It’s hard to find words to express the sadness one feels in the wake of unthinkable tragedy, even tragedy that seems so far removed from one’s individual reality. But sooner or later, we’re bound to experience tragedies that hit profoundly close to home. This morning on People.com, former Blossom star Jenna Von Oy, who welcomed a daughter this year named Grey (she revealed she was pregnant on their first anniversary), recalled the town where she was born and raised, where she went to school, got married, and christened her baby girl. Today, we look back at Jenna’s wedding to Dell data consultant Brad Bratcher, which took place in the backyard of a bed and breakfast on the town’s main street.
The Courtship: The couple met in early 2008 while Jenna Von Oy was (still is?) pursuing a music career in Nashville. They met at a wine bar in town, and she and Bratcher bonded over their shared love of writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The couple dated for two years.
The Proposal: On New Year’s Eve 2009, Bratcher had planned a romantic at-home proposal involving the couple’s five dogs, most of them shelter pups. He had previously called her parents in Newtown to ask for their daughter’s hand in marriage, but that night, at home in sweats and slippers, all Jenna wanted to do was phone home. But Bratcher knew the second she phoned her parents, hearing her mother’s voice, she would know that something was up, so he persuaded her to hold off. He then went into their basement bedroom to change into a sports jacket, and Von Oy nearly walked in on him, thus almost ruining the surprise a second time.
But when he was finally ready, Bratcher took Von Oy by the hand and, giving her a blindfold, sat her in the couple’s favourite chair. ” He said to all our dogs, ‘Come in here kids, I need you!’ Miraculously, they all somehow innately knew it was important, and all five of them were sitting around me with him on his knee when he took the blindfold off. He said, ‘I can’t imagine leaving 2009 and going into 2010 without asking you to be my wife,'” Von Oy told People at the time. “He’s very romantic and so overwhelmingly honest and good. He didn’t say that because he’d thought about it over and over. He said that on the fly because that’s just in his heart.”
The Date: The couple were married on 10-10-10, which was a Sunday.
The Venue: The couple chose to wed in the backyard garden of the Dana-Holcombe House B&B on Newtown’s historic Main Street. The owner was a former teacher of Von Oy’s.
The Look & Feel: The wedding carried a distinctly down-to-earth, yet classy, feel. Autumn colours dominated the wedding palette. She carried a colourful autumn bouquet down the aisle, with deep blue flowers and red berries, from Just For You Floral Design Studio in nearby Middlefield, CT. A table draped in a brown tablecloth was set up in the backyard, covered in family photographs and memories of the couple’s courtship.
The Clothes: Bratcher wore a classic tuxedo, and Von Oy wore an off-white taffeta gown with a rose-embellished halter neckline and gathering at the skirt, and instead of a veil wore a vintage feathered headpiece to one side of her simple updo. Under the dress, Von Oy wore a pair of lace-up purple boots to keep her going on the dance floor all night long.
The Guests and Wedding Party: The couple’s dog Bruiser, a pug, served as the ringbearer. Guests included actors Kal Penn and Dule Hill, but Von Oy’s former Blossom co-star, Mayim Bialik, reportedly couldn’t make it due to work commitments. In all, 83 guests were present for the celebration.
The First Dance: Jenna and Brad shared their first dance to Train’s catchy pop tune, “Marry Me,” but took a second spin around the dance floor to a song Jenna composed especially for her new hubby.
The Food & Entertainment: Guests danced the night away to tunes spun by local DJs Tony Simmons and DJ Brian, who played songs each guest requested before the ceremony. The R&B group All-4-One performed for the couple, and late at night the remaining guests joined in on a “Jam Session” with Jenna and her musical friends. Guests were fed truffle popcorn to keep their energy up, and Bratcher’s sister, a chef, baked the couple’s peanut butter and chocolate wedding cake.
The Honeymoon: The couple postponed a honeymoon until May 2011, when Bratcher could take two consecutive weeks off from work. They spent a quiet few weeks “drinking wine in the countryside” in France and Italy.
What They Said: Von Oy told People that it was the best day of her life. “We knew it would be a wonderful day. But it was a blast – more fun than we ever expected!”
Still Nashville-based, these days Jenna mommy blogs prolifically for People.com, sharing the ups and down of first-time motherhood following the birth of daughter Gray Audrey Bratcher on May 21, 2012, who was christened this summer at Newtown’s Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Church, where last night a candlelight vigil was held for victims of yesterday’s heartbreaking massacre.