Real Weddings

Jessica Fani to Peter Bourghol

Some may say it was fate that brought Jessica Fani and Peter Bourghol together—the two were switched into the same class where they first met in July 2006. Essentially, it was their mutual love for precious gemstones that led them to meet at GIA, the Gemological Institute of America, in New York City. After several months as friends and years of dating, Peter popped the question on a snowy December evening in 2009. “His family owns a jewelry store—Bourghol Brothers Jewelers—and that time of year is the height of the season,” Jessica, who now works as a gemologist, says about her proposal. “Ever since we were dating, he would take me on one special date to make up for him working all the time.” After a special dinner at Castle on the Hudson in Tarrytown, New York, Peter surprised her with a platter that arrived at their table spelling out “Will you marry me?” in chocolate. Jessica accepted.

When the couple began planning their day—July 2, 2011—they were inspired to use gemology, their reason for meeting, as a theme. “I wanted it to feel personal with details that incorporated how we connected,” Jessica explains. Table numbers were replaced with names of precious stones, place cards were made of purple agate stones and an ice sculpture was made in the shape of a diamond. Even the favors were soap bars shaped as different rocks.

About 300 guests celebrated their ceremony at Peter’s church, St. Thomas Armenian Church in Tenafly, followed by a reception at Florentine Gardens in River Vale, which was selected for its beautiful outdoor gardens and central location between his family in Congers, New York, and her family in West Brighton, Staten Island. Jessica carried vanda orchids, and their first dance was to “Hard to Concentrate” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. And it was no coincidence that the couple strategically worked their date around a break for the jewelry industry, when Peter’s family business closes for two weeks. This allowed them to venture to Tanzania for a two-week honeymoon before coming home to Valley Cottage, New York.


Photographer: Laura Bruen Studios, 212-767-9157;
RECEPTION & MUSIC: Florentine Gardens, River Vale, 201-666-0444;
BRIDE’S GOWN: Pnina Tornai from Kleinfeld, NYC, 646-633-4300;
BRIDE’S SHOES: David’s Bridal;
GROOM’S ATTIRE: Men’s Wearhouse;
RINGS, JEWELRY & ACCESSORIES: Bourghol Brothers Jewelers, Congers, NY, 845-268-9752;
HEADPIECE: Maria Elena Headpiece from Kleinfeld, NYC, 646-633-4300;
HAIR & MAKEUP: Sarah Wexler at Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa, West Chester Mall,
White Plains, NY, 914-840-8880;
FLOWERS: Petals Premier, Teterboro, 201-487-1300;
LIMOUSINE: Starlight, Blauvelt, NY, 800-800-7440;
CAKE: Palermo’s Bakery, Ridgefield Park, 201-641-1654;
FAVORS: Soap Rocks from TS Pink, 800-762-7765;

wedding details


Congers and West Brighton, NY

Ceremony Location

St. Peter's Church and St. Thomas Armenian Church

Reception Location

Estate at Florentine Gardens


Laura Bruen Studios

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