Thursday, July 26, 2012

Denise & Zach's Jersey Fresh Wedding

All photos copywrite Lara Kimmerer 2009.
 Denise Chadwick and Zach Davis were married in October 2009 at Perona Farms in Sparta, located in the Skylands of New Jersey - not far from Drew University, where they first met. They chose the venue to showcase the gorgeous fall foliage - and instead got slapped with a freak snowstorm that morning. Luckily, Perona Farms had it all under control and moved their ceremony to the grand staircase. Arriving at the venue in a light snowfall made the day a little more magical - and it didn't slow down the party one bit.

Click here for Denise & Zach's tips for throwing a wedding that's personal, meaningful, and an incredible amount of fun. Click here for the details of their menu. Click here for an hour-long playlist of songs they loved dancing to at their reception. And finally, click here for a photo gallery - their wedding story in 20 pictures.

But first, let's get to know one of my all-time favorite couples and how they found each other.

Though they both went to Drew, they didn't really know each other in school. A few years out, Zach was living in Boston with Hugh and Kristen, two of his best friends from college. Kristen had recently gotten a job in the admissions department of a grad program in Social Work. One day she came home and said, "Hey, remember Densie Chadwick from Drew? She just applied to our program."

Zach didn't think much of it - until a few hours later he got his first text ever from Denise.

It was a moment of sheer coincidence. Omar, another mutual friend from Drew, was having a gallery opening in Philadelphia. Denise didn't know how she could get down there without a car, so Omar said, "Hey, why don't you ask Zach Davis for a ride? He lives in Boston now. I think he's going."

It turns out, Denise never even got around to asking him about Philadelphia. They started texting and soon realized that they had all the same friends, they had an awful lot to talk about, and before the text frenzy was through, Zach had asked her out. He says, "What are the odds that she would come up two times in six hours??" The universe was giving him a sign, and he took it.

They went out twice in two days, had some intense conversations, and just completely clicked. Denise had been casually dating another guy before she reconnected with Zach, and that weekend she hung out with her sister and tried to figure out what to do. While they were talking it dawned on her; the other guy was toast, and Zach was eggs benny. Zach laughs and says, "Yeah, I'm goopy on the inside." Denise broke things off with the other guy the next time she saw him.

Things were going great - until Denise got into Columbia grad school and had to break the news that she was moving to New York. But Zach said, "Oh! I'm looking to move. I'll move to New York." They got separate apartments down the street from each other in Astoria - but they were together every single day. Denise thought, "This makes sense! I could do this . . . forever!"

I ask Zach when he knew he wanted to marry Denise. He tells me that his father was a divorce attorney, so growing up he had plenty of examples of failed marriages. Before he met Denise he "saw no reason to ruin a perfectly good relationship with a big transaction like that." But, he says, Denise is great about laying it all out there - and she said she wouldn't agree to move in together unless there was a possibility that they'd get married. Zach said he came to realize he was skeptical of marriage in the abstract - but marrying Denise? Not skeptical at all.

I ask where Zach proposed. "In our living room!" he says. Zach had some romantic ideas about how to pop the question, but his attempts were foiled a couple of times. He wanted to propose the night Obama got elected - but Denise fell asleep at 10:30. So much for that.

The next night he planned to make her a romantic dinner - her favorite meal is duck. They went to the store and there was no duck to be had. Foiled again! Indignant at the lack of duck, Zach decided they'd make a pizza together, "since pizza is pretty much my favorite thing in the entire world." It may not be fancy, he thought, but it would require her to take her rings off. Then he planned to sneak the engagement ring into the pile with her other rings and take her by surprise.

The trouble was, he was so nervous that he started asking, and then creepily insisting, that she take her rings off, until Denise blew up and essentially said, "No! I'm not taking my rings off! Weirdo."

Zach gave up trying to orchestrate some grand, romantic gesture. A few nights later, while they were relaxing on the couch, he proposed. Denise was floored that this moment had finally come - and she was in her pajamas. Zach told her, "This is the you I'm proposing to - no makeup, comfy clothes, just you." And he told her, " I never thought that I would be doing something like this, but I am so glad that it's happening - this could only be happening with you."

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