A Summer Yacht Wedding in Chicago, Illinois

Chicago-based couple Elizabeth (36 and in marketing) and Brian (30 and a teacher) fell in love after a chance meeting at a city bar during the NFL playoffs. "We were out for a girl's night and Brian ended up charming the table" Liz explains. The two soon began dating and later, during a road trip to visit Brian's mom in Wisconsin, Liz was surprised to find red tulips (her favorite!) in the front seat of their car. "I turned around to put my work bag in the back seat and there he was on one knee," she says. "He popped the question, I told him 'absolutely,' then we jumped in the car to head up north." Prior to planning their special day, the two discussed keeping the ceremony intimate. "We wanted to keep it small," Liz says. "It was important that the ceremony be intimate and heartfelt." But the opportunity to snag their perfect venue occurred even before the two became engaged. "During a fundraising event at Brian's school, we impulsively bid on a silent auction prize for a four-hour cruise on a private yacht for 25 people,"Liz says. "We won -- then we got engaged the next month! Since the prize was for the summer, it was easy to settle on a date for the ceremony." Once their August wedding date rolled around, the couple and their guests boarded a docked boat at the Chicago Yact Club at Monroe Harbor on a sunny afternoon. While guests sipped on champagne, they were encouraged to leave well wishes in a "message in a bottle" that the couple would later plan to read on each future anniversary. "We kept things small and wrote our own vows, Liz explains. "But we both agree that the best part was the few moments we had together on the bow of the yacht during our impromptu first dance. We're each other's best friend, so it was important to have a few minutes together, just the two of us."