Where are they now? Yan and Jessica

I moved to America when I was seven and started second grade not knowing a word of English. Well, maybe 2-3 words, but not more than that. I was the only Russian kid in the class, until, three months later, a red-headed boy appeared in the classroom doorway, with the deer-in-the-headlights look immediately recognizable to fellow immigrant children everywhere. The teachers decided to make me his "translator" -- a questionable decision since my English vocabulary still consisted primarily of gibberish -- but being that he was even fresher off the boat than I was, they decided this was a good idea. It was the blind leading the blind, and Yan and I were destined to become fast friends. 

Twenty-four years, many cross-country and international moves later, I had the pleasure of reconnecting with Yan and the honor of making a custom ketubah for Yan and his beautiful wife, Jessica. I wouldn't have the opportunity to meet Jessica until years later when our paths finally crossed in San Francisco --- and if you ever spent any time imagining the perfect bride for your very dear childhood friend -- Jessica is exactly the girl you would be hoping he would end up with. 

Photos by Wes Craft 

Their ketubah was truly one of a kind. Yan and Jessica, who are self-proclaimed foodies, had me paint them enjoying a romantic picnic under birch trees. 

This creative power couple now lives outside Chicago with two gorgeous children. I love following their adventures and am thrilled that they decided to share a glimpse into their family life with us. 


How long have you been married?

6 years

What advice would you give engaged couples or newlyweds knowing what you know now?

Don’t sweat the small stuff.


What is your favorite memory from the wedding day?

Yan says the first look. The one that came to my mind was the “thriller” flash mob that we did with all of our friends at the end of our first dance.


What would you say is your happiest moment as a married couple thus far?

Children. :) But maybe a year after they came out. Birth and the first year of life are kinda rough. 

Photo by Ashley Summers

What has been your most challenging moment and how have you overcome it?

Lilahs colic for 7 months. Babies that scream are so hard. But we handled it in shifts, we got creative, we ran lots of water and laughed whenever we could.

What traditions have you established for yourselves as a family?

Sunday farmers markets, travel, and beyond that we like to do many different varied things.

Photo by Ashley Summers

Where is your ketubah now?

It’s on our living room on the wall.

Where do you see yourselves in 10 years?

Just chillin' and doing our business. Life is pretty good. We wouldn’t want too much to change.

Amen, you guys!


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