December 6, 2023

In July 2020, Lawrence James Handerhan walked from his house in Washington to a neighborhood brewery for a date — his first ever from the courting app Hinge.

His date, Donnelly Lon McDowell, lived 4 blocks away from him. Whereas the 2 had mutual associates, they’d by no means crossed paths earlier than. They sat exterior with drinks, discovering issues in frequent: They each recognized as “excessive extroverts,” they each had Italian heritage and ties to New England, and so they each graduated from Princeton.

“It simply felt simple to attach with one another,” Mr. McDowell, 39, stated. “I’ve been on a good variety of dates the place it felt like a one-off and was fairly clear early on there wasn’t an actual connection. I may inform this was one thing.”

The sensation was mutual. A month after their first date, Mr. Handerhan, 40, confided in his sister: “I met somebody. It’s early, nevertheless it feels particular.”

Mr. Handerhan, who grew up in Wellesley, Mass., is the chief of workers on the Administration for Youngsters and Households, a division of the US Division of Well being and Human Companies. He has a bachelor’s diploma in American historical past from Bates School and a grasp’s in public affairs from Princeton.

Mr. McDowell, who grew up in Laytonsville, Md., is a accomplice at Kelley Drye & Warren LLP, a legislation agency. He has a bachelor’s in politics from Princeton and a legislation diploma from the George Washington College.

Within the early months of their relationship, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2 spent numerous time collectively.

“As somebody who has double-booked social actions my whole life prepandemic, it was such a blessing to not have wherever to go however have somebody I actually loved being with,” stated Mr. Handerhan, who goes by Larry. “I one hundred pc fell in love with him on his sofa, watching TV, not likely shifting very quick.”

Just a few months later, they celebrated their first Christmas collectively at Mr. McDowell’s home, the place the couple ambitiously ready a seven fishes feast — a meal Mr. Handerhan had grown up consuming along with his household — for simply themselves. “By then I used to be positively like, Oh, I wish to spend each Christmas collectively,” Mr. Handerhan stated. “He makes all the pieces higher.”

In 2022, they attended eight weddings as a pair. At that time, they have been unofficially dwelling collectively and had mentioned marriage solely casually. “I keep in mind pondering, why rush it?” Mr. McDowell stated.

By wedding ceremony quantity 4, Mr. McDowell started tearing up whereas listening to “Wherever with You” by Maggie Rogers. “I assumed, why wait, why not do it now?” he stated.

So he began planning. In November 2022, Mr. McDowell proposed in entrance of Mr. Handerhan’s house, amid strung up lights and images of the 2. After Mr. Handerhan stated sure, the couple stepped inside the home to have a good time with two visiting associates, in addition to Mr. Handerhan’s sister and greatest good friend from graduate college, each of whom had flown in for the event. The group celebrated with flowers and champagne, crying and catching up.

[Click here to binge read this week’s featured couples.]

Mr. McDowell then advised all of them head to the brewery the place the couple had their first date. Upon entry, the couple was met with the cheers of 60 associates.

The couple have been legally married at Martha’s Winery Agricultural Society’s Agricultural Corridor in West Tisbury on Sept. 30. Mr. Handerhan’s sister, Kristen Atwood, who was ordained by means of the Common Life Church for the event, officiated the marriage, with Mr. McDowell’s sister, Dr. Daybreak McDowell Torres, collaborating within the ceremony.

There have been 275 visitors, and as an alternative of desk numbers, the couple assigned every desk a special album cowl, pairing visitors with the music the couple most related to them. Their dad and mom’s tables had albums by The Beatles.

White Ford Bronco, a ’90s cowl band from Washington that Mr. McDowell had been a fan of since his legislation college days, performed on the wedding ceremony. “We danced each single second of the reception,” Mr. Handerhan stated, regardless of the wet climate that introduced the ceremony and reception indoors. “Nobody was seated.”

Later within the evening, the band performed the music “Ironic” by Alanis Morissette, which options the road, “It’s like rain in your wedding ceremony day.” The newlyweds took over the dance ground, belting the lyrics, and the remainder of the group joined in.

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