Despite all the characteristics and attributions that make up “your type,” most people want a partner who will weather life’s inevitable ups and downs by their side. Fortunately, Jaclyn and Nick Cucco found that in each other during their teens. “I was a freshman in high school and Nick was a cool—and mysterious—upperclassman,” Jaclyn explains. “We truly are high school sweethearts; I suppose you could say [it’s] a tale as old as time.”
However, three days before the couple was expected to jet off to Italy in 2019—where Nick planned to pop the question—Jaclyn’s father was admitted to hospice. So, they postponed their trip and Nick waited for the right time to propose. “Nick hid my engagement ring in one of his suit coat pockets as he knew it was one of the only places—if not, the only place— I would not look for the six months in between,” she shares. “Nick later proposed to me on my dad’s birthday on a gondola in Venice.”
Though the ongoing pandemic created yet another curveball, the couple addressed the challenge as they always have: together. For their May 29, 2021 nuptials, Jaclyn and Nick traded in their original plans—a 100-plus party in Santa Barbara—for a 12-person micro wedding at Utah’s luxurious Amangiri. “We had always loved Amangiri,” the bride shares. “My dad lived in Scottsdale and had always been an avid hiker. I felt like he was ‘there’ with me because of that. The venue really embodied everything that Nick and I love.”
Equal parts romantic, intimate, and chic, the day was nothing short of a real-life dream. Keep reading for a behind-the-scenes look into these nuptials, as planned by Dani Blasena of HauteFêtes and photographed by KT Merry.
It was important for the couple to incorporate their favorite inspiration sources—butterflies for her, the color pink for him—throughout their special day. Fortunately, the stars aligned with his and hers gift bags, which were distributed during the rehearsal dinner.
Jaclyn and Nick kicked off the festivities in style with a welcome party at Amangiri. There, the bride turned heads in a breezy Zimmerman dress and butterfly earrings.
Once the couple pressed pause on their larger California wedding, Amangiri was the obvious choice. “I was obsessed with the architecture, the elegant simplicity of the property, and its setting in the Utah high desert,” the bride says of the venue.
Later, the couple hosted a rehearsal dinner, where the bride slipped into a glitter set from Mach & Mach.
“Our rehearsal dinner at Raven’s Nest was out of this world,” Jaclyn recalls. “Being tucked away in the desert in a nook with the stars above us. We even got to witness Elon Musk’s satellites from SpaceX's Starlink Mission cruise across the sky. I have no other word to describe that whole night and experience than ‘otherworldly.’”
On the big day, Jaclyn got ready in feathered pajamas from Sleeper before putting on her wedding gown from Milla Nova. According to the bride, the dress was covered in tulle roses. It took over a month to sew every individual flower on!
I knew it was the one because it felt more ‘me’ than any of the other dresses. I literally felt like I was in a fairytale.
“When I put the Milla Nova on, I knew it was the one because it felt more ‘me’ than any of the other dresses,” the bride explains. “I literally felt like I was in a fairytale; the absolute best version of myself. And, at that moment, I couldn’t imagine walking down the aisle in anything else.”
Meanwhile, the groom looked handsome in a custom linen suit from Dei Giovani Chicago. Rounding out the look was a floral tie and a Rolex watch, which he received as a gift from his father.
“As much as I love the desert, I wasn’t in a huge rush to actually get married in the desert,” the bride says. “At the last minute, we switched from the desert setting which most people opt for at Amangiri, and instead got married in a nook alongside the Algae Wall. It was a perfect blend of minimalist elegance.” The couple dressed up the stone-clad place with bunches of benches and lush floral arrangements that were peppered with gilded butterflies.
The bride escorted herself down the aisle to the tune of the Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun,” carrying a custom locket on her bouquet that paid tribute to her late father.
We included our own words for our vows, promising to love, respect, and honor one another.
“We included our own words for our vows, promising to love, respect, and honor one another,” she shares. "We got everyone involved by having our siblings give readings. The whole ceremony felt genuine, pared-back, and peaceful, given the location.”
The happy couple recessed down the aisle to “Forever After All” by Luke Combs.
After saying "I do," the couple used the stunning desert and architectural backdrop of Amangiri to take some portraits of their attire.
Thanks to the limited guest list, the couple felt empowered to enjoy their special day to the fullest. “We didn’t feel the pressure to appeal to everyone or to put on a big affair,” the bride says. “Ultimately, we got to be a guest and a part of our own wedding, and not having to compromise on that made it all so very worth it.”
After the ceremony, guests moseyed to Amangiri's Desert Lounge for the reception. Earthy chargers, pink dinnerware, as well as a smattering of candles and lush florals offset the space’s sleek appearance.
Drinks, anyone? Guests could have their choice of signature his and hers beverages: a Prosecco-packed blueberry-basil spritz for Jaclyn and honey-sage bourbon for Nick.
Amangiri’s catering department served up confection perfection with a textured, three-tiered strawberry shortcake, complete with pressed edible flowers.
As for dinner? Guests enjoyed a garden gazpacho, three unique salads, and a choice of aged ribeye, Scottish salmon, or roasted farm fowl.
For the reception, Jaclyn changed into a feather-clad dress designed by Elie Saab.
"Our first dance song, “Nobody But You,” by Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton, was so special,” the bride shares. “We love country music and it has always felt so authentic to us; we’d heard the song for years and we always knew that it had to be our first dance song.”
It was beyond magical being under the stars with the warm spring desert air.
Musician Nate Robinson kept the party going with a lively setlist. “The transition into the night while the sun was setting [and] having live music,” Jaclyn says. “It was beyond magical being under the stars with the warm spring desert air.”
Though no couple wants their wedding to be upended by an ongoing global pandemic, this loved-up duo shares that the change of plans helped them focus on the big picture. “We actually got to be present at our own wedding, feel each moment as a couple, and share all the details as intimate moments with those that we love the most,” Jaclyn explains. “Remember why you’re getting married. Your wedding should not be a performance. Instead, focus on your relationship and make it about the people you love.”
Planner Dani Blasena of HauteFêtes
Bridal Gown Designer MillaNova
Reception Dress Elie Saab
Bridal Salon Viero Bridal Chicago
Bride’s Shoes Jimmy Choo
Bride’s Hair Lesley Lind
Bride’s Hair Color & Extensions Lux Salon Chicago
Bride’s Makeup Lesley Lind
Bride’s Rehearsal Dinner Attire Mach & Mach via Moda Operandi
Bride’s Rehearsal Dinner Shoes Alexander Wang
Bride’s Rehearsal Dinner Purse Jacquemus
Second Bridal Attire Shoes Saint Laurent
Bride’s Welcome Party Dress Zimmermann
Bride’s Welcome Party Earrings Jennifer Behr
Bride’s Welcome Party Shoes Stuart Weitzman
Bride’s Wedding Day Attire Sleeper
Bride’s Wedding Day Shoes Amina Mauddi
Bride’s Desert Shoot Dress Patbo
Mother of the Bride Dress Marchesa Notte
Groom’s Attire Dei Giovani Chicago
Engagement Ring Persin & Robbin
Wedding Bands Persin & Robbin
Floral Design Sarah Winward
Invitations Foundry Paper Co.
Paper Products Foundry Paper Co.
Music Nate Robinson
Rentals Sarah Winward; The Ark; La Tavola Linen
Photography KT Merry
Videography Peyton Frank