Under a glittering gold canopy of fall leaves, Jessica Liederbach took the arm of her father. He was standing tall and strong, and she beamed emotional radiance in an ethereal lace gown. Together, at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, November 11, 2015, they walked down the aisle toward her groom, Eric DeVaughn, to begin their life together.
During the couple’s engagement, Jessica and Eric weren’t certain this traditional father-daughter moment would be possible. Jessica’s father had been recently diagnosed with aggressive frontotemporal dementia followed by a diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, two conditions that carry a grim and uncertain future. Jessica and Eric knew they had to plan a wedding quickly in order to rejoice in the fleeting present.
“I was never someone who dreamed of her wedding. I had no preconceived plans or notions. But I never expected to be losing my dad. I never expected my wedding day to be a day for coming together and a day for saying goodbye,” Jessica shares.
Enter Nashville’s finest wedding vendors. After learning about the couple’s dire situation and subsequent wish, Abigail Bobo Photography, along with Modern Vintage Events and Homestead Manor, selected the soon-to-be DeVaughns as deserving recipients of their dream wedding giveaway. From florals by Basil & Bergamot to a Carol Hannah gown, the entire day was donated and planned free of charge.
Modern Vintage was entirely responsible for the styling of the wedding, and it couldn’t have been more perfect for Eric and me. They had been creating this perfect day for over three months when Eric and I found out it would be ours. Even though they didn’t know us, everything suited us perfectly,” remembers Jessica.
The ceremony was held at Homestead Manor and officiated by Jessica’s best friend, Whitney Moore, at the base of a picturesque tree decked with a wreath of greenery and nature’s own peak-season color. When the time came for Jessica to be given away, there wasn’t a dry eye in the small audience of 14. The love Jessica and Eric have for one another and their family was felt by the participating vendors, too.
Becca George from Modern Vintage looks back on the day: “When we all said yes, we had no idea that it would shake us all and allow us to really give someone a beautiful wedding and lasting moments with her dad, moments that are fleeting. It would allow us to see two families come together and just love each other and let the world go for one day. The entire day was a testament to real marriage, real life. It showed us beauty, compassion and love — all in the midst of heartache.”
Since Jessica and Eric met, became friends and fell in love at Berklee College of Music, Script Merchant illustrated music notes on the back of the couple’s original vows for a personal touch. The vendor also provided beautiful, hand-drawn calligraphy paper goods for use at the midday brunch reception held at Homestead Manor’s Greenhouse.
Fall-inspired mimosas were sipped while the close-knit wedding party indulged in freshly baked breakfast breads, banana brioche French toast and hearty helpings of chicken and waffles. When it came time for dessert, thick slices of vanilla buttercream cake, provided by Dulce Desserts, were passed round with scoops of chocolate gelato. To cater to Jessica’s love of doughnuts, Five Daughters Bakery stepped in with a slew of heavenly, 100 layer doughnuts.
At the end of the wedding there were no sparklers, confetti or dashes to a glitzy limo — the couple laughed and lingered with their guests until they were the last to leave.
“It was highly emotional for all of us. We knew it was a day we were so lucky to have. A day we were so blessed to receive,” says Jessica. “The wedding was more than a dream, it was pure magic … Everyone arrived with a quiet sense of calm and purpose. We were enveloped in love and support. My Dad did get to walk me down the aisle. I did get to marry my best friend in the company of those I love most. And we were given more grace than I ever imagined.”
We wish the couple of a lifetime of happiness!
Event planning and design: Modern Vintage Events
Photography: Abigail Bobo Photography
Venue, catering and mimosas: Homestead Manor
Invitations, placecards, invitations: Script Merchant Calligraphy
Floral design: Basil & Bergamot
Wedding dress: Carol Hannah Bridal
Lace robe and ribbon: The Lace Atelier
Tuxes: Street Tuxedo
Diamond studs and ring: Walton’s Antique & Estate Jewelry
Hair: Andrea Swain Suarez at Salon N Fuse
Cake: Dulce Desserts
Doughnuts: Five Daughters Bakery
DJ and ceremony music: JD’s Music