The beginning of Jessica Binns and Danielle Vinci's relationship was not exactly the stuff of great romance — it was a break up that brought them together.
Although the women attended different colleges — Binns is a graduate of Kean University, while Vinci earned a degree from Rutgers University — they have known each other for roughly 9 years.
"Unfortunately, or I guess fortunately, I tended to patronize Jessica a lot on social media when we were in college," Danielle Vinci, 28, said. "We had a mutual ex and I guess you could say Jessica wasn't happy about it."
The pair eventually stopped picking on each other long enough to become friends and eventually partners.
"On my birthday, I took Danielle walking along the water in Piermont, N.Y., where we had our first official date," Binns, 30, said. "We sat on a bench and talked a lot about the future."
And on that November day in 2013, Binns took out a ring and asked Vinci to be a part of her family forever.
Jessica Binns and Danielle Vinci had some help from the film "Miss Congeniality" in deciding on their wedding date.
Their wedding date
Vinci, who grew up in Brooklyn and Staten Island, and Binns, a Rutherford native, turned to the big screen for help in deciding on the date for their big day.
"According to the movie 'Miss Congeniality,' the perfect date is April 25: not too hot, not too cold," Vinci said, quoting the 2000 comedy which starred Sandra Bullock. "All you need is a light jacket."
The Cliffside Park couple said they would classify their wedding as "traditionally alternative."
"We're from two very different faiths and cultural backgrounds — Jewish and Italian — so we had to accommodate both groups, while obviously remaining true to ourselves and our own character," Binns said.
Binns and her bride had very different visions for their wedding.
"Danielle wanted to have a small wedding away from home, but sacrificed the idea for me so I could get married with my entire family present," Binns said.
Vinci had one requirement however. If the women were not going to have a destination wedding, she wanted to get married at a local venue with "really good food."
"Italians care a lot about their meals," Binns said.
She took Vinci to Liberty House Restaurant in Jersey City, guided by the belief she would fall in love with their menu.
The Jersey City waterfront restaurant overlooks Manhattan.
"The location is right in between where we grew up — kind of symbolic middle ground, with the backdrop of the city," Binns said. "We fell in love."
What they splurged on
Vinci, a human resource professional, said she and Binns made sure to splurge on the videographer and photographer because the memories produced by each would come home with them. They hired George Koroneos of GLK Creative.
They also decided to spend more on their wedding cake and chose to make it reflective of the hobbies they enjoy.
"Oddly enough, I spent a lot of weekends going to the shooting range with my dad for sport," Binns said. "We did a lot of target and trap shooting as well when I was younger."
Vinci loves the sport as much as her bride, so the pair had Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken decorate a cake with their favorite pistols and rifles.
"Although some people may find it bizarre or even scary, it's just something different that we enjoy doing together," Binns said. "We're not traditional girly girls — flowers aren't us. This is."
Danielle Vinci and Jessica Binns made the centerpieces for their wedding reception.
Where they saved
The couple's craftiness helped them cut costs.
"We saved a lot by ordering our centerpieces online and assembling them ourselves," Vinci said.
Since both women are sensitive to the smell of flowers, they did not want a strong presence of floral arrangements on their wedding day.
"We saved with silk roses and candles for decor," Vinci said.
How they made their wedding special
As a gay couple, Vinci and Binns said a lot of wedding traditions did not apply to them or to their tastes.
"So we changed them or came up with alternative methods," said Binns, whose brother was her man of honor. "Luckily, since no one knows much about gay weddings, whatever we came up with wasn't met with any criticism or fear."
The women, both of whom wore weddings gowns, had loved ones of both sexes in their bridal party.
"Luckily, since no one knows much about gay weddings, whatever we came up with wasn't met with any criticism or fear," Jessica Binns said.
"There wasn't a line of boys and a line of girls by any means," Binns said. "It was just two groups of friends and family standing on each of our sides."
They also did away with a flower girl and ring bearer and instead let the younger kids be of equal standing to the rest of their wedding party.
Each bride was escorted down the aisle by one of their parents.
"I don't know that the antiquated tradition of giving the bride away was really incorporated into our ceremony," Binns said. "It just felt more like an honor to have our parents take that walk to the altar with us."
During their reception, Vinci's stepfather Ralph Pepino played a song in place of a father-daughter dance. Vinci's biological father is in a wheelchair and could not dance with her, so her stepfather played the song "Daughters" by John Mayer on his guitar while Vinci's friend, Nick Bove provided the vocals.
"During the ceremony, I was overwhelmed with gratitude thinking about all the people who fought so we could be up there," Danielle Vinci said.
Most memorable moments
Vinci and Binns were most grateful for the opportunity to say "I do" in front of their 200 guests.
"During the ceremony, I was overwhelmed with gratitude thinking about all the people who fought so we could be up there," Vinci said. "It crossed my mind that not too long ago it wouldn't have been possible."
"I was so grateful in that moment to marry the person I love and know that it was real," she added.
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