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Still flying after surprise Shauna L. Nealon and Michael J. VanVelson

Greater Rochester International Airport is the place Michael J. VanVelson picked to propose to Shauna L. Nealon on March 18, 2013. Nealon and her friend, who lives in Rochester, were returning from a weekend in Atlanta and VanVelson was there to surprise her – wearing a chauffeur’s uniform.

The groom is not a chauffeur. He is a purchasing agent at Curbell Plastics. But he was dressed as a chauffeur that day, holding up a sign that read “Shauna Nealon.” His mother was his accomplice.

“She came to be on the lookout,” VanVelson said.

It was a good thing she did. There was some gate confusion.

“The one end of the airport where I thought Shauna was coming from she did not come from. She ended up seeing my mom before she even saw me,” VanVelson said.

Nealon wondered why in the world VanVelson’s mother was there.

“I was walking up to his mom, and she was kind of ignoring me and pointing in his direction. That’s when I turned my head, and I saw my name. It took a second to realize it was actually him. He was covering his face with the sign so I really didn’t know,” the bride recalled.

A proposal followed. Her answer was yes. The two were married at 3 p.m. May 31 in Trinity Episcopal Church, Hamburg.

The bride’s parents are Thomas J. and Pamela A. Nealon of Hamburg. The bridegroom’s parents are William A. and Rose M. VanVelson of Spencerport.

The bride is a 2001 graduate of Frontier High School. She earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from SUNY Brockport and also earned a master’s degree in mental health counseling from Medaille College. The bride is an intervention specialist at Child and Family Services. The groom graduated from Spencerport High School in 2000. He earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from SUNY Brockport.

They didn’t meet at Brockport, however. They met on a dating website, but the bride knew his sister, Kelly Gallo, for years before she knew him. Or anything about him.

“I went to college with his sister at Genesee Community College from 2001 to 2004; I went there before I went to Brockport,” said the bride, who received an associate’s degree in human services from GCC.

“I knew she had a brother but I thought he was much older. Then I found out he was right around the same age,” the bride said.

The Rev. Denise Metzger, of Clarence, heard the couple’s vows. After the wedding ceremony, guests gathered for a reception at Brierwood Country Club, Hamburg. When the reception ended, the bride and groom invited the guests to join them for a few games of bowling.

“Everyone seemed to really like it,” VanVelson said.

The couple traveled to Sandals Whitehouse in Jamaica for their honeymoon and make their home in Blasdell.

– Susan Martin