Better Together | June 2017

June 2017 View more

Katarina Schmitt & Benjamin Durfee
Even though they met on, Katarina Schmitt’s first exchange with Benjamin Durfee wasn’t about making a love connection.

Four years ago, Schmitt, a twenty-seven-year-old high school music teacher and violinist, noticed in Durfee’s online dating profile that he played viola. “I was looking to complete a string quartet…so I sent him a message and said… ‘Would you be interested?’ I wasn’t even thinking that this was supposed to be a dating website,” she says. Durfee, a thirty-five-year-old financial auditor who plays viola professionally on the side, declined the quartet gig but asked her out instead.

They made an instant connection, taking salsa dancing lessons on their first date. Marriage discussions quickly followed and Durfee proposed about ten months later, surprising Schmitt with a video of himself, tuxedo-clad, playing a ukelele and singing a song he wrote for her.

“We were having dinner at his apartment and he said that he had a funny video he wanted to show me and played it off like it was a casual thing,” Schmitt says. “And then he got down on one knee.”

Though the couple lives near Denver, Colorado, they chose Schmitt’s hometown of Naperville for an intimate celebration with seventy friends and family members at Morton Arboretum’s Thornhill Education Center.

The day’s events were inspired by the couple’s love for music and nature. Instead of lighting a unity candle at the outdoor ceremony, they planted a tree together. “My parents added soil from their backyard. Ben’s parents added soil from Colorado, and Ben and I watered the tree,” Schmitt says. At the reception, they played a romantic duet, “Salut d’Amour” by Edward Elgar, for their guests.

Schmitt and Durfee honeymooned in St. Croix and recently bought a house together in Northglenn, Colorado. They share it with their two miniature poodle mixes, Gustav and Wolfgang—aka Wolfie—who are, of course, named for legendary composers Gustav Mahler and Wolfgang Mozart.

Photography: Samantha Jensen for Alicia’s Photography, Naperville
Bride’s dress: Carrafina with Kenneth Winston from A Joyful Occasion, Naperville
Bride’s accessories: Shoes from David’s Bridal; Giavan earrings and Giselle hairpiece from A Joyful Occasion, Naperville
Hair: Joanna Santoro of Style and Sass, Schaumburg
Makeup: Renee Beaton, Makeup and 3D Brows by Renee, St. Charles
Bridesmaid’s dresses: David’s Bridal
Groom’s and groomsmen’s attire: Men’s Wearhouse, Aurora
Invitations: The American Wedding,
Catering: Morton Arboretum, Lisle
Cake: The Cakery, Aurora
DJ: Sounds Abound Entertainment, Naperville
String quartet: Innocenti Strings, Chicago
Florist: Walden Floral Design Co., Downers Grove
Rings: Helzberg Diamonds (hers) and Kay Jewelers in Loveland, Colorado

Sarah Hietschold & Jordan Miller
If Sarah Hietschold, 31, and Jordan Miller, 29, of Yorkville hadn’t gone against their instincts one night five years ago, they might never have met.

When Miller, a pilot with ExpressJet Airlines, had an unscheduled overnight at O’Hare Airport, his captain suggested dinner and drinks at the now-shuttered Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar in Rosemont. Though he would have rather stayed in, he obliged. Meanwhile, Hietschold, a hair colorist at Zano Salon’s Ogden Avenue location in Naperville, reluctantly accompanied a friend who wanted to scope out the same bar. The two strangers struck up a conversation while ordering drinks, did some two-stepping on the dance floor and later started seriously dating.

When Miller suggested a return to Toby Keith’s years later, Hietschold was certain he planned to pop the question. But when he changed plans to a different restaurant and dinner came and went without a proposal, she was thrown off. After they got home and changed into their pajamas, Miller pulled out a Neil Lane princess-cut diamond ring and asked her to two-step with him forever.

In Miller family tradition, they were married at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in the groom’s hometown of Sandwich. And because it wouldn’t be right for a pilot to arrive any other way, the couple traveled by plane (a Cessna 195, to be exact) from Sandwich to Clow International Airport in Bolingbrook. Once there, it was time to party in the Illinois Aviation Museum Hangar.

Reception tables were named after airports and dinner came courtesy of Duke’s Catering from Hietschold’s hometown of Joliet. In lieu of a guestbook, guests signed well wishes on a plane propeller. “I didn’t want something that would just be thrown in a cupboard somewhere,” Hietschold says. “That’s actually something we use as a decor piece in our house.”

The couple honeymooned in Hawaii, spending a day visiting Pearl Harbor in Oahu before relaxing on the beach in Kaanapali, Maui.

Photography: Rebecca Haley Photography, Naperville
Bride’s dress: Jasmine Galleria, Lombard
Bride’s accessories: Badgley Mischka shoes,; Givenchy jewelry,
Hair and makeup: Christina Watts and Andrea Kazmierczak, Zano Salon Ogden, Naperville
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Donna Morgan,
Groom’s and groomsmen’s attire: Balloons Aloft & The Tuxedo Zone, Sandwich
Invitations: Kelly Reif Stationery Studio, Naperville
Catering: Duke’s Catering, Joliet
Cake: Sweet Temptations Dessert Company, Yorkville
DJ: Sounds Abound Entertainment, Naperville
Florist: The Flower Peddler, Sandwich
Rings: Kay Jewelers, Yorkville