Our Entourage

Mother of the Bride

Lisa Kats

Parents of the Groom

Dr. Georgiy and Yelena Lifshits


Anna Stanchinskaya
Anna has been a truly loyal friend ever since Julia met her in sixth grade at Rogers Park Elementary. Growing-up-together memories include dancing on the beach, taking kickboxing, always being ready with birthday and new year wishes, rollerblading in Warren Park, and learning the words to “Every Breath You Take” because a boy they liked sang it for them. Julia can always count on Anna to be there for her, to give wise advice, and to never stop being straightforward and hilarious. Currently, Anna lives in Gurnee, IL and Julia can’t wait to hang out with her more and reminisce about the younger years!
Jessica Wollwage-Rymut
Jessi and Julia have been BFFs since working on the History Fair together while attending Lincoln Park High School. They got each other’s silly humor and Julia’s memories of those times include lots and lots of laughter. Only Jessi could find a rhyme for every station on the brown line for her improvised songs (“Irving Paaaaaark, you’re such a laaaaaaark”). Throughout the years, they have hung out in California, roomed together, and morally supported each other through law school applications and law school. Currently, Jessi lives in Lombard, IL and Julia is looking forward to spending more fun times together!
Nicolle Rivera
Nikki and Julia have been great friends since Lincoln Park High School, and were roommates junior year in college. She is the integral part of the silly humor trio, a trivia queen (Julia has never met a person who answers more questions while watching Jeopardy), knows a bazillion languages, and Julia always learns something new when they hang out. Julia can count on Nikki to laugh sincerely at her jokes even when they are not that funny, and to tell her about her fascinating adventures. Nikki lives in Champaign, IL and Julia secretly hopes that she will move back to Chicago so they can see each other more often!
Isabel Espaldon
Isabel and Julia met during their freshman year at Northwestern and became fast friends, enjoying many fun college adventures together (convincing the campus security guard to give them a ride on his golf-cart as they were coming back from a dance? Priceless). They became roommates sophomore year, and still managed to have a blast together despite sharing a tiny dorm room. Isabel always knows how to cheer Julia up, give fashion tips, make friends with everyone at a party, and just be awesome. Currently, Isabel lives in Atlanta, GA, but the distance has not kept her and Julia far from each other’s lives, each time they talk, it still feels like the good old days!


Leo Gerdov
Yosef and Leo have been hanging out since childhood – they met on the bus at the Russian Transitional School after coming to the United States in April 1994. Memories include selling golf balls in Warren Park (same Warren Park as Julia and Anna!), Black Friday shopping, and picking up chicks in exotic destinations such as the Dominican Republic. Even though Leo lives all the way in Naperville, IL (a short 20 hour drive), he and Yos always catch up quickly when they hang out, like not a second passed by.
Yakov Leykin
Yosef and Yakov met freshmen year at Niles West High School, and they have been inseparable ever since. Really, it was fate that they met – both of their locker assignments were messed up and they ended up sharing a locker because of the snafu. After high school, they were college buddies at the University of Illinois at Chicago (going to each others’ lectures… or not going to any!). Yakov lives in Buffalo Grove, IL, is a CPA, and often joins Yos for sushi, the gym, and pretty much anything but programming.
Patrick Wheeler
As a freshman at Niles West High School, Pat showed up to Math Team, which was headed by Yos at the time. They bonded over the exciting world of math competitions, their love of late-night programming and pizza, and continued to be friends throughout college – both going to University of Illinois at Chicago. Currently, Pat lives in Morton Grove, IL and is not only Yos’ friend, but also joined him as a business partner. They may, or may not, be plotting a world takeover.
Matthew Peterson
Matt worked his way into Yos’ inner circle by marrying Yos’ beautiful cousin Irina. Yos was Matt’s translator for his and Irina’s Big Fat Russian Wedding, which actually took place in Russia, lasted a couple of days, and may or may not have involved stealing the bride. Currently, Matt lives in Chicago, IL, has wings (ask him), and is a great resource for anything beer-related.