Vanessa DeLuca Essence magazine editor-in-chief shares love story, wedding pictures

Essence magazine Editor-in-Chief, Vanessa K. De Luca tied the knot with John De Luca, Assistant Program Director of a not-for-profit Foster Care Agency, on September 20, 2014, in Kenilworth, New Jersey.

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Vanessa De Luca and John De Luca on their wedding day play

Vanessa De Luca and John De Luca on their wedding day

(Essence)
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Essence magazine Editor-in-Chief, Vanessa K. De Luca tied the knot with John De Luca, Assistant Program Director of a not-for-profit Foster Care Agency, on September 20, 2014, in Kenilworth, New Jersey.

Their love story began in 2011, when two company holiday parties played Cupid for the bride and groom. The couple ended up sitting next to each other at a T.G.I.Friday's in New York after the close of work, and John started a conversation with Vanessa.

"He told me he was a social worker for foster children and that he had been adopted," she says. "I found that interesting and let him know my kids were adopted as well."

She was upfront about her status as a divorced mother of two, just in case that would be an issue for him. Fortunately, it wasn't.

After dinner, he asked her if she'd like to take a walk and see the Christmas tree at nearby Rockefeller Centre. When they arrived, the tree lights were already off.

Undeterred, he asked her for an official date the following Sunday to see the holiday decorations. This time, the lights were on and sparks flew.

After three months of dating, Vanessa introduced John to her two kids and they all got along well. The devastation of Hurricane Sandy in 2012 cemented their growing bond.

"It was a hard time for our community and we were without lights for two weeks," she recalls. "It was stressful but we made it through."

Vanessa became Essence magazine Editor-in-Chief in the summer of 2013. Shortly after, the couple travelled to New Orleans for ESSENCE Festival.

While there, John invited her to dinner at Bombay Club, their favourite restaurant in the city. "When dessert came, they present a platter with a ring inside," she says. "He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him."

When Festival headliner Beyonce sang 'Single Ladies' later that weekend, the bride-to-be put her newly bejeweled hand in the air. John had put a ring on it.

As soon as they returned to New York, the couple began their wedding planning together with help from Pinterest and Etsy.

"John really had a say in everything, from the invitations to our photographer," Vanessa said. The only time they disagreed was how to incorporate his beloved ice hockey team, the New York Islanders.

"He wanted them for a cake topper," she recalls with a smile. "That's where I draw the line. That's going to live in our pictures forever."

They compromised with a New York Islanders ice sculpture at the wedding's cocktail hour.

For their special day, the couple wed outside in New Jersey with Vanessa's daughter, Madison serving as maid-of-honour and her son, Myles, walking her down the aisle. Afterwards, the couple danced the night away with their closest friends and family, the perfect way for John to start married life with his lady.

"I love that Vanessa is so smart," he says. "She gives her all." Vanessa credits achieving her dream job and meeting her match to stepping outside her comfort zone. "Some of the best things happen when you take a risk," she says.

Check out some of their wedding photos in the gallery below:

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