“I’m thinking, Great… this cute girl next to me – the president of our [medical school] class – is making fun of mustaches on the day that I chose to display mine in all its glory,” says David Alfieri. He had grown out his facial hair and was dressed in head-to-toe Italian sports gear, sitting in the library of Chicago Medical School on the day of the annual “Run to Remember” event that honored his late father – a man of Italian heritage who “rocked a mean mustache all his life.” Luckily, Nina Gazanfari was more intrigued than put off by his colorful display and asked about its meaning. “I explained the origin, and despite it being the first time we had ever really talked, she asked me why I didn't tell her before, because she would have found something similar to wear,” tells David. “I’m big on family and I was struck by how genuine he was,” Nina adds.

The two became a couple, and as their first years of internships at their respective residencies were coming to a close, the groom-to-be set out in search of the perfect ring. “I went rogue,” he laughs. “I took a long weekend and went all over town doing research, but this was a solo expedition and I had no idea what I was doing.” Once he believed he’d found the right style, he presented the band to Nina’s best friend and his mother, receiving their all-important stamps of approval. David was full of anticipation as the host of their favorite restaurant escorted the pair to their seats. When Nina asked the waiter to take a photo of them, David made his way to her side of the table and promptly dropped to one knee. “At first I thought he was looking for something, so I was looking at the ground until I realized he was proposing!” beams Nina.

The formal vow exchange took place in the palatial Catholic church where the bride’s mother attended grade school. Before entering the building, the anxious duo came together in full wedding regalia for their alfresco "first look," which Nina notes as one of her most cherished moments of the day. At the conclusion of their service, the bride and groom officially faced their friends and family as “Dr. and Dr. David Alfieri” for the first time. Immediately following, the newlyweds were whisked away for some one-on-one reflection. “For cocktail hour, our wedding planner Hope Weis and [our venue coordinator] set up a table on the balcony of the reception area for the two of us to enjoy our favorite drinks and some appetizers, taking a moment to breathe it all in,” Nina recalls. The sweethearts basked in the knowledge that soon, their nearest and dearest would be flooding the space they’d worked for 12 months to create.

As attendees made their way into the soirée, they passed a table displaying a variety of family photos, including a sweet tribute to David’s father, Rick, and other loved ones who have passed on. From there, guests continued into the party itself. “The second we walked into the Grand Ballroom, I felt breathless looking at all of the flowers and décor set up for our celebration,” gushes the bride. The atmosphere of the room was exceptionally inviting, per the warm color scheme of berry hues – pink, blush, and marsala – blending expertly with the bright, golden tone of the space. Round tablescapes featured patterned ivory linens, scattered mercury-glass votives, and organized clusters of roses, hydrangeas, and smaller blossoms that highlighted the chosen shades of the event presented in either a tall vase or a low, nearly hidden vessel. Each setting included a gilt-rimmed charger plate and a dinner menu with delicate calligraphy. The rectangular head table, designed in a similar style, sported a row of miniature floral arrangements, as not to obscure the view of the busy dance floor. “The live band set a fun mood early in the night and kept it going,” David reveals.

According to the happy pair, the elongated planning process was well worth their customized nuptials. “I was surprised by how personal you can make your wedding!” the bride exclaims. “There are so many little ways you can work your personality and your relationship into the décor, food, music, and ambience of the wedding to make it your own.” As a nod to their beginnings, guests were served an entrée meal of steak au poivre: the dish David made for Nina on their first date. The groom specifically makes mention of getting to dance with his mother and the inclusion of both he and his bride’s siblings in the bridal party as his favorite personalized elements, tied with “having my first kiss with the woman I married.” His involvement in the coordination of their big day, says Nina, was invaluable. “He thought it was fun – he was my ‘go to’ when I wasn’t sure what to pick between invitations, tablecloths, etc.,” she explains. “[Though] I think his favorite part of it was getting to zap the laser gun when we were registering for gifts… I had to remove some of those items later!”