Bride of the Week: Jennifer Pecina

Call of Duty

Jennifer carried a bouquet of stargazer and Casablanca lilies as she wed John Powell in San Diego.
Alicia Q. Photography

How much does Jennifer Pecina love a man in uniform? Enough to marry him just a few short months after his return from deployment in Afghanistan.

“I had forever said I would never date a guy in the military because I just couldn’t deal with him being away all the time,” recalls Jennifer of the time in her life before meeting her future husband John Powell, a U.S. Marine. “But I knew he was ‘The One’ and I would do anything, especially wait, if that meant being with him.”

Her patience paid off in a magnificent outdoor ceremony by the bay in San Diego on February 12, 2012. With the twinkling lights of the boats in the nearby marina, a gentle seafront and picturesque palm trees as a backdrop, Jennifer planned an affair that was as far from war-weary Kabul as the groom could imagine. 

The bride wore a strapless fitted gown with a sweetheart neckline and touches of sparkling beading from Alfred Angelo. Her bouquet was made of stargazer and Casablanca lilies tied with a piece of white lace from her mother’s wedding dress. Her bridesmaids dazzled in black cocktail dresses with white belts and fuchsia satin heels, the three central hues in the décor of the event.

But one of the most luxe touches wasn’t planned by Jennifer at all: John surprised his bride at the altar with a second diamond wedding band, besides the one they’d picked out together. “I was doing fine not crying until he did that,” says Jennifer.

After they were proclaimed husband and wife, the new Mr. and Mrs. Powell moved their 165 guests inside to a reception that could be summed up by the bride best: “It was a PARTY.” Here, the tables were dressed in black linens with matching black Chiavari chairs. Billowy white chiffon draped the ceilings to convey the mood of a white tent inside the ballroom. White flowers like those in Jennifer’s bouquet served as centerpieces while pink punctuated the décor as an accent. “I used hints of pink to express me. To me, it’s fun and spunky,” she says.

One of the spirited ways the color was used: in a pair of hot pink Chuck Taylor sneakers the bride slipped into for her very choreographed, very fun-loving father-daughter dance. Far from a sentimental number, Jennifer and her dad entertained the guests in a routine that made the crowd clap for more. “I’m more of a shoe-a-holic,” adds the bride. “I had three shoe changes throughout the day.”

Looking back on their courtship, Jennifer credits John’s distance when he was on active duty as helping to strengthen their bond. When so much of their time “together” entailed talking, talking and more talking via web-chat, text and email, the couple learned more about each other than more conventional dating experiences.

Jennifer succeeded in planning a wedding that was a “celebration of our love,” adding with a laugh, “I can honestly say, it was the happiest day of my life—until we have our first baby due December 29th. Then that will change!”

--Erinn Bucklan

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