Stella Okeke, working in Student Affairs Administration and Ethan Common, in Criminal Justice Administration are looking forward to blending cultures on May 28, 2016 when they exchange vows in front of a host of family and friends. Overlooking the Chicago skyline, the couple took to the Adler Planetarium to celebrate their upcoming nuptials.
Tell us about how you met and all about the proposal!
Stella and Ethan’s love was right under each other’s nose for over 10 years. Sharing a mutual friend, they have always been in the same circle but overlooked their chemistry. They would go on to live separate lives as Stella went to college out of state and pursued her career outside of Chicago. With Stella moving back to Chicago in 2010, it would be another two years before they ran into each other again at a birthday party. Both admiring each other from afar, it took their mutual friend to set them up on their first date. On December 1, 2012, Ethan and Stella finally succumbed to the love they have been overlooking all those years.
Ethan originally planned to pop the question on his birthday but Stella was afforded a last minute opportunity to travel around South America with her brother that foiled Ethan’s plan. So he decided to surprise her the day she came back. Ethan told Stella that he wanted to have a night out on the town before she went back to work and her doctoral program. Making a reservations at Cite in downtown Chicago, the two were able to unwind as Stella filled Ethan in on her South America adventures. When dessert rolled around, Stella suggested that they share so when the wait staff came with two plates, Stella was immediately puzzled, thinking she forgot to mention the sharable option. As the waiter lifted the cover of the plate, exposing a ring box, Ethan got down on one knee leaving Stella overcome with emotion.
Being born and raised in Chicago, Ethan and Stella wanted their engagement session to encompass the love they have for each other and their hometown as well as their cultural background. They wanted to showcase the emerging of Stella’s Nigerian and Ethan’s African American heritage.
Ethan and Stella’s first date was at BJ’s Fish Market. What was supposed to be a quick bite to eat turned into three hours of in depth conversation. As they both said their goodbyes, the two made plans to meet up the following evening… and ended up having five dates within seven days!
As an avid movie goer, Ethan loves to expose Stella to different movies genres while Stella enjoys exposing Ethan to the world theatre and live performances. They both love to travel and took their first international vacation within five months of their first date.
With the guidance of their wedding coordinator, Regina Brooks of Regine Danielle Events, Stella and Ethan envision a simple yet elegant style décor that showcases Stella’s Nigerian culture with Ethan’s African American heritage and so far, planning has been great. From the wardrobe changes to the traditional Nigerian lace to the array of Nigerian and African American cuisines, guests can look forward to a day of love and culture!
Photography: Widia Viti, Rush Productions