Jenell, from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and Aleks, from the Ukraine, were, admittedly, not looking for love when they met by chance in 2016 on the dating app Bumble only a few days after Jenell joined. She had just started her first role as a neuroscientist after obtaining her Ph.D. at University of Pennsylvania while Aleks was choosing which business school he’d attend that fall. But after that first date—beers at The Cambridge in Philly—the pair was inseparable. Early dates turned into impromptu marathons, spending the full day together. Quickly and effortlessly, their lives began to blend, each making life decisions that would ensure their relationship had every opportunity to thrive. Aleks then chose New York University’s Stern School of Business so that they could still visit each other on the weekends.
Will you marry me?
Everyone knows that the sunsets at Avalon and Stone Harbor on Seven Mile Island are spectacular, but only the early birds know just how magical the sunrises are. As the sun rose above the ocean and a photographer hid
in the dunes in May of 2017, the couple approached the champagne that Aleks had planted in the sand and he popped the question. Neither remembers exactly what words were exchanged, but the pic- tures capture Jenell jumping into Aleks’s arms—and admiring her ring behind his head! After they celebrated together, Jenell was further surprised by an early-morning brunch with their closest friends and family that Aleks had planned.
Details of the day:
When it came to choosing their wedding venue, the choice was simple. “What could possibly make
us choose anywhere else other than The Reeds?” says Jenell, who spent childhood summers on Seven Mile Island. “We wanted those amazing indoor/outdoor bay views that you can only get at The Reeds. Not to mention the impeccable attention to detail and amazing food!”
All about the gown:
Jenell discovered Israeli designer Limor Rosen while scrolling Pinterest and fell in love. She found out where the gowns were sold, tracked down a few trunk shows, and finally settled on a dress that, although different from her original vision, was perfect for her. “I absolutely love my dress,” Jenell says. “I chose her ‘Aria’ gown and modified the tulle to be all ivory rather than champagne. The gown was hand-embroidered and beaded with the most amazing abstract pattern that looks like seaweed to me. I wish I could wear it every day.”
The first look and the ceremony were very special to the couple. “Both felt private because we were only focusing on each other and the momentousness of the day; they were filled with a lot of raw emotion and crying,” Janell adds.
Couldn’t live without:
Originally a “something new” in 1947, Jenell felt blessed to stash the sixpence/mercury dime her grandmother had worn in her shoe the day she wed Jenell’s grandfather in her shoe, too. “She saved it that entire time and gave it to me at my shower,” Janell says. She also wore her mother’s wedding band, reminiscent of an ocean wave, as a midi-ring for a romantic touch.
Having only attended three concerts together (two of them being Leon Bridges), it was a no-brainer that one of Bridges’ romantic songs be the first dance. “Beyond” was an easy choice. The couple took dance lessons to ensure that their debut was perfect. “We had a blast putting together the choreography, and it came out great—especially the lift and dip at the end!”
They spent six days in Moorea and five days in Bora Bora, mostly swimming, snorkeling, exploring the culture and drinking French Champagne. They are now at home in Philadelphia.