The moment Eddie saw Jessica walk into his 29th birthday party (she is good friends with Eddie's cousin), he turned to a friend and declared he'd found the woman he was going to marry. "He always says that I was the best birthday gift he's ever gotten," Jessica says.
A year after he convinced her to go on their first date, Eddie, now 31 and a restaurant owner, popped the question to Jessica, 25 and an events manager, on a hotel rooftop in New York City, with Christmas lights glittering and Grand Central Station in the background. "It was truly magical. I felt like I was floating in the sky with the stars all around us," Jessica says.
The couple took a year and half to plan their May 4, 2013, nuptials. Their Baltimore, Maryland, fete was inspired by Hollywood's most classic icons: Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn. "I wanted my wedding to reflect the elegance and grace they exuded," Jessica says. A black, ivory, and gold color palette and lush floral arrangements, all captured in the timeless style of photographer Elisa Bricker, made her vision a reality.
When Jessica slipped on her Amsale gown, "tears started flowing," she recalls. The elegant and understated A-line design included a large bow, asymmetrical neckline, and pockets. "My colleagues joked that I better not stick my Blackberry in there on my big day," says Jessica, a self-proclaimed workaholic.
To enhance her gown's simple beauty, Jessica chose sparkling chandelier earrings and a crystal and pearl headband.
Jessica's strappy silver Stuart Weitzman heels fit so well "that I didn't need to change into my back-up comfortable shoes during the reception," she says.
The bride carried a handkerchief embroidered with her and Eddie's initials in one of her gown's pockets. "It was my something blue!" she says.
"I always wanted to wear a long veil as I walked down the aisle," Jessica says of her sheer chapel-length veil, which was trimmed in a thin satin ribbon.
Eddie's fashion reflected the couple's classic wedding style, pairing a black tuxedo and white vest and bow tie.
The wedding party also donned black and white, with bridesmaids choosing their own style of full-length chiffon J. Crew dresses. "I wanted their personalities to shine," says the bride.
"My bouquet was one of my favorite things!" Jessica says. Made entirely of Lily of the Valley, the small cluster of white blossoms "smelled so fragrant, I'll never forget it!"
The bride walked down a long aisle with nosegays at the ends of the pews to meet her groom. The altar was flanked by towering arrangements of ivory hydrangea, roses and greenery. "We didn't see each other until I walked down the aisle," Jessica says. "I had dreamed about that moment for a long time, and the real thing was even better."
After exchanging traditional vows, the couple walked back up the aisle as husband and wife to "God Only Knows" by the Beach Boys, played live by a string trio and piano.
The Four Seasons ballroom where Jessica and Eddie hosted their evening reception was absolutely glowing. "Candles were everywhere!" Jessica says. "That was one thing I said over and over again as we planned, and it was exactly what I'd pictured."
Floral arrangements alternated between low, round bowls and tall, fluted centerpieces of ivory roses, hydrangeas, and greenery. "My friends Instagrammed the flowers all night, saying how beautiful they were!" Jessica says.
Table numbers were handwritten in gold paint by a calligrapher. "It was expensive," Jessica says. "But totally worth it!"
The menu was printed in gold ink on black paper. The meal itself was just as decadent. The couple served port wine poached pears, beef tenderloin, and Maryland crab cakes before cutting into the wedding cake.
Ceramic signs adorned the couples black Chiavari chairs. Together they read, "love of my life," so true for Eddie and Jessica!
Even though their dessert menu included chocolate covered strawberries, macaroons, pate de fruit and an almond tartlet, the couple still saved room for a slice of their five-tier, hand-painted gold wedding cake, with layers of red velvet cake and dulce de leche filling, made by Charm City Cakes. "It was so massive that we still have leftovers in the freezer!" Jessica admits.
As the couple swayed to Taylor Swift's "Enchanted," Eddie sang the touching lyrics aloud to Jessica. "That's when all my family and friends started crying!" she says. "This had been our song since we started dating, and the lyrics express how we felt when we first met."
Even though it's been months since the couple returned from their honeymoon in the Riviera Maya, Mexico, Jessica is still marveling over sharing her life and her home with Eddie. "Nothing makes me happier than seeing Eddie walk into our front door after he gets home from work," she says.
Her advice to other brides? Remember your big day is more than decorating details. "Don't forget that you are marrying the love of your life and how blessed you are to be able to share this moment with your families and friends," Jessica says. "Everything else will become less important."
Ceremony Venue: The Memorial Chapel at the University of Maryland || Reception Venue: Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore || Wedding Planner: Terri Eaves of Bash Fine Events || Bride's Wedding Dress: Amsale || Veil: Peter Langner || Shoes: Stuart Weitzman || Makeup: Susan Lim || Bridesmaids' Dresses: J.Crew || Groom's Suit: Ralph Lauren || Wedding Bands: Tiffany & Co. || Florist: Beehive Events || Invitations & Paper Goods: Papyrus, Meant To Be Calligraphy || Music: Ceremony - Da Vinci Strings, Reception - DJ D-Mac and Associates || Catering: Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore || Cake: Charm City Cakes || Rentals: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental, DC Rental, Chicka || Photo Booth: Create and Love Booth || Photography: Elisa Bricker