Meet the couple who actually wanted to get married on Friday the 13th from day one.
How did you two meet?
Colleen: I was still in the process of getting my license for occupation therapy and was working at a hotel in Franklin, MA. It was my first night working alone and I was so annoyed that this guy came to check in because I was trying to eat my dinner and watch a movie in the back. So I go to check him in and I cant’ pronounce his last name to save my life. I did my little spiel, skip over his name and say, “Okay this is your room…” He’s trying to ask me about dinner places and all I’m thinking is, ‘Great, if I give him this card, then I get money back at the restaurant!’ I totally missed that he was trying to ask me out. The next day, my mom comes home from work and goes, “Colleen, there’s this really handsome guy that’s working with me, his name is Alex, I think you checked him into the hotel last night.” And I’m like, ‘Mom, I’m not looking this guy up online, that’s super weird.”
Alex: I was living in Seattle and was working for a senior living facility company. Her mom is the director at this building that I was working at for a week, installing their computer network and running all of their cables and stuff like that. Her mom talked to me and was like I have a daughter… and I was like oh god, not this again.
C: She bugs me all week and finally on Thursday, the day before he leaves to go back to Seattle, where he’s from, she tells me that she showed him my photo and that he would date me if he lived out here. And I’m like, again, “Mom, this is awkward! Now I feel like I have to go in there.” So I went in and both of our faces turned bright red. After we kinda chitchatted a little bit, I realized he was the guy I had checked in my first night alone. I knew exactly what room he was in and I was like, ‘Oh thank goodness I gave him a good room!’
A: It didn’t dawn on me that she was the girl at the hotel right away… it was through talking to her mom for a little bit then it registered. Small world.
C: So then we exchanged phone numbers and haven’t stopped talking since. We did long distance for about a year; we flew back and forth, did a couple of weeklong trips, and he even came out once and surprised me once. He eventually moved out here about a year and a half later.
How did you get engaged?
A: It was during a trip to Portsmouth, New Hampshire on May 13 — a Friday the 13th — in 2016. Probably three, four months before, I had asked her dad for his blessing — some awkward situation where we went and got pizza. He said it was cool and then from that point on I was like, ‘Alright, I gotta figure out how I’m gonna do it.’ She wanted to do a weekend trip somewhere, just to get out of town and I was like, ‘Ding!’ She planned it, so I knew she’d have no idea that I wanted to do it then. It was perfect. I found a guy and paid him extra to getthe ring custom made and sent to me asap because it was only three days before we were gonna go, but I got it in time.
C: I thought he was going to propose around Christmas time. It was May, so it was long out of my head that anything was going to happen then. We got to the spot where we were staying at and we unpacked a little bit and were eating dinner. There was this beautiful bay window and he goes, “Hey babe, come check this out, there’s something huge out there.” And I was like, “If this is a bug, I’m not going to be happy.” So I come over and I’m looking out the window, but I can’t see anything because its pitch black. But he’s like, “No, no, get closer to the window.” And I could hear him shuffling in the back and I was like, Wait. I think this is it. Oh my God, do I turn around? What do I do?” I finally turned around and he was on one knee. It was really cute.
A: She didn’t say anything. It took her a minute. I was like, “Uhhhh, so, yes?”
Tell us about the planning process.
A: I was thinking we’d have a couple weeks to just enjoy being engaged, but before we even got back home, she already stopped and got a stack of wedding magazines. She already had a general concept in her head.
C: Which is so funny because I am not the girl who pictured my wedding while growing up. I was like, ‘Whatever, it will happen.’
A: But she’s super creative and she’s an artist. She makes everything.
C: I was really excited about the crafting. I knew I didn’t really want flowers; I’m not a big flower girl. So, I made my bouquet and the centerpieces. The centerpieces were probably the bane of my existence. I probably spent like eighty-plus hours on making all of the flowers by hand. We have a couple of them still. I still have my bouquet, which I made from some pins I had from my grandmother, a pin or two from my mom and then a bunch of other pins from thrift stores and such. I spent hours working on that too.
A: It was like fifty pounds. You could knock someone out if you wanted to.
C: And it was funny because Alex had wanted something traditional because we skipped the cake and garter toss and all that stuff; he was like, “Please throw your bouquet!” And I was like, “If I throw this, someone’s going to die.” So we planned to throw a kissing ball that I made instead. I had designed it for our flower girl to carry instead of the flowers — she was afraid to put flowers on the ground because someone would step on them. But I never ended up throwing it, we forgot.
A: We were having too much fun; we didn’t want to stop the party.
Why did you pick a Friday the 13th as your wedding date?
A: She’s all about the horror movies.
C: Horror movie, scary shows, that’s my jam.
A: Halloween is our Christmas.
C: I always knew that I wanted the fall — October here is beautiful. So I was scrolling through the calendar looking for dates, and all of a sudden I saw Friday the 13th in October and I was like that’s it! It was meant to be! We’re doing it. And nobody else wanted to marry on Friday the 13th, so it was perfect.
A: Yea, everyone was available! Imagine that.
C: And now we have something to blame it on if anything bad happens. Like ope, well, we got married on friday the 13th.
How did you come across Hope Artiste Village for your venue?
C: They were super hard to find originally.
A: I think your mom found them through a Facebook advertisement — they didn’t even have a website yet.
C: There was like a phone number that I could call, so I did and they were like, “Yeah, come down for a visit!” We did and were like this is perfect. We had pretty much freedom of the whole building.
A: Breaktime Bowling is part of the same company, so we actually had our cocktail hour and then our after-hours party with a VIP section and catered food up there. We had 4 lanes all to ourselves that everybody was bowling on
C: And the shops in the hallway where we got married in were shut down earlier in the day so it was wide open and closed off to the public. And then taking pictures at the Met was really cool because he’s a musician.
A: That was super cool for me. We’ve only seen one show there, Bayside which is her favorite band of all time. Which is funny… Side story: my brother was in a band in Seattle in the industry and his guitar player is in Aiden, who toured with bayside. So I knew all the guys in Aiden. When she told me for the first time that she loved Bayside I was like that’s crazy. It’s crazy to be so far away, like east coast, west coast, and still have those little connections between people. Like, wow. Again, really small world.
What was the best part of planning?
A: Food tasting. That was the best. We went to Russel Morrin an idea of what we wanted, and they gave us samples and stuff, then they brought out more that we hadn’t even seen and we were like yes, yes, yes. Everything.
C: And I have Celiac Disease, and they were excellent with catering to my needs and other dietary needs of our guests.
A: They’re totally on top of cross contamination, they knew all about that stuff. It was awesome.
C: I was like, “Oh good, I don’t have to worry about getting sick on my wedding night.”
Was there any reason why you decided not to do a first look?
A: I told her from the beginning that I didn’t want so see her dress at all before the ceremony. I just wanted to see her pop out that door. It was awesome.
C: Some back story to that aisle walk: I wear glasses, but I didn’t t want my glasses in the wedding photos. I trialed contacts days in advance and I thought, ‘Okay, I can tolerate an hour. I’ll put them in right before I walk down the aisle and then I’ll see him and then I can take them out after.’ Well, I couldn’t get them in on day of. So there’s photos of my friend Lindsey putting them in my eye. It was so funny. Luckily, I was able to see Alex while walking down the aisle. And I was like, ‘Oh thank goodness,’ because I would have missed his little chin tremor.
A: That happened? I didn’t notice…
How did writing your own vows go?
A: We didn’t want each other to know what was being written — we wanted our vows to be a surprise at the ceremony — so we would each show them to our friend/Colleen’s bridesmaid and have her compare the two. Like are they equal in length, tone, etc. She told me, ‘Oh you’re good, you’re about equal.” So that day I go first and mine are short and sweet. Then Colleen goes and ten minutes of reading later she turns the page.
C: *laughing* It was not that long!
A: Im sitting there like, ‘Damnit.’ But it was cute. But yeah, my advice would be to have someone who can accurately gauge the length of each and also knows the speed at which each person speaks.
C: Lindsey had thought I was going to talk a lot faster. She even said, “As long as you read it a little slower, you’ll be fine.” Well, turns out I was really calm so I read at a normal pace. That’s why it seemed so much longer. And as I’m reading I’m like, ‘Oh man, this is long.’
A: You read it as a presentation in front of a class, like with pauses for dramatic effect.
C: I remember I was just in the moment and I wasn’t really in tears, but I felt like I needed to be and all of a sudden I felt like laughing. I had to pause and almost hide my mouth for a moment. I think people thought I was getting overly emotional, but it was just because I had to laugh.
Do you have any advice when it comes to writing your vows?
C: So I walk with the elderly population and I ask almost every person that I work with, just for curiosity’s sake, “How long have they been married? Oh, sixty-five years? Okay, what’s the secret then?” A lot of guys will laugh and joke, “Oh just agree with everything she says.” But you also hear things like, “Always remember to love each other.” I was able to take from that and it was sort of what I based my vows on. I felt like it was a little bit easier, because I had this general idea of what makes a marriage based off the hundreds of people that I’ve treated throughout my life.
A: It was very difficult for me. It took me a very long time. I’m not one that’s outwardly affectionate and stuff, so it took me some time. But just say something meaningful, something that’s not super generic but rather specific to your relationship with that person. That’s what was most important to me.
Tell us about your table names.
A: Each table was named after either a city that we vacationed in or visited together. And then each one had a little placard explaining why it was special to us. Cities like Franklin where we first met and had our first kiss; Pawtucket, where were getting married; Crystal Mountain, the mountain out in Seattle I grew up snowboarding on – I took her a couple times when we stayed out there; Long Beach, Washington – a little beach town where we go to a little rod run every year; and more.
C: We wanted to be non-traditional. Not have just simple numbers.
A: Then our signature drink was a cinnamon sangria called the BOSSEA.
C: I was looking up different things on Pinterest and I randomly came across the recipe. Apple aangria with cinnamon sticks in it — your traditional fall cocktail. Then the initials for Boston’s airport is BOS and Seattle’s is SEA.
A: Also, if you look at the little logo she made for it, it’s like the Red Sox and the Seahawks.
C: I don’t think most people caught all the details we put in!
I take it one of you is a Star Wars fan?
A: I’m a big kid, so yeah, I’m a Star Wars fan. It took me awhile to get her convinced.
C: The kids at our wedding loved the lightsabers. They had a blast.
What was your first dance song?
C: We had two, a mix of Jack Johnson’s “Better Together” and an old swing song by Thurston Harris called “Little Bitty Pretty One.”
A: We choreographed the second half — the bare minimum.
C: We met with a lady for forty-five minutes, maybe an hour and we filmed the couple moves that we had. Then we went home and practiced it. We looked like giant fools at first, awkwardly just standing there during the first part, and then it switched into the second song and picked up and everyone was wooing. My grandparents were over the moon. In all the videos you can hear my grandmother cheering and my grandfather clapping.
A: They used to dance like that all the time when they were younger
C: They were huge dancers! They were so excited.
A: Periodically they tell us that we need to keep it going, like have you guys gone to any more lessons yet?
What was each of your favorite moments from that day?
C: For me, it was both our dance and my father daughter dance. My dad does not dance — like not at all. He has no moves. But forever ago he and I kind of learned this weird dance form called jump style, and I was like, ‘Dad, it’s super easy, you can pull it off, it’s just jumping up and down, basically.” He said okay and got right into it. And we had the hardest time picking some kind of sappy song to dance to, so we ended up with one written by some girl on YouTube. I cant find it anywhere else. But the DJ was able to get it. So, were “dancing” to this song, essentially just standing there, and he’s talking to me the whole time and I’m like, “Dad, should we maybe turn or do something different?” And he was like, “No! I can listen to this song, I just have to keep talking to you.” So we were talking about the weather when we were doing our father daughter dance. We knew that the music was going to cut but I don’t think anyone else knew except for Alex. In some of the videos you hear my mom gasp because she thought the DJ had screwed it up — all of a sudden, we go into this super hard, fast beat and were dancing all over the place. People were cheering because, again, my dad is not a dancer. And then the DJ mashed it back up again and we went back to super stoic dancing. It was awesome for us.
A: For my favorite moment, I’d say the end of the ceremony when you’re walking out and everyone’s standing up and cheering. You’re just overwhelmed with everything… That was a trip.
Would you recommend DIY projects to other brides?
C: As a DIY bride, I wish that I could go back and just be less stressed out about certain things. It’s so hard to separate yourself from planning. I wish I could go back and just take a step back and be like, ‘Okay, that flower doesn’t have to be perfect.’ Like chill out. Because, again, nobody even noticed the finer smaller details.
A: Like the flowers were made of maps of the same cities we used for the table names. If you look close you can see all the names of little streets and towns.
C: You can see them on the petals… but I don’t think anyone saw until I pointed it out. But it was worth it, in a way…
A: It did add a little bit of stress to the whole project.
C: It definitely added stress. But if you’re somebody who has the time and who likes to craft and do stuff yourself, start crafting early.
A: It literally came down to the buzzer on a couple of things.
C: Like on the day of, I was still finishing sign pieces.
What advice do you have for newly engaged couples?
C: Somebody gave me great advice, they said, “Take three times. One time for yourself where you completely step back and just view everything that’s going on. Stand there for a minute and just take it all in. The second time, do the same thing, but do it with your husband. See what’s around you, all of these people that are here and love you. Then, at the end of the night, convene again.Recognize everything.” That was really helpful.
A: It goes by so fast. If you don’t do that, you’re going to be on the ride home thinking, ‘Shit, I don’t even remember what happened.’
C: It’s so funny because everyone says it goes by so fast and you think, ‘Yeah, yeah, sure, sure.” But no. Blink and it’s over.
A: Also, go into it not having super high expectations because you’re going to be disappointed. It’s never going to be as perfect as you want it to be
C: I actually have the opposite thought. There was one thing I think went ‘wrong,’ and it was just that the people who were set up our centerpiece lights didn’t click them twice to turn them on a constant. So, like thirty mins in, they went off and I was like, “Oh no,” But that was literally the only thing. That I was aware of, anyway. Apparently, toilets were overflowing and leaking into the downstairs, but I had no idea. And then Alex’s pants weren’t hemme, so he wore different ones that we didn’t plan for… I was oblivious to it all. Everything went perfectly in my head.
A: Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it was bad. I’m just saying to have a little bit of a reality check — a little give to your expectations. And then that way, when it turns out awesome, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Photography: Penny Souza Photography // Ceremony: Hope Artiste Village // Reception: Hope Events on Main // Catering and Desserts: Russell Morin Catering and Events // Hair: Don at JTB Spa in Uxbridge, MA // Makeup: Lena Lotus // Bride’s Dress: Morilee from Ve’Lace Bridal in Bellingham, MA // Groom’s Suit: Men’s Wearhouse // Bridesmaid Apparel: Custom skirts from Sewing by Lu-Ann // Officiant: Perry Leardi // Reception Music and Photobooth: Music Machine Entertainment // Guestbook: MissDesignBerryInc