Author’s Note: This article was originally published in the January 2012 edition of Businesswoman’s Magazine‘s Bride2B supplement. For more information, visit http://mydigitalpublication.com/publication/?i=95209 . The article starts on page 6.
By Rosalba Ugliuzza
Every bride wants to feel like a princess on her wedding day.
Take England’s own Kate Middleton, for instance. The young commoner took our breath away in a stunning Alexander McQueen gown when she married her Prince Charming in April 2011. Yet, she mastered her presence in front of millions of people from around the world with style, dignity, and grace.
But whether it’s a small affair or a grand spectacle, the new Duchess learned one important lesson on her wedding day: Love always reigns.
Jill Swenson has learned the same lesson. Indeed, Jill said she did feel like a “princess” on May 21, 2011, when she married her fiance of two years, Dustin Swenson, a former Marine. The couple had an outdoor wedding. The groom wore a tuxedo, while the bride walked down the aisle in a strapless, beaded, metallic-embroidered gown with a satin pickup skirt and sash from the Oleg Cassini Collection.
“As my wife was walking down the aisle, I was thinking, ‘Wow, she really looks beautiful, and I hope I don’t pass out,'” said Dustin. “I was nervous.”
With a bridal party consisting of 18 people, the couple invited 125 of their close family members and friends to share in their celebration. Even the couple’s two children, Laine Jaxon, 4, and Briana Marie, 2, took part in their parents’ wedding as ring bearer and flower girl, respectively.
“It was awesome to have them in the wedding, and they did fabulous walking together,” said Jill. “Both of their outfits matched ours.”
During the wedding ceremony, the couple honored their deceased grandparents. The song “Amazing Grace” was played instrumentally in bagpipes when the mother of the bride and groom lit their candles leading up to the processional. A vase of roses was displayed on the unity candle table, which represented each of their deceased grandparents.
“After the lighting of the unity candle, those seven roses were personally handed out by Dustin and I along with a hug and a kiss to the next oldest living relative seated at the ceremony,” Jill said.
The poignant ceremony ended with an upbeat note as the newlyweds went up the aisle to Unk’s dance song “Walk It Out.”
All the guests then headed for the reception held at the Revere Tavern in Paradise. The memories of their deceased grandparents were still felt as a picture of each one and a lit candle were placed at the reception entrance.
One of Dustin’s favorite parts about the wedding was driving his bride to the reception in a 1968 Ford Mustang CS/GT, which he borrowed from his brother-in-law.
The reception was filled with tons of music as Swenson’s stepmother, Sheri Sweeney, sang “This Love” by LeAnn Rimes. Jill said the big surprise of the night was when the Woodland, PA String Band arrived to perform for a half hour.
“The string band was to throw in a little bit of my roots and to allow Dustin’s family out west to experience some of what I come from. This was a total hit and both of our families enjoyed it together,” she said.
Their entire wedding festivities came around a full circle for Jill and her new husband as they met five years ago at a mutual friend’s wedding, where Dustin served as the best man.
“Dustin and I each had come with our own dates to this wedding, but when I caught the bouquet and Dustin caught the garter in which he had to then put on my leg, we started talking later that evening and then not again until a month later when we planned our first date in late March,” Jill said.
Since Dustin was a member of the United States Marine Corp, the couple maintained a long distance relationship until he was honorably discharged for completing his service in July 2005. At that point, he moved to Pennsylvania to be with Jill. The couple became engaged at their home in February 2009 after Dustin knelt down on one knee and presented Jill with a heart-shaped diamond ring.
Dustin said he bought the ring a month prior to popping the question. He kept the ring with him at all times because he said he was worried that Jill would find it.
“My family was ecstatic (when finding out about the proposal) because they love Jill,” said Dustin, a Colorado native. “I realized that Jill was the one because even during the good, bad, and ugly, she always came back with understanding and stood by me no matter what.”
The couple has yet to go on a honeymoon, however they have thought about going on a cruise. In the meantime, the Swensons have lots of opportunities to spend time together. In their spare time, they enjoy motorcycle riding, boating, snowboarding, camping, going to a shooting range, hosting barbecues with family & friends or spending with their kids.
In 50 years, they’d like to have family gatherings with their children and their future families and watch their grandchildren grow.