When Mina Im was introduced to Shaheen Butt by a mutual friend at a St. Louis bar on Thanksgiving night in 2008, she had an instant flashback. “My cousin was in love with him” in high school, she said, “and would always talk about him.”
Ms. Im recalled that she was immediately attracted to Mr. Butt and saw their meeting as a chance meeting. Just a year earlier, in 2007, she’d lost a college friend in a car accident, and she had a feeling he might be taking care of her by sending Mr. Butt her way.
“I thought he was the most handsome man I’d ever seen,” she said of Mr. Butt, adding that she also thought he was “a nice person.”
mr. Butt was also possessed with Mrs. Im. “I was drawn to her ability to put herself into the world,” he said.
Now 36, Mrs. Im was born in South Korea and raised in St. Louis. She has a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Missouri and is a senior marketing manager at an asset management company in Chicago. Ms. Im is also the personality behind the Instagram account Chicagofoodgirl, which has more than 65,000 followers and spotlights restaurants in Chicago and Atlanta, where she and Mr. Butt currently reside.
Also aged 36 and from St. Louis, Mr. Butt graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in finance. He is a partner and director of operations at Certain Logistics, a San Diego company that imports custom furniture for boutique hotels.
After meeting him at the bar, Ms. Im asked their mutual friend for Mr. Butt’s phone number and texted him the next day suggesting they go out for lunch. “We had a two-hour lunch, maybe three,” she said. “We just vibrated.”
Their next date, at the St. Louis Auto Show, sealed the deal for her. “We passed a little kid selling chocolate bars for his basketball team,” said Mrs. Im. “I remember Shaheen running a few blocks back; he bought the whole box.”
His generosity “blew me away,” she added. “I just thought, ‘This person has values and character that I aspire to.’ †
After graduating from college, they had encouraged each other to focus on their careers. In 2012, Mrs. Im offered a marketing job at a technology company in Chicago nearly 300 miles from St. Louis where she and Mr. Butt both lived and he worked at a business development company.
Despite having to move, Ms. Im said, “Shaheen had a great job and I didn’t want him to leave something he loved behind.” Just as staying in St. Louis would benefit him, Mr. Butt knew that moving to Chicago would benefit her. “I encouraged Mina to take the job in Chicago because I thought it was a good opportunity for her to grow and become her own person.”
She accepted the position and they dated for two years before he joined her in Chicago in 2014. Years later, when Mr. Butt crossed the country for his current job in 2020, Mrs. Im accompanied him from Chicago to San Diego and finally Atlanta.
But by then they were engaged. Mr. Butt proposed in October 2019 while they were on a weekend getaway at the American Club resort in Kohler, Wisconsin. Though she had suspected a proposal would come, her hopes were gone by 11:30 p.m. that Saturday. Then, just before midnight, Mr. Butt got down on one knee in the secluded library of the hotel.
“I always knew I wanted to marry her, very early on, but life gets in the way when you’re pursuing a career,” he said.
The couple returned to the American Club for their wedding on May 7. The Rev. Christian Choi, the associate pastor for parish life at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Springfield, Illinois, performed for 80 guests who had been vaccinated or tested negative for Covid. Among them was the bride’s cousin who had a crush on Mr. Butt in high school.
“We’ve gone through a lot of career changes, a lot of moves, a lot of long distances, trying to achieve both our dreams and past life goals,” said the groom. “Now we are trying to build new goals together.”