Mat & Nikki | An Intimate Destination Vow Renewal in Chicago

Nikki and I (Stephanie) go waaaaaay far back. I can still remember meeting her for the first time in my 9th grade study hall with Mr. Moran at Fremont Middle School. After my family moved up to Ohio from North Carolina, and boy was she a welcomed friendly face! She was my little in high school marching band, we were roommates in college, and became best friends. Life has thrown us lots of twists and turns, but thankfully, we always find our way back to each other. After a long SIX years of not seeing each other, we may or may not have had an embarrassingly emotional moment in the middle of a bar and we picked up right where we left off. This girl has seen me at my best and my worst, and chooses to love me anyway. She puts up with my creepy Leslie Knope compliments, wears the ridiculous things I crochet for her, and loves our children like they’re her own.

I can still remember when she drove from Chicago to Ohio IN A BLIZZARD to hang out with me just to leave 24 hours later. We met at an Applebee’s, and she opens our conversation with this little gem: “So, do you remember how when Kent proposed to you, I asked you if you thought it was a little fast and questioned you to make sure you were making the right decision? Well, I apologize for that, because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt I met my husband. There’s only one teensy problem. He doesn’t know it yet, and he’s moving to Switzerland.”

Nikki never did do things the easy way. 😉

Long story short (too late), she picked up her life, moved to Switzerland with Mat, and married him a few short months later. That’s right. This girl literally married a Polish doctor, and ran away to Switzerland. Oh yeah. Mat is a doctor. Have I not mentioned that? He’s a dentist. And a research doctor. Who is currently working to CURE CANCER. As if that’s not enough, he might just be the sweetest, most loving man I have ever met in my life! And y’all have met my husband…I’m just saying. This guy even gives KENT a run for his money! While I was super sad she was moving so far away, I was also incredibly happy because I saw how Mat made her entire face light up. I’ve known this girl a long time, and I’ve seen her get excited. But I’ve never seen her entire countenance change the way it did when she met Mat. And I realized in an instant that she had met her soul mate. And I couldn’t be happier and any more approving for the life one of my best friends in the world had chosen for herself. <3

Since these two got married in Switzerland, a lot of their friends and family couldn’t be there, so they knew they wanted to have a celebration with those closest to them to celebrate their marriage. So Nikki and Mat started planning a Chicago wedding from SWITZERLAND. Yeah…no big deal. She messaged me and told me all about it, and asked me if Kent and I could shoot the wedding. WHAT!??! Of course we can! However, there’s a small teeny tiny catch. She also wanted me to stand in her bridal party. Um. What???? Holy smokes…what a ridiculous honor!!! She said whichever I wanted to do she was fine with, but she wanted to give me the choice. If I HAD to choose, of course I would want to stand next to her! However, I had this crazy idea that maybe we could do both…

So we did. 😉

The morning of the vow renewal, Chicago was NOT being kind to us. The rain was pouring down and the skies were so dark, that there was barely any light coming through the windows of Katie’s AirBnB. That did not put a damper on anyone’s spirits though! We were up and getting our hair and makeup done, and my sweet sweet husband was basically pulling double duty. 😉 We went to the Bean at Millennium Park (while it was still raining!) so they could see each other for the first time! We took some pictures there of course, but also went to some of their favorite spots around town! The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the planetarium which has a GORGEOUS view of the Chicago skyline!

Then it came time for the ceremony. Let’s talk about their vows for a moment…they recited the lyrics to “I’ve Got You Babe” much to everyone’s surprise. And I may or may not have gotten a little emotional and was really grateful that neither Kent nor Lydia (our assistant who drove up to 3rd shoot for us!) seemed to notice. 😉

Then the reception came, and the food was to DIE for! And the speeches and toasts that Katie and Wojo gave were so sweet and endearing. If you hadn’t gotten emotional yet that day, then you surely would have at that point. <3

Congratulations Mat & Nikki! We had SO MUCH FUN this weekend and couldn’t believe we got to be a part of everything! We can’t wait to hang out with you two for a little bit before you have to head back! <3

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