Talking belly dancing and a second chance at love with a beautiful bride-to-be
We all know life doesn’t come with an instruction manual. We can make plans and decisions, buy but sometimes we still don’t have control over what happens. Sometimes we have to throw away our maps and charts, unfurl our sails and go with the flow.
Sophia gets this.
For her second marriage to her soulmate, Jim, she didn’t try so hard. She didn’t follow anyone’s rules. She let it happen organically.
She didn’t even use a pattern to design her dress.
“I sewed it right on the dress form. My only pattern was an image in my head,” says Sophia, who worked in fashion before opening her own business, Wisdom Wellness.
She tried to fit into a pre-made dress, but nothing was quite right.
“Everything was so puffy. I’m 5-foot-2-inches and a size two. I looked like a circle bobbing along,” says Sophia.
She looked everywhere for the perfect dress – including Chicago – and finally bought silks and laces in New York’s fashion district and went to work creating something unique that was right for her.
“I had no back up plan for the dress. I just went for it. It was the same with our ceremony,” she says. “It was outdoors, and we had no rain plan.”
Sophia and Jim got lucky in many ways, including the weather. It was one of the few perfect, sunny, rain-free days in June. Had it rained, it would have been a soggy affair, but instead, it was ideal.
The couple got married in Kadish Park, overlooking the Milwaukee River and with a fantastic view of the Downtown skyline. Their reception was at Casablanca, a Middle Eastern restaurant on Brady Street.
Sophia and Jim hired a belly dancer who did a “crazy sword dance” for the entertainment, and then they surprised their guests with a belly dance of their own, choreographed by Sophia, who wore traditional belly dancing garb complete with a henna design on her midriff.
“We danced to Selena Gomez’s ‘Come and Get It,’” she says. “It even had ‘Dancing With the Stars’-style lifts.”
The couple spent their wedding night at the Pfister Hotel.
“To me, the Pfister is the most elegant hotel. It’s world class and gorgeous,” she says. “We came here, scoped it out, had cocktails by the fireplace and said, ‘this is exactly what we want.’”
The day after their wedding, Sophia and Jim traveled to San Marino for their honeymoon. Sophia’s mother lived in the small, mountainous micro-state that’s surrounded by Italy until she was 8. Sophia has dual citizenship and has spent her life living and studying in both San Marino and the United States.
“I am so excited to show San Marino to Jim,” she said, beaming. “It’s gorgeous and means so much to me.”
Sophia and Jim met through friends and, later, Jim rented half of Sophia’s duplex. Their relationship quickly evolved from tenant / landlord to something much more intense and heartfelt.
“He swept me completely off my feet,” Sophia says. “Suddenly we were doing everything together. It was breakfast, lunch and dinner dates. Everything clicked into place.”
The couple both have kids from previous marriages. Sophia has a 3-year-old daughter, and Jim has two sons, ages 3 and 6. All of the kids were a part of the wedding. The 3-year-olds were the flower children and the 6-year-old was the ring bearer.
During the wedding, the couple had a butterfly release and expressed words about how they had been caterpillars who had to cocoon for a while, but emerged freer versions of themselves.
“We’re living life differently. We’re doing what makes us happy, what feels right for us,” says Sophia. “For us, this renewal of self through second loves is really, really empowering.”