from Mississauga.com by Alex Consiglio:
Michael Arruda put on his best suit three years ago on Christmas Eve, got a ride over to his lifelong friend's home and had her roused from a sound sleep at 12:01 a.m.
Melissa Mancini came down her winding staircase in her robe to find Michael down on one knee with a dozen red roses and a wedding ring.
"What are you doing here?" she asked. Then, suddenly, she realized her dreams were coming true.
Michael and Melissa were married today at St. Catherine of Siena Church in front of more than 400 people.
They are a unique couple. They both have Down Syndrome.
The couple, who have known each other since they were 2-years-old, left the church in a horse and carriage. They rode back to Melissa's father's home behind the Trillium Health Centre.
"Wooooooo, we're married," yelled Melissa, 25. "We did it!"
Melissa said the horse carriage ride back — despite the "stinky" smell — was "amazing and beautiful." It was just what she always dreamed of since deciding more than a decade ago that she would marry Michael.
They've been dating for seven years, but Ellie De Sousa, Michael's mother, said the two have been taking about getting married since they were just 12.
"Michael was always chasing Melissa around," said De Sousa. "Melissa wouldn't give him the time of day until she began to be interested in men, and then it was settled."
De Sousa said Melissa and Michael first met when she founded Peel's Caring Network for Challenged Children with Anna Mancini, Melissa's mother.
The two have been inseparable since.
Moving forward, the newlyweds will alternate living in the Mancini and De Sousa homes, month by month.
"I wasn't nervous at all," said Michael. In fact, his mother was probably more nervous than either him or Melissa.
"I'm married!" yelled Michael, a big smile on his face as he held Melissa's hand.
For their honeymoon, the newlyweds will first head to Niagara Falls before flying to the Dominican Republic, where Melissa's sister will be joining them.
"She won't be sleeping in my room anymore," said Melissa, pointing out to her mother Anna that she's now a married woman.
"It's a real fairy tale story," said Anna.
Click here for wedding photos!
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