Jessica and Eric are here to remind us what weddings are all about. For their day is one filled with compassion in the midst of heartache. A celebration that honors one important thing: love. For this deserving couple wanted nothing more than to share their special day with the Bride’s father during his courageous health battle, and thanks to the gracious donations from every selfless vendor involved, their dreams became reality. It’s weddings like this that remind us why we celebrate every moment and why marriage matters. See it all captured by Abigail Bobo Photography in THE VAULT! P.S. Have an amazing love story with your own. Share with us using #SMPShareYourStory

Rustic Venue

From Modern Vintage EventsWhen people in Nashville join forces to make something good happen, it does. We joined together with a group of local wedding vendors at Homestead Manor to give a wedding to a deserving couple, Jessica and Eric DeVaughn. Homestead Manor, along with Abigail Bobo Photography and Modern Vintage Events facilitated a giveaway that would give one couple a styled dream wedding paired with photography, planning, and brunch for up to 12 guests. Once the wheels were in motion other vendors opened their hearts and donated their talents.

Jessica and Eric are Berklee trained musicians who met in a college admissions office. Their story started with friendship and eventually evolved into a lasting love. “ My visions became clearer, my goals and ambitions became larger, and the world seemed much brighter,” explains Jessica, “I was less afraid, not simply because Eric came into my life, but because Eric taught me to live.” Those ambitions eventually led them all over the world as they performed on cruise ships. Music was such a part of those days that they eventually landed in a city rich with music. In the midst of their engagement Jessica’s dad was diagnosed with Frontotemporal Dementia and then later with ALS. Both of these are aggressive and made a long future with her dad unsure. Jessica wanted the chance for her dad to be at her wedding and walk her down the aisle. To be there to give her away to the man who will walk with her through the rest of life’s journeys. There isn’t enough time for her dad to see it all, but there was enough time for him to take a walk with her.

Every aspect of the day was donated, from the venue, Homestead Manor, to photography, planning, a Carol Hannah Bridal gown flown from New York, Jewelry from Walton’s, hand calligraphy paper goods- including a copy of their vows in scripted with music notes on the back- from Script Merchant, to florals created by Basil and Bergamot, hair and makeup by Andrea Suarez of Salon N Fuse, Music from JD’s Music and hand dyed ribbon and lace goods from The Lace Atelier in Paris, France. Jessica has a love for sweets so Dulce Desserts donated a cake and Five Daughters Bakery contributed to her self-professed donut obsession.

Sometimes you say yes to something that you have no idea will grow and evolve in a way that shows you that it is divinely laid out. When we all said yes, we had no idea that it would shake us all and allow us to really give someone a beautiful wedding and lasting moments with her dad, moments that are fleeting. It would allow us to see two families come together and just love each other and let the world go for one day. It would let us watch a man and woman say yes to each other, allow us to watch a dad proudly walk his daughter down the aisle and give us a chance to see a wife, faithfully stand by her husband while supporting her daughter. The entire day was a testament to real marriage, real life. It showed us beauty, compassion and love all in the midst of heartache.

“About thirty minutes before the men were scheduled to try on their tuxes, my mother called to let me know my Dad was having a particularly rough morning. My Dad has always been a stoic and quiet man. I have seen him cry twice in my life, and both times it rocked me to my core,” says Jessica, when asked about the day, “My Dad was beside himself. He was crying heavy tears and was unable to explain what was wrong. When someone has FTD their frontal and temporal lobes slowly begin to die. This impacts their ability to find words and eventually to speak at all. It also impacts their emotional processes, causing rapid changes in mood and personality. My father was hurting and there was no clear way to help him. It was heartbreaking and I felt myself melting when I recognized that despite everyone’s best efforts, this is where we are. Eric said “Jess, we all have to remember that this is for your Dad. That there are no rules or limitations to how far we will go to make this possible for him. If he needs to wear his sweats to the wedding that is fine, if he needs help walking that is fine, and if he cries that is fine. All we can do is take this a second at a time.” I was reminded that in sickness and in health, I would have an incredible partner for the rest of my life.”

Times like this remind us as wedding vendors that this is why we do what we do. This is why we celebrate, and celebrate big, these moments. There are people there to celebrate with us that may not be around for long, and we are helping to create and capture moments that will never happen again.

“The wedding was more than a dream, it was pure magic. The sun came out and gave us the most beautiful fall day. Ladybugs buzzed around everyone and people whispered “it’s good luck!” Everyone arrived with a quiet sense of calm and purpose. We were enveloped in love and support” expresses Jessica, “My Dad did get to walk me down the aisle and as it turns out, everyone cried. I did get to marry my best friend in the company of those I love most. And we were given more grace than I ever imagined. I am not the same as I was, for now I know peace.”

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Photography: Abigail Bobo Photography | Event Planning + Design: Modern Vintage Events | Floral Design: Basil & Bergamot Flower Farm | Wedding Dress: Carol Hannah | Cake: Dulce Desserts | Invitations: Script Merchant Calligraphy | Jewelry: Walton's Antique & Estate Jewelry | Catering: Homestead Manor | Hair + Makeup: Salon Nfuse | Calligraphy: Script Merchant Calligraphy | DJ: JDs Music | Groom's Attire: Street Tuxedo | Venue: Homestead Manor | Donuts: Five Daughters Bakery | Flatware: Southern Events Party Rental & Vintage Prop Shoppe | Robe + Ribbon: The Lace Atelier