Inside Jen Bricker’s dream wedding with People Magazine

People Magazine

In January, Dominik Bauer “knew” he’d marry Jen Bricker — and on July 12, he did.

The musician and author/aerialist tied the knot in southern Illinois, surrounded by 70 friends and family members in what Bricker tells PEOPLE “was literally a perfect” day. “We got magic hour for the lighting to take pictures, we got a breeze, the heat and humidity dropped and there was this beautiful sunshine. It was so smooth, just as we imagined. I felt so much peace.”

Peace is the name of the game for Bricker, 31, who was born without legs and placed for adoption, finding a home with George and Sharon Bricker of Hardinville, Illinois, before later discovering her biological sister was gymnast Dominique Moceanu. An award-winning acrobat, she recounted her life story in her 2016 memoir Everything Is Possible, and these days, travels the globe spreading her messages of hope and positivity.

It was on one of these tours that she met Austria-born Bauer, 26, who was immediately inspired by her.

“It hit me like a truck the first time I met her,” he tells PEOPLE of an August 2018 book signing in Austria. “And after I read her book I had to reach out to her … everything she wrote was so true, and I knew I wanted this woman to be in my life.”

After three months of correspondence the two got together in Los Angeles in November, at which point “we had to get on the phone or video chat every day,” Bauer recalls. Following a few more visits, he knew she was the one. “I didn’t tell her for two more months, but I knew I’d marry her.”

He proposed in March 2019 — singing the couple’s song, “What a Wonderful World” — and from there the pair hit the ground running with wedding planning, hiring a planner to pick a spot in the woods near Stricker’s childhood home. The rest of the details were handled by family, including one of Bricker’s brothers, who prepped all of the meat himself, another who created a custom cedar archway and her mother, who made a gold-and-white cake.

Moceanu, her mother and sister Christine attended the nuptials, as well.

Romanian-born designer Valerica Moldovan of Sacramento made a custom gown for Bricker, designing it to cover her wheelchair for the ceremony.

“I sent her photos of different ideas, but it was her idea to make the gown cover my wheelchair,” says Bricker. “It was genius! I could only meet for one fitting, but it fit like a glove. It was absolutely perfect.”

The pair’s pastor came in from California for the big day, and “he made the ceremony just a blessing,” Bauer says, adding that the couple wrote their own vows. “It was so beautiful.”

Bauer and a friend also performed the couple’s song, “What a Wonderful World,” with lyrics changed to reflect their life together. “Everyone was crying,” says Bricker. “We practiced via WhatsApp!” adds Bauer.

With the wedding behind them, the couple hopes to have Bauer’s green card in place soon, and for now will travel together in Austria following a three-week honeymoon and mission trip through the Philippines. In the future, they plan to settle in Los Angeles and have children.

“We have our plans,” says Bauer. “And God has his plans, too.”