Meet Jessica Long, a 13 x Paralympic Gold Medalist and one of #OurLovelies.
Our Lovelies seriously inspire us on the daily! We met Jessica Long when she said YAASSS to her Lovers Society wedding dress at Lovely Bride Philadelphia. We won’t reveal too much about her story just yet – keep reading to find out – but she is a total badass and incredible role model.
In between training for the next Paralympics and wedding planning, Jessica met back up with us at the Lovely Bride shop in Philly for a fun try-on session featuring the Fall ’18 Lovers Society collection. She even brought a few of her gold medals with her. We might have fangirled just a little. Okay, to be honest… we fangirled a lot.
Check back soon to see which gown she chose to wear down the aisle! Don’t worry – it’s not any of these looks. Until we show you THE ONE, get to know our new BFF Jessica below.
Lovers Society is exclusive to Lovely Bride in the U.S. and can be found at ALL of our locations! Click here to see more from Lovers Society.
Tell us about yourself!
My name is Jessica Long! I am a Paralympic swimmer representing Team USA. I am a bilateral amputee, was adopted from Russia, have 5 amazing siblings, love exploring Baltimore (where I live) with my friends, and you can always catch me with an iced coffee in hand.
What age did you start swimming?
I joined a swim team at the age of 10. I kept going back because the girls treated me like an equal competitor and didn’t make me feel different for not having legs. I felt free in the water, and I loved the friendships I made being part of a team.
Fill in the blank. You’ve won __ medals in the Paralympics.
I’ve won 23 Paralympic medals. 13 of them are gold, and those are my favorite!
Gown pictured above: Lovers Society ‘Tate’
What is your greatest accomplishment?
Winning medals and breaking records is always a goal of mine, but I’d say my greatest accomplishment is inspiring young girls to pursue their passions and dream big dreams. I love being a role model and showing them anything is possible.
Gown pictured above: Lovers Society ‘Sydney’
What’s next for you?
After my October wedding (so close!), I’ll be continuing to train for the Tokyo Paralympic Games in 2020. After that, I don’t have any concrete plans and that has been intentional. I’m trying to take it day by day and enjoy this season and each moment that comes with it.
Any advice for Our Lovelies pursuing their dreams?
My advice would be to dream BIG and don’t be afraid of failing. Have big dreams and goals and then put action into the steps that will get you to those goals. Failure is part of learning and doesn’t have to be more than a minor setback on the way to success. You have no idea how many bad practices I’ve had, shoulder injuries and pain I’ve had to work around, or swim meets where I didn’t swim the way I planned. It’s all a part of the process and the sacrifices it takes to accomplish your dreams.
Gown pictured above: Lovers Society ‘Reef’
Now, let’s talk wedding! Describe your experience at Lovely Bride Philly. How did you find THE wedding dress? (We won’t tell which dress it is just yet!)
It was a February morning when my mom and I first drove from Baltimore to Philly. I had some dresses picked out to try on, but I was most excited about one in particular. I tried on about 10 dresses at Lovely and it came down to two dresses in the end. Of course I had to ask my sisters and mom for confirmation, but I was leaning towards that one I was most interested in when I first walked into the store. We went home with tons of pictures from that day, and I came back a second time by myself to try the dresses on again. That’s when I made the final decision! It was all so exciting and I can’t wait to wear my dress on our big day!
Any wedding dress shopping advice for other brides?
My advice is to try new styles and enjoy the process of finding a dress. Don’t stress about making the perfect choice or making everyone else happy, but choose what makes you feel the most confident and beautiful!
Gown pictured above: Lovers Society ‘Kobi’
Describe your wedding vision.
My wedding vision is definitely boho with lots of greenery. I love florals and light neutral colors. All of my bridesmaids are wearing different dresses in a light nude/taupe. I also have a thing for beautiful bright carpets and that’s what I’m using to add some color to my decorations! I have 3 picked out, which adds a nice burnt copper with some light pink and the touch of fall that I wanted for our October wedding.
Gown pictured above: Lovers Society ‘Freja’
How’s the wedding planning going? Any advice on how to balance planning when you have a busy schedule?
It has been crazy, but my advice is to hire a wedding planner and make lots of lists! I started out doing it on my own, but eventually caved and hired a planner to oversee the final details and take charge the day of the wedding. I have so many lists for every aspect of the wedding and the planning that went into each detail. It has helped me feel more organized and kept my head from exploding 😉
Gown pictured above: Lovers Society ‘Harley‘
We can’t wait to see photos of your wedding in October. What are you most excited for?
I am just so excited to be married and move into this next phase of our life together as a married couple. The wedding is the big, exciting celebration and I’m so excited for that day and how it will all come together. But I truly can’t wait to do life together in all the small moments as husband and wife