Vehicle foR Romance

July 2022 View more

When Carmelita Gilliam, 50, and Daniel Wachowski, 49, went on their first date, they had never seen each other outside of the auto factory where they worked. Both employees at Ford Motor Company in Chicago since ages 19 and 20, respectively, Gilliam and Wachowski worked their way up from the assembly line to the inspection department, where they first crossed paths. 

Unbeknown to Gilliam, Wachowski had admired her for years, so when she mentioned in passing that she was interested in visiting local wineries, he suggested they meet up at Anderson’s Winery in Valparaiso, Indiana. “We got our wine and we sat in the courtyard, and the conversation just flowed so easily,” Gilliam adds. “There was no silence.” 

“My feelings then are still the same today,” Wachowski adds. “Her smile just lights up a room. She is the greatest person I’ve ever met.” 

In December 2019, Wachowski proposed on vacation in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and the couple started touring potential wedding venues soon after. When they walked into Abbington Distinctive Banquets in Glen Ellyn, Gilliam knew instantly that the floor-to-ceiling windows and sparkling chandeliers fit her elegant wedding-day vision. “I wanted people to feel the romance,” she says. Daunted by wedding preparations with their 50- to 80-hour workweeks, they hired Naperville planner Qiana Turner of Madison Elyse Events to line up all the details for their celebration on September 19, 2021. 

Violinist Rachael Miller played as they walked down the aisle. Gilliam’s aunt officiated the ceremony. Wachowski’s 23-year-old son, Brandon, stood up as best man and gave a heartfelt speech at the reception. “He thanked me for being his dad and thanked God that [Carmelita] came into my life,” Wachowski says. 

The newlyweds honeymooned in Hawaii and now live in Merrillville, Indiana, with their two dogs: Chubbs, a boxer, and Maxx, a bichon frisé. After their retirement from Ford in a few years, the couple hope to rent out their house, load up an RV, and spend a year traveling the country together. 


Bride’s hair and makeup Hair by Ledé Allen for Restore RX Beauty by Trayce Madré, Naperville; makeup by Alissha Hopes Makeup & Nails, Lansing

Bridesmaid’s attire Custom jumpsuits by Virgil Carter, uncle of the bride


Groom’s and groomsmen’s attire Gentlemen’s Quarters Formalwear, Elmhurst

Cake Delish Cakes, Bloomingdale 

Florals and decor Platinum Affairs Rental, Romeoville

Rings Neil Lane by Kay Jewelers, Merrillville, Indiana 

Photography and videography Jermaine Horton Photography, Aurora

Music Violinist Rachael Miller, Chicago; DJ D. Jones of Spark Entertainment Group, Chicago

Transportation M&M Limousine, Des Plaines

Photos courtesy of Jermaine Horton Photography