Hotel EMC2 Autograph Collection, Chicago IL


Mira Couture

Nicole Sivek

A seemingly ordinary college year experience in the University cafeteria is where DeMario ‘noticed’ Joya and Joya noticing DeMario that he couldn’t take his eyes off her. She recalled that he made an attempt to introduce himself but she ‘didn’t give him the time of day.’ They met again at a party and danced together but when DeMario asked for her number, Joya’s best friend Morgan stepped in, pulling her away. When they met a third time at lunch with friends, Joya expressed her struggles in math class. DeMario, coincidentally a math minor then offered to tutor her. This is when the tables began to turn. DeMario was serious and focused on tutoring Joya deciding not to give way and/or demonstrate his personal interests in her. His business-like behavior shocked her but this experience allowed Joya an opportunity to appreciate certain traits of character. She was impressed with his intellect and his self control. Curiosity to learn more about each other led to a movie “date” and as Joya stated – we were inseparable from that day forward.

-Love story narrated by Jean Qualls Life Celebrant and Officiant

Over the years DeMario and I experienced so much of life together; graduating from college, moving to Chicago, beginning our careers, and most amazing of all celebrating the birth of Parker, our first child. Two years ago, we made a conscious choice to share our lives together forever, however, we were missing the presence of our family and friends. On our second anniversary we decided to host a personal Vow Exchange, to allow our closest friends and family to experience how our love has evolved. We also wanted to convey how happy we would feel to be surrounded by our closest loved ones, while we expressed our love and appreciation for each other through our vows.

I began planning our Vow Exchange in early February of 2018. I knew that I wanted to host an intimate gathering in which I could be extremely hands on. I wanted lots of detail and I made a choice of only hiring women. Beginning with my venue choice, I decided on Hotel EMC2, a boutique style hotel who stands strongly behind merging the beauty of art and science. I like to think of myself as the artist and my husband as the scientist. Throughout our ceremony and reception there were math symbols incorporated onto our menus, which I designed to pull together our love story. Additionally, the Hotel in house artist, Jonathan Plotkin, created digital doodles of us to narrate our love story in an artistic way. Other details includes the 25 thank you bags left out for each guest. I combined a variety of sugarfina candies and very meticulously made each guest a cocktail candy bag. I then attached cards in which I created the layout of and collaborated with Narissa B. an amazing Chicago based calligrapher, who freely wrote out our initials, date, and hashtag (#petriedoyouloveme) onto the Ashkahn memo cards.

Following the choice of our venue, I chose Mira Couture, a beautiful bridal shop in Chicago, as the boutique to search for my gown. My mom flew in from Michigan to experience dress shopping together. I tried on 4 gowns before deciding that the Paloma Blanca 4707 was my dream dress! I ordered it and an hour later purchased my dream shoes, J’ADIOR slingbacks in white patent leather. To compliment my dress, I wore a pair of Christian Dior la petite tribale earrings and John George styled my hair with Simone Rocha Pearl hair slides. We decided on wedding bands from Van Cleef and Arpels, both of which are engraved with ‘you and I 09-02-16’.

Fast forward through the many details and relationships created with my vendors leading up to the Vow Exchange. The day of the ceremony was literally a dream. Every plan and detail was flawlessly executed. Nini Jenkins made sure my make up was flawless! Our lovely Life Celebrant/Officiant Jean Qualls, who is now a family friend, told our love story perfectly, leaving nearly everyone in tears. Our amazing Violinist Windy Indy, played my favorite song titled For Carol, by Tom Misch as I made my way down the aisle. Nicole Sivek, our photographer captured so many amazing moments of our family and friends in the most candid way. My best friend Milan Boyer who is also a professional wedding videographer caught everything on film. I can’t say it enough how this day was a dream come true!

Our reception dinner was a family style set up, with music that played from a playlist that I created. We drank on our his and hers cocktails throughout the entire night titled, (knot your average bride and knot your average groom). My best friend and Artist Shelby Date, sketched portraits of us to display next to our drinks, which were floral infused. My day of nails also had real flowers on them! Florals were a common theme throughout the ceremony, and the only added ‘decor’. For our arrangements I worked with the amazing women at Cornell Florist, a beautiful shop in Hyde Park, Chicago. After the reception dinner my best friend Emily put on a light show to close out the gathering, it was so much fun!

At the end of the night my husband I slipped into our all white his and hers pajamas which were monogrammed above each pocket to read Mr. and Mrs. Petrie. We walked around the city wearing Pjs and grabbed a late night dinner with our family and friends. That night we went to bed with the remaining scents of our day of fragrances, ambrette 9 and bergamote 22 by Le Labo Fragrance. Silently, we both knew that we had just enjoyed the most beautiful love filled experience of our lives.