Isabel and Kyle’s love story culminated in a beautiful celebration at Waldorf Astoria Chicago. All photos by Jennifer Claire Photography.
Their Love Story
“I’m originally from Brazil and I met Kyle when he was an exchange student at my law school in São Paulo. We actually got off on the wrong foot mostly due to cultural differences, which led me to decide that I would never want to see him again. Well, clearly we know how that ended up. I kept thinking about him and something wouldn’t let me forget about him, no matter how hard I tried. We got our cultural differences out in the air, apologized for our misunderstandings (Brazilians text their crushes ALL DAY LONG and Kyle maybe texted me once every 2 weeks—how dare he) and thereafter, really allowed ourselves to have fun together. That’s when things truly got serious! We only dated for about six months in Brazil before Kyle’s exchange program was over and he had to return to the US to finish school. Saying goodbye at the airport when Kyle went back to the US was one of the most heartbreaking moments of my life. We did long distance for a year, but it was during that year that I think we realized we couldn’t live without each other.
The hardest part was knowing that we were from different countries and that either he or I would have to immigrate if we wanted to continue to be together. Knowing this, however, was probably a turning point for us.. We had to commit, not just to dating, but to developing a life together knowing that we would face challenges for the rest of our lives, like which language to speak or which country to spend holidays in with family. I still think I’m crazy sometimes for sacrificing everything to charter into unknown waters. I really had no clue if it all would work out, but I also know that the biggest risks often result in the biggest rewards. The love we share together is quite simply, the biggest blessing he or I could have ever experienced. ”
KYLE’S FAVORITE MOMENT FROM HIS WEDDING DAY:
“We did a traditional letter exchange, except that the letter I gave Kyle was one I wrote him on the airplane from Brazil to the US three years prior to our wedding day when I left Brazil to start my new life in the US with him. As you can imagine, that flight was so emotional for me. I was filled with both anxiety and excitement, but more than anything, I couldn’t wait to continue to love Kyle. I had so many thoughts and emotions and so I wrote them all down and saved them for a special time. That time was our wedding. Kyle was so moved by the letter that the ceremony at the church was slightly delayed so that he could pull himself together. He describes the letter as the perfect reminder of why we were both there, again, to commit to each other for a lifetime. It was symbolic in a sense. We had already been married for almost three years, but they were words that were written prior to those three years passing. The letter even reminded me about the reasons I chose to start a life with Kyle and they were certainly the best words to read before a casual stroll down the aisle. ”
HOW HE PROPOSED:
“Kyle used to send me a song every day that we were apart to remind me of how much he loved me. When he proposed, it was on a boat ride out on Lake Michigan. He had tricked me into thinking there would be more people going along for the ride, but when I arrived at the marina, the boat was just for us. While we were taking in the views out on the lake, he had the captain play all the songs he sent me while we were dating long distance. And in the middle of our favorite song, he got down on one knee! It was a very special day.”
” In Brazil, bridesmaids do not coordinate their dresses, and since every one of our bridesmaids was coming from a different place in the US and in the world, we decided to let them pick their own dresses! All I did was tell them not to repeat a color. I wanted a festive, colorful and HAPPY bridal party! In order to coordinate the pictures, dresses and the overall event design, I decided to go with white florals and green accents, which would enhance all dress colors. Yanni Design Studio made everything happen like a miracle. Every detail was carefully orchestrated by Sylwia Spirala (who would always say “don’t worry about it, we know what we are doing”—and they did!) to match the hotel design and our stationary, bridesmaids’ dresses, cultural backgrounds and, most of all, our dreams. ”
“We planned the wedding to include as many Brazilian touches as we could. As Brazilian tradition goes, music and food are essential. The Waldorf exceeded our expectations with their brilliant dinner, a jaw dropping desserts table, and their customary 5 star customer service. We selected Greenlight by Rendezvous Music and worked with Neal Wehman, who was first class in every way. From the very first song all the way until the very end, the dance floor was packed! They sang in Portuguese, Spanish and English and so, it was quite appropriate to select them for our special event, but they truly exceeded any and every one of our already high expectations. Their lead vocalist was a finalist on American Idol and he sang our wedding song and changed languages half way through, which gave us the chills. We also were able to incorporate traditional Greek music and dance (Kyle’s family is Greek Orthodox—OPA!) and we also had “Latin Hour” where the Brazilians showed everyone why they are the most lively, happy and colorful people on the planet! ”
ISABEL’S FAVORITE MOMENT FROM HER WEDDING DAY:
“One of the hardest parts of being an immigrant is having two “homes”. I never quite feel like either is permanent. When I’m here in the US, I miss Brazil. When I’m in Brazil, I feel like I left my life behind in the US. It’s hard. You’re always in limbo. And even sometimes, I feel like two people, an American Isabel and a Brazilian Isabel. It’s a weird way to identify yourself, but it’s true. My favorite part about my wedding was that for the first time since I had immigrated to the US, it was the one night where I didn’t have to feel that I was missing out on something in my other country. All of my friends and family had traveled from Brazil to celebrate with me. And so it was the first time and maybe the only time where I felt unequivocally like one me…both the American Isabel and the Brazilian Isabel at the same time. I was so in the moment the whole day and it’s a feeling I’ll forever hold on to.”
Jennifer Claire Photography (photography), Holy Apostles Greek Orthodox Church (ceremony), Waldorf Astoria Chicago (reception/catering/sweets), Yanni Design Studio (floral/decor), Four Hats Press and Reenie Rose (stationery), Augusta Jones via White Magnolia Bridal (bride’s gown), Jimmy Choo (bride’s shoes), Hollibeauty (bride’s hair), Joanna B Artistry (bride’s makeup), Tiffany & Co. (engagement ring/wedding ring), Romualdo Bespoke Tailoring (formalwear), Rendezvous Music (entertainment), Windy City Limo (transportation)