Neither Jacklyn Dunn nor Jeff Gerace were looking for anything serious when they first met at McGillin’s Old Ale House, but conversation flowed easily. First impressions were positive all around — “He was tall and handsome,” remembers Jacklyn; “This gorgeous, high-energy girl is going to keep me on my toes,” thought Jeff. But that didn’t make their first date at an arcade center an easygoing evening.
Luckily, Jeff was open to giving it another go, and the couple counts their first “real” date as Valentine’s Day 2012, when Jacklyn asked last-minute if they could swap fancy reservations for soup and salad at Panera. Jeff rolled with it, and Jacklyn was smitten. “I can be a handful,” she says, “but from day one, Jeff accepted that.” See for yourself the day-long celebration of their love below in the ravishing shots captured by Grace + Ardor Co.
Three years later, Jeff asked his calendar-obsessed girlfriend to block off December 18th for a night out downtown with one of his college friends. The West Chester-based couple checked into the Loews Hotel before walking to dinner. They made it as far as the Broad Street median before Jeff revealed that his visiting friend was a ruse and dropped to one knee. Overwhelmed by the attention from passing cars, Jacklyn wound up telling traffic she said “yes” before she told Jeff! They capped off the evening with dinner at R2L, a trip back to McGillin’s, and, as Jacklyn discovered when it was time to leave for the airport at 4 a.m., one more surprise: a four-day getaway in Fort Lauderdale.
When Jacklyn had trouble finding a venue, an Instagram follower tipped her off to the newly refurbished Ballroom at Ellis Preserve in Newtown. She booked it based on blueprints and color swatches alone — the all-white interior with gray accents was exactly what she was looking for. It makes sense that their midsummer nuptials were supremely stylish — Jacklyn runs the fashion blog Three Sisters One Closet. That said, the bride boasts a healthy Instagram following (she’s @threesistersonecloset), so social media was a must. Modern touches like painted acrylic table numbers and a stunning flower wall rounded out the decor, but the couple’s favorite memory of the day was something money couldn’t buy: exchanging vows they wrote themselves in a ceremony conducted by the bride’s best friend. Jacklyn’s twelve bridesmaids chose their own dresses and carried oversize air plants instead of bouquets, and the wedding party launched confetti cannons as the couple shared their first kiss as man and wife.
Terrarium centerpieces — including succulents and silver dollar eucalyptus — graced the modern and stunning tables at their ballroom reception. While sipping on grapefruit jalapeño margaritas — the cocktail of the evening — the couple cut into a four-tier lemon raspberry cake for dessert, and happily danced the night away with all of their friends and family.
Photography: Grace + Ardor Co. | Venue: Ellis Preserve | Florals: Carl Alan Floral Designs Ltd. | Flower Wall: Nicol Floral Design | Signage: Lewes Lettering Co. | Bride’s Gown: Recontrusted Theia, Elizabeth Johns | Hair: Privé Salon and Style Bar | Makeup: Faces by Fo | Groom’s Tux: ASOS | Jewelry: Benari Jewelers | Catering: Finley Catering| Cake: Termini Brothers Bakery | Music: Posh Entertainment | Transportation: Kevin Smith Transportation Group
This article originally appeared in the Spring/Summer 2018 print edition of Philadelphia Wedding magazine. Grab yours here.
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