Many engaged couples with wedding plans for this year have been facing some tough decisions, and newlyweds Amanda and Felipe were no exception. With a big wedding full of friends and family planned for June 19 on Chicago’s Fair Lady, Amanda and Felipe knew they would have to alter their plans - so they made the decision to make the best out of a less-than-ideal situation and tie the knot with an intimate ceremony aboard Lady Grebe on their original date, and to postpone the big celebration they had originally planned to June 2021! With lots of love, laughter and some pretty spectacular views, Amanda and Felipe’s wedding was a day they’ll never forget surrounded by just a few of their closest friends - and their families on a Zoom call! Read all about their adventure below.
Photography: Stephanie Maurie Photography
Hair and Makeup: Goldplaited Salon - Lakeview
Amanda, who owns Blush Hair in Lakeview and originally from Houston, TX, and Felipe, a student from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, met outside of Flat Iron in Wicker Park in 2016. Felipe was in town from Brazil visiting the city for Riot Fest; the duo began chatting and decided to meet at Riot Fest the next day, and the rest is history! “I remember the energy/spark I felt the first time we held hands watching a band play. I knew then that there was something to this connection,” says Amanda of their meeting.
“Felipe proposed to me at sunset on my Dad’s boat (apparently I really like themes!) in Texas at their lake house when we were visiting my parents in 2019. We had just finished dinner with my parents. He told me that he wanted to watch the sunset. We walked down to the pier and sat on my dad’s boat. He kept talking and talking and saying all of these very sweet things about us and the future. I thought to myself, ‘wait is he about to....?!!!’ He then asked me to marry him!!!! I was totally surprised. I was not expecting him to propose in Texas at my parent’s house. Felipe was very brave to propose and then have to tell my parents literally right after, right?! I was very impressed. He is such a thoughtful gentleman and wanted my parents to get to share a happy moment with us and celebrate. My dad always keeps some bottles of champagne in the fridge and he was so happy to pop a bottle for us that night!”
When planning the wedding and selecting a venue, Amanda said they wanted to have a really fun wedding that would also provide an amazing vacation for their guests - and as someone who loves Chicago and the CAFC River Cruise - Amanda felt it natural to host the wedding on a big boat cruising through Chicago’s skyline! So she and Felipe selected a date and booked Chicago’s Fair Lady for June 19th, 2020. But as the date got closer and closer, they realized they may not be able to have the wedding they had initially planned. Amanda said, “I was pretty devastated. I really try to not set expectations because I crater when a plan I am very excited about tanks. This was really sad. Having to postpone a year out meant we were also not seeing Felipe's friends and family for another year. But Chicago’s First Lady was so accommodating as were all of our other vendors, and the ease of being able to quickly reschedule for next year made me feel more relaxed about it all. Having a new date finally allowed me to accept everything and be thankful for what I do have: an amazing, supportive, patient man that wants to marry me!”
Knowing their original plan would have to shift due to COVID-19, Amanda and Felipe had to brainstorm and decided it would be best for them to have an intimate ceremony on the date they had originally planned for and to also have their big wedding - in June 2021! Once the decision to elope was made, the duo knew right away that they wanted to tie the knot aboard Lady Grebe, our vintage wooden yacht. Amanda, not being the City Hall type, wanted something a bit more sentimental, special and within their theme of boats. So after booking Lady Grebe, letting a few close friends know and getting a Cook County marriage license via Zoom, they were all ready to say “I do!”
On a warm, breezy Friday evening in June, Amanda and Felipe were joined by their witnesses, Alex and Jo, and their officiant, Amanda’s best friend Niki, as well other family and friends on a Zoom call to officially join together in marriage with the Chicago skyline as their backdrop. It was a beautiful and fitting way for them to say “I do.” When asked about what she loved most about their small ceremony, Amanda said, “I loved the smiles on my loved ones’ faces. My husband kept telling me over and over ‘Thank you’ - because he did not realize how awesome it was going to be. He kept saying ‘This is the best day of my life!’ The bartender and captain were just absolutely amazing and there was even an adorable floral arrangement and a card from Chicago’s First Lady. We just felt so special. As we rode down the river, the city of Chicago cheered us on. I felt like a princess! I was so happy, my face was sore from how big I was smiling. We did not have family with us, but my heart was still so full.”
Even though they’ve officially been made husband and wife, Amanda and Felipe are really looking forward to safely celebrating with all of their family and friends next summer. They are most looking forward to having loved ones from all over the world together and to be able to show them the city they both fell in love with as individuals, and where their love story began. As a Chicago staple, they’re particularly excited to enjoy the summer fireworks while dancing the night away as Chicago’s Fair Lady glides by our incredible skyline. And who can blame them?!
This can be a difficult time for couples set to be married this summer, so we wanted to end with advice from the very couple who navigated these tough times with such grace. To couples who had wedding plans for this summer, Amanda says, “Write a list of what you have to be thankful for. When you get sad, reference the list. Remember you now get two times to be celebrated! We can get married any year, but all the graduates of 2020 lost the year of their graduation. Seniors lost the thrill of the last semester of senior year. We still get to celebrate even bigger next year. You now have another year to possibly add more guests or decor if you couldn’t afford to this year! You have another year to whiten your teeth, get in better shape, grow your hair longer, work on your dance moves, work on your tan, work on your posture, get to know your partner, plan an even bigger honeymoon. This is the perfect first test for your partnership and commitment to each other. This entire situation brought us closer together. I have never been more in love. I truly did marry my best friend, my rock. And thank you to Chicago’s First Lady for the amazing memories! I cannot wait to party with y’all next year.”
Congratulations to Amanda and Felipe! We hope that this has inspired all the engaged couples out there to look on the bright side and to get creative in your planning. Just because you might not be able to have the big wedding you originally planned doesn’t mean you can’t still do something incredibly special, safe and fun! Our team is here to help. We welcome you to call our charter team at 847-358-1300 to explore all of the options you have to create a meaningful and memorable day for you and your partner!