Marissa met James through a good friend when she was just the tender age of 16. She remembers pulling up to her friend's house and seeing James on the patio in a Chicago Bears Cutler jersey with an orange cast on his leg up to his thigh with crutches. From the moment she first met him, she could sense an energy about him, that he was accepting, easy going and sweet. Marissa was able to be a total goof ball that night and James still wanted to see her again. Love comes and goes in high school. but when you find the "one" you know that your search is over.
Marissa chose Independence Grove because it was an unbelievably stunning venue. When you enter Independence Grove’s property, you drive into an open area of beautiful trees, flowers and jaw-dropping scenery. Marissa loved that the venue itself had floor to ceiling windows, allowing guests to see the beauty outside during the ceremony and reception.
It was important to both Marissa and James that they find a venue that allowed for complete customization. Independence Grove is one of the only Chicago wedding venues I know of that actually allows shots! (shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots...everyyyyybody!) This certainly kicked off the night on an upbeat note! They wanted to have a warm, romantic, candlelight evening that celebrated love, life and friendship.
Looking back at the process of planning a wedding, Marissa learned that everything can’tbe perfect (which is hard for her, since she is a self professed Type A personality). She is quoted as saying, "You think in your mind that you spend all of this money that everything will be perfect and exactly what you envisioned and it never will be, but that’s the beauty of it. Nothing in life is perfect, even supposedly the most magical day of your life, but that’s what it makes it beautiful and real (just like your love for one another)". **Side note from the planner...everything went really well on my end that day! ;-)
The biggest piece of advice Marissa would give future brides would be, "Do what makes you happy and not what everyone is telling you to do. Weddings are expensive (realizing that on the backend) and if you want to get married in a courthouse and have a backyard wedding with a pig roast, you do that! The thing that matters most about your wedding is how you and your loved one feel and your love for each other, not what anyone else thinks on how your day should have been done. By doing what makes you happy and comfortable will ultimately make you a happy bride."
Marissa and James left on a honeymoon two days after the wedding and spent a beautiful week in Cancun, Mexico at the Royalton Riviera. They can not speak more highly of the resort and staff. They currently live in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and have adopted the most adorable German Shepard named Kairi.