Brian & Julia: Engaged

Julia & Brian are tying the knot at the Old Post Office on June 16th and their love of travel not only brought them together, but will be a theme through their big day. They have been together almost four years while tackling job changes, moves, and long distance. We can’t wait to celebrate with them!

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How did you meet?

We became friends while serving in the Peace Corps together in Guinea, West Africa from 2004 – 2006.

 

Share one of your favorite dates.

Brian: One day while we were in Milwaukee, visiting with my parents, we spent an afternoon exploring the city on our own.  Julia had not spent much time in Milwaukee before, and I was excited to show her around at a few places I thought she would enjoy.  First we stopped by Milwaukee Art Museum, where they have an exhibit focused on Haitian art. Julia has been to Haiti several times for her previous jobs, and we had a nice time talking about the different themes shown in the artwork on display.  Next, we went to the Milwaukee Market, and Julia was surprised by how much she realized she liked the city and its sites. Finally, we went to a local brewery, where there was a grand piano available for customers to use. There was a group of customers who had arrived around the same time we did, and one of the guys started playing popular songs from the 1980’s.  At one point, they couldn’t remember the lyrics to one of their songs, so Julia jumped in to help them get the words right, and all of a sudden she was leading the entire place through the song. It was a fun afternoon!

Julia: One of my favorite dates was actually very recently. I was visiting Brian in Springfield and he took a half day off of work on Friday so we could drive down to St. Louis. First, we applied for our marriage license at City Hall, which was such a neat, old, and pretty historic building in which to do that (we love that stuff). Then we checked into our hotel room at Union Station, which was actually the place that inspired us to get married in St. Louis, and was somewhere we had always wanted to experience staying. Then we went to a delicious fancy French dinner (which the restaurant actually screwed up and ended up comping our *entire* meal) before we headed off to see Hamilton, which Brian had got us tickets to for my birthday and was pretty much a dream come true. 🙂 After enjoying the show we headed over for a beer at Urban Chestnut (one of our favorite St. Louis breweries) before going back to the hotel for the night. All in all, a great day!

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When did you know he/she was the one?

Brian: When Julia and I started dating, she was living in Boston and I was living in Chicago, but pretty soon after that, I moved to Springfield.  After about one year of dating long distance, Julia made the leap of moving from Boston to Springfield in order for us to spend more time together.  I really admired how much she placed a priority on our relationship! In Springfield, she diligently made friends, joined local organizations, and got involved with the community.  I loved her her energy and her enthusiasm for meeting the challenges of completely new surroundings. Living together with her and seeing how she tenaciously approached every day made me know that she would be an awesome life partner. Also, she gave me a Milwaukee Brewers- Bob Uecker alarm clock last year, and I thought, “She really knows me”.

Julia: Brian and I have known each other since 2004, and I always thought of him as the real definition of a stand-up guy. There isn’t one moment where I knew he was the guy I was going to marry, it was more of a build up over the years (considering I *wanted* to be dating him about seven years (literally) before it actually happened), as we experienced more and more of life together, and it always confirmed and reinforced what I always knew – that I would be lucky to have him as a partner to go through life with.

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How did he pop the question?

Julia: After being long distance for 1.5 years, I decided to move to Springfield, IL to be with Brian in December of 2015. We lived right by Washington Park, and it was one of our favorite things about Springfield (it was a short list :-/). He used to walk to work and I worked from home, so I would walk halfway to work with him in the mornings through Washington Park; a ritual we both grew to really like. In November of 2017 I moved back to Boston with the intention of Brian being able to follow soon-ish. When visiting him after Christmas, he “made” me go on a walk with him in Washington Park on January 1st right before I headed to the airport. It was 5 degrees without the windchill, so I thought something might be up, and sure enough it was. He proposed in Washington Park with no one else around, and with my grandmother’s ring that was also her mother’s ring. It’s very, very special to me!

Was the proposal a surprise?

Yes!  Well, sort of, 30 minutes before the proposal.  It was Jan. 1st, pretty cold outside, and Julia was about to leave on her trip back to Boston, so when I asked her if she wanted to go on a walk, and she said no but I insisted, she got the impression something was going on.  I had picked out several different places where I could propose on our normal walking route in the park… in case there were other people sitting on the benches or preventing me from asking her without getting interrupted. Despite the cold weather, though, while we were walking around the park, there were people everywhere and I was down to my last proposal-location option on our route, a bench just off the walking path.  When I asked her if she wanted to have a seat on the bench, she knew something was going on, and the rest is history!

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What is your favorite thing about your fiancé?

Brian: Julia is strong, highly motivated and intelligent person who cares deeply about her friends and family, but she also doesn’t take herself too seriously. If I could sum it up into one favorite thing, I’d say that she’s a bad-ass.

Julia: Brian has such a pure heart. He is prone to seeing the best in everyone and the world, and can always find the positive in a situation, no matter what. He’s also incredibly loyal to his close friends and family. It’s hard to think of something Brian wouldn’t do, no matter how big or small, for those he cares about. Jump on a plane because you’re having a crisis? Sure. Help you move across the country at the last minute? No problem. Just need someone for a good old fashioned random adventure, domestic or abroad? Brian’s your man. I love his spirit of adventure and his spontaneity. We are a good match in that sense.  

How do you envision your wedding day?

Modern, classy wedding. I keep saying that while I don’t want a casual wedding, I want everyone (mainly myself!!) to be relaxed and just have a great time. I can see our wedding “looking” a number of different ways, but I would like it to be a classy, somewhat formal affair (I think our venue calls for that), without being stuffy or uptight.

I want everyone to have a reason to get dressed up, but to be relaxed and just have a great time. I want to throw a great party! Our priorities are making sure we can invite those we want to without unnecessarily deep cuts to the guest list, and to be able to go late. 🙂 Literally, those are our top two priorities. Hence why our venue allows you to go until 1:00am.

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How did you decide on your venue?

There were basically two parts to this decision: (1) we decided to get married in St. Louis, and (2) we decided to get married at the Old Post Office.

First, in terms of getting married in St. Louis, it was a surprising choice for us because Julia is from Boston, I’m from Milwaukee, and we were living in Springfield, Illinois. Julia has several family members in St. Louis though, and while living in Springfield, we visited the city a number of times for family events and weekend adventures. We ended up really enjoying the city, its history, its many neighborhoods and all the fun activities it had to offer. When we got engaged, we thought about how to make the wedding accessible for our family members in Wisconsin, Missouri, and New England. The New England contingent was really excited to see St. Louis, and everyone else liked the idea of having a midwest wedding. In the end, St. Louis made the most sense for both us and our guests.

Second, we chose the Old Post Office after checking out several other venues in and around St. Louis. We knew that we wanted to include as many friends and family members as possible, and we did not want to miss the chance to have our wedding during summer 2018. Julia and I both liked the accessibility of an urban setting for guest accommodations and weekend activities, and we were drawn in by the historic charm of the Old Post Office. It also struck a nice balance of classy but fun. The management at the facility also seemed to accommodate our needs and expectations, and the hotel options nearby were a plus.  

So far, despite our fairly quick engagement time frame, we’ve been very happy with how things have turned out logistically!

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Are there any special interests you’ll be incorporating?

We love love LOVE to travel. Anywhere! We both have traveled internationally a lot, but since we were living together in Springfield, we also did a ton of travel in the US. So we definitely envision incorporating travel somehow, and our choice of the Old Post Office as our venue definitely helps. Our Save the Date was in telegram format, and we’d love to work travel and/or postcards into our table numbers/seating assignments.

Also, we’re both big craft beer lovers/drinkers, so that’s something we’re working with potential caterers on. Budweiser products just aren’t going to cut it for us on our big day! 

What are you looking forward to most about your wedding day?

We’re definitely looking forward to hosting so many people, all together from all the different chapters of our lives – it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it will probably be a surreal to have them there all at once! I think we’re both looking forward to sharing such a momentous day with our friends and family all together at the same time.

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Stay tuned and follow us for sneak peeks of their big day on June 16th!

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