When Jeff Nelson decided that he wanted to marry his girlfriend Kimberly Kruzynski, he went to work on setting up an elaborate proposal. “Jeff had secretly been planning the proposal for a few months, and it just so happened to coincide with interviews for a new job opportunity,” shares Kimberly. “Adding to the stress and anxiety level, the company scheduled Jeff’s final-round interview [for] the same day he had planned [to ask me to marry him]!” Coincidentally, this particular day marked a significant milestone in Kimberly’s professional life as well; she was finalizing a partnership that would later become the company’s largest sale in their history. 

After the interview, Jeff rushed home to greet his parents as well as Kimberly’s to prepare for a picnic they’d planned for a private sunset cruise around Lake Michigan. Once onboard, they awaited the arrival of the bride-to-be, who jetted across town and made it onto the boat just in the nick of time. To ensure its safety on the water, the nervous groom-to-be tied the ring to his belt loop with dental floss. Finally, he got on bended knee on the bow of the boat in front of both their families. “He caught me completely off guard,” tells the bride. “The emotions of that day were so intense, so happy – I didn’t believe it could all be happening. The stars just aligned that day.”

To coordinate their nuptials, the couple carefully selected Hope Weis to breathe life into their dream day. “We couldn’t have survived the planning process without her!” Kimberly says. When deciding on a location, both bride and groom agreed on the beauty of a city wedding, surrounded by the fervor and lively vibe of Chicago. Their ceremony venue was a simple choice: an opulent Presbyterian church just a few blocks from Lake Michigan. Nearly 15 months after their engagement, Kimberly floated down the aisle of the church with an ethereal glow. She was bedecked in an airy A-line gown featuring cascading tulle, while her gorgeous bridesmaids wore long, teal gowns with differing necklines. The groom donned a classic black tuxedo; however, his ensemble had a special, personalized touch. “When Jeff’s parents got married, they engraved [both] of their wedding bands to say, ‘All my love, all my life,’” Kimberly explains. “[To] continue that tradition, I surprised Jeff with personalized wedding cuff links on the morning of the wedding [engraved with the same phrase].” 

Following their vows, the newlyweds took 20 minutes to themselves to sit with one another in a private room before the reception. “It was one of the highlights of the day. Not only was this a nice way to relax a bit and enjoy each other’s company, but it’s a great time to get some fuel for the evening ahead!” muses the bride. Soon, they joined guests at their reception space in a nearby hotel. Professional photographers from KingenSmith captured the simple refinement of the ballroom décor. “We were really focused on creating an elegant, sophisticated, romantic atmosphere,” Kimberly states. “Candlelight and lighting were instrumental in helping us achieve our look.” With a soft palette of white and ivory, and touches of green, pale blush, and deep burgundy, tablescapes exuded the couple’s specific taste. The round tables featured varying heights of lush floral centerpieces filled with calla lilies, orchids, dahlias, and accents of greenery.

It didn’t take much to get the party atmosphere up and running. “We have an absurdly fun group of friends, so we were tearing up the dance floor the entire night,” the bride smiles. “Within minutes of our grand entrance, the band had the entire room dancing, and it didn’t let up all evening.” In order to honor and thank every friend and family member present, both Kimberly and Jeff had written out individual notes to each guest prior to the big day. “It was a really special moment to see the look on our guests’ faces when the servers brought out silver trays filled with personalized letters for each of them,” beams the bride. “That’s a moment we’ll never forget.”