Location and Caterer: Pelican Hill, Newport Coast, CA; Cake: The Cake Studio, Fountain Valley, CA; Event Planner: JoAnn Gregoli, Elegant Occasions, New York, NY; Event Design: Revelry, Los Angeles, CA; Florist: Jeff Leatham, New York, NY; Lighting: The Lighter Side, Inglewood, CA; Linen: Nüage Designs, Miami, FL; Rentals: Classic Party Rentals, Los Angeles, CA; Wedding Gown: Pnina Tornai at Kleinfeld, New York, NY; Photography: John Russo Photography, Los Angeles, CA
When Patrón Spirits CEO and professional racecar driver, Edward Brown, flirted with Jene Mittler following a race at Sebring International Raceway in March of 2009, she "didn't want anything to do with me," he recalls. They did trade numbers and Ed's texts over the next two months "softened my heart," says the model and single mom, who "was hesitant about ever having anybody new in my kids' life."
"He became my friend, which was odd because we lived so far away from each other," recalls the Floridian. Ed remembers checking his phone each morning in Vegas and feeling "like an 8-year-old at Christmastime." There was always a text from Jene.
In late May, "We met up in Miami and we've been in love ever since," Ed says. "From that point on, our life moved so fast-forward."
Ed relocated and in August he proposed at their Florida home. "I knew Jene was the person I had been searching my whole life for," he says. One month later, following the season's final race, Jene proposed to Ed on the 18th Green at Pebble Beach Golf Links. "It was just as important for me to show him I love him, and we're a team," she explains.
Plans were underway for a West Coast June wedding, but Ed flew in a harpist for an impromptu marriage ceremony as they yachted in the Bahamas on New Year's Eve. "We are madly in love; he just had to marry me," reflects Jene.
Still, their weekend-long celebration with 75 guests at California's The Resort at Pelican Hill was deeply meaningful, particularly for Nevaeh, Tysen and Ella. When he first spied his bride, "I started shaking," Ed says. "Even though we were already married, I couldn't believe I was marrying the girl of my dreams." In addition to exchanging vows they'd written, Ed "said vows to the kids and gave each of my daughters a necklace: Tiffany keys to his heart,” says Jene. Eight-year-old Nevaeh's tears made the moment extremely emotional. The watch Ed gave Tysen symbolized he'd be there "'til the end of time."
A sit-down dinner was served under a tent: "I wanted my guests to have anything they wanted, as much as they wanted," Jene says of the menu. Indoors, the scene was "very ultra-lounge posh," she describes. Deep red roses unified black and white rooms, and guests danced and captured images in an old-Hollywood-styled photo area.
The newlyweds spent a weekend deep-sea fishing in Bermuda and then honeymooned in Rome for a week in August.
"He's been around the world. He drives racecars. There's nothing this guy hasn't done," Jene says of Ed, yet she was captivated by "how nurturing he was, how he would scoop up my daughters or read bedtime stories or make lunches."
Ed hadn't planned to settle down. Now, even when business takes him to Zurich, "I make a serious commitment not to be away from Jene and the kids for very long," he says. Whenever they're apart, they text: even "if one of us is going to pick up the kids," Ed says. They dream of expanding their family and she's always cheering at the finish line.
> Written by Kim Knox Beckius
Copyright 2013 Grace Ormonde Wedding Style Magazine