Jen & Erik
Wedding photos by: Rachael Russo of Rachael Nicole Photography
How they met
Jennifer Busacca, of Marin County, California and Erik Harte, originally from St. Petersburg, Florida met through Jen’s childhood best friend and matchmaker, Cheryl Chretien.
One evening, Cheryl invited a small group of her friends out for drinks, including Erik and Jen. After realizing their mutual affinity for the same kind of Girl Scout Cookies (Samoas), Erik wouldn't leave without Jen’s number, which he quickly used to ask for a second date.
Falling in Love (and picking a ring)
"Everything seemed to come together so naturally, and I could be my true self. I remember specifically walking back from a show at the Independent early into dating, he would bring me to the inside of the sidewalk to make sure that I was safe. It was the little things that made me feel loved," said Jen when asked how she knew Erik was the one.
"It took me awhile, because I was guarded. How could this unbelievable woman care as much about me as I did about her? But being around each other was so easy, so natural. Then one day I told her I loved her, and she replied that she had felt that way for some time about me. I knew she was the one." replied Erik.
Two and a half years into dating Erik was ready to propose, he knew he needed a ring, and that's where Nick Engel & Co comes in.
Quite fittingly, Erik met Nick at a wedding! It was Jen's sister's wedding, and Nick joked with Erik: "He said that when it was my turn, to give him a call. I took him up on the offer. I knew nothing about how rings are made, diamonds chosen, pricing, anything. But Nick walked me through everything, patiently educating me on each step and it turned out to be a surprisingly enjoyable experience."
Ring in hand, Erik proposed to Jen in Napa the day before his 30th birthday. "We were planning a big gathering in Napa for Erik's 30th and rented an estate for 35 of our closest friends for a couple of nights. Erik and I decided to drive up a day early to get the house situated and to have some time alone before everyone showed up." said Jen.
The day they decided to leave, the biggest storm of the year rolled through. They almost came close to canceling the trip due to the potentially dangerous drive, but decided to roll with it. "Erik and I arrived later in the evening and it was pouring rain and thunder. We unloaded the car and bags and once we got settled, the power went out!"
Thankfully there were some lanterns, candles, and a fireplace to set the mood. They opened a bottle of wine to shake off the crazy adventure, and Jen decided it was the perfect moment to give Erik his birthday present. After he opened the gift, he said that he had something for her too. He reached into his backpack for the ring, got on one knee and asked Jen to marry him.
"I said yes! The ring was EXACTLY what I dreamed my engagement ring would look like. It's absolutely beautiful! It's a classic style with a round diamond in the middle, with two baguettes on the side set in platinum. I saw this style of ring when I was out shopping, and told my friend Cheryl that if Erik ever asks, this is the type of ring I would want. It turned out better than I could've imagined, stunning!"
Erik and Jen wanted to call their friends and family to tell them the good news, but there was no service due to the storm! Instead, they surprised everyone when they each arrived at the ranch the next day. It was quite the celebratory weekend!
The Wedding and Happily Ever After
After their engagement, Jen and Erik both asked Nick to design their wedding bands too, "It was an easy, enjoyable, fun experience - this time getting to design the rings together!" said Jen.
Their wedding was held at the Museum of Fine Arts in downtown St. Petersburg, FL, where Erik was born and raised. "The ceremony was so beautiful and emotional; to realize that not only are you marrying your best friend, but all of your closest friends and family are there to share that moment with you. It really felt like we were encapsulated in our own world as we were exchanging vows; simply perfect." recalled Jen.
"Now that the wedding has passed, it's so fun to look back on our journey, and to look forward to what's to come...it's wonderful to know that you have always have a partner to support you. Every day is a blessing!"