Nika Levando & Greg Bir­man

Chicago Sun-Times - - EVER AFTER -

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.”

PHO­TOS BY RACHEL GU­LOTTA

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