Their story: They were nursery-school classmates who grew up together as friends in New Milford. But if you asked Jessica Romano and Dennis Calacione during high school if they’d end up together, they would have said you were crazy. Today, though, the newlyweds couldn’t imagine their lives apart. It wasn’t until after they graduated from college that they became more than just lifelong pals.
“After our first kiss, that was it,” the bride says. “We never looked back. The kiss brought it from friendship to romance.” They realized they clicked and worked well as a pair. “It’s crazy to think my soulmate grew up down the street from me,” Jessica adds.
Will you marry me?: In August 2016, Dennis hung three picture frames but swapped the artwork out for a three-part, hand-written proposal, which he hid behind a curtain. The first frame said “Will you,” the second said “marry” and the third said “us” and featured a picture Dennis drew of himself and their French bulldog. Jessica ripped down the curtain to reveal the surprise proposal, which left her shaking and in shock, and he dropped to one knee. “We knew we wanted to be together, but I wasn’t the kind of girl that bugged him about it,” she says. “It was a huge surprise. It was so sweet and heartfelt.”
Details of the day: The couple married at Bear Brook Valley on November 4, 2017, a perfect fall day for their rustic-meets-elegant wedding. The bride wore a long-sleeve, ivory gown with an illusion top and a flower crown, and her bridesmaids also wore floral headpieces with off-the shoulder mauve gowns and carried hoop bouquets.
The flowers were a beautiful mix of pink, mauve, green and burgundy. After the late-afternoon outdoor ceremony, the guests gasped at the arrival of a giant horse outfitted with a unicorn horn, and posed for fun photos with the mythical creature.
The couple shared their first dance to the “Back to the Future” version of the ’50s hit “Earth Angel.” Guests were treated to a delicious dinner, a great mix of music, a cigar bar, s’mores by the fire pit and McDonald’s on their way out. “It was epic,” the bride says. “There was so much love in the room. It was the best day of my life.”
Favorite moment: The ceremony. Jessica’s dad walked her down the aisle, Dennis was crying as she approached him and their wedding was officiated by a friend for a personal touch. “There was so much love from so many people. It was so magical.”
Favorite detail: The music. During cocktail hour, they enjoyed everything from Hanson to Tupac Shakur from their vocalist who played the acoustic guitar, and the band kept everyone dancing all night long during the reception.
Favors: A donation to the Secaucus Animal Shelter.
Honeymoon: After a honeymoon to the Dominican Republic, the couple is at home in Secaucus.