26th July 2017
A Whirlwind Wedding – Jessica & Jeremy
What’s the shortest time in which you could organise a wedding? Five months? Five weeks? What about five hours?
Jeremy Spiteri and Jessica Catania had been long-time friends before they started going out in 2009. Since then, they’ve never been apart for more than a day. After years of dating, Jeremy proposed while the two were watching American Idol in Jessica’s room. It’s something that Jessica still teases him about, although she says it totally matches his goofy and easy-going personality. They held a lavish engagement party in Gharghur on 7th September, 2014, attended by around 200 guests.
Jessica’s original plan was to get married two years later, but since the two had always wanted to get married on the eve of a public holiday, they pushed the date to 18th March, 2017. And so the preparations began. “I was a bit of a bridezilla,” she confesses. “Although I knew exactly what I wanted my dress to look like, I tried on more than 60 dresses from 15 different shops before finding the perfect one at Alamango, with the help of Joyce and Marisa.” “She was watching a lot of episodes of Say Yes To The Dress!” Jeremy says with a smile. “I was present at everyone’s appointments,” Jessica grins, adding that her ‘wonder woman’, Katia Gatt from KG Events helped keep her sane throughout the process.
However, the unthinkable happened a few months before Jessica and Jeremy’s big day – Jessica’s father was told he was terminally ill, with only a few months left to live. It would be heart-breaking news for anyone to receive, but especially for Jessica, whose bond with her father was incredibly strong, and who had just lost her grandfather a couple of weeks prior. Both families were devastated – Jeremy and Jessica’s fathers were close friends, and Jessica says that her husband-to-be’s parents offered great emotional support during this time.
As the months went on, Mr Catania’s condition got worse, until after a particularly bad weekend, the doctor told Jessica and her family that he couldn’t say with certainty that her father would wake up the next day. It was then that she decided, at 12.36pm at her desk on an ordinary Monday, that her father wasn’t going to leave this world without seeing her get married. Jeremy agreed – they were going to get married that same evening, by his side, at Mater Dei Hospital.
Jeremy’s cousin and Jess’ close friend, beauty blogger Dyna YT, chimed in to help, managing to find countless suppliers who were willing to help out with seating, flowers, photography, hair and make-up on super-short notice, and in just a few hours, the wedding began to take shape. However, there were a few hiccups too – Jessica’s seamstress hadn’t quite finished with the alterations on the dress and was abroad that day. “I was going to get married in black,” Jessica says, “before my friend Petra came to the rescue. She offered to lend me the dress she had gotten married in herself, just a few months earlier!”
There was also a lot of paperwork to sort out, both from the legal and religious sides, but somehow, both the permits from the Vatican and from the Justice Ministry arrived in time. You could say it was almost a miracle. Weak as he was, Jessica’s father’s eyes lit up when he saw her – “Kemm inti sabiha,” he said, his voice full of emotion, as he held the couple’s hands together against his own. With a crowd of family members, friends and colleagues in attendance, there wasn’t a dry eye in the hospital chapel when Jessica and Jeremy were pronounced husband and wife.
Later, the bride made sure to let everyone know that the official wedding two weeks later was still on. “I still had butterflies in my stomach that morning, even though we were technically already married,” she says.
“It was my turn to be a groomzilla,” says Jeremy, who recounts how he went to the venue hours beforehand to check that everything would be perfect for the reception.
Jeremy and Jessica renewed vows at the bride’s hometown parish church in Mellieha. Her mother walked her down the aisle to Carrie Underwood’s Mama’s Song. “I chose the song long before I knew my mother would be the one walking me down the aisle. We actually ended up living the lyrics of the song,” Jessica says.
The newly-newlyweds then went to pay Jessica’s father a visit at hospital, before rolling up to the wedding reception at Palazzo Promontorio. Around 700 people were at the wedding. After the couple shared their first dance to Lady in Red, they continued to dance all night.
“If there’s one thing I would change, it would be that I would have stuck to my original plan of getting married in 2016. That way, my grandfather and father would both have been alive and well to see us,” says Jessica. “Everything else? It was perfect.”