Though they had been friends for nearly seven years prior, it only took a couple of months following their first date for John Colaneri, star of HGTV’s Kitchen Cousins, Cousins Undercover, and Cousins on Call, to propose to his true love Jennifer Walker. “I had always had a crush on Jenn when we were younger,” reveals John. “As we got older, I knew I was falling in love with her.” As for Jennifer, she will never forget the way John looked at her the first time they met. “To this day, he still looks at me the same way,” she says with a smile.
When John was in California filming an episode of Kitchen Cousins with co-star and cousin Anthony Carrino, he flew Jennifer to the set from New Jersey with the pretense that he would be introducing her to fans as his girlfriend. Little did she know, he had something much more grand in store. In front of thousands of viewers on national television, John got on bended knee and asked his beloved to marry him. “Not only did he give me the biggest surprise of my life, but he also made me the happiest girl in the world!” gushes the bride.
One year later in a charming New England town, an elegant church ceremony united the couple as husband and wife in front of 175 loved ones. “Getting married in a church was very important to both sets of parents,” Jennifer explains. The groom’s mother even endowed the couple with a personalized bible and unity candle to incorporate into the summer ceremony. “The church was the best part of our wedding,” admits John. “It was magical.”
Jennifer was resplendent in an ivory fit-and-flare gown made of lace with capped sleeves and blush satin-ribbon detail at her waist. A dazzling headpiece in a floral motif fastened the bride’s dark brown hair into a classic style that exposed her shimmering diamond earrings. She held a beautiful bouquet featuring vanilla hydrangeas and roses enveloped by green-and-purple antique hydrangea blossoms. Bridesmaids dressed in ethereal floor-length gowns in a champagne hue carried all-white nosegays with a collection of roses, hydrangeas, and lisianthus; save the maid of honor who carried a bouquet resembling the bride’s with the addition of cottage roses in shades of light pink.
John recalls his favorite moment of the entire day as seeing his bride for the first time. “Jennifer is the most beautiful woman in the world to me and on that day, she was flawless,” gleams the groom. “To see my wife walk down the aisle was like something out of a movie.” John was dapper in a charcoal grey suit, textured black tie, and a boutonniere featuring a fresh sprig of rosemary behind a white calla lily and a hydrangea floret. His groomsmen donned light grey suits with matching black ties and corresponding boutonnieres.
Once the couple professed their vows to one another, the celebration was in full force. Wedding attendees were welcomed into a magical tented space for the cocktail hour complete with natural wood flooring, plush seating areas, and overhead wicker lighting. Distressed chests, chalkboard signage, and Moroccan lanterns added a rustic flair, and patterned pillows in rich hues set a comfortable ambience for the evening. “We love ‘modern rustic’ and tried to stick with that theme as much as we could,” expresses the bride.
Guests discovered their table numbers displayed prominently on natural slabs made from tree trunks, and then entered a waterfront reception room that was awash with sunlight. Rectangular tables fashioned from reclaimed wood surrounded the dance floor and were bedecked with burlap runners and succulent ornamentation. Floral centerpieces looked freshly picked from the garden, Old World glassware in rich hues decorated each diner’s place setting, and high-backed chairs at the heads of tables contributed to the refined allure of the reception space. “The overall interior décor was very unique. Nothing in the room was to be the same and every table had its own flair,” John describes of the imaginative setting.
A sit-down dinner service was followed by dessert and dancing. “We had the most beautiful sunset that kicked off the party and turned the Newport sky into a purple-and-red palette that truly took our breath away,” declares the groom. The cake, a five-tier masterpiece designed to look like a birch tree with “J+J” carved into the side, was the epicurean highlight of the evening. Sugar flowers and succulents decorated the confection, while cookies-and-cream and chocolate-hazelnut flavors left a lasting impression on guests. “It was incredible and absolutely delicious!” exclaims the bride.
Jennifer and John insist that other couples take in every aspect of their weddings while they can. "You never realize how fast it all goes until it's over," asserts Jennifer, though she and John tried their best to experience everything they could. "We never stopped moving all night," says the groom. "We tasted all of the food, danced, and laughed with all of our guests."