Saturday, June 25, 2011

Real Weddings: Jessica & Sal

When 19-year-old Jessica Miller arrived for work at Victoria's Secret during the height of the holiday season, she certainly wasn't looking for love. The only thing on her mind that day was staying cool through a hectic shift. Love, it turns out, found her.

Salvatore Pugliese was immediately impressed after meeting Jessica through a friend of his who worked with her. One evening, after Jessica got off shift, they weathered the crowd and enjoyed their first date: ice cream at Friendly's.

Five years later, the couple was still inseparable. Jessica had come to appreciate Sal's passion for underground hip-hop, even though she prefers Top 40 hits. Sal is a big fan of ESPN and CNN, while Jessica prefers reality TV. Sal, however, enjoys Jessica's love of watching sports in person.

On their fifth anniversary, Jessica received roses at work. When she arrived home to their apartment, Sal asked her to close her eyes. When she opened them, she saw he had gotten down on one knee to ask her to marry him. "I immediately started crying," Jessica says, "and jumped on him and crossed my legs around him. I knew he had the ring, but I was still surprised."

Jessica's wedding vision was for something simple and clean, yet elegant and classic. Thanks to an internship with a special events firm that held a wedding show at the State Room, she knew that spot would be the perfect place for her big day.

After attending a bridal show with a friend, Jessica stopped at David's Bridal while weddings were fresh on her mind. While waiting for a dressing room, Jessica and her friend scoured the floor. She picked up a dress and piled it in her arms. "I didn't like in on the hanger, but something about it being off-white and all lace appealed to me," she says. "Like I've been told while shopping, it may look different on than on a hanger."

She finally entered the dressing room. "I was right. Slipping into it, I just knew. And people stopping me on a busy day to tell me 'You'd be crazy if you didn't buy that dress' sealed the deal."

Today, Jessica misses planning their wedding, even -- surprisingly -- the stressful moments. She remembers going back and forth with Sal about whether or not to see each other before the wedding. For months she held onto the idea of waiting and secretly hoping she'd get a few tears out of Sal.

Their final decision, however, was to see each other before the ceremony and get most of their photos taken then. "We were happy with that decision. We got to spend more time with our guests and also felt more relaxed the whole day," she says.

They were able to be present, for instance, for part of the cocktail hour, which was important to them. "How many times does a couple have all of their favorite people in one room there to support their love?" Jessica says.

Jessica and Sal like to eat -- some of their favorite date nights revolved around staying in and Sal cooking Jessica's favorite meal: hamburgers with sauteed mushrooms and onions. They vowed no one would leave their wedding hungry. "We have been to weddings where we've stopped for pizza on the way home (because) we were so hungry," Jessica says.

Of the many memorable moments, Jessica remembers the father-daughter dance with special tenderness. Her father chose the song. They started out with a typical slow song and then broke out their dance moves to Mary J. Blige's "Family Affair." Their guests erupted with laughter and applause while joining in.

The couple spent the day after the wedding packing for their honeymoon to Cancun, where they stayed in a second-floor suite, complete with a private rooftop terrace and pool. It was their perfect ending to a perfect day.

Jessica and Sal decided to see each other before the ceremony so they could get their photos done then. "We got to spend more time with our guests and also felt more relaxed the whole day," says Jessica of their decision. "How many times does a couple have all of their favorite people in one room there to support their love?" (Photo by Linda Conley)

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BRIDE: Jessica (Miller) Pugliese, 26, Convention Sales Assistant for the Albany County Convention and Visitors Bureau

GROOM: Sal Pugliese, 29, Network Data Specialist II for Empire Blue Cross

THE WEDDING DAY: October 30, 2010 at The State Room in downtown Albany.

They had a photobooth with props -- it was a hit!

THE HONEYMOON: Excellence Resort Playa Mujeres in Cancun, Mexico, 7 days.


WEDDING & RECEPTION: The State Room, 142 State Street, Albany, 518-432-7773 ,

PHOTOGRAPHY: Linda Conley, 518-445-0106 ,

WEDDING ATTIRE: David's Bridal, 1440 Central Avenue, Albany, 518-437-1223 ,

HAIR & MAKE-UP: Lipstick n Lashes, 76 Front Street, Ballston Spa, 518-316-1819

JEWELER: Hannoush Jeweler, 1417 Central Avenue, Albany, 518-435-0318 ,

FLOWERS: Ambiance, 116 Everett Road, Albany, 518-446-9900 ,

MUSIC: Fernando, DJ Piano Man, 683 New Loudon Road, Latham, 518-489-4000 ,

INVITATIONS: Magnet Street,

TRANSPORTATION: Albany Trolleys, P.O. Box 446, Albany, 518-462-3825 ,

HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS: Crowne Plaza, State And Lodge Streets, Albany, 518-432-6611 ,

REHEARSAL DINNER: Franklin's Tower, 414 Broadway, Albany, 518-431-1920 ,

Photos by Linda Conley
By Audrey Mangini/VOW

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