The Meeting

Charlotte & Arik first met in Chicago on a cold and rainy night in January of 2014. Though they were introduced through Tinder back in August of the prior year, Charlotte was reluctant to go on any Tinder dates. It took Arik 5 months to finally convince Charlotte to go on what would be her first and last Tinder date.

The First Date

It was a cold and rainy winter night on January 10, 2014. Arik had never been to my go-to fast food restaurant and Chicago staple, Portillo’s. I wasn’t feeling all that well but given Arik’s persistent efforts, figured that he may never ask her again if she backed out. Nonetheless, the first date was such a big success, their second date would be less than 48 hours later. Note: we had Portillo’s catered as our late-night snack at our wedding.

The Moment

I don’t know that there was a specific moment, but in the summer of 2015, Charlotte packed up her bags to leave the only home she knew (and a lot of upset family members!) to join me on a job move that sent me to Portland, Oregon. At that point, we knew what we had was more than a fling.

Less than two years later, they packed up their bags again to move to Denver where Arik pursued his next career opportunity and Charlotte would go to graduate school to pursue a degree in education (to become an elementary school teacher).

Two relocations together solidified that we were in this for the long haul! Most importantly, we knew early on that we really liked each other. So deep down we both knew what we had was special.

The Propsal

Living in Denver and with my birthday right around the corner, Arik surprised me with a trip to my hometown of Chicago which could not come at a better time since I had been feeling quite homesick. He planned a surprise brunch date where all of my best friends were waiting for me. Later that evening, Arik made an excuse as to why he couldn’t join us for dinner, which I later found out was for his own dinner plans with my parents to formally ask for their permission and blessing. After our simultaneous dinners, I received a text from Arik to meet me at an address not too far away and he tells me to come alone. Nervously, I get out of the cab and make my way to the back of the bookstore where a lone display is set up with a book titled, “Oh The Places They’ll Go!” and a gorgeous bouquet of flowers beside it. A little puzzled, I proceed further to realize that this illustrated book has his name on it!

He tells me we should sit down and read it together. Cue the music and the inconspicuous man procuring a camera out of his bag. I begin reading the book which is accompanied by stunning illustrations. I quickly learn that the story is about us—where we grew up, how we met, and our adventures over the years. I pause frequently to wipe the ugly stream of tears coming down my face. I press on. I then realize that the story is taking a turn to that very evening, which outlines our flight to Chicago, coming together with friends, and a trip to the bookstore. I flip to the next page where an illustrated Arik is down on one knee and the words beside it reading.

It was at this point, that Arik got down on one knee, and lovingly asked, “Charlotte Emily Janus, Will you Marry Me?” I get through the first two lines but he takes over from there. Normally, I’m an awful decision maker, but this was the easiest I’ve ever made, “YES!” Afterwards, we hop in a cab to go to a bar where we are greeted by nearly 50 of my closest family and friends. We celebrate the night away!

The Venue

Charlotte chose The Haight early on and without her fiancé. She loved it that much. We felt it fit our personalities and had that “hygge” feeling that we both love.

The Attire

I got my dress at Bella Bianca Bridal Coutoure in Oak Brook, IL. It’s designed by Hayley Paige in her Blush Collection called the Pepper dress. Obsessed is an understatement!

I got my suit from Menguin. It is called The Macau.

The Wedding Day

Our favorite part of the day was just being with both of our family and friends from all over the country! It was so special and fun to have them all in one room for one night to celebrate us. It meant a lot to us then and still does today. 

A bonus favorite part of the day was getting to watch Charlotte and her dad do a choreographed dance to Queen “Don’t Stop Me Now.”

Another bonus favorite part of the day was Arik surprising everyone (including me!) with the most special video he put together of our lives weaved into the filmed proposal. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house!

The Marriage

Nothing major has really changed in our relationship since being married! We’re excited to grow in all aspects of life together and are constantly there for one another—especially during this time. One thing no one told us, though, was how weird it would be to call one another husband and wife! We realized this on our honeymoon and would giggle every time we said it out loud. We’re still getting used to that part, almost a year in!

The Advice

  1. We took our time planning and it was the best thing. It allowed us to make all the big decisions over a 6 month period and it helped us really envision what we wanted. After the big decisions were made, we were able to focus on how on how to make it a memorable day without feeling the stress of a tight deadline.
  2. Make a list of who you want specific pictures with early on! I wish we would have gotten a few extra pictures here and there on our big day but we made our list pretty last minute.
  3. If you can afford it, hire a videographer. We love that we can rewatch the video and feel the presence of that day over and over again with movement and sound. Pictures are always fun to look at, but a video captures the life of your perfect day.

The Shoutouts

We absolutely loved our photographers and videographers—Glasser Images. Our wedding video was something we splurged a little extra on and we are SO glad we did. It turned out amazing and fit our personality perfectly!

Another amazing shoutout goes to our caterer—True Cuisine. They went above and beyond for us. As a bride with severe food allergies, they made our day simple and anxiety free. I was able to eat everything and didn’t have to think or ask anyone what the ingredients were.

Our final shoutout goes to our awesome wedding band/dueling pianos—Felix and Fingers. They were INCREDIBLE. They went above and beyond our expectations. Our guests still rave about our band to this day and we’re SO happy we chose them. If you go with them, request “Look at Me Now.” You won’t regret it.

The Vendors