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MAY 2020

Christina and Kelly 6.22.19

The Years

We met in 2010 at Illinois Wesleyan, and began dating at the end of May of 2012, for a total of eight years together so far. We got married on June 22nd, and are approaching our first anniversary! As of April 17th, 2020, we’ve been married for approximately .819 years, on account of the Leap year.

The First Date

Christina: Our first official big date was for Kelly’s birthday on June 16th. Honestly, we were not out to any friends or family at that time, and we were very close friends prior to starting our relationship. Kelly’s birthday was our first chance to really go out together without drawing a lot of attention! We ate dinner in the city, and I surprised her with tickets to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, an ensemble she had somehow NEVER SEEN, even though we were both music education majors at IWU. It was a fantastic concert, as always, and I had arranged for us to stay at my aunts’ condo that night, just off the lake (they were out of town and offered, so the timing was awesome). We ate birthday cake on the roof to end the evening, and may or may not have shared our first kiss too!

The Traditions

For the most part we kept it pretty traditional. There were only a few things that we didn’t do. We didn’t do a garter toss and we didn’t play any modern music, all of the songs on our dance floor were oldies and throwbacks and it was the best decision we made.

The Unique Touches

It was really important for us to have personal touches around the venue and woven into the events of the day. The date was important to us, as June 22nd is the middle point between our June 16th and 28th birthdays. Our brothers were our officiants, selected readings that were personally meaningful from experiences in our lives, and wrote our own vows. Brittany’s signage was key in explaining all of the details we had chosen to make our wedding tell our story; the colors we chose, the symbolism behind particular floral arrangements and centerpieces, cultural traditions from the ceremony. We enlisted the help of several creative friends to add other dimensions- a graphic designer who portrayed us in a few musical poster mock ups, a woodworker who mounted baseball bats to act as our guestbook. Our signature drinks were created and named for our baseball teams’ mascots. We printed the actual sheet music our friends were performing on the paper cones that decorated the aisle. We all walked down the aisle to Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral, a piece we have both loved and performed countless times. The processional, special ceremony music, our first dance, all important and personal choices of pieces that were performed by close friends and family. During the reception, Kelly sang with her a cappella group from college, performing a song she arranged, and the same song/arrangement that Christina used in her proposal. Christina built our wedding arbor with help from wedding party members, and our best lady’s mom worked with us on the eve of the wedding to assemble our oranges and succulents for the centerpieces. There was no detail left unconsidered, and we worked really hard to make each choice purposeful, meaningful, and representative of our journey and relationship.

The Venue

We pretty much knew the Meyer Ballroom was going to be our spot after first walking into the ballroom. All of the windows, the sunlight pouring in, the river next door, and lights from the theater across the street, it truly combined all of the details we were looking for. We wanted a space that was open and inviting, surrounded by areas with a variety of photo opportunities. We then learned about all of the inclusions that Paramount offered as a part of their wedding package, and really loved that our guests would all receive a ticket to the theater as a gift. To have the atmosphere and service that the Meyer Ballroom provides, all while supporting an incredible theater at the same time? What more could we ask for? Everything about the space was unique and thoughtful, and we quickly learned that we wouldn’t need to compromise on any aspect of our vision. (Remember when I referenced Kelly’s passion? It certainly applies to wedding planning!) Kelsey, our coordinator from Paramount, was just incredible throughout the entire process. There was never a point where she hesitated; she took our dream and made it happen! From helping us with a unique ceremony set-up, her perfect boutonnière pinning technique, and what can only be described as mind reading abilities, she helped schedule, plan, and carry out our wedding to absolute perfection.

The Favorite Qualities

Kelly: Christina is the most compassionate person I have ever met. The support she offers me, whether it’s something big or small, is always there. She is so patient and understanding, and will do anything and everything for the people she cares for. She has the biggest heart!

Christina: I love Kelly’s spirit! She is a fierce advocate for her students, a brilliant musician, and pours her heart into whatever task is in front of her. Whatever the situation, I know the outcome will be exceptional, thanks to her commitment and drive. She gives me the energy and inspiration I need for my own teaching, and has helped me grow so much throughout our relationship.

The Vendors

We really worked hard to search for vendors that had similar values to us, that were local businesses that we wanted to support, or people we felt a connection with upon meeting them. All of our vendors felt like friends and true guests of our wedding, not merely a company or person filling a need.

Carol DeAnda, DeAnda Photography — Carol is the first person we hired, and we would make that same decision again every single time if we ever had to do it again. Kelly actually found her website through searching for LGBTQ+ friendly photographers, and when we met her, we instantly knew she would capture our day perfectly. At the conclusion of a wedding, you’re left with memories, momentos, and photos, and it was so important to us that the photos tell the story of our day. She also helped us create a timeline for our wedding with a realistic schedule, but was more than accommodating with any requests we had. We even got a group picture with all 200 people at our wedding!

Cuisine America — Mary Catherine’s attention to detail is bar none. Her husband Jim is a magician in the kitchen, and every single dish we’ve ever had at their tastings was just impeccable. For dinner, our goal was to ensure that we could accommodate each and every guest’s needs, and that they would not leave feeling unfulfilled. With Mary Catherine and Jim, our guests did not have the stereotypical “wedding food” experience. We had nothing but great reviews from everyone afterwards! The entire staff worked so hard to provide amazing service and really took great care of all of us!

Brittany Williams, Calligraphie à la Brittany — Brittany is an incredible artist, and created SO MANY custom signs for our wedding. Not to mention, she is Christina’s cousin! She also did the calligraphy for our wedding envelopes. The number of people who reached out, telling us they were keeping their envelope as art was crazy! Brittany’s work not only helped convey the details and symbolism behind many of our choices, but also has become a part of our home decor.

Tim Scanlin, Answer Back Entertainment — Tim is a family friend that Christina grew up with from her family’s church. His flexibility and planning helped us create perfect playlists, order of events, and kept the event moving at the pace we needed. He was so easy to work with, created amazing medleys of songs, and kept everyone on the dance floor until the very end of the evening!

Donut Drop — This is a local place near our home in Rolling Meadows that we frequent, perhaps more often than one should. Trust us, you’ve never had a better donut. They are THE place to get your donut needs met.

Courtney Twomey, Chalet Florist — Courtney was another “meant-to-be” person. Christina’s mom is a 2nd grade teacher, and Courtney was a parent of a student in the class. They were casually chatting about our upcoming wedding, and it wound up being the only summer date that Courtney had open on her schedule! She was able to make Kelly’s dream come true- walking down the aisle with a trumpet incorporated into her flowers, adding another unique touch to the wedding.


Razny Jewelers — Christina found Razny while looking for jewelers to shop for engagement rings, and we immediately returned for our wedding bands. Their commitment to us as customers, and the level of care we receive each and every time we walk through their doors is unmatched.

Bijou Bridal — Personalized design and alterations by Juliette Lim, family friend

Suit Supply Chicago — Christina’s custom suit and wedding party’s suits

Azazie — Wedding party’s dresses, super convenient when the wedding party is spread across the country!

Knotty Ties — Custom designed bow-ties and neckties with customized color palettes to match our wedding colors. Our fathers, brothers, and wedding party got custom patterns with the exact colors incorporated into the designs. They all coordinate and match!

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