Real Essense of Australia Bride Jenna and Evan cover photo

Real Essense of Australia Bride Jenna + Evan

After a long two year engagement, Jenna and Evan could not wait to get married…and then COVID-19 hit. The couple decided to move forward with their wedding with extra precautions in place. Seeing all of their friends and families from near and far come together, during this crazy, unpredictable time, and laugh and sing and dance the night away was exactly what Jenna and Evan wanted. There was SO much love in the room and everyone definitely felt it.

Real Essense of Australia Bride Jenna and Groom Evan kissing at theirceremony

The Proposal

Evan and I met in graduate school at Cleveland State University for Physical Therapy. We both had a crush on each other right away but did not start dating until after the first year. When we graduated, we decided to do travel physical therapy together so that we could get the chance to live in different places for 3-6 months at a time. While we were living in Reno, Nevada for one of our travel contracts, we had been wanting to visit Yosemite National Park, which was a 3 hour drive from Reno. We kept putting it off because of the wildfires at the time, but finally they had cleared and Evan booked our weekend almost immediately, from the hotels to the hikes, he had planned everything himself (which is unlike him, because usually I’m the planner and he goes with the flow). Since he had planned everything, I was a little suspicious and thought MAYBE this is when he was going to propose.

It was October 27, 2018. We started our Saturday off with a hike and I will admit that I definitely was watching him to see if he was putting a box into his backpack or anything suspicious that would lead me to think that he was going to propose, but nothing! He was acting completely normal. After we hiked to the top of an absolutely beautiful spot called “Sentinel Dome,” overlooking Yosemite, I kept thinking in the back of my mind that maybe this would be where he proposed. We spent about 30 minutes at the top, taking pictures and walking around, in awe of all of the incredible views. We even had someone take our picture and I thought that maybe he would kneel down as someone was taking it, but nope! Nothing. As we were leaving and walking down the trail, the thought of him proposing completely left my mind because if it were to happen, I thought he would definitely do it at the top of the dome. About 5 minutes later, we stopped at a little side part of the trail with another great view and with no one else around. Evan told me to look out towards the view so he could take my picture, and I did, thinking nothing of it. Meanwhile, he was fumbling around in his backpack trying to get the ring out, and literally made me pose for about 10 pictures because he said it wasn’t turning out (I’m still turned around at this point,) so finally, when he says he got the picture, I turn around, and there he was on one knee, with the ring in his hand.

Real Essense of Australia Bride Jenna and Groom Evan posing for wedding photos

Finding the Perfect Essense of Australia Wedding Dress

I knew I wanted a mermaid or a fit-and-flare style dress, but definitely went in with an open mind and tried on every style first. Since I was still traveling at the time, I went to a few boutiques to try dresses on and get an idea of what I liked a few months after we got engaged. I brought my mom and one of my best friends that knows me best. I kept noticing that every gown I was gravitating towards were the Essense of Australia gowns (I mean, they are stunning, so how could I not?) I love lace and beading and detail so I narrowed it down to a dress that I thought I had loved and planned to come back to the boutique closer to our wedding date.

Real Bride Jenna wearing Essense of Australia wedding dress

Fast forward a year later when it was time to buckle down and find a dress, so I brought my mom and best friend again, grabbed the dress I had picked from the first time, plus a few others and started trying them on. When I tried the dress on from the first time, it was beautiful, but I just wasn’t getting that feeling.

The bridal associate said she thought she may have something that was exactly what I was looking for and went into the other room to grab Style D2819… and it was stunning. Everyone always talks about how you get that “bridal moment” where you just know and I was a little skeptical at first, after trying on so many dresses initially, but when I walked out with the dress the associate had chosen, the three of us (me, my mom, and best friend) had instant tears and we just knew it was the dress for me.

Real Essense of Australia bride Jenna and groom Evan posing for a black and white photo

My dress had everything I was looking for, the fit and flare style, the gorgeous lace, the intricate beading, sparkle, and stunning train. For a fun twist, I ordered extra fabric and had removable off the shoulder sleeves added for the ceremony. I took the sleeves off for the reception and it felt like I had two different looks, which I loved!

The Wedding Details

Above all, we wanted our wedding to be fun. With everything going on with COVID all year, we wanted everyone to have a night where they could feel somewhat normal. We also wanted a lot of special, personal touches. We had a champagne tower upon entering the venue, two eight-foot tables full of assorted desserts that my aunt made, a live band that had everyone on their feet all night, a selfie station that guests would take pictures all night at as they passed by, signature drinks named after our dogs, etc. We wanted a lot of personal touches and for everyone to be entertained. The amount of love we felt in the room was priceless, filled with family and friends from near and far. We truly had the best day of our lives and despite being a “covid wedding”, it was absolutely perfect and I wish we could re-live it over and over again.

Real Essense of Australia bride Jenna posing for photo with her bridesmaids

Photos by Hannah Donzen Photography