The Meeting

Samantha & Joey first met in Neptune Residence Hall at Northern Illinois University during the August of 2011. Samantha worked the front desk and Joey worked as a Community Advisor and, occasionally, their paths would cross. They were finally introduced at a group training session in August 2011.

The First Move

I sent our mutual friend, Kevin, a text message when I saw the two of them studying together that I thought his friend, Joey, was cute. After that, Kevin ratted me out to Joey and he was encouraged to add me on Facebook. After that, it was history.

The Moment

About a year into the relationship, we mutually knew we were getting very serious about one another. It was then that we started discussing more in depth about marriage and other future plans. Ultimately, we knew we had to wait a few years due to needing to finish our degrees, find jobs, and such first. It was quite the wait though!

The Quirkiest Things

While we can be quiet around other people, we are actually really corny. There is nothing more that we love than a corny joke.

The ‘I Love You’

Joey said it first about three months into our relationship. I was getting ready to leave his residence hall room to go to sleep after I had just spent hours cramming on homework with him. As I was saying bye, he said it. I was so surprised but knew immediately that I felt the same and said it back.

The Proposal

On December 20, 2017, we traveled back to DeKalb to have dinner with my dad and brother since they were in town for the holidays. After dinner, Joey asked if I wanted to take a walk around NIU’s campus. Usually, I am for it, but I was honestly questioning why he suddenly wanted to do it at night… and when it was a high of 10 degrees outside! However, I said yes because I was missing NIU and really wanted to see the campus. We took a walk around campus, reminiscing under a clear sky full of stars. He took me back to the exact spot that we were first introduced and got down on one knee. He asked, “Would you do me the honor of being my wife?”

It was such a sweet and breathtaking moment that I will never forget. Although, it may have been more breathtaking simply because it was so cold outside, but it still counts! It honestly meant the world that he asked at the school where everything all began for us. Later, he explained that he chose to do it there so that we can bring our future children there and show them where it all started.

The Wedding Day

Aside from the moment where we said, “I do,” another favorite moment of the day was after we took our family pictures and just before cocktail hour ended. We had a few minutes to walk around the reception area alone to see how the staff at The Haight was able to take our décor and bring our vision to life. As we walked around, it was a few minutes of calmness and we were able to take in the excitement privately—that we were finally married after all this time together. Those are some special moments that we will always treasure!

The Song

Our song is “From This Moment On/You’re Still The One” by Caleb and Kelsey. This medley cover of the popular Shania Twain songs resonated with us as we felt it closely explained our love story and how we feel about each other. We used this as our first dance song on our wedding day. 

The Venue

We chose The Haight because of the unique history and beauty of the venue. We realized when we started planning, that we didn’t want to get married in a ballroom, country club, or hotel. We wanted something that would really stand out to our guests. The Haight was the first venue that felt just right for the both of us. After the first visit, the other venues didn’t compare. This was how we knew it was the right one for us!

The Marriage

Since we have been together nearly 8 years, it hasn’t really changed our relationship aside from now sharing the same last name. Even if we didn’t get married, we’d still 100% knew that we are each other’s person and would have stayed together confidently. If anything, it has made us stronger because we did make this commitment to each other in front of our friends and family. Since being married, we are now expecting our first child together in March and are very excited for this new chapter in our lives.

The Advice

As stressful as wedding planning can be at times, be sure to enjoy every moment. Whether you have a two-month engagement or a two-year engagement, the day will come fast. We planned the wedding from out of state so we focused on getting as much booked/planned early on so that we could take the time to focus on the other smaller details later on. It helped our stress levels with planning tremendously.

The Shoutouts

All of our vendors were special in different ways. The one common factor between all of them is the fantastic communication they all had. Planning a wedding from out of state is never easy, however, having vendors on top of things and willing to answer questions in a quick turnaround really takes away any stress.

The Haight—we LOVED working with Lauren from the first time we did our tour at The Haight with her. She was great at communicating with us every step of the way. She really paid great attention to the details that would help bring our dreams for the day come to life. We cannot thank Lauren and The Haight staff enough for their hard work!

Sarah Crost Photography—Sarah is incredibly professional, punctual, fun to be around, and LOVES her job as a photographer. She will always be our first choice for photography needs (when in Illinois) moving forward. We were (and still are) son in love with how our photos turned out and 1000% recommend her!

Derrek Matichak Videography—Our originally hired videographer for the day cancelled on us the day of our wedding and I was so upset that we wouldn’t have anyone there to record the day’s moments. Derrek was contacted by our DJ (and family friend), Jon Wise, to see if he was available to video our ceremony and reception. Derrek dropped everything to come to The Haight and document our big day! He truly was a lifesaver and made a BEAUTIFUL wedding video that we will forever cherish. Hands down, I’ll always recommend his videography services moving forward!

JPW Productions—There is no DJ around like Jon Wise! As soon as we were engaged and booked the venue, we knew that we wanted Jon to be there. Jon was incredibly easy to work with from start to finish. He really paid attention to our music preferences and was fantastic at making sure our guests were having a great time on the dance floor. There is a reason for all of those “The Knot” awards! Plus, Jon was the ultimate lifesaver when our videographer bailed on us. We will always be grateful for Jon’s caring actions in those stressful moments and helping turn everything around.

Shimmer and Pout—Lisa really has a talent for makeup and made all of the ladies in the bridal party look beautiful. She in incredibly fun to work with and has reasonable pricing compared to other makeup artists in the area.

Updos by Aga—When you sit in her chair, Aga knows how to work her magic with hairstyling. She has such a strong passion for hair and did a fantastic job at bringing all of our bridal party’s vision to life with our requested updos. We all had different hair types (thick, thin, curly, straight, etc.) and she didn’t even blink an eye about it. We loved working with her!

Uncle Bub’s Barbeque and Catering—The Uncle Bub’s staff was fantastic in catering all of our needs in the planning process from the initial meeting through even after the wedding when they had to clean up. The food was fresh at the time of serving and many of our guests were complimenting the food the rest of the night. The mac and cheese was the biggest hit and is still being talked about months later!

The Vendors