An engaged couple with their pet dog, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Fiance succeeds in ‘chasing’ his bride

 Photos courtesy of Soda Fountain Photography.

Jackie Kramer first met her fiance, Chris Dillon, in 2008 during a school trip to South Africa. Chris asked her out on a date and said he was “obviously crazy for her.” They were attending different schools, and Jackie didn’t want anything to do with him.

“I was attracted to Chris, but he was trying so hard to impress me. I thought it was annoying because he was always like, ‘Oh, let me hold the door’ and ‘Oh, let me hold your bag.’ He was trying anything to get my attention,” Jackie said.

Jackie, born and raised in Florida, went on the trip through a program offered at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla. She transferred to Florida State University from Lynn, the school Chris attended.

Chris grew up in River Forest before moving to Hinsdale with his parents, graduating from Hinsdale Central High School.

Chris remembered how disappointed he was when Jackie said she didn’t want to date him, and he joked that to this day, “I’m still chasing her — I know she likes playing hard to get with me.”

Chris didn’t get his date, but in 2009, Jackie moved back to Lynn University for her master’s degree and moved in with someone who turned out to be mutual friends with Chris.

They went to an apartment party one night, and “lo and behold, it was Chris’ house,” Jackie said.

Chris’ mother, Julie Grossi Dillon, had battled cancer for 20 years before passing away in January 2010. Jackie and the couple’s mutual friend boarded a flight up to Illinois to be with Chris.

“As sad as it is, his mom’s death was an awakening. I realized how awesome of a person he is, and once I realized that we started dating,” Jackie said.

Chris proposed June 9, 2013. That morning, Chris told Jackie they were going on a picnic. Jackie was puzzled because they had never been on a picnic. They went to the top of the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse, a place Jackie had never been even though she was raised miles away. After waiting for other tourists to leave, Chris got down on one knee.

Jackie and Chris lived in Boca Raton for three years before moving to Wheaton in August 2013. They’re now planning a wedding long distance — the celebration is scheduled to take place on Labor Day weekend, Aug. 31, at The Addison in Boca Raton.

The couple took engagement photos at Cantigny Park and around their new home in Wheaton. They were sure to include Carl, their 3-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, who they describe as “the love of our lives.”

Jackie is the daughter of William and Martha Kramer and is a preschool teacher in Wheaton. Chris is the son of Patrick and the late Julie Dillon. He works in business product sales with the family business, Barak Business Services, in Bensenville.

By Renee Lee. Every wedding tells a story. Contact Renee at or 312-651-6613 to share yours.