Knockout does not even begin to describe this Chicago wedding. Married at Pazzo’s, Matea and Matt’s celebration has fabulous style and personality for miles. The fun they have together is downright infectious and colors everything from their fabulous purple celebration to what may win the prize for “Cutest Proposal in an Exotic Location” tale ever.
Before we share the scoop on their day, it must be said that Matea completely rocked her Mathia wedding dress (and a big old grin). Also, if you love a goosebump-inducing “how did you know you’d found The One,” Matea and Matt’s answer gives you all the romantic feels.
How did you meet?
We met 10 years ago while studying abroad in Rome, Italy. I went to Duke, he went to Emory, and we were both on the same summer study abroad trip through Emory in 2006. We started dating on the second day we met (because, as he likes to point out, I was being pushy), and the rest is history! The day we got married was two years to the day that we got engaged.
When did you know you’d found “The One”?
Matea: I knew he was the one within a month of dating. It’s hard to explain how exactly I knew, but there was a moment when he was talking to my sister on the Nokia cell phone that I’d bought to travel with, and at that moment I just felt something special. It was a really tender moment, and normally he’s not very outwardly emotional. So, something just shifted and I instantly knew.
Matt: I always knew.
Five words that best describe your sweetie:
Matea: He is loving, intelligent, laid-back, compassionate, funny, and supportive.
Matt: She is assertive, brilliant, caring, adorable, and always positive.
How did Matt propose?
Right after I finished my law school classes and he finished his med school classes, we decided to take a big trip before his residency started. So, we used all of our airline miles to fly to Indonesia! We started out in Bali, and we were immediately told to watch out for the monkeys because they like to steal shiny objects. Well, I of course was teasing him throughout the day that I guess it was a good thing that I didn’t have a shiny object on my hand! That night, after a whole day spent relaxing together, he wanted to go on a walk through the lush tropical resort where we were staying. I was confused as to why that was so important for him, but I went along with it. There, standing by a ravine overlooking the jungle, he got down on one knee. I, of course, was completely oblivious and thought he had tripped on one of the cobblestones. So, after trying to help him up and then finally realizing what was happening, he was able to propose! It was such a magical moment, and it was even more special that we then had the rest of the trip to just be alone and enjoy.
How did you find The Dress?
I shopped for a wedding dress for a long time (I went to at least 12 bridal stores). Usually, the experience was super unpleasant. I’m short and curvy, and most places only carried the size 2 sample that most humans can’t fit into. So, there was a lot of trying to imagine what something would actually look like. I wanted a dress that was elegant and classic but that felt like me and that had a little bit of flair. I ultimately LOVED going to Haute & Co. Bridal Boutique because they carried dresses in multiple sample sizes and took the time to actually get to know my personality a little bit and listen to what I wanted. They actually suggested that I try on the Lea-Ann Belter dress that I ultimately chose. As soon as I put it on, I immediately loved it. I could tell that it was a high quality material, and it hugged my body in all the right ways. It was classic and elegant, and seemingly understated, but then it had the row of buttons and the fun large bow, together with the nice long train. Also, with the bow, the dress looked phenomenal bustled as well rather than just having the bustle look like a necessary evil. I loved the dress so much that I’m planning on getting it dyed black this year and keeping it as an evening gown for black tie events.
What was the most memorable moment of your day?
Definitely the first look. It was cold and raining and we’d spent all day getting ready. That moment when it was finally time to see my soon-to-be husband in my wedding dress was priceless. It didn’t matter that it was cold and raining at that moment. It was the perfect moment of calm in the midst of all the chaos of the day.
What was your favorite wedding day detail?
I had stickers made on Etsy for the back of my shoes, and they were part of my “something blue.” One sticker was a heart with our initials in it, and the other one said “Married” and had our wedding date. That was my favorite little hidden detail. In addition, we had a zombie themed groom’s cake that had airbrushed blood spatter. It was amazing.
Funniest memory from your wedding day?
There were so many! First, there was my dad and his friend being charged with hanging up and fluffing out the wedding dress, with them just poking it awkwardly. Then, there was the moment during the pre-wedding pictures when I glanced over at the groomsmen and they were sneakily eating the challah for the ceremony as a snack.
Any advice for future brides and grooms?
Relax and try to soak in every moment! Everyone says that, but it’s really true. Try to steal little moments with your groom/bride throughout the night to just savor the seconds. Since we’d already done a first look and weren’t worried about seeing each other all dressed up, one of the best moments was that we could just stand quietly in a little corner of the venue away from everyone before the ceremony started and take a second to just be alone. The reception gets crazy with trying to say hi to all of your guests and keeping an eye on the details that it’s really important to just remember to savor all the seconds with your new groom/bride.
Where did you guys honeymoon?
Thailand! We were in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Koh Samui, and Koh Phi Phi for 2 weeks right after the wedding. We left the night after the festivities, and it was perfect.
Matea + Matt’s Chicago Wedding Vendors
wedding dress: Mathia via Haute & Co. Bridal Boutique | photographer: Maypole Studios | hair + makeup: Pin Me Up | florist and event design: Limani Designs | lighting + draping: YJ Decorating | ceremony + reception location: Pazzo’s 311 | videographer: Wynn Films | officiant: Rabbi Michael Sommer and Father David Musso | wedding cake: Mariano’s | caterer: Pazzo’s 311 | paperie: Steracle Press | wedding dress alterations: Michelle Post at M.PostDesign | accessories: Nordstrom | wedding Bands: Ethan Lord (custom designed) | suit/men’s accessories: groom wore Hugo Boss, groomsmen wore Vera Wang | DJ/band: DJ Chicago | ceremony music: Moeller Music