Nika Levando & Greg Birman
On Sept. 19, 2014, the lights went out on the entire island of St. Lucia. But vacationers Greg Birman and Nika Levando didn’t mind. As guests huddled in the resort’s lobby, Birman was getting down on one knee to propose to Levando in an underground wine cellar. “The electricity just goes out, so we’re in the cellar — which at this point is candlelit — unfazed completely by what happened,” says Birman, 30, founder of creative visual content company Devour City.
When the two got back to Chicago to plan their wedding, Levando, 29, assistant director of civic engagement at the University of Chicago, immediately booked the Thompson Chicago (21 E. Bellevue). “It reminds me of a very James Bond, sophisticated interior with the leather and velvet and tobacco notes,” she says. “The Thompson is really the epitome of Chicago to me.”
In fact, the Dec. 19 nuptials were filled with local love — from the bride’s dress by Chicago designer Lee-Lim, to the groomsmen’s ties by Stock Mfg. Co, and even the breakdancers, the Brickheads. “For me, that is the most important thing,” says the bride, “supporting locally owned businesses and young entrepreneurs.”