Celebrity chef Stephanie Izard’s and craft-beer consultant Gary Valentine’s worlds first collided in the summer of 2010. Izard — the executive chef and owner of West Loop hot spots Girl & the Goat and Little Goat — stopped into Lillie’s Q in pursuit of good barbecue, where Valentine happened to be consulting. The two immediately hit it off as friends, and a year later, began dating. In 2012, Valentine popped the question in true Chicago fashion: He got down on one knee next to Buckingham Fountain.
When planning their Sept. 14 nuptials, Byron Flitsch and Nathan Nally decided not to make it all about them — instead, they were determined to celebrate their family and friends. The pair designed personalized save-the-dates (maps marked with their favorite places and relationship moments in Chicago) and passport-themed invitations (complete with photos of each guest), hand-etched champagne flutes and handmade signature-scented candles.
Despite living and working in the same neighborhoods — and even exercising at the same gym — it took Chicagoans Anna Kimball and Craig Bauer nearly a decade to finally meet. After being introduced by a friend, the pair’s connection was so instant that they eloped five months later.
Suzy Singh demonstrated her flair for food as one of the final four contestants on season two of Fox’s “MasterChef.” But when she needed help finding a mate, she turned to Chicago’s Bela Gandhi, founder of Smart Dating Academy. “I told her my life story,” says Singh. “She helped me open up to the idea of someone unexpected being the one. I joined Match.com and met Amit [Wadehra] shortly after.”