When a quick drink turned into a five-hour dinner, Jillian and Jeff knew they had found something special. The couple met online and, after communicating via email, decided to meet for that drink; from then on, they have been inseparable.
Both believe that fate brought them together. Baltimore native Jillian, a registered nurse who took a few stints as a traveling nurse, wanted to move permanently to New York City but before doing so, she decided to take one more traveling nursing job. She was placed in Reno and credits that decision with changing her life. “Making that decision, listening to that little nagging voice saying ‘just take one more assignment’ finally brought me to the love of my life, my soul mate, my Jeff,” she says. “Isn’t life amazing?”
Jeff, a college English instructor, who grew up about 90 minutes from Reno, moved to the city when he was studying for his masters degree.
They got engaged before a vacation when Jeff gave Jillian a box of random things like gum, tissues and candy, as well as the ring box. He said that she could keep everything if she could identify what they were with her eyes closed. “When she was feeling the jewelry box in her hand, trying to figure out what it was, I took the opportunity to get on my knee, and told her to open her eyes,” says Jeff. “She saw me kneeling before her, and the ring box in her hand, and I asked her to marry me.”
Their wedding in front of 90 guests at Scribner Bend Vineyards included a rose ceremony to honor their mothers and a wine ceremony to remind them of the richness and sweetness of life. The couple wrote their own vows, too.
Their colors were coral, blush, fuchsia and gold to reflect softness and femininity. For a vintage feel, they had many gold elements, including gold flatware. A rented couch provided a fun, vintage backdrop for their wedding photos.
The invitations, menus and programs showcased writing from the bride’s favorite poet, Rumi, including an excerpt from the poem, “With Passion” that read:
“With passion make love. With passion eat and drink and dance and play.”
While the couple didn’t see each other before the wedding or shoot first look photos, they had a “first touch” photo shoot, where they stood on opposite sides of a door and held hands while the photographer captured their excitement on camera.
Jillian chose a cream ballgown with a sweetheart neckline, a lace bodice and buttons up the back. Jeff wore a tan suit, with a matching vest and a cream tie.
The bride was so excited on the wedding day, she had to tell herself to slow down! “He looked so handsome in his suit and when our eyes met we didn’t look away,” she says. “In that moment, I was his and he was mine, forever.”
After the wedding, the couple honeymooned for three weeks, including time in Napa, Los Angeles, Grenada, Las Vegas and Yosemite.
First Dance Song
"International You Day" by Tony Sly
Father/Daughter Dance Song
"Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac
Mother/Son Dance Song
"Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac
Cake Cutting Song
"Marry Me" by Martin Sexton
Bouquet Toss Song
"Just Haven't Met You Yet" by Michael Buble
Details about the cake
Champagne Wedding Cake with Raspberry, Cream Cheese and Champagne Buttercream
Butter Yellow and Chocolate Marble Wedding Cake with Caramel and Milk Chocolate Buttercream
Red Velvet with Cream Cheese Icing
Details about the flowers
Peony, ranunculus, cluster roses, Sahara roses, and hydrangea in various shades of pink, coral and cream.
Details about the favors
Handmade "wine soap" in our wedding colors made by a friend's small business.
Anything else you’d like to share about your wedding?
Jeff and I slept in separate rooms the night before our wedding. He left my wedding gift in my room to open when I woke up. It was the first thing I did the moment I opened my eyes. He gave me a menu from the restaurant where we had our first date. In the card he told me he went back to the restaurant (Silver Peak Brewery in Reno) a few months after we started dating and told them that he met his future wife there and asked for a menu as a keepsake. He kept it for me all that time. Jeff always finds a way to blow me away. It was the perfect start to our perfect day. I now have that menu framed in our living room.
Dogwood Rentals: They have such beautiful vintage items and are a great little mom & daughter operation. Laura (the daughter) was so responsive and excited to make my event perfect. She worked with my budget so I could have everything I wanted and not break the bank. The day of our wedding, they showed up on time and moved things with a smile and a congratulations. I am SO glad I found them!
Carol Kenney (seamstress): She did my alterations perfectly. My dress was not fitting well at all and she just made it a dream. It was a complicated and delicate gown and she handled it with the mastery of her years of experience. Plus she was really great and fun to work with.
Jeri Murphy (officiant): Jeri is so kind and loving. She is really thorough and leaves no detail to chance. She made the process of creating our ceremony fun and easy. She was very responsive and patient and just made us feel at ease every step of the way.
Any tips you’d give brides and grooms planning their wedding today?
Planning a wedding is unlike anything else you will do in your life. You go from having no experience to becoming an expert in a short amount of time and then (hopefully) never have to use your knowledge again. It seems so overwhelming at first when you don’t know where to start and the deeper you get into it, the more there is to do. My biggest tip would be to decide up front how much of a time investment you want to make. Brides-to-be must realize that there are venues that offer varying degrees of service and there is something for everyone. Being pretty type A, I wanted complete control of every decision and vendor and because of that, the planning was endless. But the payoff was that I had exactly what I wanted. Another bride might prefer to find a place that includes everything (catering, DJ, etc.) and they basically make a few choices and show up. Know what you want so it’s worth it to you.
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