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Georgia Mountain Laurel Magazine

Personal Account: The Marriage of John & Neena Chestnut

Feb 17, 2016 04:04PM ● By Tracy McCoy

This month and many others, I have talked with brides and they have shared with me the details of their love story. For this story I talked to the groom John Chestnut. John was born in the Philippines, but has lived many places. It was while living in Atlanta, Georgia that John met Neena; they were 11 years old and quickly made friends and remained friends throughout middle and high school. Halfway through high school, John and his family moved to Japan where he graduated high school. The two stayed in contact throughout the years.

John entered a university where he studied physical therapy and Neena attended the Medical College of Georgia where she studied dentistry. John was working in London as a physical therapist when he heard from Neena who was graduating and prior to starting her pediatric dentistry residency in Chicago, was looking for a travel buddy. They visited their friend working for Care in Mozambique then travelled, just the two of them, in South Africa. It was there on the coast of the Indian Ocean that John and Neena fell in love. After the trip they went back to their lives and successfully maintained a long distance relationship between London and Chicago for quite some time.

John’s family owns a home on Lake Burton. The home and coming to the mountains of Northeast Georgia has been part of John’s life for many years. He comes to Lake Burton as often as he can. It has always been a special place for the entire family and Neena as well. As the couples’ romance continued the miles between them seemed to grow harder to bear, John and Neena decided that someone had to move and it made more sense for John to come to the states. Living in Chicago, the couple was together at last!

John and Neena adopted a dog whose name was Clayton – it was meant to be! Each day they took Clayton to a dog park by the river to walk. John soon knew that he wanted Neena to be his wife, so he picked out the ring and put a plan into motion. Some of John’s family were visiting the couple in Chicago and had been there for several days. The night before they were due to leave, Neena said her goodbyes as she had to work the next day. Little did she know they were part of John’s plan. They did leave and went to the home of Neena’s cousin where they hoped to celebrate later that day.

Neena came home and the couple readied Clayton for his walk. John had been down to the dog park earlier where he had written his request on the side of an old building in chalk, “Will you marry me, Neena?” With the ring in his pocket the couple and Clayton headed out to walk. Thankfully Neena said “yes” to John and a celebration with family and friends ensued.

The couple decided that they would marry at Lake Burton and chose Waterfall Country Club as their venue. John’s pastor from London came to perform the wedding. Over 150 friends and family attended the wedding. Former classmates and friends served as Neena’s attendants and the same for John. The couple used local and Atlanta area vendors to pull off their special day. Friend Claude Rickman helped the couple locally. The day was perfect and the couple is very happy.

Today they continue to make their home in Chicago. They enjoy spending time with friends, traveling and are planning an official honeymoon trip to Belize in the near future.

We certainly wish this lovely couple the best!

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