After what appeared like mild years, Stephen Daniel Sullivan grabbed Alexandra Lauran Ullman Wagner’s hand in March 2018 beneath the stars projected onto the dome of the Grainger Sky Theater at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium.
“I was crazy nervous,” Mr. Sullivan stated.
The two had met a few yr and a half earlier, in August 2016, once they started working at a math-tutoring heart in the metropolis. For months, Mr. Sullivan had barely uttered a phrase to Ms. Wagner, apart from a perfunctory “hello” or “how was your weekend.”
In March 2017, their boss threw them right into a mission: Each week, they needed to create a special sport integrating math issues for college kids. Their ingenious video games, together with large Monopoly and Bingo boards arrange in the fitness center, turned out so effectively that their tutoring heart gained high prize in a companywide regional competitors.
By then, they felt comfy sufficient to open up to one another about life exterior of labor. Mr. Sullivan was married at the time, however having relationship issues, which finally led to his marriage ending in divorce in October 2019. Both have been additionally pursuing greater schooling.
Mr. Sullivan, 36, who had graduated from Concordia University Chicago in River Forest, Ill., was finishing a graduate program at the college, the place he later earned a grasp’s diploma in medical psychological well being counseling.
Ms. Wagner, 28, who graduated from Northwestern, was making use of to graduate applications in schooling. In June 2017, she left for the University of Michigan, the place she later obtained a grasp’s diploma in instructional research and an E.S.L. certificates.
“I thought we would never see each other again,” she stated.
The following February, Ms. Wagner realized that she missed speaking to Mr. Sullivan. She texted him one night, and he replied as quickly as he noticed her message.
“I missed not having her to vent to,” he stated. “I didn’t have an Alex.”
A month later, throughout her spring break in March 2018, Ms. Wagner visited her sister in Chicago. While there, she took Mr. Sullivan, who considers himself a cosmic geek, to the Adler Planetarium for his birthday, the place the two reached the relationship milestone of holding palms.
Later, they went out for bubble tea and then he cooked tilapia tacos for dinner at his condo. There, they hit one other milestone: their first kiss.
After incomes her grasp’s diploma, Ms. Wagner moved again to Chicago in July 2018. Mr. Sullivan usually went to her place, the place he cooked his specialties like sausage and rooster gumbo and shrimp with grits. She baked espresso cake and brownies.
In July 2020, she met Mr. Sullivan’s son, Logan, now 6, and daughter, Sydney, now 4, from his earlier marriage. Both took to her straight away. “My son was smitten,” Mr. Sullivan stated.
That October, Mr. Sullivan moved in together with her. He is now a licensed skilled therapist at Inspire Counseling heart, a psychological well being clinic in Northbrook, Ill. Ms. Wagner is a third-grade trainer at Peirce Elementary on the North Side of Chicago.
They grew to become engaged in March 2021, after he proposed whereas they took a bubble bathtub. Earlier that day, earlier than heading to work, Mr. Sullivan left sparkly plastic engagement rings and notes round the condo, together with one in the kitchen that learn, “Do you promise to cook dinner with me?”
The couple have been married April 9 at Cheney Mansion in Oak Park, Ill., earlier than 125 company, most of whom have been vaccinated. Loren Jones, a cousin of the groom who was ordained an American Marriage Ministries minister for the event, officiated.
As a playful acknowledgment of their interracial relationship — Mr. Sullivan is Black and Ms. Wagner is white — they selected a black-and-white theme for the wedding ceremony. It included the décor and black-and-white cookies for company to take house. There was additionally a nod to outer area.
Their seven groomsmen and one groomswoman every wore cuff hyperlinks of a special planet. Mr. Sullivan wore solar cuff hyperlinks; his son, the ring bearer, the moon. His daughter, the flower lady, sparkled as the bride’s “mini-me,” Ms. Wagner stated, in a fluffy white costume.
As for the bride, Mr. Sullivan stated: “Alex is my stardust.”