*** PLEASE REMEMBER THAT ONLY VOTES THROUGH THIS POLL COUNT!! SENDING AN EMAIL OR MAKING A COMMENT WILL NOT COUNT TOWARD THE TOTAL VOTE COUNT. ONE VOTE PER COMPUTER PLEASE, NO EXCEPTION***
We received so many wonderful submissions for the 2012 eleven eleven WEDDING Giveaway! As a team we want to thank each and every one of you who shared your love story with us. It was such a pleasure getting to know each of you at least a little bit.
So here’s your chance to help your favorite couple make it into the top three finalists!! Their stories are below. At the end you will be able to vote for your favorite couple. The three couples with the highest number of votes, as of 11:59 p.m. on April 6, will be our finalists. They will then meet with the eleven eleven WEDDING team for interviews and get to participate in our amazing live reveal party at Nellcote on May 8th.
Please note that only one vote per computer is allowed and we expect all contestants and their friends/family, as well as the general public, to be respectful of the process. It should be exciting and fun but let’s all remember to play fair!
The couples are listed in random order below!
Carolynn and Addison met at a flower shop, where she was a floral designer and he did deliveries. They were with other people at the time, but really enjoyed each other’s company as friends. He stopped working at the shop and she didn’t get to see him often. Much later, when the other relationships eventually ran their course, Carolynn ran into Addison at a party, and they hit it off. They have been together for four years now and on a family trip to Italy last year Addison surprised Carolynn with a ring! They went for a walk around the city of Florence, and Carolynn was convinced Addison was going to propose every time they stopped at a romantic place. It wasn’t until they crawled into bed back at the apartment that Addison looked at Carolynn with tears in his eyes and asked her to marry him. It was the happiest and most emotional moment of their lives!
Both Carolynn and Addison want to have an amazing party with all of their family and friends, and not have to worry about the budget! Being in the service industry they think it would be great to relax and not have to be the ones taking care of everyone!
Carolynn says the moment she is most looking forward to is at the reception, when everyone is dancing joyously and she looks across the room, where her eyes meet Addison’s and they give each other huge grins.
Connie and Jessica were introduced by a mutual friend while living on opposite sides of Michigan. They communicated through e-mail and text messages until their first official date two weeks later. Magic seemed to happen but Connie had to break it to Jessie that in a few short months she would be moving to Chicago. They kept their love strong through Skype, packages in the mail, and 6 hour road trips in the snowiest of weather, and Jessie soon followed Connie to Chicago. Fast forward four years and, after a weeklong trip to Michigan without Jessie, Connie decided it was time to pop the question. They met at their favorite bar and Connie presented Jessie with a new IPhone, something she had always wanted. Underneath the phone, wrapped in the cords, was a ring. Although Jessie almost missed the ring due to her excitement over the phone, the answer was yes!
Connie and Jessica feel they deserve to win this wedding because they support one another above all else. Jessie is currently finishing her teaching degree while Connie works to support them both. When Jessie is finished with school and can find a full time job, Connie will then return to school. This doesn’t leave much time or money to plan a wedding.
Connie and Jessica are most looking forward to the moment when they see one another for the first time. They also can’t wait to see the faces of their friends and family who have supported them all along as they join into a Civil Union. And of course the dancing!
When one thinks of Starbucks, the few things that come to mind are probably coffee, long lines and pricey! But who would have thought a love story would begin there? Nastasia was at her local Starbucks enjoying another ordinary day studying for her nursing exam. She looked up and saw a man looking at her. Before she knew it, he was sitting at the table next to her and they were 2 hours into an amazing conversation. A couple months into their relationship, John traveled to Greece spent most of his time in Mykonos. He decided to stay back while his friends visited Santorini and told Nastasia it was “because I’ve heard that it’s one of the most romantic places in the world and I’m saving it for a very special girl.” Before he proposed, John surprised Nastasia with tickets to Greece! They spent one evening on an old ship watching the Santorini sunset. John got down on one knee and asked Nastasia if she would to spend the rest of her life with him!
Nastasia calls Johnny her angel. She moved to Chicago from Michigan not knowing a single soul and it was very tough for her to juggle the demands of nursing school and paying rent without any support. John helped her with her expenses and saved her from the stress and anxiety she was under. Johnny works hard every day to support them.
Nastasia says she is most looking forward to glancing over at Johnny across the room and smiling after she realizes that he’s her best friend, love, and now husband.
Oscar and Kelsey met six years ago, just as she was beginning her nursing degree and he was graduating with his BFA. The spark was instantaneous, but it took them two weeks of coy looks, and red cheeked giggles, to finally go on a date to the Museum of Fine Art in Houston. As a painter, the way he spoke of art was enchanting, and he was equally enthralled by her antics about the marvels of the human form. Their love’s whirlwind swept them to Chicago only a year later where Kelsey continued on her path to become a midwife and Oscar painted. One late summer night, Oscar proposed that the only thing they really needed was each other and asked Kelsey to be his wife. She knew her life did not make sense without him, and so she accepted his proposal. They eagerly wait for the day when they can proclaim their commitment and celebrate the beginning of the next chapter of their lives together!
Oscar and Kelsey have focused on developing themselves professionally, and while they have been discussing their wedding for some time, it has always been on the back burner. Because they have both lived in a variety of places, deciding where to have the wedding has been a struggle. By doing it in Chicago they could have a world class wedding that would finally bring both families together. Oscar and Kelsey feel they could never have a wedding of this caliber of elegance on their own. It would be an absolute dream come true!
Oscar and Kelsey are most looking forward to their families together at the Nature Museum witnessing the binding of their lives. They feel this celebration will be unforgettable.
In 2008, April and Patrick were at their elementary school reunion. Even though they attended the same school, a 9 year age difference made them only acquaintances. After a night of flirting, they started talking regularly. Patrick was living in Wrigleyville and April was a single mom of two young kids in Montgomery, so it was a challenge to find time to really get to know each other. Patrick met April’s kids, and he realized that he was falling in love with them just as quickly as he did their mother. April’s son was diagnosed with brain cancer last June. They realized how quickly life can change and that they never wanted to spend a day without each other. It was at that point that a ring and all of the traditional elements of a wedding were no longer important; having ALL four of them together was all that seemed to matter now. Although all of the odds were against them, four years later they are still standing stronger than ever, even despite cancer.
Patrick and April feel they deserve this wedding because Patrick wants to give April the wedding of her dreams. It would be next to impossible for them to afford a wedding with the financial hardships they have faced. For the past eight months, their family and friends have been pulled to every extreme emotionally while helping April’s son on his journey. This wedding would give the four of them something to look forward to at the end of his battle. It will show what love can endure and a sign of all the good times that await their family!
On their wedding day, Patrick cannot wait to see his step-children walk their mother down the aisle and give her away to him in front of their closest family and friends. It will solidify their love for one another!
Matthew and Anna met when they were both working for The Boston Red Sox. He would visit her during games at her post, often leaving his air conditioned office to bring her water and treats out in the hot July sun. They quickly became best friends and after a year they fell in love. Anna knew Matt was the one when he took care of her while she was sick with mono. He would go to the store in the middle of the night to get food so she wouldn’t know he was gone, and watch hours of The Muppet Show together. After dating for five years, Matt surprised Anna on New Year’s Eve by having boxes from their favorite Chicago hot dog place, Superdawg, and champagne waiting in their hotel. Little did Anna know there was a diamond ring inside the box instead of a hot dog! Matt dropped to his knees and asked her to marry him. A month later, they moved from Boston to his hometown north of Chicago and they have been happily planning their future.
Matt and Anna left their jobs in Boston to move back to Chicago to be closer to family. They have been staying with Matt’s parents to save money for a home while looking for permanent employment. Their families have been hit by the tough economy, and having a wedding just doesn’t seem possible without excluding many of their friends. Their friends and family are so important to them, and it breaks their hearts that they can’t include them in their special day.
Anna is most looking forward to the moment where she and Matt will officially become husband and wife, and when they see each other for the first time, realizing that they will spend the rest of their lives together.
You could say that Cynthia and Lindsey are high school sweethearts. They met Cynthia’s sophomore year of high school and, though they didn’t hit it off initially, they eventually got together. Cynthia and Lindsey were apart through the beginning years of college but fate brought them back together and they rekindled their relationship. As with all couples, they have had their ups and downs. Lindsey has been Cynthia’s rock through coping with a Lupus diagnosis. Lindsey proposed on December 19, 2011, at their apartment and of course Cynthia answered with an excited “YES!” The proposal was simple, on bended knee, with the aid of their dog Bella and Cynthia absolutely loved it.
Cynthia is not your typical bride and doesn’t have an exact “dream wedding” already planned in her head. She knows she wants it to be beautiful and elegant, but planning a wedding on a budget, while including everyone they love, is a challenge they hope to overcome. Winning this contest would make their ideal wedding a true possibility and they wouldn’t have to wait too much longer, since they’ve been waiting since high school.
Cynthia is most excited for their “First Look” – that moment when they see each other for the first time. She is also looking forward to being pampered with the girls, and enjoying time with her closest family and friends. Cynthia and Lindsey can’t wait for the opportunity to celebrate the day they make it official and live happily ever after, in style.
While studying abroad in Merida, Mexico, Joanna often found herself tearing up the dance floors of the discotecas. On a night out with friends, she spotted the “hot guy in the pink shirt.” They danced together all night, but Joanna hesitated to give up her number. They went their separate ways, but fate brought them together… over 2 a.m. tacos! At first, Joanna tried to resist Felipe’s charm, but she realized just how happy he made her. They kissed goodbye four months later, unconvinced long distance could really work. Throughout college, they worked to save up for their next visit and pay off their long distance phone bills. After two years, Felipe took a leap of faith and moved from Mexico to Chicago to pursue Joanna (and his Master’s degree). Now, six years later, they frequently trade nights out at a discoteca with nights on the couch in their pajamas. After all they have overcome they find their greatest joy in just being together. This past Valentine’s Day, Felipe simply spoke from his heart. Without a jumbotron or her name in lights, he got down on one knee and shocked Joanna with a ring. Together, in their pajamas, their journey began…
Joanna and Felipe feel they deserve this because they took a chance on love. They endured two years of long distance, the obstacles of student visas, and the everyday struggles of “real life.” At times, it felt like the odds were stacked against them; however, their love won. More importantly, they deserve this because they want to celebrate love by hosting both sides of their lives together in one space. Their hearts break at the thought of 2,731 miles and countless expenses preventing their loved ones from joining together. With this wedding, Joanna and Felipe would forever cherish the sight of their crazy aunts and uncles out on the dance floor, their siblings celebrating, their friends toasting, and their parents embracing them with love.
Both Joanna and Felipe get a little teary picturing this special moment: locking eyes as she walks down the aisle steadied by her parents on either arm. They picture Joanna’s parents greeting the man they already love like a son, turning around to face their loved ones, and granting them their most sincere blessing.
Picture “It’s a Wonderful Life” in 2012. Whitney and Jared had just purchased an old and much neglected Tudor home – over 5400 square feet of peeling paint, withering wallpaper, faulty electric, beetles, weeds, and work. For two months they worked nose to the grindstone, but the house was kicking their butts. The holidays arrived and with the house still in ill repair, they brought home a tree, strung lights, and placed a blanket by the door to stop the whistling wind. They sat in the stillness of the house, near the peacefulness of the tree. Jared got on his knees and asked Whitney to be his wife. Within the hour the house was full of family, laughter, music, and dancing. Their silhouettes surely conveyed the joy abounding in their home that winter night to all passersby. Their heart, home, and future is overflowing with love and happiness.
Teachers and city weddings are probably as common as a dandelion in the Chicago Botanic Garden. Whitney and Jared planned to get married in Chicago, but the uncomfortable truth is that their reception would cost more than Whitney makes in one year. And that’s just not practical. They plan for a tented farm wedding unless they are plucked out of their country setting and are blessed with a night on the town that they’ll never forget. Their hearts want a wedding in the city, with the energy, the lights, and the beauty of the city, but their minds are telling them – keep it simple. The rest of their lives they plan to serve tomorrow’s youth as teachers, and they hope just this once for pomp and luxury!
Like the moment of their engagement, Whitney and Jared hope for a moment at their wedding where all the joy, the people, the laughter, the music, the lights, the children, the band can freeze mid-note and they can walk hand in hand and look at each moment, each twinkling eye, and bury those memories and all that love deep their our hearts. Whitney thinks it will happen during their first dance. Jared will turn her slowly and she will see the love shining in all directions.
Lindsey and Justin met at the Gay Pride Parade four years ago. It rained that afternoon and they ran to a bar to dry off with friends, while waiting for the parade to start. They realized that they had a strong connection and became close friends for 6 months before they became a couple. Three years passed and their relationship is still going strong. In November Justin proposed to Lindsey next to the Chicago River, with fireworks in the background. He found someone to take a picture of them and as that person went back to take another shot he got down on one knee and proposed. They now have a picture to last a lifetime. The picture just happened to be taken by a technician for ABC 7 and they invited Lindsey and Justin to tell their story on live television. It was a great experience and a story to tell their children someday.
Justin and Lindsey came from nothing, and have worked hard to get where they are today. Their families won’t be able to help with the wedding and they are working very hard to save for the wedding. They have both provided for themselves from a young age and have both recently been unemployed, which has left them with little savings.
The moment Lindsey and Justin are most looking forward to is locking eyes with each other for the first time that day.