Deena Nicole Cortese will keep her late father close to her heart in more than one way at her wedding.
The 30-year-old Jersey Shore alum is set to marry fiancé Christopher Buckner in New Jersey on Saturday. On Friday, she posted on Instagram a sneak peek look at her wedding dress, which features a piece of her father John Cortese's shirt sewed inside the chest area.
"Even though you won't be with me tomorrow physically .. I'll have a piece of you with me and close to my heart while I'm walking down the isle," she wrote. "I love and miss you daddy #justacoupleofbucks #dadsshirt #missyou .. I cut a piece of his shirt and sewed it to my dress next to my heart."
She also posted a photo of a framed wallet-sized picture of her dad, with two charms, reading "Dad" and "I used to be his Angel now he's mine," all connected with a small, white tulle ribbon.
Deena's father died in 2016, after five months after Deena and Christopher got engaged, following a battle with leukemia.
"Before Deena's dad passed away he told her he could not wait for her to marry Chris and to have grandkids, he wanted her to have a happy life," read a post on a wedding website that bears the couple's names.
Last night I lost the first man I ever loved my biggest supporter and best friend .. My dad was one of the toughest people I know and had such a big sense of pride and fought until the very very end and I couldn't be more proud of him.. Everyone that knows my dad knows what an amazing person he was.. I think I'm gonna miss his facial expressions and laugh the most .. If he liked you ..you knew he was going to bust your balls but it was all out of love ?? everywhere my dad went he left prints on people's hearts .. Whether it was in the hospital while he was sick .. Or on vacation. We'd leave him for a couple minutes and we come back and he's surrounded by people making everyone laugh.. I can't tell you how many times I'd go out and people would tell me how awesome my dad was. I was so lucky to have someone in my life that loved to be involved with every little thing I did.. He coached my softball teams for years and even if we lost he still let us get icecream at Tooties ?? we went to baseball games .. Concerts .. Family vacations and when I was little and was a bit of a tom boy we would watch WCW wrestling every Monday and it was one of my favorite things ever. Even during my rougher days in my early 20s when I gave both my parents a good run for their money he never gave up on me and still stood by my side .. Some days not very happy with me but we got through it and made things better. During Jersey Shore he was literally my BIGGEST fan..he told me Dee be you make us laugh..do what you gotta do its all about camera time! Lol he got it. He tried to be so involved with as much as he could with that.. Helping me with my websites..making tshirts and anything and everything he could do he did. My heart hurts knowing he won't walk me down the aisle or see my kids grow up Although I do know he will be with me spiritually, But I'm very happy he got to meet the man I will one day marry and his amazing family .. And he helped me with my new home that I will one day raise my children in. I love you so much dad .. I know your at peace now and with grandma and having drinks with Mals dad and all the rest of the friends you've lost on this journey.. I love you daddy
Deena had announced her father's death on Instagram last year, writing, "Last night I lost the first man I ever loved my biggest supporter and best friend .. My dad was one of the toughest people I know and had such a big sense of pride and fought until the very very end and I couldn't be more proud of him."
"My heart hurts knowing he won't walk me down the aisle or see my kids grow up," she wrote. "Although I do know he will be with me spiritually, But I'm very happy he got to meet the man I will one day marry and his amazing family .. And he helped me with my new home that I will one day raise my children in. I love you so much dad."