26th October, 2002 -
Ah, 2002, the good old days — it was the age of blonde pop stars and boy bands, a simpler time, before Instagram, and Snapchat, a time before Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey were the greatest reality TV couple of our time. But before the pop star couple, who met at a Christmas parade when Simpson was just 18 (Nick proposed 4 years later with a pear-shaped diamond ring), would go on to chronicle their love on their MTV reality show Newlyweds, they had to get, well, wed. On a rainy October 26, 2002, 350 guests, including Nick’s 98 Degrees band members Drew Lachey and Justin Jeffries gathered to see self-proclaimed virgin Simpson tie the knot to 90 Degrees frontman Lachey, and the rest is reality TV history.
With the help of celebrity wedding planner Mindy Weiss (Jess liked her so much she used her twice, more on that later) to create a soft romantic look, Simpson and Lachey said their "I Dos" in front of 350 guests at the Riverbend Church in Austin, Texas in a 5 p.m. 40 minute ceremony. The bride arrived in a 1937 Cadillac limousine with her mother, Tina Simpson, and sister, Ashlee Simpson. As “The Wedding March” played, the bride walked down a rose petal-covered aisle on the arm of her father Joe Simpson. She wore a custom-made white strapless beaded Vera Wang gown, with a 11-carat Harry Winston pave diamond headband attached to her veil. Her hair, styled by Ken Paves, was pinned back on each side with vintage Van Cleef & Arpels brooches. The groom wore a black Hugo Boss tux with a white silk tie. With hundreds of candles and pale pink roses decorating throughout the church, the ceremony had a fairy tale quality. The couple were married in a traditional Christian ceremony officiated by Jessica’s childhood friend, Brian Buchek at Smith Family Chapel in front of 350 guests. During the ceremony, Lachey and Simpson’s mothers lit a unity candle together. The musical couple had written songs for each other — Jessica’s friend, Trina Harmon, played piano and sang a song Jessica wrote for Nick called “My Love,” while Nick’s bandmates from 98 Degrees peformed a song Nick wrote for Jessica called “My Everything” at the altar.
At the conclusion of the 40-minute ceremony, a 25-member gospel choir sang “Oh Happy Day,” as the newlyweds walked up the aisle.
Following the ceremony, An estimated 30,000 roses from Mark’s Garden filled the ballroom at Barton Creek Resort and Spa where the newlyweds held their reception. Each table had centerpieces of roses and candles held in mismatched candle holders. Guests found personalized lavish menus tucked into their napkins. Dinner included Maine lobster bisque, spinach salad with candied pecans, chicken and Southern crab cakes, Sam Godfrey of Perfect Endings presented a five-tier cake, with white butter cream icing, pound cake with raspberry filling, carrot cake and red velvet cake For dessert and Nick also enjoyed a German chocolate groom's cake decorated with a Cincinnati bear claw logo representing his favorite team. The couple shared their first dance to “Crazy Love” by Neil McCoy, who was accompanied by Walter Afanasieff on the piano (a bit of foreshadowing?), and later in the evening serenaded each other with the same songs they had written for one another performed at the reception. At the end of the night, lucky guests were given CD recordings of the songs as wedding favors.
The couple honeymooned at Turtle Island in Fiji.