Tell us your love story!
We actually met online! This was back in the day before dating apps though, think OKCupid. Ryan messaged Tim first, and struck up conversation about their joint alma mater, Northwestern University (Tim for undergrad and Ryan for PhD). Ryan then presented Tim with three dinner options – bar fare, traditional American, or Ethiopian food. Tim thought this was a test to choose the most adventurous option, so he chose Ethiopian food. After a first date where Tim was too afraid he’d spill all over himself by eating with his hands (and hence, Ryan was left to eat for two), we were nearly inseparable and officially started our relationship just over two weeks later.
What about the proposal?
Ryan really pulled out all the stops. One of our favorite past times is watching Disney/Pixar movies together. So, Ryan set up an adventure with all of their closest friends along the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago. On this adventure, each friend was dressed as a character from a Pixar movie and spoke about how that movie related to their relationship. Each friend then gave Tim a purple balloon to carry along the remainder of his journey. The final stop on this journey was Ryan, dressed as the old man, Carl Fredericksen, from Up, complete with a giant bouquet of multicolored balloons. Ryan said he was missing one color, purple, and asked to combine our balloons together and spend our lives with one another. He then got down on one knee, popped the question, and Tim said yes! They later went to one of their favorite restaurants in Chicago to celebrate with all their friends involved in the proposal.
When did you know that you were meant to be with each other?
Tim – I would say I knew pretty early on. Things just clicked – we’re both pretty weird and our weirds just went really well together. It was super easy to spend time with one another – everything just felt natural, and safe. About seven months in, the two of us traveled to Italy together. I would say I saw forever with Ryan for the first time when we were in Florence. This was my first time out of the USA. I was having such an adventure with this incredible guy. I felt myself growing, my world expanding, and my heart getting full. That was the first time I felt complete as a person, and never wanted the feeling to end. Now, almost five years later, I feel exactly the same.
Ryan – I also knew pretty early on. Things felt comfortable – in the sense that I had known this person my entire life, even if we’d met not too long ago. I think I knew for certain when the time came to talk about living circumstances when Tim’s lease was coming up, and it was a simple—yet entirely intentional—decision to move in together. The fact that there was no hesitation there on either of our parts let me know that we were both in this for the long haul. And here we are!
Going into the wedding planning, what did you definitely know?
We both knew we wanted the wedding in Chicago, and that we wanted amazing food at the wedding. Other than that, the details (size, venue type, music) were a floating target for quite some time. We landed on a small wedding with our closest family and friends and Stephanie Izard’s private event space at Little Goat Diner – it was a super fun indoor/outdoor space with food by one of Chicago’s best chefs in a neighborhood we had spent a good amount of time in together.
What surprised you during planning? What was easy, what was difficult?
I think what surprised us was how many tiny decisions came up along the way. We thought once we locked down a venue and a size, we were done. Oh no. No way at all. Thankfully, Tim was off work for a few months after graduating from business school to finish wedding planning from June through August because the decisions kept coming – songs for the string quartet, transition songs for toasts, signature cocktails, guestbook ideas, thank you notes.
The easiest piece was deciding on a venue. We fell in love with Little Goat the moment we got there. The hardest piece was the guest list. It was really difficulty get our invite list down to 70 people to fit the space, but we knew we could do it. We were thrilled with where we landed when all was said and done, but definitely would advise couples getting married to think carefully about guest list and size very early on to avoid minor headaches down the line. It gets super tricky when you think about two families and various friend cohorts from different life stages.
Is there anything you wish you knew while you were planning your wedding that you know now?
We would advise couples to make sure they are communicating well throughout the process. In our wedding, and in a lot of our friends’ weddings, one partner definitely took a leading role, in this case Tim. There is so much to be done, and even if one partner does take the lead, that partner should communicate what’s being done, what they could really use help on, and delegate the tasks that they feel comfortable off-loading.
In a similar vein – the people closest to you really do want to help you have a magical day – so when they ask if they can help, don’t be afraid to let them!
Any advice for couples planning weddings now? Anything you would have done differently or anything you’d like to add?
Our advice varies slightly, so we will each give two pieces:
Tim – Put your personal touches all over the wedding! We made sure every detail of our wedding represented us as a couple- the setup (reception style, no formal seated dinner), the food (Asian fusion), the DJ (had a residency or two in Boystown clubs in Chicago), the flowers (succulents), the venue (colorful and intimate), and all the other small details. Not everything was done by the book or according to formal etiquette, but we were left not wanting to change one thing when looking back. It was truly our dream wedding.
Ryan – I agree with Tim, but I’d also add not to sweat the mall stuff too much. Your friends and family are there to celebrate you. While both you and they might notice the small details and appreciate them, that isn’t what they’ll be left remembering. So do what you can to make it happen, but don’t sweat the fonts on the menus or the centerpieces to an absurd degree.
What was your favorite part of your wedding day?
We both loved our vows. We chose to write our own vows, and they went on a little longer than typical probably. But, they were so personal and intimate. There was something so special about sharing our truest feelings with one another and declaring our love in front of our closest family and friends that was so special. Even though we both couldn’t stop crying for most of them, it was our most treasured time of the whole day.
- Location & Catering: Little Goat Diner
- Photographer: JLB Wedding
- Videographer: Two Penny Productions
- Florals: Details In Bloom Chicago
- Baker: Molly’s Cupcakes
- Hair: JWade
- Attire: Armani
- & Hugo Boss
- & Ted Baker
- Wedding Party Attire: The Groomsman Suit
- & Adrianna Papell
- Jewelry: Tiffany & Co.
- Music: Style Maters / String Theory