The Bride-to-Be: Vanessa K. Bush, ESSENCE Editor-in-Chief

Her Leading Man: John De Luca, Assistant Program Director, Episcopal Social Services

The Big Day: 9/20/14

Wedding Location: Kenilworth, New Jersey

How We Met
I met John on December 15, 2011 inside the T.G.I.Friday’s at Penn Station in New York. I was coming from our company Christmas party and decided to grab a bite. Even though I pass that Friday’s every day heading to the office, this was my first time dining inside. I sat at the bar and soon John took the seat next to me. He was also coming from his office holiday party and we started to talk. He let me know he was a social worker for foster children and that he had been adopted. I found that interesting and let him know my kids were adopted as well. I was up front that I was divorced with two kids in case that would be something that would be an issue for him. It started to get late and he asked if I wanted to go see the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. I am far from spontaneous but decided to go along, since my mother was watching the kids. When we got there the lights were off for the night. He was undeterred and asked me to come back Sunday so we could see the tree. I accepted. We went. And our relationship began.

Realizing He Was Someone Special
John was really easy to be with from the beginning. After three months of dating, I introduced him to my kids, Myles, 14, and Madison, 11. I knew if they didn’t like him, we could not move forward. Thankfully, they all got along great. Hurricane Sandy cemented our relationship for me. It was a hard time for our community and we were without lights for two weeks. The stress of that could have pushed us apart but we made it through.

How He Popped The Question
John’s first ESSENCE Festival with me was in 2012. We had a really romantic night at Bombay Club, which has a jazz band and booths where you can draw the curtains. When we went back last year, we decided to go again. We are foodies and usually savor our food, but this time he was rushing through the courses. He was hurrying me along and we almost got into an argument. I noticed the staff milling around too. Finally dessert comes and they present a platter with a ring inside. He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I was so excited and thought I said yes. He says I said ‘sure.’ I was on a cloud for the rest of the weekend. Even though I was working, we got to enjoy the concerts and see Uncle Charlie tear down the stage. When Beyoncé performed “Single Ladies,” everybody around me starting pointing at me. It was an incredible way to start our engagement.

Photos: Photography By Orlando

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