Wedded: Jillian Jaffa and Jordan Watkins

These Hereford High School sweethearts make it official

  • Jillian Jaffa and Jordan Watkins met when they were both enrolled in summer sports camps at the University of Maryland, College Park.
Jillian Jaffa and Jordan Watkins met when they were both enrolled… (Courtesy of Larry Huffman…)
September 18, 2014|By Samantha Iacia | For The Baltimore Sun

Date: July 12

Her story: Jillian Jaffa, 23, grew up in Parkton. She is a mathematics teacher at Hereford High School, from which she graduated in 2008. Her parents, Carolyn and Sam Jaffa, live in Parkton.

His story: Jordan Watkins, 25, grew up in Freeland. He is a software engineer at Johnson Controls, which offers energy solutions for buildings, automobiles and organizations, in York, Pa. His parents, Janet and Bryan Watkins, live in Freeland.

Their story: Despite attending the same middle and high schools for nearly four years, Jillian and Jordan didn't meet until the summer of 2005, when they were both enrolled in sports camps held at the University of Maryland, College Park. Jillian, who was there for an overnight basketball camp, and Jordan, who was attending an overnight baseball camp, were staying in the same dorm. They were introduced that week by mutual friends, and a conversation was sparked one night when Jillian offered Jordan her leftover Chinese food.

That September, Jordan asked Jillian out at a Hereford football game, and they began dating.

Their relationship became a long-distance one when Jordan graduated from Hereford in 2007 and moved to Farmville, Va., to attend Hampden-Sydney College before transferring to Lynchburg College a year later. Jillian graduated the following year and attended James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va.

The proposal: Jordan proposed on Dec. 14, 2012, the night before Jillian's college graduation. That evening, the couple was at the Local Chop & Grill House in Harrisonburg for a celebratory dinner with Jillian's family and best friend. Jordan originally planned to propose after Jillian's graduation but says that the moment at dinner "just felt right" and was too good to pass up.

Jordan excused himself from the table and ran to his car, where the ring was hidden. Before rejoining the group, he asked the restaurant staff to write "Will you marry me?" in chocolate syrup on Jillian's dessert plate.

"My best friend was sitting closer to where the waiter comes out of, and he started putting the plate down and before I saw anything, she was just like, 'Oh my God,' " Jillian says. "I think I knew [the proposal] was coming eventually because we'd been together forever. But I didn't know it was coming that night."

The couple live in New Freedom, Pa.

Venue: The Catholic Mass at Our Lady of Grace Parrish in Parkton was attended by 178 guests. The Rev. Samuel Young, a childhood friend of Jillian's parents, presided.

A reception followed at Piney Branch Golf Club in Upperco.

Flowers and decor: Jillian and Jordan chose a baseball theme in honor of Jordan's love for the game — he's played since childhood and is on two adult league teams.

The reception tables were named after famous baseball players, including Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth and Cal Ripken Jr. Centerpieces featured the players' respective baseball cards, which were from Jordan's personal collection.

Two of Jillian's family friends made the floral arrangements using calla lilies, hydrangeas and garden roses in shades of white and peach.

Her dress: The bride wore a strapless, mermaid-style chiffon-and-lace gown by Blue by Enzoani from K&B Bridals in Bel Air.

She wore a friend's pearl jewelry as her "something borrowed." As her "something old," Jillian carried a pouch holding a watch that her father gave to her late grandfather and butterscotch candies belonging to her late grandmother.

Bridesmaids' dresses: The women wore strapless, teal knee-length chiffon dresses from K&B Bridals.

The junior bridesmaid wore a similar teal dress accented with a fabric flower.

Men's attire: Jordan, Jillian's father and the groomsmen wore black tuxedos from K&B Bridals. Jordan wore a white tie, the groomsmen wore teal ties and Jillian's father wore a silver tie.

Music: DJ Jason Canaan, owner of Infotainment in Severna Park, played music. Jillian and Jordan's first dance was to "Inside Your Heaven" by Carrie Underwood.

Food and dessert: Chef Bobby White at Piney Branch Golf Club made steak filet, crab cakes, asparagus and twice-baked potatoes for dinner.

Michael Markwitz at Artistic Desserts in Westminster made a four-tier cake with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, red velvet and almond flavors. Two smaller cakes each had baseball-themed toppers — a bride holding a baseball bat and a groom holding a glove and ball.

Jillian's family members made chocolate and original pizzelle waffle cookies and other traditional Italian cookies using her great-grandmother's recipe.


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