Sometimes you just have to be patient in life and wait for the perfect partner. That is exactly how it was for Melanie Haumont and Ray Skiba. Both had been in prior relationships and they weren’t really looking for love. But when they met in November of 2015, they realized there was something special there. Melanie, banquet manager at Deerwood Country Club, said she was immediately attracted to Ray’s genuine personality. “He is just a kind person, always willing to help people, he honestly cared about me. It was like a missing puzzle piece. We just fit together.” Ray, who is a U.S. Navy Air Crewman, said for the first time in his life, he felt like he found a true partner. “She wanted to go hiking, take the kids places, go to the beach. We were always on the go. We compromised on things. It was a partnership.”

 

Ray never expected to get married again, but he said after spending time with Melanie, there was no turning back. “This needs to happen. It was more of a realization I found what I had been looking for.”

Ray asked Melanie what type of engagement ring she might like. She insisted that it be something simple. She preferred spending money on trips with the kids. Ray had a brilliant idea. One of their favorite things to do is walk on the beach collecting stones. He took some of those treasures, brought them to a jeweler and had them put in a sparkly setting. It could not have been more perfect. As they strolled on the beach this past April, Ray handed her the ring box and got on one knee. Melanie treasures that moment. “We were the only ones on the beach. It was very personal and private. No one else has my ring. I would rather have that than anything.”

Melanie and Ray were married on Sept. 30 at St. Paul’s Catholic Church. Melanie’s son walked her down the aisle and was also a groomsman. Her daughter was a bridesmaid and Ray’s two daughters were the flower girls. Some of their children also did readings as part of the ceremony. Melanie said she will never forget seeing Ray as she walked down the aisle and realizing her dreams were coming true. “I never thought I would have this moment. Everything was exactly as it was meant to be.” Ray’s favorite part was putting the wedding ring on Melanie’s finger.

Their reception followed at Seaside at Naval Station Mayport. Their first dance was to Rascal Flatts’ “Bless the Broken Road,” which Melanie called very fitting for them. Then, they had a surprise for everyone, including themselves. Melanie and Ray are expecting a baby and they turned their wedding cake into a gender reveal in front of their 70 guests. They did not even know if they were having a boy or a girl until they cut into the cake and saw that it was blue. Melanie disclosed that they both secretly wanted a boy, so it was the perfect moment.

Melanie feels so blessed that she found Ray. “It is nice to be able to know I will be able to go through life with a partner. We find joy in being with each other. We just love being together. If he is not home, I feel like a part of me is literally missing. He has become my best friend.” Ray explained how wonderful it is to be on the same page with someone and have the same goals. “I feel comfort. It feels like it is supposed to be.” They also feel fortunate that their children all get along. And everyone is excited to welcome baby Raymond Joseph Skiba III into the family in 2018.

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