Tell us your love story!
I was immediately drawn to Katee because of her laugh and her easy smile. She just makes you feel comfortable. We knew each other socially, but it wasn't until we were both single in late 2009 that things progressed. We ran into each other at a bar on New Year's Eve, and I asked for permission to kiss her. Though she was initially surprised by my boldness, she accepted! The next week, we shared our first date on a snowy Thursday evening at an English-style tavern (complete with fireplace and taxidermy). Nearly seven years later, we were married Memorial Day weekend on the rooftop of a chocolate factory (!) surrounded by family and friends.
What about the proposal?
We started talking about getting engaged and looking at rings in mid-2014. That December, we had gotten tickets to see Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway in New York, since Michael C. Hall (of our beloved Dexter) was starring in a run of the production. The day we arrived, Katee and I ate lunch near Union Square, then she insisted we stop by The Strand bookstore, one of our favorite spots. When she told me that she wanted to go up to the top floor to the Rare Book Room, I knew something was going on. We both started browsing around, and I got the feeling I was supposed to be looking for something, but I didn't know what. Finally, Katee pointed me over to a table, where I saw a copy of Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri (one of my favorite authors). I still wasn't catching on, so Katee instructed me to open it. Inside was a favorite photo of us with our dogs and a handwritten proposal. When I looked up, Katee was on one knee with a ring! It turns out she had been in touch with The Strand for weeks to plan the engagement, down to the timing of the placement of the book!
I felt strongly about proposing to Katee as well, despite our already being engaged. On Christmas Eve, I surprised her with a reservation to one of our favorite restaurants, which happens to be next door to the site of our first date. The restaurant and bar are part of a hotel, which sells candles at the front desk. We arrived early, and I suggested we stop for a drink at that bar. On the way in, I decided I wanted to buy a candle as a last-minute Christmas present for Katee's parents. Little did she know that I had coordinated with the hotel staff and one of the candles contained her engagement ring. When she removed the lid of the candle to smell it, she found the ring, and I asked her to "marry me, too!"
When did you know that you were meant to be with each other?
Natalie caught my attention when we first met. The more time I spent with her, the more my admiration grew. It was when she met and immediately clicked with my family that sealed the deal for me.
I had my eye on Katee for quite awhile (let’s just call it “Facebook research”) before I had the opportunity to get to know her. The first month of our relationship, I knew that I loved her. There wasn’t one particular moment that made me know she was the one, it was throughout many of our experiences together, from the way she loved my cocker spaniel, Dexter, to the way she interacted with my grandparents. It’s very easy to love Katee.
Going into the wedding planning, what did you definitely know?
We knew we did not want a black-tie wedding, because we wanted the event to have more of a laid-back feel. It was extremely important for our guests feel accommodated, so we were on the lookout for a venue with comfortable seating and nice bathrooms.
We new we wanted the day to be enjoyable, memorable and tons of fun for our guests. We also wanted to have unique, personal touches during the ceremony (our favorite Rabbi AND bagpipes), and during the reception (whimsical flowers and lighting and books!).
What surprised you during planning?
The easiest and best part of planning was working with our wedding planner, Kristin Weis (Kristin Ashley Events)! We knew we wanted a wedding planner, and we were fortunate to click with Kristin immediately. We had a meeting set up with another planner, but after meeting Kristin, we cancelled it. The guest list was the most difficult part, because we wanted to include as many friends and loved ones as possible, while also remaining on budget and keeping the atmosphere relatively intimate.
Is there anything you wish you knew while you were planning your wedding that you know now?
Looking back, I can see that it would have been easier to “let go and let Kristin” a little more, because she and her assistants had us taken care of 150%, but I felt it was extremely important to be involved with so many of the details. However, I can’t say that I really regret that, because I am so happy with the way everything turned out.
Everyone kept saying, “don’t forget to enjoy the wedding day, it goes by so fast!” I remembered that and really made an effort to enjoy the day. However, I wish I would have also taken that advice for the planning process. While it had it’s stressful moments, it was exciting and gave Natalie and I a lot of opportunities to grow as a couple and bond over the experience.
Any advice for couples planning weddings now?
Be open to different ideas, styles and aesthetics for the day. Don’t get caught up planning the day as you would expect a typical wedding day to go. It’s your day! Adding your own unique touches and personalities throughout the day is what makes it even more special and fun. And your guests will get the chance to know you and your future spouse even better!
- Photography By Heather Roth Photography
- Planning By Kristin Ashley Events
- Videography By Mike Dalton Films
- Venue By The Caramel Room at Bissingers
- Florals By Flowers and Weeds
- Entertainment By Millennium Productions
- Hair & Makeup By Danielle Style
- Dress By Amy Kuschel
- Suit By Bindle & Keep
- Katee's Shoes By Cole Haan
- Natalie's Shoes By Via Spiga