After their first date at Sidetrack for “Showtunes Sunday,” JD and Mike bonded over their shared love of philanthropy— they each serve on nonprofit boards— and never looked back. During a major renovation at JD’s house, he stayed with Mike, and when it was time to move back home, the couple realized they didn’t want to be apart. Their engagement came soon after, followed by a wedding a year later.
Mike and JD planned a meaningful, traditional ceremony that included special details and Christian traditions the two both held dear. One of their favorite pieces of their wedding ceremony décor was an altar honoring Saints Sergius and Bacchus, including a beautiful icon of the saints that Mike painted himself. They were honored to exchange vows in front of their closest friends and family at the beautiful and welcoming Church of Our Saviour.The couple paid tribute to their roots with a custom blended incense scent they burned in the church. The incense was composed of peach (for Mike’s home state of Georgia) and included other scents from the Chicago Bell Garden that they both tend.
After their ceremony, JD and Mike joined guests for a lavish reception at Salvatore’s. The pair wanted to surprise guests throughout the celebration. They had all of the ivory furniture removed from the room after dinner, so guests returned for dancing to find the space full of sumptuous green and gold décor. The room was full of greenery, with abundant trees, gold-leaf tree stumps for cocktail tables, and a custom logo on the dance floor. The newlyweds danced their first dance to “At Last” by Etta James, but broke off in the middle for an unexpected “flossing break!” They also had a spontaneous live performance by Strawdog Theatre actors that included elaborate and amusing costumes that escalated throughout the performance.
Giving back is at the core of JD and Mike’s relationship, so they made sure to use their wedding as a way to contribute to their community. At their rehearsal dinner, guests stuffed backpacks with supplies to distribute to Chicago’s homeless population. They also hosted a hot lunch for 100 homeless guests on their wedding day, before their celebration began. Mike and JD put their heart and soul into their wedding to ensure it was a celebration that honored their love, their values, and their friends and family.
Number of Wedding Guests: 120
Ceremony Venue: Church of our Saviour
Reception Venue: Salvatore’s Ristorante
Photography: Ryan Moore Photography
Videography: LEAP Weddings
Officiant: The Reverend Brian Hastings
Event Planner: Cindy Nachman-Senders of CNS Consulting Group
Rings: Diamonds on Wabash
Hair: Irene Vinraskaya of Mirror Mirror Salon
Formalwear: Formally Modern Tuxedo
Stationery: Digby & Rose
Calligraphy: Caren Milman Calligraphy
Floral: Bunches (a flower shop)
Catering: Salvatore’s Ristorante
Cake: Amy Beck Cake Design
Transportation: Carey Limousine
Lighting & Sound: FROST