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"I had the feeling the weekend that we met he was The One," says Jessica. "There is an indescribable feeling that comes over you when you meet The One. I felt blessed, scared, happy, excited, nervous and interested all at the same time."
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There wasn't a dry eye in the house when Jessica slipped into her gorgeous wedding gown.
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"When Derrick proposed, I cried and smiled until my cheeks were sore," Jessica admits. "I immediately called my mother and grandmother to tell them the news. I also took a picture of the ring and sent it to all my girlfriends."
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Jessica wore these beautiful Badgley Mischka shoes for picture taking purposes but opted for wedged flip flops with rhinestones for comfort's sake. "It was very important for my feet not to hurt on my wedding day," she insists. We hear you, Jessica.
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"I wanted different shades of purple because I love the color and it is a wonderful fall color," Jessica explains. "My absolute favorite flower is an orchid. They are strong, they have longevity and they are simple and stunning. It was very important to me to have orchids as my main flower in my arrangement along with some white roses."
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"I only went looking for dress two times and the second time I had luck," says Jessica. She wowed her husband and her guests in this lovely halter cut Casablanca gown.
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"I love the way Derrick loves me through God," says Jessica. "Because of this love it changes the way he looks at me, speaks to me and touches me. I love the way he loves me!"
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"I wore a beautiful arm length lace veil designed by ANTONIA, dangly silver earrings with rhinestones and pearls and three white, silver and gold pearl stretchy bangles given to me by my grandmother with two rhinestone bracelets from Versona between them," says the beaming bride.
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"As soon as I put my dress on, even though it was three sizes too big I could see myself walking down the aisle towards Derrick in this dress," says Jessica. "It was perfect. I loved it, my mother loved it and I felt sexy and beautiful with it on. I bought the dress that day and it was the perfect choice."
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"I was never the little girl who dreamed of getting married or having a big wedding," says Jessica. "To be honest, it rarely even crossed my mind. It was not until I met Derrick that I really comprehended what true love and commitment was all about."
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"True love is not something you should look for or try to find," says Jessica. "When it is truly your time for love, God will bless you with his love through the right person."
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Jessica takes a moment to pose with the ring bearer Caleb and the junior groomsman, her son Landry.
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Jessica's bridesmaids looked absolutely lovely in their Bill Levkoff gowns. "I wanted a very vibrant purple that was fun and a style that complemented any body shape," she adds. "I loved the dress that we decided on and I believe the girls did too!"
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"I wanted my maid of honor to have a smaller version of my arrangement and my three bridesmaids to have an arrangement that complemented mine," explains Jessica.
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Derrick chose the tuxedos for his groomsmen and his own dapper grey look from Jos A. Banks.
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"Planning a wedding in Texas from North Carolina had it challenges," says Jessica. "I originally planned for an outdoor wedding, though we could not find the perfect location. One day, I did a google image search for wedding venues in Fort Worth and I came across a beautiful chapel."
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"The chapel had a unique European style with glass skylights across the entire ceiling," says Jessica. "It was unlike any chapel I had ever seen. It was magnificent!"
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"As it was my turn to walk down the aisle, I was filled with love and ready to give it to the man I was about to be united with," says the bride. "As the doors opened the only person I saw was Derrick. The light from the sunset was pouring into the chapel and it was only he and I staring at each other with tears of joy running down our faces. I believe I actually started crying first."
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Jessica walked down the aisle to the sound of Beyonce’s "1+1" sung live by vocalist Nikki Larios. "We substituted some of the lyrics to make it more appropriate for the occasion," says Jessica. "I loved this song from the moment I heard it and it describes the partnership that Derrick and I share and will continue to share as life partners. Landry, our son, walked me the rest of the way down the aisle and he and my mother gave me away at the ceremony."
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"I’m not even sure if I can describe that feeling of looking into Jessica's eyes at the altar," says Derrick. "It was a feeling of happiness, excitement, nervousness and love all wrapped into one. I definitely went through the gamut of emotions while standing up there!"
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"Landry is my son and Derrick met him when he was one year old and he immediately became our son," says Jessica. "Landry and I had vows for Derrick. Derrick accepted Landry as his own and Landry accepted Derrick, I accepted Derrick to be a father to Landry and we all vowed to be one family. It was beautiful and I am very happy we included this in the ceremony. It was important to both of us to make sure Landry was part of this special moment."
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Jessica and Derrick sealed the deal with a romantic and unforgettable kiss.
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"Being a bride felt wonderful, stressful, exciting, exhausting and special all at different times," says Jessica. "The planning and preparing had its challenges, especially seeing how I was long distance. But all the stress was worth it. Our wedding day I had a feeling of peace. I felt loved and I felt special and beautiful."
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"The entire ceremony Derrick and I were so incredibly happy," says Jessica. "We were joking with each other, laughing and just being us. We stumbled over our words and laughed at each other and it was great. Our wedding was very comfortable and relaxed, not stuffy. The night we got engaged we told each other that it was "you and me," and that was the theme of our relationship going forward. We spoke the words at the reception to each other and it was a very special moment. They were also engraved on our toasting flutes."
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"I never dreamed of being a bride, so I did not have any expectations per say," Jessica admits. "But, I will tell you, if it would have been a dream, it was the most beautiful, perfect dream anyone could ask for!"
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"She is a very loving, God fearing woman," says Derrick. "She’s a great mother and great wife. Most of all, she has pushed me to be a better person."
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"As the groom, it felt great and strange at the same time," Derrick tells us. "It felt great because I was marrying the woman that I loved and that I had my close friends and family around. It felt strange because I’ve never been the one to be in the spotlight and everyone who was there was there to see us get married. It definitely was a great experience!"
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The newlyweds chose to get down to the sounds of Al Green’s "Love and Happiness." "We love the song and the lyrics and we wanted something upbeat for our first song," says the bride. "We also wanted an old school love song."
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"We chose a cupcake tower rather than a cake," says Jessica. "My grandfather built the cupcake tower from scratch. It had a paisley design and was also gold and purple. The cupcake tower was my absolute favorite piece of the entire wedding. I loved it!"
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Even the smallest guests in attendance were having the time of their lives. We love everything about this precious photograph.
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Guests left messages of love for the newlyweds on this fun, alternative guestbook.
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"There were too many great moments to choose a favorite," says Jessica. "The pictures really make me relive the moments every time I look at them."
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"Our photographers Matt and Ivy were absolutely amazing," says Jessica. "They were some of my favorite people and they are the essence of love. The love these two have for each other pour out when they work together. They were awesome!"
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