A San Diego Love Story: Linda and Gabriel

034 Linda and Gabe Engagement October 18 2017Linda and Gabriel (Gabe) met playing pool competitively. They were on opposite teams and even though they didn’t talk much that first night, Gabe said Linda made an impression on him. A week later, Linda went back to the local bar where the competition had been the week before and saw Gabe again. They struck up a conversation and before the night ended, Gabe asked Linda on a date.

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Their first date included sushi, jazz, and pool, which are a few of Linda’s favorite things. The conversation was easy and at the end of the night they shared their first kiss. They both describe their first year dating as amazing.  They spent any free time they had together. It was obvious from the beginning Linda and Gabe had a real connection.

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Early in their relationship, Linda shared with Gabe that her nephew had been diagnosed with cancer.  She explained the situation to Gabe, including the fact that her free time was limited, since she needed to be with her family for support. Gabe not only understood, he was extremely supportive. Their relationship continued to grow and Linda’s family grew to love Gabe as well.

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About a year into their relationship Gabriel went to the emergency room and was ultimately diagnosed with Leukemia. Gabe was blown away by the diagnosis. He immediately began to think about Linda and how she had just spent the last few years by her nephew’s side during his battle with cancer.  He didn’t feel he could ask her to stay with him while he fought. When he shared these thoughts with Linda her response was: “Shut it, we are going to beat this”!

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It was after a bone marrow transplant Gabe says he knew he wanted to marry Linda. “[It was] not just because she was an amazing caregiver, but she brings out the best of me, and I needed to make her my wife” said Gabe. Knowing how close Linda is to her family, Gabe asked her father, mother, brothers and sister for their permission to marry her. Gabe had planned to propose on the anniversary of their first date, but after purchasing the ring he knew he couldn’t wait and ended up surprising her with a proposal at work.

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A month or so after the proposal, Gabriel’s cancer relapsed.  He was again diagnosed cancer free on April 6th2015, but continues to take medication to prevent a relapse.  “Life is different for us,” said Linda, “but the love we had for each other held us together like gorilla glue!” They continue to stick together no matter what life throws at them and their relationship has only continued to grow and strengthen.

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Linda and Gabriel are so in love and have such big hearts. The couple also volunteers as mentors for Imerman Angels, a one on one cancer support community connecting cancer fighters, survivors, and caregivers.

We are so excited make their special day happen.  We would like to thank all of our amazing Wish Granters who are making generous donations of time and services to make this day possible for Linda and Gabe:

Planner: Simply Classic Events LLC

Venue: Grand Pacific Palisades Resort

Baker: Sweet Cheeks Baking Co.

Bridal Hair and Makeup: Elwynn + Cass Style Bar

Bridal Party Hair: Belle Sirene Salon

Bridal Party Makeup: Tina Balboa

Catering: Bekker’s Catering

Entertainment: Encore Entertainment

Entertainment: Kylie Hughes

Favors: Sugarplum Farm

Florist: Blooms by Bressa Lee

Linen: Nuage Design

Mocktails: Snake Oil Cocktail

Officiant: The Great Officiants

Photography: The Good Photographer

Photo Booth: SocialLight Photobooth

Pool Table Rental: West State Billiards

Rentals: Classic Party Rentals

Spray Tans: San Diego Sunless

Stationery: Love Notes Stationary

Wedding Shoes: Kate Whitcomb

Videography: Hoo Films

Watch their beautiful love story here:

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Wish Upon a Wedding Announces 2017 Shining Star Award Recipients


Wish Upon a Wedding is honored to announce the 2017 Chicago Shining Star Recipients. These three people are some of the most inspirational, motivational and giving professionals in Chicago. This is our way to thank and pay tribute to those professionals who inspire others to engage in volunteer service by their demonstrated commitment and example.

The Shining Star Award Recipients for 2017 have shown an ongoing and substantial commitment to the community and have consistently exhibited honesty, integrity and the highest ethical standards in his or her profession.

Congratulations to Curtis Duffy, Jodi Fyfe, and Nicole Zenner. Thank you for all you do!

Curtis Duffy

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Grace, a Michelin awarded restaurant is owned by Chef Curtis Duffy whose culinary mastery has maintained Michelin’s highest three-star rating for the past three consecutive years (2015-2017). Duffy’s style is a reflection of his personal taste and drawing upon his wealth of experience. His micro-seasonal cuisine is best described as “thoughtfully progressive” – thoughtful as he puts tremendous time, focus, research and thought into what he creates, and progressive as he utilizes modern techniques to coax the best out of the ingredients. Each dish is an expression of his personality – progressive but grounded – and puts ingredients at the forefront. He continues to source the highest-quality ingredients, allowing flavor to trump technique.

Duffy has earned numerous accolades, including Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star, AAA Five-Diamond, and 2016 James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef, Great Lakes” Award. While Duffy continues his culinary evolution, he sits on the advisory board of Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts with a $25,000 scholarship in his name. He continues his charitable efforts by volunteering with Grand Chefs Gala, a fundraiser benefiting the Greater Illinois Cystic Fibrosis Foundation where he is Chef Chair of the gala, and hosted several dinners at Grace to further the foundation.

Jodi Fyfe

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Passionate about hospitality and great service, Jodi Fyfe has worked in the food and beverage industry for over 25 years.  As the Founder & CEO of Paramount Events, Jodi and the company’s talented team have taken the wedding, corporate, social and drop off markets to new heights, becoming Chicago’s go-to resource for events and catering.  The team strives to create custom, creative menus from sustainable and local products, provide every guest with impeccable service and foster growth in community partnerships. In 2016, Jodi opened The Lakewood, a one of a kind event space, and Eden, a restaurant serving American food with Mediterranean influences, in the West Loop.

Jodi is also fiercely supportive of several non-profits close to her heart, including Tickled Pink (which she founded in 2004 in memory of her cousin who lost her battle to breast cancer), Step Up Women’s Network, Hephzibah and Wish Upon a Wedding. Jodi enjoys exploring Chicago’s culinary scene and traveling with husband her two children.

Nicole Zenner

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Nicole Zenner, CSEP is an award-winning wedding and event planner. Starting her professional career in Minneapolis MN 13 years ago, she worked with LK Events for the past 5.5 years, and recently launched her own company, Zen Events, primarily focusing on officiating at wedding ceremonies. She is actively involved in the International Live Events Association and is the immediate past president of the Chicago Chapter. Nicole is the only wedding planner in Chicago holding the CSEP (Certified Special Events Professional) designation.

The event industry is her passion and Nicole firmly believes in continuing education for every event professional. It not only helps the individual, but furthers the standards of the event industry. The personal growth and collaboration she finds within ILEA and attending multiple conferences a year is invaluable and she challenges her fellow event professionals to continue their growth in the industry.

Please join us at this year’s 8th Annual Blissful Wishes Ball, Monday, November 6th, 2016 at Morgan Manufacturing.

A New York Love Story- Lilly and Chris

1066-M4848E-HechlerLilly and Chris first met when Chris’ brother offered to drive Lilly home from work and Chris happened to be along for the ride. It was, as Chris says “the ultimate right place right time”. The three of them decided to meet up with some friends at a local bar, where Lilly and Chris broke away from the group and spent practically the entire night talking with each other. The connection was immediate – they began speaking and seeing each other more and more, and it wasn’t long before they officially became a couple.


After dating for a little while, Lilly and Chris had a falling out. For some couples this might have meant the end of their story, but for Lilly and Chris it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Though a few years went by, they never stopped thinking about each other and gradually began to develop and nurture the deep friendship that gives their relationship the strong foundation it has today.


Lilly was diagnosed at young age with Parkinson’s Disease and Dystonia, the effects of which cause her both physical and emotional stress on a daily basis.  Lilly was upfront with Chris from the start about her condition, and he has always been supportive and accepting; even taking her to doctors appointments before they became a couple. “In my eyes, it didn’t define her, so it didn’t hinder my feelings for her”, he says. “I always felt and admired her strength, and she was the most genuine and beautiful person I’d ever met.”


Speaking with Lilly and Chris, you can see how much they truly love each other and can’t wait to spend the rest of their lives together. They are best friends and partners in every way. As Lily says “I can’t picture where I would be or who I would be without him in my life”.  The unpredictable nature of Lilly’s condition has made it very difficult for the couple to tackle all the decisions that go into planning the perfect wedding for themselves, but luckily a family friend told them about Wish Upon a Wedding.


The Wish Upon a Wedding New York Chapter is honored and excited to be granting Lilly and Chris’ Wedding Wish on October 22, 2017 in New York City.

Many thanks to McKenzie Miller for capturing their Love Story, and to Hechler Photography for these gorgeous photos!

Thank you in advance to Lilly and Chris’ Wish Granters (listed below), for donating their services, products, and efforts to making this Wish a reality. We are truly grateful for you all and can’t wait to continue announcing more Wish Granters.

Planning & Wish Ambassador: Leslie Mastin Events

Venue & Catering: The Second Floor

Accessories: Nina Accessories

Attire (bride): Mark Ingram Atelier

Attire (groom): Baldwin Formal

Baker: Nine Cakes

Bridal Stylist: The Stylish Bride

Ceremony Music: Bianchi Musica Productions

Entertainment/DJ: Martin D’Arce

Florist: L’Atelier Rouge

Grooming: Martial Vivot

Hair: Tamara Bosworth

Hotel Stay: Kimpton Hotel Eventi

Jumbotron: Big Screen Plaza

Lighting: Pegasus Productions

Linen: Nuage Designs

Make-Up: Kimara Ahnert

Officiant: Lisa Traina

Photobooth: D’Primo Photobooth

Photography: Hechler Photography

Rentals: The Tabletop Company

Stationery: Regas Studio

Videography: McKenzie Miller Films


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A New Orleans Love Story- Twila and Chris


Twila and Christine (Chris) met during their freshman year of high school. While their relationship started out as a friendship, they both agreed it was high school when they knew they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together.


Their relationship was put to the test with the arrival of Hurricane Katrina. Twila’s family evacuated and went to live in Arkansas, while Chris’ family stayed behind in Louisiana. This was the first time the two had been separated for an extended period of time. Even with all the devastation and tragedy around them, their time apart only made their love stronger.


Shortly after the hurricane Chris moved to Arkansas be with Twila. In the middle of the night while in Arkansas, Chris woke up with a headache, feeling nauseous and dizzy. Her symptoms were so bad she needed assistance to stand. Twila rushed Chris to the hospital. By the time they arrived Chris was unconscious. She was taken in immediately and shortly after the doctors discovered a brain aneurysm which required immediate attention. Chris was in a coma for about a week. Complications from the aneurysm required amputation of her hand, a few fingers and toes.


Once awake, Chris endured over a year and a half of rehabilitation and physical therapy to relearn everything. While it was a long journey, Chris is thriving and has obtained her bachelor’s degree in pre-law. Twila has been by Chris’ side the entire time. Twila attended every class during Chris’ undergraduate studies, to take notes as the amputations make it hard for Chris to write.


Twila and Chris describe themselves as two puzzle pieces, saying “we are the perfect match”. Even with all they have been through: facing adversity as a same sex couple, Chris’ brain aneurysm and months of rehabilitation, they are proof that love endures. Twila and Chris have already chosen to love each other in sickness and in health. They will reaffirm this as they take their vows and commit to spend the rest of their lives side by side, as best friends, and as a married couple.

Thank you to Twila and Chris’ Wish Granters, for donating their services, products, and efforts to making this Wish a reality. Hi Volt Studios the photos are beautiful.

Planner: Unique Weddings in New Orleans 

Venue & Catering: The Crossing

Baker: Frosted Fantasies

Decor: Candle Light Weddings in New Orleans

Entertainment/DJ: Audio Entertainment

Floral: Kim Starr Wise Floral Events

Photobooth: Photobooth Shenanigans

Photography: Hi Volt Studios

Pipe and Drape: Fleur De Lis Event Rentals

Stationery: Exquisite Events

Transportation: Unique Transportation

Videography: Bride Film

Watch their love story here:

In Loving Memory of Charles

It is with so much sadness and very heavy hearts, we write that Charles passed away on October 5, 2017. He was surrounded by the love of his life, Marybeth, and his sisters. Charles was an amazing man who was always willing to do for others. His disease took him much too early, but his memory will live on. Marybeth, all of our thoughts are with you. We were so lucky to be a part of your amazing wedding day and witness such beautiful love.


A South Carolina Love Story- Margarette and James


Margarette and James met during Margarette’s second semester at Charleston Southern University. At the time James, a recent graduate of the Citadel, had just moved out on his own and was working for a local cell phone retailer. Margarette had trouble with her phone and went to the cell phone retailer, not knowing she was about to meet her future husband. James said he knew there was something special about her from her smile when she walked in the door, it was literally love at first sight.


Six years later, at her post-graduation celebration dinner James proposed to Margarette surrounded by close friends and family.  They were married in an intimate ceremony in November 2009.


In 2014 Margarette found a lump on her breast, which was later diagnosed as cancer. Since this original diagnosis, Margarette has undergone chemotherapy, radiation, and multiple surgeries. In December 2015, they found another spot of cancer on her lungs and most recently cancer in her brain as well.  Recent treatments had little effect on the cancer.

Prior to their vow renewal the couple and their son spent the day with Laura of Lola Dee Photography.  Laura captured these beautiful love story photos of the family.


The couple was looking forward to a day away from the cancer, the worry and the medical bills to be with family and to celebrate 8 years of marriage in a vow renewal ceremony. “I am in love with her and I just want her to be happy, we all have an expiration date and whatever time I can have with her and make her happy and share in the moment with her,” James said about his love for Margarette. Despite an effort to move the vow renewal date up, Margarette’s health did not allow for the renewal to take place.  Her family said they are so grateful for the experience as it gave her something to look forward to.  Our thoughts are with the Johnson Family during this difficult time.


Although the vow renewal was not able to take place Wish Upon a Wedding would like to thank the following Wish Granters for their generosity and willingness to support our organization and provide for this amazing couple:

Baker: Parties to Go

Catering: Blue Marlin Signature Catering

Florist: Tupelo Grove Events

Linen: Nuage Design

Music: Jim Gaddick

Photo (love story): Lola Dee Photography

Photo (wedding): Palmetto Duo

Venue: Stone River

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A DC Wedding Wish – Chuck and Marybeth


On Friday, August 25th, 2017 Chuck and Marybeth’s wish of a sacramental marriage within their church, Our Lady of Victory, was granted.  Close friends and family witnessed as the couple recommitted themselves to one another and celebrated their love. Previously, the couple had a small legal ceremony in May at the fire station where Chuck was a live-in volunteer at the time of his diagnosis.


Chuck and Marybeth met at a long-term care facility where they both worked in January of 2012. Chuck was a Geriatric Nursing Assistant and Marybeth a social worker at the facility. Chuck also worked as an EMT at the live-in station in their area and as a suicide hotline counselor. While Marybeth says that it was not love at first sight, their working relationship brought them closer. Eventually, regular meetings concerning patients turned into sharing lunch together at work.  Marybeth soon came to realizing they had more in common than she had once thought. Six months later, Chuck asked Marybeth on what would be the first of many dates. Chuck said, “Marybeth has helped me to understand love and not to be so selfish about it”.


On New Year’s Eve 2016, Chuck took Marybeth out for a wonderful dinner where he proposed with a beautiful amethyst engagement ring (her favorite color is purple). They were making plans to get married when a series of events, including Chuck’s diagnosis of Stage IV Esophageal Cancer in October of 2016, put the planning on hold. After the diagnosis, they decided to take things one day at a time.


Chuck is currently still undergoing treatment for the cancer. This wedding has given Chuck and Marybeth something to look forward to. Chuck said, “despite everything that is going on I want it to be a celebration”, and that is exactly what it was. Following the ceremony, guests gathered at the Maid of Honor’s house for a relaxing celebration.


This couple spent so much of their life and taking care of others. Wish Upon a Wedding, with the help of amazing Wish Granters, was honored to make their wedding wish come true.


Thank you to those outstanding Wish Granters that helped to make everything possible:

Planner: Bella Notte

Baker: Buttercream Bakeshop

Beauty: Bridal Artistry

Catering (main meal): Q Caterers Inc.

Catering (appetizers): Well Dunn

Catering (desserts): Ridgewells Catering

Church: Our Lady of Victory

Florist: Toulies en Fleur

Linen: Nuage Designs

Music (ceremony): Dennis Layendecker

Officiant: Reverend David M. Fitz-Patrick, Pastor

Photography: Jacqui Depas Photography

Stationery: Stationary Bliss

Transportation: RMA Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation

Videography: Suburban Video

Vocalist: Zofia Smardz

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Thank You: Christina Currie Events

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Wish Upon a Wedding would like to thank Christina Currie Events and all of those who attended the Grace Meets Glamour Bridal Show for their wonderful donation to our organization.

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The Grace Meets Glamour Bridal Show is an annual event, designed to accommodate discussion, and connect couples directly with some of the top local vendors.  This year the sixth annual event took place at The Barrington White House in Barrington, Illinois and featured local photographers, stationers, musicians, bridal boutiques, artists, and florists, as well as a couture bridal gown fashion show.

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The weather was perfect, the space was beautiful, and the brides to be that attended made great connections and received outstanding advice. Proceeds from the event were donated to Wish Upon a Wedding.

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Thank you, Christina Currie Events, for your continued support of Wish Upon a Wedding.  To learn more about future Grace Meets Glamour Bridal Shows or other great events hosted by Christina Currie Events please visit https://christinacurrieevents.com/.

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An Oregon Love Story: Melanie and Brian


Melanie and Brian met on myspace.com almost ten years ago. Melanie was moving to Oregon and looking to make a few connections before the cross-country move, when she came across Brian’s profile. They talked online for a while and seemed to have a great connection and a lot in common. After her move out to Oregon, Melanie and Brian made plans to meet up.


After meeting in person, they felt the timing wasn’t right to start a relationship but agreed to say in touch as friends. They continued to see other people but, they found themselves spending all of their weekends together. Overtime, they realized their friendship was naturally turning into a relationship.


Even now Brian says, “she just became my best friend and that’s when I knew I loved her more than anything”. Likewise, Melanie says, “I couldn’t imagine my life without him as he is my best friend”.


Shortly after Brian and Melanie started dating, Melanie was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and terminal brain cancer. Since then, she has been through multiple surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy treatments. Her craniotomy initially left her unable to talk and take care of herself but Brian never left her side.  After eight months of rigorous rehab, Melanie felt like herself again. She had regained her speech and was back to her pre-surgery activities.

Unfortunately, since her surgery the tumor has grown back larger than before. Melanie has been undergoing a combination of chemotherapy and radiation to reduce the tumor’s size.


“You know you love a person when you learn you can’t live without the person” said Brian, who proposed to Melanie last October on their weekend beach vacation. Regardless of the prognosis, Melanie and Brian are committed to spending the time they have side by side as best friends and soon as husband and wife.


Wish Upon a Wedding would like to thank these amazing wish granters. They are donating their time and services to make Melanie and Brian’s upcoming wedding day extra special:

Planner: We Plan It

Venue: Gray Gables Estate

Attire (bridal gown): Brides for a Cause

Baker: Laurie Clarke Cakes LLC

Beauty: Tina at Glamourise

Catering: Gray Gables Estate

Entertainment: Maurice Eaton

Florist: Blum Design in Flowers

Linen: Nuage Design

Officiant: Jason Presser

Photo Booth: Stumptown Booth 

Photography: Ambient Sky

Stationery: Allison Sims

Videography:  RP Imagery 

Watch their beautiful love story video here:

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A Virginia Vow Renewal: Tanisha and Tony

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On February 26th, 2017, Tanisha and Tony renewed their vows in a ceremony and reception held at Top of the Town in Arlington, Virginia. The vow renewal featured shades of purple, and floral decor. The candle light and panoramic windows, with views of Washington, DC, created a soft and romantic setting.

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Tanisha and Tony met online in 2010. They had an instant connection and became inseparable. They enjoyed even the simple things like watching movies together and making memories through their travels.

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At the age of twenty-one, Tony was diagnosed with end stage renal disease. His quality of life improved in 1994 when he received a kidney transplant.  However, in 2012, the transplant failed.  He has been undergoing dialysis three times a week since the transplant failed. Tony received his kidney cancer diagnosis in 2016, for which he is undergoing treatment. Tanisha and Tony knew they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together, no matter how long that was, and were originally married by the Justice of Peace.

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Close friends and family watched as the couple recommitted themselves to each other through personal vows. There were smiles all around as the couple danced, laughed, and cut their cake together. On this day, the love they have for each other was the focus. The illness and all they have endured was put aside.

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Wish Upon a Wedding would like to thank our New York Chapter for helping with the coordination of this event and all of the generous wish granters who helped to make this day possible and beautiful.  We appreciate you.  Thank you for being so generous.

Planner: Andrew Roby Events

Venue: Top of the Town 

Bride Attire: Cherry Blossom Bridal

Bridal Hair: Alison Harper & Company, LLC

Bridal Makeup Artist: Vivian Wynter

Bridesmaid Makeup Artist: Denyelle D. Beauty

Cake: Winnie’s Bakery

Catering: La Prima Catering

Custom Champagne Flutes: Eikoh Design Studios

Decor Rentals: Cre8tive Touch Events & Rentals

Entertainment and Sound: Elan Artists

Flowers: Petals and Promises

Flowers: Nature of Design

Groom Attire: The Black Tux

Invitations & Paper Goods: The Davis Designs

Lighting: The Light Source Company

Officiant: Ronald “Ray” Wilson

Paper Flower Backdrop: Creative Forte Events & Paper Flowers

Photography: Ronnie Bliss Studios

Transportation: Reston Limousine

Videography: AVS Photo & Video

Wedding Garter: The Garter Girl

Wedding Night Hotel Stay: The Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City

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