Spencer Cohn flew from his home in San Diego to Chicago, where his high school sweetheart and long-distance girlfriend, Jacqueline Kofod, still lived. Except he didn’t tell Jackie he was coming, and he didn’t pay her a visit. Instead, he took her parents to dinner in order to ask for her hand in marriage. A month later, he again flew to Chicago without telling his beloved. He had his brother take Jackie to a restaurant at the North Pond, her favorite spot in Lincoln Park. “When we started walking by, I saw signs every 20 feet around the pond with lyrics from specific country songs representing various stages of our relationship – high school, college, after college, and [now],” Jackie reveals. “When I got to the last quote, [Spencer] was at the end of a walkway by the water with lanterns, hydrangeas, and candles lining the walkway. Then he got down on one knee.”

Shortly after getting engaged, the bride-to-be moved to San Diego to be with her future husband. Loving the outdoor, laid-back feel of the city, Jackie quickly realized their new hometown was where the wedding should be hosted. Though the groom was more involved than most, the bride shares they still leaned on the advice and expertise of their planner, Merilee Hennings of EverAfter Events. “She was very knowledgeable about the best vendors in the area for our budget and helped us focus on the parts that mattered most to us,” Jackie confides.

Due to being 2,000 miles away from both sets of parents, the bride and groom primarily looked to their families for guidance on etiquette and small details, rather than the big decisions. However, Jackie did fly back to Chicago so she could enjoy dress shopping with her mom and sister at Dimitra’s Bridal Couture

When the big day arrived, the bride looked resplendent in her slim-fitting gown featuring a smooth crepe skirt and delicate lace bodice. The groom also impressed in his attire, donning a fashion-forward blue windowpane suit jacket paired with classic black trousers. Following the non-denominational service presided by the father of Jackie’s best friend, the newlyweds took part in the breaking of the glass in honor of Spencer’s Jewish background. 

A novelty for the Chicago natives, the reception was held outside. A large U-shaped table housed the wedding party and their dates under a wooden structure with soft white canopies. A flowering garland with golden candlesticks went down the center, while round tables featured greenery with cream and purple blooms in mismatched and test tube vases. Attendees found their seats with the help of a thoughtful escort card display. “We used photos of every guest with either Spencer and I, or a guest with someone from either of our families, as the escort cards and strung them on a hedge wall,” the bride explains. “The pictures were with guests from various years of our lives and I loved watching everyone taking their card and looking at the memory that the picture brought back to them.” And now they have new memories together, celebrating the wonderful wedding of Jackie and Spencer.