Each required the other to love dogs and the St. Louis Blues.

When David Murphy wore a yellow Blues hoodie to meet Jessica Emrich, the delayed first step of getting together after they met online in December 2014 took a giant leap forward. His “beautiful smile and eyes,” Jessica thought, looked the same as in his picture. The location had “Wild Wings” in its name, which both dubbed a “perfect first date” in March.

David traveled a lot for work, so Jessica was surprised when he asked if he could introduce her as “girlfriend” to coworkers at a company party in May. “I thought he was playing around, but he was serious,” she said. The time apart required frequent phone calls and making the most of time together.

“We share similar goals and interests, so falling in love was seamless,” Jessica added about developing a relationship.

Her Italian family responded positively when they met him on a vacation to Destin, Fla., that summer. “Seeing how well he fit into my family, it was good to see them let him into the crew,” she said. David reacted solidly. “About then, I really liked what was happening and I was happy to see that her family was just as good as she was,” he said. They started to discuss marriage, but the official engagement waited until summer 2016.

“We went to Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic, in July. Somehow I figured I would hide the ring while traveling through international borders,” he said. The sentimental occasion coincided with the date which, if her father were alive, would have been Jessica’s parents’ 30th wedding anniversary.

“Everyone knew about the proposal but me before we even left,” she marveled. “Afterward, we had a couple drinks on the beach, then we sent the official message.”

Once she found a dress, they moved on to venues. A summer wedding would allow her sister, an Ohio State University student, to be home and her aunt, who lives in France, would have time to plan her trip. Saint Charles Convention Center, convenient for both families, fit requirements for their reception.

'We kept it simple.'

Jessica asked her brother to stand in for their father. “Opening the doors to the church and having my brother take me down the aisle was one of my favorite scenes. He is younger and he seemed really proud,” she said. Her gift to him was “special” pink socks and a childhood friend helped open the doors. Five of their grandparents presented Mass gifts. Not only did her aunt come from France, but guests arrived from Colorado, Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and other states.

Following the 2 p.m. Mass and ceremony, a party bus swept them and the wedding party of five bridesmaids, five groomsmen and two ushers and their guests to Rau Garden in Blanchette Park, St. Charles. Vibrant summer colors – guava pink with coral, navy and “champagn-y” gold – sparkled alongside her own gown and blue formal wear for the men. She attached her father’s photo to her bouquet.

They were pleased when they took a peek before 180 guests joined them at the reception. The bride talked about handing over her anxiety.

“‘Let the pros take care of it,’ David told me. We upgraded and let the convention center provide linens, chair covers and sashes to be understated, elegant. Whatever we wanted was what we could do, but we kept it simple.” A table held photos in memory of relatives who had died and a Blues ice sculpture flowed with a signature cocktail. Table numbers were displayed in picture frames.

'I just couldn’t picture being with anyone else.'

Walking into the reception created an exciting memory for David. “Everybody was cheering and so happy to be there. To know how much we are loved by all our family was the best feeling.”

They danced to “Say You Won’t Let Go” by James Arthur in front of a dramatic view, their names and monogram illuminating a backdrop. Their love of Disney movies inspired “Happily Ever After” as a cake topper. They cut the cake with a knife Jessica’s grandmother had engraved. The center’s late-evening snacks of toasted ravioli and mac-’n’-cheese bites re-energized the crowd.

David spoke emotionally of his new wife. “She loves her family and she loves me. She is the most kind and generous person. I just couldn’t picture being with anyone else,” he said.

Opposite sides of their personalities – she is a pharmacist and he is project manager for a foundation drilling company – balance the relationship. “I think most about David’s patience with me,” Jessica said. “He is always in a good mood, always uplifting. He is sweet and thoughtful and takes great care of me.”

Their relaxing honeymoon in Moorea and Bora Bora, French Polynesia, each for four nights, was a “splurge” for beautiful water and beaches. The bride said, “Time stood still and it was a wonderful time together to reminisce about the events that just took place.”