Love Across the Pond

May 2018 View more

After dating for more than two years with an ocean between them, Taylor Nieling, 27, of Wheaton and John Stevenson, 31, of London are finally living in the same continent as husband and wife. As new hires at the Chicago and London locations of Tom James, a custom menswear company, they met during a two-week employee training in Pennsylvania in 2013. They reconvened later that year at a companywide event. “After being in meetings all day … John and I found ourselves being the last two at the bar still talking.” Texts and phone calls led to a budding romance—and trips back and forth between Chicago and London every few months as they began to date seriously.

Every time they talked by phone, Stevenson would leave his home in London and walk across Chelsea Bridge to Battersea Park, so it was only fitting that he proposed there on October 6, 2016. After he presented Nieling with his grandmother’s art deco ring, a family heirloom, his father pulled up in a convertible, uncorked Champagne and drove them around London to celebrate.

The couple decided to marry and live in the Chicago area, but Stevenson’s move to the United States was a moving target thanks to his pending visa—which made wedding planning challenging, to say the least. “I cranked everything out: the dress, the venue … it was just making sure my husband was going to be here in time!” Nieling laughs. His visa was approved in mid-July and he arrived just 12 days before the wedding.

Their families met for the first time at the outdoor ceremony and relaxed reception for 120 at Emerson Creek Pottery & Tea Room. The menu blended American and English flavors, from cheeseburger sliders and strawberry shortcake shooters, to fish and chips and a signature cocktail made with Pimm’s, an English liqueur. Per English tradition, Stevenson’s mother gave Nieling a penny to put in her shoe. “It’s from the 1920s … My mom passed it down to Taylor and you’re supposed to pass it on to your kids,” Stevenson says.

Post-reception, a party bus whisked the couple and friends to Jimmy’s Grill in downtown Naperville. “There was a guitarist playing … and we took over the patio and danced the night away,” Nieling says. “People whistled and clapped,” Stevenson adds.

This spring, the couple moved from Wheaton to the Loop to be closer to their jobs in downtown Chicago—she’s now a senior administrative assistant at The Boston Consulting Group and he’s an account executive at Beacon Hill Technologies—and also traveled to Italy and Croatia for their delayed honeymoon.


Venue Emerson Creek Pottery & Tea Room, Oswego
Photography Joy Lyn Photography, Yorkville
Bride’s dress Romona Keveza from Bella Bianca, Oakbrook Terrace
Bride’s shoes Jeffrey Campbell white crocodile boots from Free People, Oak Brook
Bride’s jewelry Francesca’s, Wheaton
Bride’s hair and makeup Tamara Makeup + Hair Artistry
Bridesmaid’s dress
Groom and groomsman’s attire Tom James Company, London
Catering My Chef Catering, Naperville
Entertainment Acoustic guitar by Doug Bardolph Music, DJ from Music By Design, St. Charles
Cake The Sugar Path, Geneva
Florist Petal Play Design, Lemont
Rings Altobello Jewelers, Wheaton
Accommodations Hotel Indigo, Naperville
Transportation M&M Limousine, Des Plaines