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Here’s our elevator pitch for the next great romcom: Girl needs date to wedding where her ex is a groomsman. Girl makes a Craigslist ad to find said date. Boy responds. Girl ends up falling for boy and we end the flick with the girl and boy tying the knot.
If this whole scenario sounds familiar it’s because this is virtually the plot of the 2005 romantic comedy The Wedding Date starring Debra Messing and Dermot Mulroney — you know, without the whole “male escort” aspect.
But this is also the real-life love story of Jessica and RJ. Their made-for-Hollywood romance all started in 2013 when Jessica moved home after graduating from college. She had received an invitation to an old friend’s wedding and planned to attend, even though she was lacking a date.
To inject a bit of tension into the plot, Jessica learned her ex-boyfriend was going to be a groomsman at the upcoming nuptials. Like any good romcom heroine, Jessica felt the urge to “win the breakup” by showing up to the wedding with a guy on her arm.
“I’m a pretty competitive person, so I felt like I needed to show up for this wedding, and I needed to have a date, and I needed to really win the breakup,” Jessica told HeartThreads, a platform dedicated to sharing inspiring stories from the human experience.
Having lost touch with most of her high school friends, Jessica decided to place an ad on Craigslist in search of a date to put herself on the path to victory. Her Craigslist post was titled, “Seeking devilishly-handsome, good-humored date for a wedding.” Amazing.
She laid out a few ground rules for applicants. To be considered, the guy must be at least 6-feet tall, be between the ages of 21 and 30, and be willing to “roll with the punches,” meaning, whatever Jessica says you are, you are.
After filtering through the more than 40 responses she received, Jessica landed on RJ’s submission. Even though he didn’t include a photo, he mentioned he had a minor in ballroom dancing and that was enough for Jessica to set up a face-to-face interview.
“I think I had been pretty clear that I wasn’t looking for anything here, but we just totally hit it off,” Jessica told HeartThreads. “I think we spent hours talking in this bar, and it was not at all what I was expecting.”
They began seeing each other regularly, and by the time the wedding date arrived, the two were an actual couple. To avoid the awkward retelling of how their relationship began, Jessica told RJ they weren’t going to stay long at the wedding.
But because Jessica and RJ were basically living in movie-land, another curveball was thrown at them. Jessica was asked to sing at the wedding, thus leaving RJ alone to fend for himself amongst the other guests.
“I got very specific instructions to not do anything. Nothing. Just sit there and enjoy the wedding,” RJ said. But RJ couldn’t resist making friends with everyone around him while Jessica looked on in horror from behind the microphone. She joked, ““I’m like, ‘They’re going to find me out.’”
Being the natural conversationalist he is, RJ came up with a faux story of how he and Jessica met. “I stole it from a Subaru commercial,” RJ told HeartThreads. “Her car broke down on the side of the road, got a flat tire, which Jess will point out she does know how to change a flat tire.”
And in true romcom fashion, RJ and Jessica are now in the midst of planning their own wedding. Perhaps the cycle will continue and another couple will randomly meet online before attending RJ and Jessica’s big day.
Never say never. Clearly, love works in mysterious ways.
Written by: Olivia Harvey