A Marriage Made in Heaven

February 2020 View more

Maria Catanzaro and Michael Mayer III now call Westmont home, but they first met at Christian Life Church in Homer Glen. “She’s beautiful and kind and hilarious,” says Mayer, 34, a family service counselor at Mount Hope Cemetery in Chicago. “She’s definitely a higher-energy person … and I’m more laid-back and reserved—a lot of people would say we are opposites in some respects.”

Their first date was at an ice rink seven years ago. “The thing that stood out to me about Mike was his loyalty,” says Catanzaro, a clinical mental health counselor at Cherry Hill Counseling in Deer Park. “He was very grounded, really dedicated, and really passionate with his faith in God.”

Catanzaro lost her father Joseph to pancreatic cancer in 2018. While Joseph was in hospice care, Mayer was able to share a private moment with him to ask for his daughter’s hand. “I asked him what qualities he would want in a husband for Maria,” Mayer says. “He just kind of smiled and said, ‘You.’”

Later that year, Mayer proposed to Catanzaro while they visited her father’s gravesite with her mother, sister, and three brothers on the anniversary of their first date. “It was really sweet and it made me feel like my dad was a part of it,” Catanzaro says.

Their pastor at Christian Life Church officiated the ceremony at Glenview’s Schram Memorial Chapel, which fit Maria’s vision of marrying in a classic white chapel. They also braided a unity cord made from three colored cords attached to a hand-painted sign.“The dark blue cord represents me, the light blue is Maria, and the white cord is God,’ ” Mayer says. “[The words on the sign] come from scripture: ‘A cord of three strands is not easily broken.’ ”

Their reception at Oak Brook Bath & Tennis Club was full of tears and laughs, from the couple’s choreographed first dance complete with a lift (“Everyone was screaming!” Mayer says) to a photo slide show of Catanzaro with her dad that Mayer lovingly created.

After a buffet dinner, wedding guests grazed from a dessert table filled with beloved childhood sweets made by family members, including mañuelos (cinnamon sugar tortilla crisps) made by the bride’s aunt, and cookies baked by the groom’s mother. 

In addition to signing a traditional guest book, guests were invited to write a message to Catanzaro and Mayer on wooden Jenga blocks for the couple to treasure during future game nights for years to come. 


Venues: Schram Memorial Chapel, Glenview; Oak Brook Bath & Tennis Club, Oak Brook

Bride’s attire: The Bridal Boutique of Naperville

Bride’s hair: Lia Koning, LKBeautyBar

Bridesmaids’ dresses: jjshouse.com

Groom’s attire: K&G Fashion Superstore, Downers Grove

Groomsmen’s attire: Men’s Wearhouse

Catering: Tasty Catering, Elk Grove Village

Cake: Sweet Ali’s Gluten Free Bakery, Hinsdale

Entertainment: Cris C of Red Velvet DJs

Decor: Lyss & Co., Chicago

Floral: somethingborrowedblooms.com

Rings: Aide-mémoire Jewelry, Seattle

Photos by Stephanie Lang Photography