Tiffany & Mikel are Married!!

Tiffany and Mikel met each other while studying abroad in Granada, Spain during the spring of 2007. Although they both had friends in common, attended the University of Illinois together, and Mikel lived one floor above two of her good friends, it took an 11 hour, over 4,000 mile flight for them to meet in a country that they had never been before.

While the two traveled at different times in Spain and spent time with different sets of friends, they somehow managed to cross paths a number of times—whether in the hallways between classes, in the computer room, at a Spanish discoteca, or a salsa dancing class. Too shy to say much to Mikel, Tiffany usually just sent a friendly smile his way when she saw him, even though he gave her butterflies in her stomach every time. Little did she know, she had caught Mikel’s eye as much as he caught hers; but Mikel always thought that Tiffany had a boyfriend so he usually sent a friendly smile her way as well.

Knowing that Tiffany had a crush on Mikel, a mutual friend studying with them at the time, Erica Nowak, played matchmaker and tried to set the pair up at a local Granada club. The two talked for a bit and shared some laughs; Mikel liked Tiffany’s quirky sense of humor and Tiffany liked his corny yet funny jokes. But unfortunately, this happened toward the end of their stay in Spain and a couple of weeks later, they boarded a plane back to the United States.

Tiffany figured that the flight back to Illinois would be the last time that they saw each other. But months later they ran into each other again in Springfield, Illinois, where Mikel lived and where Tiffany and her best friend Valerie just so happened to be working summer jobs to make some cash before classes started. Mikel gave Tiffany his number so that they could hang out while she was in Springfield, but she was too nervous to call. Figuring that she was not interested, Mikel slowed his pursuit of her.

Luckily, when they both arrived at the University of Illinois for their senior year that August, their friend Erica tried one more time to pair them up—only this time, knowing that Tiffany was extremely shy and nervous when around Mikel, Erica did not tell Tiffany that she had invited Mikel to a Labor Day party they planned to go to together. In fact, Tiffany did not find out that Mikel was attending the party with them until 5 minutes before it was time to go!

Although the news that Mikel was also attending the party with them was a little unnerving, Tiffany was excited to get to see him again; of course one of the first things that Mikel did was jokingly call her out for not calling him while she was in Springfield (which was pretty difficult for her to play off).

That night Mikel and Tiffany got the chance to know each other more, share laughs, dance, and found that they enjoyed each other’s company. Actually, Mikel liked Tiffany so much that he was willing to look past the fact that she was a Sox fan while he was a major Cubs fan, and so he asked her for her phone number.

Being the gentleman that he is, at the end of the party Mikel walked Tiffany and her best friend Valerie back to their apartment. Before leaving, he gave Tiffany a goodnight kiss that left her floating on cloud 9 for days. The two have been inseparable ever since.


Mikel proposed to Tiffany on the night of their three-year anniversary in August of 2010. Though the two had talked about marriage a few times in the past, Tiffany had no idea that Mikel was going to propose. In fact she sent Mike into a panic when she decided to surprise him for their anniversary weekend by coming a day earlier than she told him she would get there. Tiffany thought it was strange that everyone was so shocked she was coming earlier than anticipated because she’d surprised him a couple of times before that if her classes were canceled.

Mikel had an entire romantic evening planned for their anniversary. First he took Tiffany to a fine Springfield restaurant, Ross Isaac, where they enjoyed delicious wine and steak and marveled at how wonderful the past three years had been. Tiffany did see Mikel glancing at his watch a number of times, but thought it was probably because he planned for them to go to a movie next.

After dinner, Mikel drove back to his house and Tiffany stated, “Wow, where did everyone go?” and Mikel answered, “They must’ve gone to a movie I guess.” He led her into the house, which for some odd reason was completely dark. Tiffany commented “Wow it’s really dark in here!” as she followed Mikel’s lead upstairs. When he opened his room door, Tiffany saw the room was romantically lit with red roses all around and a bottle of champagne. She gasped at how beautiful it all looked.

Usually the two exchange cards together after dinner, but this time Mike wanted to give her his card first. Tiffany read it and thought that it was the sweetest card she’d ever received. Mike then told her to look under the beautiful scarf that was on his bed because he had gotten her a gift.

Tiffany, curious as to what was under the scarf, lifted it and saw the world’s cutest stuffed animal (it was a puppy)! A major sucker for stuffed animals, Tiffany started to snuggle the puppy and gush over how adorable it was—she did not realize how Mike suddenly got nervous and was watching her. Then something sparkling caught her eye—she looked more closely and found that attached to the puppy’s neck was a ring. Tiffany’s eyes widened and she looked up at Mike wondering, “Does he know that there’s a ring tied in a bow to the dog’s neck?”

Mike looked nervously at Tiffany and she looked back at the dog. “Umm…there’s a ring…” she started to say. Mike nodded his head, “Yes, it’s for you.” She looked back at the ring tied so adorably to the puppy’s neck thinking, “Wait a minute…” and Mike took the stuffed animal, untied the ring, and got down on both knees. “Tiffany,” he asked, “will you marry me?” Tiffany clasped her hands over her mouth, jumped up and down, screamed, laughed, cried, and exclaimed, “Oh my gosh!! Really?! Are you serious? Oh my gosh!!” She was so elated that she could not form full or coherent sentences. Then she started to cry more and Mike got up and hugged her; Tiffany could barely catch her breath and he had to give her some of her albuterol inhaler (what a nerd!) to help with her breathing.

Mike then asked, “So is that a yes?” Tiffany started laughing while crying and said, “Of course that’s a yes! Oh my gosh!! Yes!! Absolutely!! Are you kidding me? Yes!!” and Mike put her gorgeous ring on her ring finger. Her ring fit perfectly and sparkled and dazzled like no ring Tiffany had seen before. She could not believe it; she had just become engaged to the man of her dreams.

After celebrating with a glass of sparkling wine, Mikel and Tiffany called their friends and family to tell them about the good news. It was then that Tiffany found out that all of Mikel’s family, close friends, and Tiffany’s parents knew for a while that he was going to propose. A few minutes later, Mikel’s family came home from their movie and congratulated them on their engagement. It was then that Tiffany found out why everyone was so shocked that she was coming a day early—because they were helping Mike in his plans to prepare for his proposal to her that weekend and thought they had an extra day to get things done. Tiffany also found out that weeks before that Mikel drove all the way from Springfield to Frankfort, Illinois when Tiffany was visiting her best friend in Chicago, to ask her parents for her hand in marriage.

Mikel and Tiffany spent the rest of the evening taking pictures and basking in the glow of their engagement. It was a perfect night that neither of them would ever forget, and a night that they wished did not have to end.

Tiffany & Mikel were married on July 7, 2012 and what a beautiful day it was!  They were married at the breathtaking Alice Millar Chapel on the Northwestern Campus.  After the emotional ceremony the entire group headed around Chicago for some great city shots and ended up at the Newberry Library for the reception.  What a lovely venue!  I simply loved everything about this wedding – their beautiful love story, the gorgeous locations, colors, flowers….everything.  My fabulous second shooter, Layla Eola, and I had the best time all day capturing this wonderful wedding day!  Thank you Tiffany & Mikel for allowing us to tell your wedding day story through the lens!  What a treat!!  Here are some of the highlights of the day!

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