ESSENCE Editor-in-Chief Vanessa K. De Luca and her husband John met at a restaurant after their company Christmas parties. See their love story and garden New Jersey wedding.
Vanessa gets some help from her daughter and maid of honor, Madison. She snagged her Tadashi Shoji dress online from Anthropologie’s bridal collection and had it altered at her local dry cleaners.
On the night John and Vanessa met, he shared he had been adopted and was a social worker for foster children. “I found that interesting and let him know my kids were adopted as well,” she shared.
While in New Orleans for the 2013 ESSENCE Festival, John asked Vanessa to be his wife at dinner one night. “When dessert came, they presented a platter with a ring inside,” she says. “He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.”
The groomsmen channeled their inner superhero through cufflinks.
Vanessa chose yellow as one of the wedding colors for its cheery nature. “It's hopeful, bright and sunny,” she says. “I wanted to start off our lives together with that energy.”
The couple did 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 shared.
Guests received a special thank you from the bride and groom. “All our family and friends got along great at the wedding. It was perfect!” Vanessa shared.
John’s niece Elizabeth serves as the couple’s flower girl.
“I never want to forget walking down this aisle, seeing the expression on my son and John's faces,” Vanessa said. “The sun was setting and it was just beautiful.” The bride was escorted to the altar by her son, Myles, while a children’s orchestra played "Stand by Me."
The devastation of 2012’s Hurricane Sandy cemented John and Vanessa’s 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.”
ESSENCE Style Director Pamela Edwards-Christiani, second from left, gifted Vanessa her "something borrowed": sparkly Jimmy Choo wedding shoes.
The newlyweds enjoy attending shows and concerts together. “He’s has been extremely supportive of my career,” Vanessa said. “He also helps me not take myself or the work too seriously.”
Meet the De Lucas! The couple take their first stroll as husband and wife to Pharrell’s “Happy.”
His first impression: “She was really on her phone when we met. Once we started talking I realized she was smart and really cared about her family.”
Vanessa’s children Madison and Myles quickly connected with John. At the reception, the foursome danced to "I Gotta Feeling” by The Black Eyed Peas.
Vanessa considers her mom a constant source of inspiration and support.
“I love that Vanessa is so smart,” John said. “She loves ESSENCE and gives her all to the women she serves.”
Vanessa kept her cool the entire wedding day. “I was totally calm from beginning to end,” she shared.
Leaning on her new husband was an adjustment for the bride. “I had to get used to letting somebody help me and trusting that things would be taken care of,” she says.
“I knew I didn’t see my life without her when she had surgery our first year together,” John says. “Even though it was minor, I was nervous the whole time and right by her side when she woke up.”
“After wedding pictures, we got on our golf cart and drove off into the sunset literally,” she shared with a laugh.
John was determined to have his beloved ice hockey team, the New York Islanders, incorporated into the wedding. “He wanted them for a cake topper,” Vanessa recalls with a smile. “That’s where I draw the line.” They compromised with a New York Islanders ice sculpture for the cocktail hour.
The couple had their first dance as husband and wife to "Into the Mystic" by Van Morrison.
The bride and groom played The Newlywed Game, holding up each other’s shoes for answers. John was also rocking socks from his new wife that said, "So you don't get cold feet." He didn’t.
Ain’t no party like a De Luca party! The couple joined their guests on the dance floor.
The wedding favors kept the party going as guests put their light wands to use for the Wobble.
“People really didn't leave until the very end,” she recalls. “Everybody had a really good time.”
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 said.
Join us in celebrating the wedding of ESSENCE Editor-in-Chief Vanessa K. De Luca and her husband John. Leave your well wishes below.
Wedding photography by Orlando.