Conversation Starter

June 2023 View more

A chance meeting led to true love for this Naperville couple

Briana Flagg and Chris Howard at their wedding

Downtown Naperville is a meeting place for many, and for Briana Flagg, 28, and Chris Howard, 33, it’s where their love story began in 2016. A graduate of Rosary High School in Aurora, Flagg was then attending Siena College in upstate New York and decided to meet friends at Features Bar & Grill while back home in Naperville for Easter weekend. Howard spotted her at the bar, struck up a conversation, and bought a round of drinks for her and her friends. “I had never really been a conversationalist, but it came very effortlessly with Briana,” Howard says. “It was very natural, and she was funny and engaging, and I just genuinely enjoyed talking to her.” Six weeks later when she was home for the summer, they had their first date at Catch 35, and they’ve been together ever since. “I felt so special I was able to get to know Chris and know the true him—he doesn’t let too many people in,” Flagg says. “He’s very intentional with his words and has done nothing but show love toward me in every situation.”

A black and white photo of Briana Flagg and Chris Howard at their wedding

Howard bought an engagement ring for Flagg in February 2020 and wanted to propose on a romantic trip, but when the pandemic delayed their travel plans, he managed to keep it under wraps until they went to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, in June 2021. They married September 8, 2022, at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, just down the street from Flagg’s family home in Naperville. Her mother volunteers there most weekends as a wedding hostess; however, for her daughter’s big day, she got a front-row seat. The celebration continued at the Farmhouse in Plainfield with a jazz band for cocktail hour followed by Cajun-inspired eats such as gumbo and beignets—a nod to the mother of the bride’s Louisiana roots. To hit the dance floor, Flagg changed into a Nadine Merabi feather-adorned mini-dress and Nike high-tops that she embellished herself with bridal pearls. They honeymooned in Riviera Maya, Mexico, and are preparing for a cross-country move to Mesa, Arizona, for Howard’s job with Phoenix-based Nikola Motor Company, a manufacturer of zero-emissions semitrucks.

Wedding Vendors

The Farmhouse, Plainfield

Wedding planner
Charlene Boyd of Char BP Events, Joliet

The bride's shoes

Bride’s attire
Essense of Australia gown from Something Blue Bridal Boutique, Schererville; heels from Jimmy Choo, Chicago; earrings from Naperville Jewelers, Naperville

Bride’s hair and makeup
Calli Paulsen, Villa Park; Cennedy Elexis, Chicago

Bridesmaids’ dresses
Galina Signature Collection from David’s Bridal, Naperville

Groom’s and groomsmen’s attire
Black by Vera Wang tuxedos from Men’s Wearhouse

Everything Delicious Catering, Plainfield

Creative Cakes Bakery, Tinley Park

DJ John Simmons, Chicago; Fotio photo booth, Chicago

Blush Blooms & Co., Shorewood

Bride’s engagement ring by Glenn Betz Jewelers, Des Peres, Missouri; wedding bands by Precious Fine Jewelry, Naperville

Stephanie Lang Photography, Chicago


Photos: Stephanie Lang Photography