Jessica “Jess” Eccher’s mom actually called her and her future-husband’s relationship five years before they found each other. Jess, who works at Pencil & Paper Creative Development Co., was a freshman swimmer at Vanderbilt University and Kevin Matthew Ziomek, a former Detroit Tiger, was a left-handed pitcher on the baseball team. “[My mother] sent me a text that a boy from Amherst signed to play baseball at Vanderbilt and that I should make an effort to ‘befriend him’ because he was from her neck of the woods. I remember being mortified at the idea of going up to random boy to say hello because my mom had lived in the neighboring Massachusetts town,” says Jess. The pair, who started dating after graduation, now they joke that they should’ve taken her advice. Years of dating later, and Kevin proposed during a breakfast picnic at Cheekwood Estate & Gardens in Nashville.
The couple decided to get married at The Hillsboro Club on Hillsboro Beach in Florida, as Jess’s parents are members. “We love the old Florida meets Martha’s Vineyard aesthetic of the Hillsboro Club because it’s just like us, (I’m from Florida and Kevin is from Massachusetts.)” the bride says. The club was recently renovated by talented interior designer, Leta Austin Foster, and features beautiful Quadrille fabrics, hand-painted Chinoiserie walls, and just the right amount of rattan. Jess and her mother remotely planned the entire event themselves, while Jonathan Inverso from the club lent knowledge and expertise on-site.
For her dress, the bride found a timeless and incredibly comfortable choice in the Ava by Alexandra Grecco. She paired the gown with a hand-made, English tulle veil, emerald green smoking slippers with her new initials embroidered, and her late grandmother’s vintage diamond drop earrings, which her grandmother wore at Jess’s parents wedding. Around Jess’s bouquet was an embroidered linen handkerchief that three generations before her had also used on their wedding days. “While I was getting ready, Kevin surprised me with an estate sapphire and diamond ring to use as my ‘something blue.’ I am (not so secretly) an admirer of Kate Middleton and was blown away by how he had hunted down a piece so similar as hers,” Jess says.
The groom wore an ivory dinner jacket with matching black velvet smoking slippers with his initials embroidered on them. Kevin’s groomsmen and Jess’s “bridesman” also wore matching dinner jackets, and bridesmaids wore dove colored Monique Lhuillier dresses and oversized petal earrings from Tuckernuck. Also in the wedding party were nine flower girls and ring bearers, who took their jobs very seriously.
On a deck overlooking the ocean under an arch of palms and Matthiola, the happy couple were married by the same minister who married Jess’s parents in New York more than thirty years ago. “Since 1988, Reverend Tim Ives has travelled all over to marry countless relatives, baptize my cousins, and celebrate the lives of my grandparents. It was so incredibly special to have him perform our ceremony,” says Jess. The pair said, “I do,” at just the right moment, as one hour before the bride walked down the aisle, Johnathan from the club approached Jess with an option to move the wedding inside because storms were coming. A few minutes after the al fresco ceremony came to a close, and just as the happy couple recessed to a steel drum rendition of “What A Wonderful World,” it began down pouring for hours.
Guests watched the rain from the reception in the dining room, where tequila was the signature drink served, and oversized palms and banana leaves acted as centerpieces for the space. “I love the understated, yet dramatic, elegance of palms, and they truly shaped and complemented the entire look of our wedding from our wedding crest to the entire invitation suite to my shoes and even my mother’s dress!” the bride exclaims. Jess also wanted a big band, and The Buzzcatz had everyone on their feet from start to finish. Meanwhile, live wedding painter Nancy Spielman worked on her tableau through the evening as guests taking a break from the dance floor looked on.
For dinner, the menu paid homage to Jess’s home state with a salad full of Florida citrus and an intermezzo of key lime sorbet, followed by filet mignon and sea bass. During dinner, the bride’s father and both of the bride and groom’s younger brothers made heartfelt speeches. And to top off the meal, the wedding cake was a delicious carrot creation.
After dining, the couple had their first dance to “Into The Mystic” by Van Morrison. “The art history major in me loves symbolism, and when you dissect the song down, there’s so much parallelism to our relationship . . . We used to always play the song when Kevin was away for baseball, and we were just waiting for offseason, so he could return home,” Jess explains. Another sweet moment came when the bride had her father-daughter dance. “Ever since Paul Simon’s ‘Father and Daughter’ was released for The Wild Thornberrys Movie, my dad and I have always sung it to each other. Our father-daughter dance was no different . . . we quite audibly sang the entire song to each other while dancing, and I remember wishing that our moment could last forever,” she says.
“At one point during the reception, a groomsmen told the ring bearers that whoever drank the most Shirley Temples would win a prize at the end of the night . . . needless to say everyone missed their bedtimes,” Jess says. When the kids had finally been put to bed, the after-party moved back to the oceanfront deck, where tequila fueled a bit of skinny dipping under the moonlight. “My sweet mother woke up the next morning to go for a walk on the beach and was greeted by tuxedos, dresses, earrings, and shoes strewn out all over the sand,” Jess remembers. “We still laugh about the aftermath as she ended up collecting people’s ‘lost’ items for at least two weeks after our wedding!”