Like a Disney tale­: a princess, villain, heroes, and then . . .The dream came true

Melissa Schlenvogt, who toured the world performing as a Disney princess, was photographed on a wedding day that seemed like a dream after a near nightmare.

MELISSA SCHLENVOGT AND James Alexander’s wedding came off without a hitch after 24 hours of hectic hall decorating the day before, thanks to a decorator who didn’t show up. Photo courtesy of Ari Rosenthal Photography
Ozaukee Press staff

Many little girls have dream of a fairy tale wedding. Melissa Schlenvogt’s came true.

Melissa and James Alexander met while on tour performing with Disney — she was playing Snow White and he was Thor — and they fell in love and got engaged.

Just like a Disney story, this tale features a villain and a host of unexpected heroes who saved the day.

The courtship started when Schlenvogt and Alexander met in 2013 performing in “Dream Along with Mickey.” Schlenvogt is from the Town of Port Washington. Alexander is from Southern California, but he grew up in Texas as a big Green Bay Packers fan, which sparked the pair’s friendship.

Melissa eventually was hired for a different Disney show that was headed to Southeast Asia.

Alexander had been there and offered advice.

“I said great, I sent him two pages of questions,” Schlenvogt said.

The two stayed in touch and eventually crossed paths in Tulsa, where they had their first date — at a shooting range and a barbecue.

“I outshot him and I guess that’s all I really needed to accomplish,” Melissa said.

They visited Melissa’s sister in Denver and James passed the test. “To get her approval is like it’s snowing in July in Wisconsin,” Melissa said.

James later proposed in Orlando. Melissa said yes, and the two began planning a Wisconsin wedding from 1,200 miles away. Schlenvogt found a decorator in Illinois through an outsourcing company to handle the hall, the 27,000-square-foot Columbia St. Mary’s Center at the Ozaukee County Fairgrounds in Cedarburg.

Melissa’s mother Pam Schlenvogt met with the decorator in a snowstorm last February.

She took measurements of the hall and received a deposit from Pam and Melissa’s father Lee. More deposits followed.

“She was supplying everything — chair covers, glasses, lighting,” Pam said.

In July, Pam said the decorator agreed she would be at the hall at 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 16, two days before the wedding.

Since the wedding party was scattered across the country, the couple planned joint bachelor/bachelorette parties in Chicago for that day.

The decorator didn’t show up on time.

Pam figured she was running late. Noon and 1 p.m. passed.

Phone calls, texts, emails and FaceTime requests went unanswered.

“I was starting to get pretty worried,” Pam said.

She stayed in contact with Melissa throughout the day, and anxiety began to mount.

At 7 p.m., Pam got a text from someone claiming to be the decorator’s father saying his daughter was in a car accident in Chicago and wouldn’t be able to make it.

Offers to pick up the items themselves were turned down.

“I was sympathetic until I started getting suspicious,” Pam said.

At 10:50 p.m., Pam got a text saying the decorator wasn’t coming. The realization hit.

“Everything that took us nine months to do we had 24 hours to redo,” Pam said.

Melissa and Alexander began looking for vendors online on the way home from Chicago.

Both have experience in hospitality.

“Melissa, bless her, she never lost her cool.

There were just a couple of brief moments of overwhelming,” Alexander said.

Inquires to rent equipment began Friday morning.

They were sometimes laughed at.

The couple chose Aug. 18 to be close to Melissa’s parents anniversary of Aug. 16.

It turned out 8-18-18 was the most popular wedding day of the year.

They had 500 guests coming.

Pam and Lee began calling family and friends for help.

Pam’s sister-in-law instantly shut down her computer, told her boss she had a family emergency and left work.

Another had her stylist cut her hair dry to save time.

Lee called a friend, “Remember when you said if I ever needed anything for the wedding?” He had someone pick up water glasses in Menomonee Falls, then someone else to get more since they were short.

“We didn’t know what to do,” Lee said. “When the A team showed up, things all got taken care of.”

Pam and Melissa kept it together until they got to the hall on Friday. Melissa had just picked up lights in Brookfield.

“I just started crying because all my family was there and asked what they could do,” she said.

“That,” Pam said, “is when you find out how much you truly do appreciate that support.”

At one point, half a dozen people were on the road picking up items for the hall, including the aisle runner for the church.

Pam sent someone to pick up pizza for the crew, and her credit card was declined.

She had to quickly explain to the creditcard company that all the charges were legitimate.

Family friend Renae Krueger handled the flowers, doing each table setting by hand.

“She did things I didn’t know you could do with centerpieces,” Melissa said.

One big problem were the hanging lights in the hall.

Mary Sheffield, the sales and marketing coordinator for Ozaukee County, stepped up and found new lights.

County crews helped put them up with a manual lift.

“The crew helped us do things that I don’t think they’re normally asked to do,” Pam said.

“We were able to accomplish in 12 hours what should have taken us nine months.”

The hall wasn’t Pam and Lee’s only challenge, however.

They were hosting the rehearsal dinner for 150 people, complete with a fireworks display and bounce house.

Lee was sweating over two grills of brats and burgers when Pam reminded him they had to be at the church in Mequon for rehearsal in 45 minutes.

His brother and brother-in-law took over the flipping.

“The Friday before the wedding was the most stressful day of my entire life,” Pam said.

After the rehearsal, Melissa had to go see the hall.

“I said, ‘Melissa, is everything as perfect as you want it to be?’ And she said yes,” Pam said.

The wedding day itself went off without a hitch.

“Everything was perfect,” Melissa said. “It was an awesome day but I’m never going to do it again.”

Work, however, wasn’t done.

Pam and Lee hosted a gift opening on Sunday for another 50 people and the hall needed to be cleaned up and items returned.

Melissa and Alexander’s Disney friends who tour the world and know how to set up and take down sprung into action.

“I’ve never seen anybody so organized.

They took one hand, and the whole table cloth flew off and the other hand did the other.

I did one table in the time they did seven,” Lee said.

In the end, the newly married couple got their happily ever after — they recently moved back to Port after Alexander got a promotion with Apple and just took Melissa’s parents on a well-deserved Disney cruise as a thank you.

Pam thinks the decorator ran a scam.

The Schlenvogts are going through attorneys in trying to get their money back.

Pam pledges to not let it happen again.

“We have another daughter who will someday be married, and we will not hire a decorator for her,” she said. “When that day comes, we will call back our family and friends.”




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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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