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Melissa and John

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Wedding Party

The Wedding Website of Melissa Chua and John O’Hara
Here we present to you the family and guests of honor who will be walking by our side down the aisle. Scroll below for bios of our closest friends (listed alphabetically)! We are beyond excited for y'all to connect. Make sure to give these wonderful humans a warm hug when you see them at our wedding festivities! The beautiful sketch above was drawn by our dear friend Laetitia de Francqueville at Flora Café during our first trip to NOLA together 10 years ago <3

Ana Lucia Lagos

Bridesmaid

Hello! My name is Ana Lucia, but my friends call me Ani. I met Melissa back in 2014 during a college MBA course where we traveled to India together. During our trip we bonded over our love for creativity, travel, and how we unexpectedly had lived in the same hometown all our lives without even knowing it! Since then, she and I have had a sisterly bond for the past 9 year and counting. I am happy to be a part of her life and see her grow as an individual in life and love. Cheers as she takes her next steps with John! A little tidbit about me is...during 2022 I solo drove, in my little sedan, to 16 states visiting family and friends across the Western USA. It was a great experience, and I plan to do the same thing with the Eastern USA in 2024.

Bahareh Javadi

Bridesmaid

One of the most loving souls on this planet, Bahareh from the Bayou bears an unmistakable smile that is capable of turning around any mood. She is an architect, artist and musician with a gentle love for the earth. Though she also lived in Allen Hall at the University of Illinois, Baha first met Melissa via Jess Dewitt during a visit to Nola years after college. They have grown a beautiful friendship ever since. Melissa considers Baha her home base every time she travels to Nola to work or just to enjoy the vibrant city. Ask Baha about Andrew Bird and her eyes will light up. Her cozy living room has posters from every single Gezelligheid show she has ever attended.

Christine O'Hara

Bridesmaid

I’m Christine, John’s favorite sister. I live in Chicago with my husband, Austin. When we’re not in the city, we can often be found in Joshua Tree, exploring with Melissa and John. One of the great joys of my adult life has been traveling with them! A conversation starter: I’m an avid reader and would love to hear about what you’ve been reading and loving lately.

Jessica Dewitt

Bridesmaid

Melissa and I met at Friday workout club during our MBA program. We later decided to study together at Cafe Kopi in downtown Champaign where she told me about her plans to travel to Nepal and also convinced me to try yoga and join her for my first yoga class. We have been yogi sisters ever since. After grad school, we moved in together in Streetersville near the Magnificent Mile on DeWitt place. We spent so many nights talking and also exploring the city on our yoga crawls. I moved abroad for love to a few countries in Europe six years ago and settled in Sweden, where Melissa came to visit me and I showed her Sweden’s west coast and also Copenhagen. While living in Germany, I met Melissa in southern France for a 10-day trip and yoga retreat. And lately she showed me around her favourite places in Nola, New York and Chicago. We have travelled near and far to see each other - our friendship knows no bounds. Since moving abroad we have had a weekly book club for 2 years and often find time for online chats to keep in contact. Melissa is a one-in-a-million kinda gal and I am so happy for her and John for this new chapter in their lives.

Kristen Wanderlich

Bridesmaid

Kristen and Melissa met in a creative nonfiction class held in a narrow basement classroom of their art and social justice themed dorm - Allen Hall. It was the first week of their freshman year at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and these two exuberant and adventurous 18 year olds bonded over their shared love of writing, creative expression, and social issues. Melissa and Kristen lived next door to each other in Allen Hall their sophomore year, across the street from each other their senior year, and down the street from each other in Boulder, Colorado in their twenties. Kristen really wishes she currently lived next door to Melissa and that they could continue to show up at the other’s house unannounced like they did for many years. Today, they stay connected through walk and talks on the phone and adventuring together with churros in Barcelona, hikes in the Hudson Valley, bachata on the New York subway, and yoga everywhere. Kristen is an organization development practitioner, dances salsa and bachata, and lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Melody Chua

Bridesmaid

Melody Chua (b. 1994) (she/they) is an international, transdisciplinary artist longing after radical empathy and electronic sensitivities. Originally trained as a flutist, she incorporates improvisation performance with electronics, in addition to collaborating collectively in interactive installation settings. As a both an artist and IT professional, freelancer and academic, cyberpunk cat in a posthuman body, as well as a meeting point of Asian and American cultures, Melo prefers to jump between worlds rather than to call herself a citizen of any one in particular. How she knows the bride: Melissa is my big sister, and her courage, fire, and zero tolerance for BS has since childhood both inspired and carried me throughout this journey of working in the arts. Already when we were kids, 6 & 11 years old, she would say, “Don’t copy me. Find your own tastes, your own opinions, your own way.” As a child, those words were a bit difficult to hear (and do—especially with a sis as cool as Melissa, how could you not copy her?), but as an artist, those words have both grounded and guided me—they are still resonating to this day.

Michelle Fox

Bridesmaid

Melissa and I met in Boulder, Colorado in 2014. Our common interests in art, design, travel, storytelling, yoga, and hiking sparked an instant friendship. We briefly shared a house and collaborated on several short documentary projects before she ventured back to Chicago. I always learn something new when I’m with Melissa. Her unique combination of ambition, intellect, grace, and poise has always been a source of joy and inspiration. I vividly remember Melissa talking about her grad school friend, John, and their plans to travel to Nepal together. Little did we realize that adventure would lead to love, and culminate with their wedding. I'm thrilled to witness and celebrate them as they embark on this next adventure.

Pauline Tannos

Bridesmaid

Melissa and I met at a music class, our first week of freshman year at the University of Illinois. Sixteen years later, our dorm lunches and music theory study nights have evolved to museum hangouts, dinner parties, and double dates. I count Melissa and John among my most trusted friends, and am so honored to be a part of their wedding! A little about me: Outside of my 9-5 as a software engineer, I love to read, cook, and explore new places with my family. I also love rehearsing and performing with Gamelan Dharma Swara, a NY-based Balinese music and dance group that I’m a part of.

Austin Kelsch

Groomsman & Officiant

The Rockstar of Rogers Park. Austin is John's brother-in-law and rock climbing buddy. He is the voice of chill with monk-like tendencies, but also plays a mean guitar. Austin taught himself to speak Japanese, played in a Rush cover band a few years back, and loves to eat ribs. A legend in his own right, he will be officiating the wedding.

John Hearlston

Groomsman

The Wonder of Westchester, Johnny, aka JMon, is a talented guitar player whose original tunes have been featured on Q101. Johnny is a hall of fame backyard football player, amateur skateboard and an avid gardener. Johnny and John have been friends for over 25 years ever since Johnny moved to the childhood neighborhood.

Joshua Maluta

Best Man

Naperville's finest. Josh and John look forward to celebrating their 30th anniversary in 2024. They have been best friends since 1994 when they met at the bus stop on their way to kindergarten. Josh is the most decorated Neuqua Valley lacross player and head coach of all time, has a wildly popular YouTube channel and is the indisputable spokesman for Josh and John's favorite band, Deer Tick. Josh is a new dad and also a member of the Brookfield Zoo!

Pat O'Hara

Groomsman

The Dude of Dayton. Pat is John's big brother and roommate from about 1994 to 2002, where they shared a bunkbed. He was a dominant force in the Naperville backyard sports scene in his youth, and John, usually a late round draft pick, could only hope to end up on his team. Pat holds the O'Hara family record for most time in Champaign, Illinois, where he finished his bachelors, masters and PhD.

Raphael Lescure

Groomsman

Le Roi du Versailles. Raphael is an architect and artist extraordinaire currently living in Paris, France, where he was born and raised. Raph loves riding his bike around Paris at night and swimming in the Mediterranean. Raph and John met in grad school while carving Japanese joints in the woodshop and became fast friends. They have since travelled together to Portugal, Iceland and Arkansas.

Tim O'Hara

Groomsman

The Boss of Boston. Tim is John's eldest brother, lawyer, guitar enthusiast and fellow east coaster. Tim and John share a love for many of the same things like soccer, France and independent radio stations. Tim took John to his first concert, OASIS, when John was in high school in 2005, and they were together for their most recent concert, PHISH, in 2023. They plan on many more shows together in the future.

Todd Akeson

Groomsman

The Pride of Peoria. Todd is a painter and current resident of Mexico, where he works in real estate development. Todd and John met in undergraduate architecture studio, where they became great friends in and out of the studio. They shared a bedroom while living in Versailles and travelled all over Europe together.