December 15, 2010
Jessica Bryant & Ryan Sciacca
August 28, 2010
Ceremony & Reception: The Bryant Family Farm, Selma, Alabama
Photos by: Frank Carnaggio
Family tragedy. Job changes. Distance. Any one of these things could doom a relationship just starting out. Add some politics, Presidential delegations abroad, and even more distance… Well, it must have been love to overcome all of those obstacles. Or just maybe, someone was looking out for them? There certainly were plenty of signs that Jessica Bryant’s dad had a big hand in the celebration of her marriage to Ryan Sciacca. Their chic meets country wedding at the Bryant family farm was truly a celebration of love and of family.
Here’s their wedding story:
The Back Story
The Bryant and Sciacca families were friends… although Jessica and Ryan did not know each other very well. Jessica and Ryan’s dads met when the two kids were small. It was when Jessica’s dad became ill that Ryan reached out to Jessica and their friendship began. They kept in touch with each other and soon thereafter, Jessica moved to Washington to work for the second Bush White House. Her first assignment was for Mrs. Bush and later, she worked for more than two years at the Office of Presidential Advance at The White House, planning all of President Bush’s travel and events. And as fate would have it, Ryan’s job changed his territory from the west coast to the east coast at exactly that same time. Shortly after her move, Ryan told Jessica he was coming to DC for a visit… and that visit turned into a relationship! The couple dated long distance… and long distance for Jessica meant from places like Europe, Israel, and the Far East… anywhere the President would travel. Over four years of dating, they racked up the frequent flyer miles, getting together as often as they could. And when Ryan’s job moved him out to San Francisco for a brief stint, the company would fly Jessica out once a month to visit. It was on one of these trips that Ryan popped the question and asked Jessica to be his wife.
Even though they had talked about marriage over the years, they were in no hurry to tie the knot and Jessica had no idea Ryan was making plans to propose. Ryan conspired with Jessica’s mom on the ring, designing it with a diamond Jessica’s father had given her mother. Once the ring was ready, Ryan went about the task of planning the proposal. He knew Jessica had never been to Napa and that she really wanted to go. Ryan made plans for the two of them to tour Napa over a long weekend. He rented Silverado Vineyards for a private tour where he planned to pop the question. As they toured the grounds, the different vineyards, and the facility throughout the day, Jessica remembers briefly thinking to herself that Ryan was crazy for not using the incredible setting to propose… but she had no idea that his proposal was already in process. The day ended with an exclusive tasting of limited production wines in a secluded area overlooking the vineyards. But Jessica was not the least bit suspicious about a proposal while they sat and talked, enjoying the wine and the view. Jessica and Ryan had been talking for over an hour when Ryan told her he loved her. Then, a completely shocked Jessica watched as Ryan got up, knelt down on one knee, took out the ring, and asked her to marry him. That was on May 2, 2010.
The Wedding & Reception
Since they had been apart for so much of their relationship, the couple wanted to get married right away. Since Jessica had been planning events for world leaders and dignitaries for most of her career, she didn’t want to labor over the planning of her wedding to Ryan and turn it into a job. She just wanted to marry Ryan right away and have a fun family wedding that incorporated a lot of surprises. The easy part of the planning was selecting the venue for the wedding and reception. Jessica’s father had a passion for the outdoors and hunting. He bought property in Selma and built a farm that became a special place for their family and friends to gather. The couple decided that the farm would be the perfect place for their wedding and enlisted some of the area’s best vendors to help them pull the details together. Jessica’s whole family was thrown into wedding planning mode since Jessica, her older brother, and her younger brother all got engaged within weeks of each other!
After a trip to Project Runway designer Heidi Elnora for her wedding gown, the wedding was well underway. Jessica decided to hire planner Anita Kannelis to help with the details. After a site inspection at the farm for the vendors, it was all coming together in record time for their August 28th wedding.
Years before, Jessica’s dad had built a beautiful cross on the farm in memory of a friend who died. When Jessica’s father died, a family friend built a cross in his memory that was placed nearby. The area with the crosses was a bit too small for the ceremony, so a replica of the original cross was constructed for the ceremony site by the same friend and then covered with sunflowers for the wedding by florist Carol Riley of Lillies. Sunflowers were especially significant because Jessica’s dad would plant fields of sunflowers at the farm for her when she was young. In a sweet and sentimental tribute, Jessica’s brother planted a field of sunflowers for the wedding. Sunflower yellow was paired with a rich midnight blue for the color scheme. A “chic meets country” theme was obvious– Jessica even rode to the ceremony on a restored 1930’s John Deere tractor and her bridesmaids wore their favorite cowboy boots with their navy bridesmaid gowns.
One of the surprises in store for Jessica that day was very touching. As a child, Jessica would give butterfly kisses to her dad. He’d always said that one day they would dance to the song “Butterfly Kisses” at her wedding so Jessica’s mother arranged for butterflies to be released at the ceremony. As the butterflies flew away into the fields, one was seen poised on the chair set with two sunflowers in memory of Jessica’s father and another was seen on the ceremony cross. Another one of Jessica’s surprises wasn’t planned. Rain was threatening all day. The sun would peek out, and then the clouds would come. And while it was raining all around the area, it didn’t rain at the farm. And then suddenly, moments after the ceremony, a beautiful rainbow appeared, stretching from her father’s cross to the tent as guests made their way up to the reception. It seemed as if Jessica’s father was smiling down on the festivities. “There was no way to be sad on this day” said Jessica. “I missed my father terribly, but this was a day full of joy.”
A huge white tent was set up for the reception with dramatic draping and lighting designed by Andy Tolar of Design Productions. Guests were treated to a fantastic party band, Super T, the same band Jenna Bush had for her wedding and the party started the moment Ryan and Jessica walked into the tent. After their first dance, Jessica changed into a short, informal Heidi Elnora gown and her favorite cowboy boots and the couple joined their guests on the dance floor for an evening filled with fun, family and good friends.
Kathy G. & Company handled the catering duties, incorporating an upscale farm feeling for the food stations and the buffet tables, including lots of farmstand baskets, sunflowers, and rustic elements for serving. A canoe was even used to chill the wine! The menu was designed with signature southern summer menu items like Watermelon Squares with Balsamic Glaze, a Southern Grits n Potato Bar, Sliders, Mini-BLT’s, and Crabcakes Some of Jessica’s menu choices reflected her love of junk food including a chip and dip station.
The yellow and white five-tier wedding cake was the focal point of the reception. Each tier of the cake was decorated with a different design and a cluster of sunflowers created the topper. Later in the evening, Jessica’s mother surprised her yet again when guests were served trays of cookies and milk… including Jessica’s favorite, Oreos.
After the reception, Jessica and Ryan spent the night in Montgomery and departed the next day for their honeymoon in Tahiti. They stayed at the Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa, spending a week in an ultra-romantic and tranquil over water bungalow with panoramic views of the surrounding ocean and mountain views. Paradise!
The couple is now at home in Birmingham and getting ready for their first Christmas as a married couple. Since Jessica was a KD at Auburn, she’s pretty happy that New Year’s plans this year include a bowl game for her alma mater!
Jessica & Ryan’s Bromberg’s Wedding Registry includes:
Formal China: Pickard Signature Monogram in White
Casual China: Skyros Legado and Juliska Berry & Thread
Congratulations, Jessica and Ryan. Our very best wishes to you for a long and happy life together!