childhood church burn two days before their wedding would make them question their nuptials, the bride said.

Not her. Melanie said she couldn't be surer about her decision to marry Michael.

"I've had a lot of people say to me, 'Are you sure this is what you want to do?'" she said.

"But my mother-in-law said, 'If you can get through this, you can get through anything.' So that's kind of the approach I'm taking."

Dan Hilliard can be reached at dhilliard@tribweb.com.

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