Though Joe Leonard and Caren Anderson grew up in the same South Side neighborhood — and attended nearby high schools — the two never crossed paths. It took a Motown-themed dance party at Western Illinois University for the pair to meet and fall in love. “Joe’s dance moves attracted me to him,” jokes Anderson. Seven years later, Leonard, now a paramedic at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Anderson, a PR exec for Wagstaff Worldwide, began planning a Chicago wedding. But midway through they had a change of heart, and 71 of their friends and family members flew to Negril, Jamaica April 20 to watch them tie the knot.
After a quick beach ceremony, where immediate family members made up the wedding party, Leonard kicked off the Motown-filled reception by bringing back his famous dance moves. Guests kept the party going late into the night, and Anderson and Leonard continued their paradisiacal vacation with a honeymoon in nearby Ocho Rios. “It felt really special to be around all of our friends and with such an intimate group,” says Anderson. “That’s exactly what we wanted.”
Story by Katerina Bizios | Photos courtesy Laurie Schuetter, Elle Rose Photo