I promised Dana that it wouldn’t snow on her wedding day: “It has never snowed in the first week of October…ever!” Well, at least not in our part of the country.   Nature had other plans though, and Chicago set a record for the earliest snowfall EVER on her big day.  It was only recorded at the airport, we didn’t see any of it in town, but it was still it was a record-setting day.

Dana and John were excited that the date was 10-4 – a term that means “I understand” – because they’ve truly understood each other since day one.  To illustrate that, they co-wrote a note to their guests on the back of John’s beautifully designed dinner menu. (The menu was printed on a small baguette bag.) They told the story of their meeting and talking about food…making a food-centric life together…and how a trip to the farmer’s market produced the best nickname ever!

I’m sharing a bit of this with you now because planning the wedding has taken me away from my blog – I refused to do bad posts just to get something out there.  For me, blogging takes quite a lot of effort and care: I adapt recipes, or make my own better; I gather props; I try to take beautiful pictures; and then hopefully,  I write something worth reading.  I just didn’t have it in me to do all that for the past few months.  I’m also a very private person, so sharing all of the highs and lows that we went through weekly wasn’t my style.

In the end, we celebrated Dana and John’s deep love for one another –  it wasn’t about the weather, or the dress, or the music. It was about them committing their lives to each other…all the rest was just icing on a very pretty cake.

So now I’d like to share with you a few pictures of the journey we’ve been on these last few months.

Can we find a chapel that will resemble the one in our hometown?  Yes, St. James Chapel.

What about a venue?  A museum?  A park?   Can we put them together and find a museum in a park?  The Chicago History Museum is perfect!

I was honored to go with Dana to pick out her dress.  The first one she tried on was perfect, and even though many others auditioned for the role, the first was the winner.   Here she is at one of her last fittings, when it was time to pick out her veil.

Should she wear flowers in her hair at the reception?

How fortunate we were to find that the florist Dana’s been following on Instagram is NOT in Brooklyn, but in Logan Square!  Isn’t Kelly Marie from Fleur fabulous?

We were so lucky that John is such an amazing graphic artist who designed and printed everything BY HAND,  from the invitations to the menus,  for an extra magical touch.

This was her father’s proudest day.

The time is finally here for the most important part…the ceremony.

The first dance is so important…especially when John’s brother is a very talented musician and he’s playing your special song.  I can’t fail to mention that we really love John and his family and feel so blessed to have them in our lives.


John sweeps Dana off her feet…literally!

The second dance wasn’t too shabby either!

We were so honored that many dear family and friends traveled to join us…thank you!  You made the day even more special…. I only wish I could have talked to everyone longer.

It’s a tradition in our family to take special formal portraits for important occasions…Jeff has never taken any that were so special or more important.  Pictures have always been how we’ve recorded our lives.  Now we look forward to recording our future.


We served a signature cocktail at the reception, fittingly called the 10-4.  I’ve adapted it here for all of you to enjoy with your family and friends.

Autumn Apple Bourbon Cocktail Recipe

Yield: 1 serving

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes


1.5 oz. Woodford Reserve Kentucky bourbon (or any excellent quality Kentucky bourbon)
3 teaspoons cinnamon simple syrup (recipe below)
3 teaspoons fresh apple cider (I used pasteurized)
3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Handful of ice
Slice of fresh apple (for garnish)

Cinnamon Simple Syrup Recipe

1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Prepare Cinnamon Simple Syrup.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together water, sugar, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, whisking for about a minute. Take off heat and let cool. Skim the film off of the top. (If stored in your fridge in a glass jar with a lid, this will keep for a month).

Chill stemmed cocktail glass.

Add the bourbon, simple syrup, cider and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker with a handful of ice. Shake hard for about 10 seconds. Pour in chilled glass.

Garnish with a slice of apple.



Photo Credits:

Thank you to all of our friends who were  ready with their smart phones to help us record this wonderful day.  I took very few pictures that day because I wanted to be in the moment, not behind the lens, so most pictures that you see of the wedding and reception were taken by:

Jessie Rogowski

Kathy Aragaki

Maria Pharo

Susie Kauck

Jeff Kauck – Formal Portrait –  St. James Chapel – Bouquet and Veil