Hand in Hand

July 2019 View more

Surprising your longtime girlfriend with a proposal is a tough proposition when she clearly sees it coming.

That was certainly the case back in 2017 for Naperville natives Kyler Juckins, 26, and Michaela Powers, 27, who had been seriously dating
since they were undergrads at North Central College and Illinois State
University, respectively. 

“I knew that it was probably going to happen that summer, so the whole beginning of the summer, I was on edge,” says Powers, who works as a speech language pathologist at Indian Knoll Elementary School in West Chicago. “Every time we were going to go do something, I would think: This could be it! … By mid-July, I was like, I’m going to stop being so crazy about it and when it happens, it happens.” 

And so, just when Powers’s guard was down, Juckins popped the question during a picnic on the Naperville Riverwalk. “It was a beautiful summer day … and I had one of our close friends who loves to shoot photography … hide and spring out just as I was asking the question,” says Juckins, an attorney at Block, Klukas, Manzella & Shell in Joliet. “He was able to catch me surprised and it was really special,” Powers says. 

Their wedding day began at Oakhurst Forest Preserve, with Juckins waiting at the top of a hill for Powers to walk up and meet him, allowing their photographer to catch their first look at one another with a stunning wooded backdrop. 

Pastor Jon Kalvig of Compass Church in Naperville, which the couple has attended while dating, performed their ceremony at Company 251 in Aurora. After the couple said their vows, they washed each other’s feet. “In the Bible, that was an act of humility,” Powers says. “We just wanted that to symbolize our marriage, of just being sacrificial and humble and always giving to each other.” Afterward, they shoelessly recessed up the aisle and headed to the venue’s vacant third floor to steal a quiet moment together before the reception began. “Being able to get away for a couple minutes is something we hold close to our hearts,” Juckins says. 

The celebration was a family effort: The groom’s sister-in-law designed the invitations, his stepfather made a wooden frame by hand to hold the escort cards, and the bride’s mother arranged flowers for centerpieces. The night ended with family members and friends circling around Juckins as he belted out his all-time favorite karaoke tune, “Piano Man” by Billy Joel. 

Powers and Juckins honeymooned in Montego Bay, Jamaica. They live at 5th Avenue Station Apartments near downtown Naperville and enjoy checking out new restaurants and breweries in their spare time. 


Venue: Company 251, Aurora

Bride’s attire: Watters gown, BHLDN; jewelry, Charming Charlie; heels, Target

Bridesmaids’ attire BHLDN

Hair and makeup: Sophia Bella Bridal

Groom’s and groomsmen’s attire: The Black Tux

Music: Pete and Rachael Farnum (ceremony); Gavin Coyle (cocktail hour); DJ John Herrera, Profound Entertainment, Chicago (reception)

Catering, cake, and sweets table: Moveable Feast & Co., Geneva 

Invitations: Alexandra Juckins (sister-in-law of the groom)

Florist: Wanda Clausen (family friend)

Rings: jamesallen.com

Photo booth: BellaBooth

Videographer: The Vic Media

Transportation: Spare Wheels Transportation, West Chicago

Photos by Jae Kim, Moments Forever Studio