Kaitlyn and Zach grew up a half-mile away from one another. Her older brother, Ryan, was Zach’s best friend and their moms were a part of the local elementary school’s PTO. Long before Zach and Kaitlyn became a thing, their moms were together as room moms—organizing the school’s Fun Fair along with other fun activities. Kaitlyn’s longtime friend, Nick, was Zach’s neighbor and therefore was very close with the whole Amato family.
He knew of my gigantic crush on Zach, and as a birthday gift freshman year of high school, he gave me a black and white photo of Zach that he had taken and developed in film class. I kept this picture in my backpack all through high school, regularly pulling it out to tell friends, “this is who I’m going to marry.”
Long, long story short and fast-forward ten years, I DID actually marry him, and Nick officiated our wedding.
Kaitlyn’s favorite thing about Zach is that he is one of the most passionate people she knows.
He has a type of drive, focus, and compassion that I envy; not to mention that he always brings me dinner and coffee while I binge some terrible reality show or crime documentary in the basement on any random evening.
I’d like to think that Zach would say I’m one of the funniest people he knows, but I’ll let him answer this one.
Kaitlyn is one of the funniest people in my life. (Kaitlyn: “SCORE!”) She’s empathetic and caring and my ultimate ‘best bud’ as well as my wife!
Zach and Kaitlyn gifted their nephew Maddox a photo shoot for his first birthday. Kaitlyn continuously bugged Zach to have his sister book the shoot before it got too cold outside. When she finally did book it, she asked for Kaitlyn and Zach to come so that they would have photos to give their parents for Christmas.
We showed up to Cantigny Park and walked to the spot where we were told they were. As we walked into the open area, Zach pulled out a little note that I had written to him the first year we started dating. Before I could grasp what was happening, he was down on one knee asking me to marry him, and all of our closest friends and family were running towards us with balloons and champagne.
It was the dreamiest moment of my life prior to our wedding day!
The party didn’t stop there though! Zach told me we were going to dinner, but had to stop at his parent’s house before the reservation. When we walked in, all of our friends and extended family were waiting for us, and the house was decorated beautifully! He had even contacted my boss to call me off work the following day so we could celebrate.
Kaitlyn and Zach fell in love with the Elgin downtown area’s businesses and culture when they were living at their first apartment at Elgin ArtSpace in 2012.
We started our life together in those few downtown blocks. I commuted to college there, interned at City Hall and helped organize Nightmare on Chicago Street. Zach found a group of local artists to work with, and re-fueled his passion for Graphic Design there.
Elgin is special to the two of them. They knew about The Haight and had been calling it “our venue” long before their engagement. Kaitlyn had pictures saved on her phone, and would frequent blogs about The Haight so that she could read everything about it.
The day after we got engaged, I called The Haight at 8:30 AM and in a raspy voice asked what their availability for 2016 was (it was November 2016 and I was apparently dazed and still in such an engagement-fog that I couldn’t remember what year it was). We booked the venue for January of 2018.
From the staff to the esthetic, it was everything we wanted and then some! Looking back, The Haight gave us the ability to customize every aspect of our day! I had big ideas that were brought to life in a way that I couldn’t have done on my own.
Video by Ojo Creative
It’s hard for Kaitlyn and Zach to pick one moment during their wedding day that was their favorite.
The entire day felt like a dream! I really loved the morning in the bridal suite. It was slow and cozy and meaningful having all my best friends with me, but my very favorite part of the day was when Zach and I were able to walk upstairs during the cocktail hour just the two of us.
We got to see the reception area for the first time and take it all in—that this was actually our day. It was more than we could have every hoped for, and we felt so thankful for the staff at The Haight, specifically Briana—she is a literal magician and we appreciated her patience, kindness, knowledge, and support more than I could ever express!
Kaitlyn’s advice to newly engaged couples is to enjoy every stage of the engagement.
If you want to start planning your wedding day the day you get engaged, do it! If you want to wait and savor the anticipation, do it! Plan your wedding the way you envision it. Don’t be afraid to make it exactly like you’ve dreamed about it.