Better Together | October 2017

October 2017 View more

Alyssa Caruso and Joseph Ciancio

Though Mother Nature hasn’t cooperated with Joseph Ciancio and Alyssa Caruso’s most special occasions—from a blustery proposal at the Naperville Riverwalk to rain on their wedding day—the couple has always managed to make the best of it.

Ciancio and Caruso, now both 25, grew up in Downers Grove, started dating in high school and continued their relationship as he went to Butler University and she headed to the University of Missouri. Though they both now live and work in Indianapolis—she as a corporate communications manager for KAR Auction Services and he as a financial analyst for H.J. Umbaugh—it was never a question that they’d get married back in Chicagoland April 29, 2017. “I still call it home and all of our family is here,” Alyssa says.

For their ceremony, the couple chose St. Mary of Perpetual Help Catholic Parish in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood, where Alyssa’s grandmother had her first communion. “It was pouring outside.” Caruso says. “I thought that would ruin the day and it didn’t at all. … Someone told me, ‘For each raindrop that falls on your wedding day, it’s one less tear you’ll cry in marriage.’”

Since the rain did foil their plan for wedding portraits on the LaSalle Street Bridge, they opted for some stunning photos on the grand staircase at Union Station. Ciancio and his groomsmen wore navy suits from Louis’ For Men in Downers Grove. “My mom’s side of the family had been going there forever,” Ciancio says. “It was pretty cool to have a place to go to that all my uncles got their suits at.” The bridal party kept Alyssa and her tulle-skirted ball gown dry with a cluster of umbrellas as they boarded a trolley to head to an evening reception at the Monte Bello Estate in Lemont.

Dancing and celebrating on the trolley ride was one of the couple’s favorite memories, as were heartfelt toasts from family members and making moves on the packed dance floor with their 220 guests. Their lively band and a late-night snack of mini-burgers kept the party going until midnight.

After the big day, the couple honeymooned in St. Lucia, where they enjoyed a boat tour, snorkeling and relaxing on the beach.

Photography Greyes Photography
Bride’s dress Hayley Paige from Wedding Belles Ltd., Barrington
Bride’s accessories Badgley Mischka shoes and earrings from Nordstrom, Chicago; pearl bracelet from Tiffany & Co., Indianapolis; belt from Wedding Belles, Barrington
Bridesmaid’s dresses Jill Jill Stuart from BHLDN, Chicago
Hair and makeup Elana Darrus Wedding Makeup & Hair, Downers Grove
Invitations 221 Creations, Downers Grove
Groom’s and groomsmen’s attire Michael Kors from Louis’ For Men, Downers Grove
Reception and cake The Monte Bello Estate, Lemont
Music Final Say, Chicago
Florist Carousel Flowers by Shamrock Garden Florist, Elmhurst
Dance lessons My Dance Hub, Naperville
Transportation Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co.
Day-of-Wedding coordinator Sarah Madonia, Camille Victoria Weddings LLC, Oak Park


Annie Leong and Joseph Price

Annie Leong almost didn’t make it to her own proposal.

After being best friends since high school and seriously dating since college, Utility Concrete Products project manager Joseph Price, 28, was ready to pop the question to Leong, 29, who works at Edward Hospital and plans to go to nursing school to become a pediatric nurse.

Thanks to an assist from his mom, Naperville magazine sales director Jenni Price, Joe crafted a plan to propose to Leong on the magazine’s float during the Little Friends Parade of Lights in 2015. After a long work week, being a smiling-and-waving float volunteer was the last thing Leong wanted to do, but Price convinced her. “We were sitting on the very front of the float, then I stood up and pulled Annie up, and she was like, ‘What are you doing?’” Price says. “I proposed right there in front of all the people and it was on local TV.”

Their wedding day (June 10, 2017), which started with a ceremony at Old Central Church in Joliet before a reception for 200 at Bolingbrook Golf Club, was laced with sentimental touches. “Our whole thing was timeless elegance … [but] we never wanted anything to be really serious; we were going for playful and heartfelt,” Leong says. Price wore a watch and cufflinks that belonged to his beloved late grandfather, and Leong had a heart-shaped piece of his grandfather’s blue checkered shirt secretly sewn into the inside hem of her gown. For a surprise photo opp, she also recruited the groomsmen to wear T-shirts under their tuxes emblazoned with different characters from The Avengers, saving Ironman for Marvel fan Price to wear. 

One of the couple’s fondest memories was incorporating their song, “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri, into the celebration. Leong walked down the aisle to a piano arrangement of the song and her first dance with Price was set to the original version.

The newlyweds live in Plainfield with their six-year-old pitbull, Kaila Rae, and are looking forward to a January honeymoon in Thailand.

Photography Rebecca Hayley Photography
Bride’s dress Essense of Australia from Wolsfelt’s Bridal, Aurora
Bridesmaid’s dresses Jasmine Galleria, Lombard; Nordstrom, Oak Brook; Bri’Zan Couture, Naperville
Hair and Makeup Tamara Makeup + Hair Artistry; Danielle Leong of Charlie Jane Salon, Naperville
Invitations Daniels Printing and Office Supply, Oak Forest
Groom’s and groomsmen’s attire Jasmine Galleria, Lombard
Reception Bolingbrook Golf Club
Cake Smallcakes, Naperville; candy bar from Albanese Confectionery, Merrillville, Indiana
Music Sounds Abound, Naperville
Florist Jasmine Galleria, Lombard
Rings Jared the Galleria of Jewelry