ESSENCE's Editor Vanessa K. De Luca and her husband John met at a restaurant which hosted both of their company Christmas parties. Share their love story and see their garden New Jersey wedding.
The Bride: Vanessa K. De Luca, ESSENCE Editor-in-Chief
The Groom: John De Luca, Assistant Program Director, Non-for-Profit Foster Care Agency
The Big Day: 9/20/14
Wedding Location: Kenilworth, New Jersey
Two company holiday parties played Cupid for ESSENCE Editor-in-Chief Vanessa DeLuca and her husband John in 2011. After each of their work functions, they ended up sitting next to each other at a T.G.I.Friday’s in New York and John sparked a conversation with Vanessa.
“He told me he was a social worker for foster children and that he had been adopted,” she says. “I found that interesting and let him know my kids were adopted as well.”
She was up front that she was a divorced mom of two, just in case that would be an issue for him. It wasn't. After dinner, John asked Vanessa if she'd like to take a walk and see the Christmas tree at nearby Rockefeller Center. When they arrived, the tree lights were already off. Undeterred, he asked her for an official date the following Sunday to see the holiday decorations. The lights were on that time and sparks flew.
After three months of dating, Vanessa introduced John to her two kids and they all got along well. The devastation of 2012’s Hurricane Sandy cemented their growing bond. “It was a hard time for our community and we were without lights for two weeks,” she recalls. “It was stressful but we made it through.”
In the summer of 2013, Vanessa was named ESSENCE Editor-in-Chief. Shortly after, the couple headed to New Orleans for ESSENCE Festival. While in town, John invited her to dinner at Bombay Club, their favorite restaurant in the city. “When dessert came, they present a platter with a ring inside,” she says. “He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.”
When Festival headliner Beyonce sang “Single Ladies” later that weekend, the bride-to-be put her newly bejeweled hand in the air. John had put a ring on it.
Once back in New York the duo began their wedding planning together with help from Pinterest and Etsy. “John really had a say in everything, from the invitations to our photographer,” the bride shares. The only time they disagreed was how to incorporate his beloved ice hockey team, the New York Islanders. “He wanted them for a cake topper,” she recalls with a smile. “That’s where I draw the line. That's going to live in our pictures forever.”
They compromised with a New York Islanders ice sculpture at the wedding’s cocktail hour. For their special day, the couple wed outside in New Jersey with Vanessa’s daughter Madison serving as maid of honor and her son, Myles, walking her down the aisle. Afterwards, the couple danced the night away with their closest friends and family, the perfect way for John to start married life with his lady.
“I love that Vanessa is so smart,” he says. “She gives her all.” Vanessa credits achieving her dream job and meeting her match to stepping outside her comfort zone. “Some of the best things happen when you take a risk,” she says.