“I want to be your watermelon, let me sing into your radio
Let me be the yeast inside your bread,
let me be the new thought inside your head”
-Poi Dog Pondering
The Jerry Maguire love story has nothing on these two. He, a talented chef and restauranteur, and she, a fiery marketing and PR queen… but really they are so. much. more. The way they compliment each other is something too special for words, and the circle of love surrounding all those present on the day of their wedding was truly magical. Not one detail was picked “just because,” every single item had special meaning and was chosen with a purpose. It’s hard not to gush about a day like this one (not one but TWO mariachi bands!), with photo worthy moments from start to finish.
Some stand out details:
Because it would have been impossible to narrow down their plentiful pool of friends to a reasonably sized wedding party, they instead made lovely hair adornments for the ladies and bouts for the guys.
“I come from a very close family, my cousins are my sisters, my sister-in-law is my best friend. I have a group of women that I have been friends with since the 10th grade. I have women that I have meet in the ten years I have lived in Chicago I call family. When the question about a wedding party was asked, I couldn’t narrow it down so I decided against it. I did however what to recognize all the wonderful women in my life that have been there for me throughout the years. I made each one a hair piece that was an arrangement of flowers sprayed gold. It was my way of acknowledging them as my “bridesmaids” and saying thank you.
Best. Day. Ever.
Photography by Bethany Fritz.
2nd photographer: Jon Allegretto, all ceremony and reception details by Monika Sommerfeldt.
Hair and makeup: Hair: Jessica Tiddes (Solo Salon) Makeup: Hannah Richard
Florist: Alice Hanson of Verdant Company
Ceremony location: TENZING
Reception location: bellyQ
Event Planner: DIY – John and Nicole (with the help of friends to execute)
Day Of Coordinator: Mia Lieberman
Officiant: Frank Orrall
Cake: We chose to skip cake and do a tower of alfajores from La Sirena
Invitations/Stationary: Nicole Ess
Dress: Vatana Watters
Accessories: Earrings and Bracelet – Nadri
Suit/Men’s accessories: Suitsupply, Hermes
DJ/Band: ‘Lady D’ Darlene Jackson
First Dance: Cucurrucucu Paloma by Caetano Veloso
Parent dances: Summertime Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong
What was the most memorable moment of your day?
Nicole: Omg, I don’t know that I can pick just one, the day was full of so much love and excitement. I think for me, my favorite moment was when I was upstairs waiting, I was watching everyone I love trickle in. I was going to marry my favorite person in the whole world. I turned around and my dad walked in. He was smiling from ear to ear and looked SO handsome. In that moment I felt like I was 8 years old, daddy’s little girl. Today was the day he was “giving me away”. We waited 34 years for this moment. It was perfect.
John: Seeing my beautiful wife come around the corner with her dad, both beaming. To be surrounded by your best friends and family in a location that we completely made our own was magical.
What was your favorite detail?
Nicole: The flowers. The flowers expressed who we were, they transformed the spaces to reflect us as a couple. AND THE MARIACHI BANDS!!! NOT ONE BUT TWO! HAHAHA
John: The music. Frank put together an improvised band of some of the best musicians in Chicago and arranged songs for each moment… not one but two surprise mariachi bands (one hired by Frank, the other by a group of our friends) and Lady D getting asses out to seats and onto the dance floor.
Funniest memory from your wedding day?
Nicole: My dad’s ‘roast’ speech.
John: Nicole’s surprise at the reception mariachi band.
Any advice for future brides/grooms?
Nicole: Stay true to you as a couple, it’s easy to get caught up on trends – do what you love. If you can, have the reception in a restaurant. The service will be amazing and the food will be perfect, it’s what they do.
John: It’s stressful, but try to enjoy the process. People always told me “it flies by, you won’t remember it”, but I totally lived in and cherished every single moment. If you allow yourself to be present, it is a magical day.
If you could do it all over, would you change anything?
Both: Not a single thing.
Where did you go on your honeymoon?
Nicole: Our official honeymoon will be in Feb, still deciding where. However, we were able to get away after the wedding to Argentina for a work trip.
Anything else worth mentioning?
Nicole: A great photographer is important. Yes, they can be expensive but these are your priceless memories. Bethany captured the day perfectly. Every picture I see I remember how I felt, the moment that lead up to the picture and the moment that followed it. Every picture she took shows emotion and tells a story that I will remember forever. I repeat, a great photographer is important.
Pre-wedding info (a little history):
How did you meet? (How long have you known each other?)
Nicole: Both being in the industry, we knew of each other. It wasn’t until the opening of the karaoke room at bellyQ that we truly met. He was there with coworkers getting ready to open LSC and I was there with friends. When the party wrapped up John invited us back to LSC for a night cap. We sat on two stools in the middle of the bar. We talked for hours but neither of us remember a word that was said.
John: In the back of a taxi on Pearl Harbor Day, 1941. The world was going to hell in a hand-basket, but we knew we had each found our soulmate and would not let history tear us apart.
When did you know he/she was “the one”?
Nicole: I don’t know the exact moment because it’s a feeling that I have all the time. John makes me feel like I can do anything, he’s my biggest cheerleader. He let’s me be me, weird and all – we are weird together. With him by my side anything is possible. I feel stronger, smarter, prettier, and all around a better person. I love harder, laugh harder and am so grateful he walked into my life.
John: She had me at “shut-up”!
Describe the proposal.
Nicole: It was Thanksgiving, we were at LCS waiting for our friends (every year we have a friendsgiving), we were outside and I was telling John how much he meant to me. Jokingly I turned away from him and said “thank you all for coming, mom-dad, I love you.” (pretending it was our wedding and I just gave my vows). John laughed, “all I have to do is ask your dad”. I handed him my cell phone, sort of kidding. He grabbed it and called him. It was amazing being as close to my dad as I am and hear that conversation, to hear my dads reaction. When the phone call was over John went inside, I stood there like ‘what just happened’, thinking I need a glass of wine. I headed inside where John met me with a ring. He had it in the safe for over a month waiting for the right moment, and that moment was perfect.
John: A tornado of emotion. Nicole told the story, but from my stand point, it was the right time. I knew I could not let that moment pass, it was so true and just so… right.
Five words that best describe your significant other:
Nicole: John is strong, kindhearted, extremely handsome, loving and a perfect match.
John: Beautiful. Generous. Kind. HILARIOUS. Dance-machine. Love of my life (I took some liberties with the amount of words allotted here, but you get the idea).