“It’s you I like.
It’s not the things you wear.
It’s not the way you do your hair.
But it’s you I like, the way you are right now, the way down deep inside you.
Not the things that hide you. …It’s you I like.”
Kelly and Steve were introduced online by some mutual college friends and spent 3 months emailing back and forth before ever meeting in person. Sometimes words on a page (or email) can be so much more revealing than a handful of dates, in fact Kelly was convinced that Steve was her guy from the very first correspondence (but of course didn’t tell him until much later so he wouldn’t think she was crazy!). From the very start they were open and candid, even joking about their quirks and odd behaviors (like Steve’s love for rubbing Q-tips in his ears… I might get in trouble for posting that!). When the day finally came to see each other face to face they chose a neutral spot, the ticket booth at the North gate of the Brookfield Zoo. Hearts were pounding, they went for a stroll and after a few exchanged jokes by the Hippo pen they knew they were on to something.
Kelly and Steve go together like PB&J, they laugh with their whole face, they hold each other like no one else is in the room, and they even dance like it’s the best song they have ever heard. How fitting that they would get married in that same spot where they fell in love!
The Brookfield Zoo is a great setting for a wedding, you can’t resist a child-like fascination of the animals and the grounds are beautifully kept… a beautiful setting for a beautiful couple!
Kelly describes Steve in 5 words: Humble, gentle, brilliant, goofy, optimistic
Steve describes Kelly in 5 words: Intelligent, funny, sensitive, beautiful, tender
The visitor’s center at a zoo is full of surprises!
Steve was getting in place for the first look.
But no need to be too serious!
The group arrived for some photos, first up were the sisters.
Thumbs up from the wedding party!
Then we took a ride around the zoo.
Then the front gate where it all began!
The groomsmen were feeling ferocious…
Cocktail hour with the bears!
Awesome groom’s cake!
Kelly couldn’t resist… cake in the face!
Congrats Kelly and Steve!
Second photographer: Jamie Hartley
Hair and makeup: Justin Thompson (hair), Nina Sullivan (makeup)
Florist: Village Flower Shop – Plainfield, IL
Ceremony location: Brookfield Zoo
Reception location: Brookfield Zoo
Event Planner: Henry Garbers (onsite)
Officiant: David Rice
Cake: Lezza Spumoni & Desserts, Inc.
Groom’s Cake: Maggie Yontz
Caterer: Brookfield Zoo
Invitations/Stationary: Al Boardman (save the dates), Minted (everything else)
Dress: Diana’s Bridal – Skokie, Essence of Australia dress
· – Veil: Sara Gabriel
· – Earrings: Givenchy
· – Pearl bracelet was “something borrowed”
· – Shoes: Nina
· – Hair fascinator: EndlessFlowers on etsy.com
· – Rings: M & M Jewelers
· – Suits: Vera Wang
· – Shoes: Converse
Bridesmaids’ dresses: J. Crew
DJ/Band: Admit One DJs
First Dance: “Can’t Fight This Feeling” by REO Speedwagon
Parent dances: “You Remind Me of You” by Jack Johnson
Q&A with the bride and groom:
What was the most memorable moment of your day?
Steve: The first look. It was really the one intimate moment we got to have together all day. It was the first time I saw Kelly and it took my breath away.
Kelly: The first look. It was wonderful to have a few quiet minutes just the two of us. Seeing him before the ceremony helped to calm my nerves, which let me enjoy everything thereafter that much more.
What was your favorite detail?
K&S: The groom’s cake, which was made by one of Kelly’s close friends. Steve loves Superman and Everton Football Club, so Maggie incorporated both into the decoration. She did an incredible job! We surprised Steve with it right before the reception. He loved it so much he had tears in his eyes.
Funniest memory from your wedding day?
Steve: One of my groomsmen, the one who introduced us, did a reading during the ceremony of “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss. Matt is a born performer, and his comedic timing was perfect for the reading.
Kelly: While we were waiting at the zoo before the ceremony, my bridesman, Charlie, walked into the room wearing an Easter Bunny head he had found in the hallway. It was hilarious!
Any advice for future brides/grooms?
K&S: Don’t make the planning process too complicated. You could go crazy with all of the options out there and all of the things you people say you have to do. Limit yourself to two or three options at most and go with your gut when you find something you like.
If you could do it all over, would you change anything?
Kelly: I would have had a videographer. It was all over before we knew it, as everyone said it would. If we had it recorded, I feel like I could take the time to absorb it a little more. The ceremony, in particular, was so beautiful and perfect that I wish I could see it as an observer.
Steve: I would try to make it three hours longer. Everything was perfect, but it was over too quickly. I would have liked to have been able to savor it.
Where did you go on your honeymoon?
K&S: We spent 10 days in Hopkins, Belize, which is so quiet and remote. Aside from one day snorkeling along the Barrier Reef, and another visiting Mayan ruins, we didn’t do anything but lie on the beach and drink Belikin beer. It was exactly what we needed!
A little history…
How did you meet? (How long have you known each other?)
We were introduced via Facebook (of all things!) by mutual friends almost exactly two years to the date of our wedding. As Steve lived in France at the time, we corresponded only by email for nearly three months until Steve moved to the US and we were finally able to meet in person. We met for our first date at Brookfield Zoo, so we couldn’t imagine having our wedding anywhere else. For the first year he was in the US, Steve lived in New York City, so we did a lot of travelling back and forth until he moved to Chicago in August 2013.
When did you know he/she was “the one”?
K: I knew I was going to marry Steve as I read the first email he sent me. Of course, I kept that a secret from Steve and my friends until after he proposed; I didn’t want to jinx anything. Or sound crazy. J
S: Our first date. It was so comfortable and easy. We had already gotten to know each other by writing almost daily for the past few months. We immediately clicked when we met face to face.
Describe the proposal.
K: We spent Christmas last year in Steve’s hometown in Northern Ireland with his family, and he planned to propose at Giant’s Causeway the second day we were there because the weather was supposed to be beautiful. That day, we drove up to the north coast to hike along the Causeway, but unfortunately, the weather forecast was wrong and it turned out to be cold, windy, and sleeting. We hadn’t dressed for the weather, so I (not knowing Steve’s plan to propose) ended up buying a big hat and mittens from the gift shop. To top it off, two buses full of really noisy tourists arrived, making the trails crowded and not exactly conducive to an intimate proposal. As we walked along, Steve waited for the right moment, but with the awful weather and all of the people around us it just didn’t seem right. We found a stairway that took us to the top of a cliff, which overlooked the ocean and the rock formations. Then the sun suddenly came out and we were away from all of the other tourists, so Steve finally proposed. He had been so calm and collected all day, per usual, that I had no clue what was happening and thought that he was asking me if I would hypothetically marry him. I – in my big, silly hat and mittens – answered, “Yeah, sure, I would!” Not until he pulled out the ring did I realize he was really asking me. And, of course, he couldn’t put the ring on me until I took off the giant mittens. It was a bit of a comedy of errors, but it was so perfect and so ‘us’ – I wouldn’t change a thing!