Penguins Mate for Life - How Perfect for Matt & Kerri

StrictlyWeddings.com loves our new featured wedding from Chicago photographer, Phil Farber and wedding planner, Wedding, Inc. The food showcased in this wedding is absolutely amazing! Hmmm-.we wonder if the fact that the bride's father is Edward Chen, Director of Catering at the Hilton Chicago has anything to do with that! The wedding reception took place in the historical "Gold Coast Room" at The Drake because it is a gorgeous room and the couple could perfectly envision having the wedding reception there.

Kerri, the bride, describes how they met. "Matt and I were set up by mutual friends to attend his fraternity formal. At first I was very hesitant about going with him, but once I found out that he originally didn't want to go with a member of my sorority, I knew that I had to meet him. On the night of the formal, waiting to meet my date, my friend pointed him out by saying, "there he is - he's the one with the head sticking up a good three inches above everyone else."

The night went well and he seemed like a really nice guy. We had dinner, danced, and had a great time with our friends. After the formal, everyone went back to the fraternity house to continue the party. At the end of the night we went our separate ways, but we would see each other again soon. Little did we know, but that was the beginning of a beautiful relationship!"

Matt, the groom, shares his thoughts behind the proposal. "There are a million ways to propose, but like every guy, I had to find the way that was just right. I knew certain options were off the table from the start. She wouldn't want the proposal to be in a crowded public place, be at a restaurant, or at any common landmark around the city. It most certainly had to be unique.

"With that in mind, I began to think of the things she loved. With Kerri, penguins are near the top of the list. So I knew I had to find a way to incorporate an actual penguin in the proposal. Thanks to the Shedd Aquarium, I was able to make that happen. On a Friday afternoon, I told Kerri that I had a surprise for her and we needed to walk somewhere. We headed to the aquarium and went to a room near the penguin enclosure. Sitting in a small blocked off area, the trainer brought out a penguin and placed him at our feet. We got to pet and play with the penguin while the trainer talked about how a penguin lives. Penguins are rather unique in comparison to other animals because they are one of the few species that pick their mate for life. To make the situation even more ideal for a proposal, they also give their mate a pebble when choosing them.

As the trainer began to talk about this fact, I knew it was my cue. I dropped to one knee, told Kerri how much I loved her, and asked her to marry me. And with that we were engaged!" (Okay-collective sigh here!).

The wedding was held on Father's day, which meant a lot to Kerri as she is very close with her family and it was a very emotional moment for her to have her father walk her down the aisle and give her away.

Kerri was surprise to see a giant penguin and turtle ice sculpture during the cocktail hour, since she had been involved with every detail of the wedding and did not know that that was going to be there. Penguins and turtles are the couple's favorite animals.

The after party was one of the highlights of the wedding, because it was when Kerri & Matt could really just relax, hang out with friends and family and just dance!

Gown: Vera Wang "The Whitney", The luxe collection
Bridesmaid Dresses: Belsoie (Peacock blue)
Floral & DÃ ©cor: Yanni
Ceremony: St James
Reception: Drake Hotel- Chicago
Caterer - Cocktail hour and Dinner: Danzinger Catering; Dessert: Hilton Chicago; After party: Drake Hotel
Planner: Weddings, Inc.
Photographer: Photo Images - Phil Farber
Band/DJ: Michael Lerich