Nikki and Dan’s delightfully unique wedding at Ovation involved everything from a s’mores bar to an elegant aerialist. 


Nikki and Dan met teaching flying trapeze at Camp Big Top in Highland Park. “When you spend seven hours a day  together, 30ft in the air, throwing small children off a little platform, you get to know each other pretty well,” Nikki told us. “It took a while, but we eventually realized we didn’t want to wake up one day and not have the other person beside us. We loved that our differences made us better together.” The couple always joked that they were ‘Perfectly Imperfect’ together, and that phrase ended up being the first words of Nikki’s vows and the last words of Dan’s.


“The biggest challenge was probably my dress,” Nikki admitted. “It took forever to find because I wanted something unique. I saw it at a trunk show – all the beading was blue, but Mira Couture told me it could be any color. They really worked with me to make it mine.” Nikki ended up choosing black beading to match her engagement ring. “Dan knew I wouldn’t do something typical,” Nikki said, “but I think even he was surprised!”
Nikki and Dan were both born and raised on the North Shore. “Chicago is home,” they said. “We never even thought of leaving the city for our wedding.”
Nikki, on how their wedding came together…
“Once we found our venue, everything else came together smoothly. The colors, the materials… it was all just how we had imagined. Dark fall colors, industrial, rustic decor. Metal, wood, lots of candles, succulents and dark burgundy flowers. Dan’s friend donated a few lightly used pallets from his Cold Storage Warehouse that our florist was able to transform into an amazing backdrop for the ceremony and our head table at dinner.”

Nikki surprised Dan with a pair of new Converse to add to his collection, and the sweet gift- which just happened to be burgundy and perfectly match the decor- ended up being one of Dan’s favorite parts of the day. “We’d agreed on no gifts before the wedding but he’d been dreading wearing “stiff” shoes,” Nikki explained. “The shoes helped make the day special and personal.”
Nikki, on how the couple made their wedding day truly their own…
“The little details really mattered to us and in the end, they’re what made our wedding feel personal. Instead of a bus to shuttle us around for pictures, we used a trolley car. We made our own invitations, Dan’s mom created the amazing LOVE sign for our placecard table, and our family members wrote the chalkboard name cards. One of Dan’s best friends from elementary school officiated the wedding and did an amazing job. We didn’t perform at the wedding, but we still wanted to include a circus element so we had an aerialist open the cocktail hour with a silk performance! Food was important to us too. Instead of a full service, plated dinner, we had stations with everything from BBQ to Mexican, and since neither of us love cake, we did a s’mores and ice cream sandwich bar for dessert.”
The couple showed their appreciation for their families through a series of little surprises throughout the night. “Our card box was a birdhouse keepsake for Dan’s mom who collects them,” Nikki said. “We had an old fashioned popcorn cart come out as a late night snack for my dad. We even made ‘Tina and Bobo’ matchbooks, which was something my parents had at their wedding. It was a family story that everyone got a kick out of!”
When asked what made the day truly special, the couple immediately agreed that their loved ones played a key role. “Honestly, we couldn’t have done it without our families,” Nikki and Dan told us. “They were all so excited for us to get married, and wanted to help in any way and make sure our wedding was what we had envisioned. Not an ounce of drama from start to end.”
Featured Vendors: Lilly Photography (photos), Ovation (ceremony/reception), Jonathan Levy (officiant), Kristy Diana from Lola Event Productions (wedding consultant), Stephen Yearick (dress designer), Mira Couture (bridal boutique), Tara Jenkins (hair), Andie Cumber (makeup), Dessy (bridesmaids’ dresses), Sparkles Fine Jewelry (rings, bridesmaid necklaces, groomsmen watches), The Black Tux (formalwear), PaperSource (invitations), Allison Denny from Stems (floral), True Cuisine (catering/s’mores bar), Duke from Style Matters DJs (entertainment), Windy City Trolley (transportation), Aloft Circus Arts (Aerialist)
Can’t get enough Real Weddings? Check out Annette+Mitch’s romantic affair, or head over to and browse our gallery of Windy City weddings!