John and Vince
Now, this is one beautiful love story you must read about. John and Vince had been living together as best friends for 3 years before they even started dating. Their love and commitment for each other is so apparent in their story and right into their Chicago wedding.
Mr T - How and when did you meet?
J & V - We met at a party at our friend Scott’s house on November 3rd, 2012
Mr T - Tell us a little about the earlier days of your relationship…
V - John and I were living together as best friends for 3 years before we even started dating. During this time we both got to know each other incredibly well, which definitely helped once we made things official.
J - Vince made the first move. One night in Florida we were swimming in my parents’ pool when it started to rain. He leaned in and kissed me. It was really hot and felt like a movie. The next day I flew home to Chicago and broke up with my boyfriend that I had at the time. I knew I was meant to end up with Vince, but I needed some time before I jumped right into another relationship.
V - During this time I grew very impatient. Guys were always chasing after John and I wanted us to be official. He made me work so hard for it that I almost gave up.
J - Vince would think of clever ways to make me jealous and it worked. I wanted him all to myself. We genuinely loved spending every moment together. We always were, and still are very inseparable.
Mr T - What does Marriage mean to you?
V - Marriage is such a big commitment, and is highly valued in our families. My parents have been married for 33 years and John’s parents have been married for 38 years. We are both fortunate enough to have witnessed such loving examples of marriage growing up. We were both 100% sure we wanted this. We both have certain expectations, contributions and roles that we play. It’s really important to both of us that we put in all the work that is involved.
Mr T - Who proposed and how?
J - Vince proposed in England. We were spending a week in London and on the third day of our trip we went out into the country to visit Highclere Castle, home to the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon. As a kid I loved the movie ‘The Secret Garden’ so Vince popped the question under the rose hedges in an enclosed garden near the greenhouses on the estate. It was pure magic.
V - I had the ring made in New York, and later had another duplicated which we now wear as matching wedding bands. It’s made from sleek yellow gold and it has diamonds set in the profile. It’s traditional yet really different. I’m pretty clumsy so I had it on a chain around my neck up until I got down on one knee. I was scared of losing it in the gravel.
Mr T - When did you get married?
J - We tied the knot about a year after the proposal. Fall is my favourite season and we decided on early November. It was two weeks after Halloween and two weeks before Thanksgiving. It’s such an exciting time of the year.
John & Vince’s story continues below ↓
Mr T - What was the most important thing to you surrounding your wedding?
V - Our guest list was most important to us. We thought long and hard about whom we should invite. We wanted to look around the room on our big day and see all the faces of the people we love. We only invited close friends and family members, and capped the guest count at 150. We are really happy with that decision because it felt like the perfect size. I’m also really passionate about music, so we hand picked every single song the DJ played that night. The dance floor was packed until 2 am.
Mr T - Where did you find the bulk of your inspiration?
J - We were inspired in so many ways. Our venue was definitely the shining star in all of this. The Blackstone Hotel is so unbelievably opulent, mixing old world glamour with modern luxury. It was built at the turn of the century in 1909, which is my favourite time period in history. At the time, it was the tallest building in Chicago. Walking through its front doors makes you feel like a first class passenger on the Titanic, or like a character in The Great Gatsby. It’s very Downton Abbey. We also spent the weekend in the Presidential Suite, where twelve U.S. presidents have also stayed.
V - We wanted an all-white wedding, so when we walked into the all-white ‘Crystal Ballroom’ on the sixth floor we looked at each other and knew it was the perfect spot. I signed the contract the next day.
J - I don’t like trends, so it was really important for us to have a classic, glamorous wedding that was also timeless. If you’re going do it, you have to do it right. 100 years from now, someone could have our exact wedding all over again down to the very last detail, and it would still be in style.
Mr T - How did you choose your suppliers?
V - Most of our suppliers had worked for friends and family members whose weddings we’ve previously attended. We sort of took notes and said things to each other like “their photographer was amazing” or “those flowers were exquisite”.
Mr T - Any standout suppliers?
J - We adore our photographers Jeremy and Amanda Jackson! They are the cutest husband and wife couple and make an amazing team. We love their bright, luminous, almost dreamlike style. We also loved our florist Justyna. I’ve always been really passionate about flowers ever since I was little, so naturally we had a really good chemistry. She used all my favourites in full bloom: white hydrangeas, Tibet roses, majolica spray roses, white orchids, and Casablanca lilies. I knew I didn’t want any greenery; it’s just not my style. We also had some white ostrich feather centrepieces made because they fit perfectly with the neoclassical architecture of the ballroom. It was like being transported back to the flapper age of the 1920’s. There were hundreds of candles lit for the reception. It was breathtaking.
Mr T - Did you find it difficult to translate more common traditions into a ‘same-sex’ wedding?
V - Our wedding was actually pretty traditional. We took formal vows, lit a unity candle, had traditional classical music, and exchanged love statements. It was so emotional and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. We walked down the aisle with our moms, and because we had more women in our wedding party than men, we sent them down the aisle in pairs. Because we had such a large wedding party, we decided not to have a giant head table because we felt that was a little dated. We didn’t want to split people up from their significant others, so during the reception we sat the members of our wedding party as regular guests. They really enjoyed and appreciated that.
Mr T - What was the most difficult thing about planning your wedding?
J - Having to put everyone’s address in an excel spreadsheet. The lady who created our wedding invites wanted everything in alphabetical order, and wanted a million separate columns according to which entrée each guest selected. I dislike computers and technology in general, so for me this was an absolute nightmare. Vince had to take over because I couldn’t handle it. The seating chart was also very annoying. Looking back on it now, we were really over thinking it. It’s just dinner, and most guests don’t even return to their tables once the dance floor opens up.
Mr - Where did you spend your honeymoon?
V - We went to St. Lucia in the West Indies. It was so exotic and relaxing. During the day we went jet skiing, water skiing, and paddle boarding. In the evenings we had romantic dinners and walks on the beach. It was paradise.
Mr T - Any advice for other couples planning their day and finding it difficult to navigate the journey?
V - Spend as much time together as possible on your wedding day! It goes by in a flash! John and I got dressed together which was really fun, and we also got all of our pictures out of the way before the ceremony even began. This freed up our timeline immensely, and we were able to enjoy cocktail hour with all of our guests. It made everything a lot less stressful.
J - Don’t waste your energy on a million little details that people don’t even appreciate or remember! Regular straws work just fine, and cocktail napkins do not have to be monogrammed! Don’t cause unnecessary stress for yourselves. Focus on the things that matter and don’t forget to communicate with one another! Also, don’t ask other people for their opinions. Do what YOU want. And be decisive! Indecisiveness and wedding planning is not a good match.