One of the reasons Danielle and Chris chose The Foundry in Long Island City, a fast growing New York City neighborhood for their wedding venue was because of its view of the 59th Street bride connecting Queens and Manhattan. It reminded the bride of the days when she was a child hearing her grandfather tell stories from when he was a child. He used to swim near the structure on the East river. Back in those days you could jump and play off the bridge. Because he had passed a few years earlier, seeing the bridge made it feel like her grandfather was a part of the celebration.
For their intimate and humanist nuptials, the couple asked me to share their love story. During their modern and somewhat traditional ceremony, the bride wore and art deco style dress reminiscent of the Great Gatsby era, guests listened on a warm spring afternoon to the story of how they fell in love. Enjoy!
Danielle and Chris’s Love Story
There is a moment, a very exquisite moment when an individual realizes that he or she has found the person with whom they will spend the rest of their lives. Sometimes that moment happens in an instant, other times it’s a gradual affair that requires life’s experiences to unfold, and sometimes, one is simply waiting out a storm.
It was early Saturday evening and Hurricane Irene was threatening to make her impact on the Eastern seaboard. In the hopes of escaping the boredom of his one-bedroom apartment and since many of his friends had evacuated to parts of the country with more agreeable weather conditions, Christopher sat alone at the bar of his local New York City Pub on the Upper East Side of Manhattan called The Banshee. Having already fended off a few attempted conversations from some of the locals including a rather odd looking couple offering to buy him a drink, Christopher had managed to keep to himself. Good – just what he wanted. It’s not unusual for Christopher to shy away from social conversation so he was quite comfortable sitting with only the company of the wailing banshee painted on the mural above the bar, her wild hair matching the same red polyvinyl that covered Christopher’s barstool. Manchester United was playing Arsenal the next day, so he wanted to finish reading up on the latest football/soccer news. “Reading about the weather?” said a woman’s voice over his left shoulder. Most men, especially ones sitting alone at a bar, upon hearing a female voice as pleasant as this one would welcome the invitation to talk but the next day’s football game was really, really big and Christopher had his priorities. Unimpressed with her witty conversation starter, and not wanting to yet again be distracted, he turned around to politely decline the invitation for idol chat. That’s when, in Christopher’s words, “I saw her for the first time, beautiful, smiling and looking awkward in a way that made me think maybe I’d like to talk to her.”
Earlier that day, Danielle had evacuated from her Chelsea apartment to stay on the Upper East Side with her friend Casey. The two of them plus their friend Corey and Corey’s husband, Ian also restless in anticipation of the impending storm, made plans to hang out together to pass the time. Meandering on the UES, Ian pulled the trio of girlfriends into a neighborhood pub, The Banshee seemed appropriate on a day where weather conditions are often likened to a wailing spirit.
To those friends and family of Danielle’s, they know how outgoing and sociable she can be. It’s not unusual for her to strike up a conversation with a random person. This particular time, it was a cute guy sitting alone at the bar that caught her attention. They struck up a conversation that continued through most of the evening. Christopher says, “She talked enough for both of us,” which for him, was just fine. Once again, the old adage, “opposites attract” was reconfirmed.
Why opposites attract may or may not be a mystery depending on who’s doing the talking. What is a real mystery is why these two hadn’t met sooner. They certainly had many chances to cross paths. Danielle had often visited Casey and Cory’s respective apartments, which happened to be on either side of Christopher’s. When Christopher lived in London, he looked at an apartment in Daniell’s building but decided to pass it up. Danielle’s Charing Cross Road flat was just off the same street where Christopher worked. Danielle had visited the family home of her roommate and good friend in Chorlton, the same township in which Christopher grew up. With a population of 1,300, compared to London’s 8 million, the odds of meeting someone in London from this Manchester working class suburb, let alone being flatmates, is very, very slim. Danielle worked at The Mark Hotel on East 77th Street in NYC only a few years before Christopher moved to the same street. Christopher worked at 16th Street and 8th Avenue during the same 5-year period that Danielle lived less than a block away. A few months after they first met, Christopher took Daniel to Manchester to meet his family. While they were visiting the home of one of his high school friends, something curious caught Danielle’s eye – a bottle of champagne. On the label was a picture of James, his wife Emily and the words, “Happy 1st Wedding Anniversary”. Christopher told her it was his anniversary gift to James and Emily. It wasn’t until Danielle pointed out the brand that Christopher understood her amazement. Before he had met her, and although he could have chosen any other anniversary gift, he chose a bottle of Lacombe champagne. It was as if all along God or The-Powers-That-Be were directing these two towards each other, but somehow the signals kept crossing. It took seven years and a hurricane to finally clear the airwaves.
Back at the Banshee the couple agreed to hang out the next day. Christopher says, “We watched the Man U. vs. Arsenal game and later once again hung out with her friends. It was exciting because the more I got to know her the more I liked her…. Oh and United [was victorious] 8-2!!!!! One hell of a day – winning that game so convincingly and getting to know the love of my life!”
Perhaps because they were destined for each other long before they met that once they did connect, it was only a short time before they knew they were in love and wanted to always be together – a few weeks to be exact.
Not long after the couple started dating, while planning a summer brunch party for Danielle’s mother, the threesome looked at several venues. One of the prospective options was The Foundry. Unsuitable for Danielle’s mum’s brunch, they all agreed that it was a great place for a wedding. Their conversation went something like this: Chris: “So would you want to get married here?” Danielle: “Yeah this place is great.” Chris: “Alright, grab a brochure and we’ll have a look.” Danielle: “So did we just get engaged?” Chris: “Yes, I suppose so.”
Many a great story has been told with a storm at its pivotal point. Perhaps it’s the power that storms have that inspire and put is in awe. Love, like a storm, is a force that can hit unexpectedly and change our lives forever. For Christopher and Danielle, Hurricane Irene was just such a beautiful storm. I love incorporating stories like this into a couples ceremonies. It brings such a sense of sweet poignancy.
Ceremony Music: https://www.facebook.com/ianbaggette