Date: May 28, 2017
Her story: Alexandra Jennings Fontaine, 31, was born and raised in Baltimore. She specializes in healthcare communications at Edelman, a communications and marketing firm, in Chicago. Her father, Richard Fontaine Sr., lives in Baltimore. Her stepmother, Anne Dyer Fontaine, lives in Bethesda.
His story: Andrew Hantel, 29, was born in Baltimore and raised in Chicago. He works as a hematology/oncology fellow at the University of Chicago Medical Center. His parents, Alexander and Claudia Hantel, live in Naperville,Ill.
Their story: The couple met at The Pump Room, a popular bar, in September 2014 in Chicago a month after Alexandra relocated there from New York City.
"There was an instant spark," she recalled. "After our first date, I knew he was the one."
The two immediately bonded over their shared hometown connection.
"It felt like fate that we were meeting in Chicago, yet both of us were from Baltimore and he had attended college [at Loyola University Maryland] down the street from where I grew up – it was as if this was the right time and place for us to meet in our lives," she said. "We never had the official conversation about being a couple. We hit it off right away and everything fell into place from there. We were so comfortable from the start and always seem to be on the same page about things."
The two live in Chicago.
The proposal: Andrew proposed to Alexandra in May 2016 while the couple was vacationing in San Sebastian, Spain.
"It was incredibly nerve-racking carrying the ring around with me, waiting for the right moment to ask the big question," Andrew said. "But it was all worth it. She immediately said yes, then fell into my arms and cried for five minutes before remembering there was a ring to put on."
Alexandra added: "It was the first day of our trip where it wasn't raining, so we decided to take advantage of the nice weather and go for a hike along the coast. We climbed up to this rock so I could take a photo of the beautiful sea and green mountains surrounding us. When I turned around and saw him on one knee, my heart melted."
Venue: One-hundred and sixty guests attended the ceremony at Christ the Savior Orthodox Church in Chicago. Dinner and dancing followed at the Hyatt Magnificent Mile in downtown Chicago.
Flowers and decor: Steve's Flower Market provided classic white roses, peonies and hydrangeas with eucalyptus accents.
Her dress: Alexandra wore a lace and tulle dress by Monique Lhuillier from Nordstrom.
Bridesmaids' attire: The five bridesmaids wore floor-length chiffon dresses in steel blue by David's Bridal. The two flower girls wore cream lace dresses also from David's Bridal.
Men's attire: The groom wore a tuxedo with a white dinner jacket from The Black Tux. The five groomsmen wore traditional black tuxedos, also by The Black Tux, and steel blue polka-dot socks from Tie Bar to match the bridesmaids' dresses.
Music: Final Say, a Chicago-based band, performed at the wedding. The couple's first dance was to "Question" by the Old 97s.
Food and dessert: During the cocktail hour, guests were served bacon-wrapped scallops; balsamic fig and goat cheese flatbread; and black pepper seared ahi tuna. A seated dinner consisted of a mixed greens salad with roasted honey crisp apple, blue cheese and smoked almonds, and an entrée selection of roasted chicken breast with grilled asparagus and polenta, pan-seared salmon with English peas and artichoke couscous, or wild mushroom ravioli with cream of spinach sauce. For dessert, the couple served a lemon-poppy-seed layered wedding cake with sweet lemon curd filling from Oak Mill Bakery.
Favors: In lieu of traditional favors, a donation was made to the Cancer Research Institute in honor of the mother of the bride, who died of brain cancer in 1987.
Special touches: During the reception, the couple served an assortment of their favorite local craft beers, plus Baltimore favorite National Bohemian. The couple plans to travel to Japan, Vietnam and Cambodia in September for their honeymoon.