The next couple in our bluegrass lovebirds series may no longer live in the bluegrass, but Kentucky has certainly been an integral part of their story. I’m excited to introduce this lovely couple, who also happen to be both alumni of my high school. Meet the incredibly sweet…
Tell us a bit about yourself…
We are both native Lexingtonians, and in fact grew up just a few minutes down the road from one another! We have lived in Washington, DC for the past seven-and-a-half years, but still hold Kentucky near and dear to our hearts and will always consider it home. Gentry is a Branch Manager at PNC Bank and Kathryn conducts research on women and human rights in developing countries at a DC-based NGO, The International Center for Research on Women.
In our free time, we love taking in all that DC has to offer! Some of our favorite DC pastimes are attending performances at The Kennedy Center, exploring the international culture scene at local festivals and by visiting the embassies, and spending lazy Saturdays enjoying the many beautiful masterpieces that can be found at The National Gallery of Art. We are also huge foodies, and love cooking and eating out at all of the new places in DC’s ever-emerging restaurant scene. Traveling is another important part of our lives – we are always thinking about where we can go next (South Africa, Thailand, and Australia are on our short list).
How did you first meet? Was it “love at first sight” or were your “just friends”?
We were definitely “just friends” first – for seven years before we officially started dating!
Our moms knew each other for many years before we ever met, and first introduced us when Kathryn was thirteen and Gentry was fifteen (in fact, it is believed by some that our moms were conspiring to get us together!). When our families ran into each other after a concert at The Singletary Center, Gentry says it was love at first sight!
A year later, Kathryn started at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School and joined the marching band, where we quickly became friends. Gentry asked Kathryn to prom on a band trip to Disneyworld, even though he knew she already had a date (a guy can dream, right?). Regrettably, Kathryn declined, but we stayed close for the remainder of high school (we have many fond memories of eating ice cream together at Graeter’s and swimming together at Kathryn’s family’s pool).
We stayed in contact all throughout college (Gentry used to keep Kathryn company online using AOL Instant Messenger when she was pulling all-nighters!), and spent time together during winter and summer breaks. We were both finally single at the same time when Kathryn was twenty and Gentry was twenty-two, and decided it was time to try our hand at dating! We dated long-distance for a year-and-a-half while Kathryn finished school and moved to DC, though saw each other frequently (Gentry often visited the University of Richmond to go to Kathryn’s sorority socials and to see her perform in school drama productions).
In 2008, Gentry moved to Washington, DC to start a new life with Kathryn, where for the past seven years we have enjoyed culinary adventures, lots of travel, spending time with good friends, and making wonderful memories together.
Where did you go on your first date? Though we had regularly hung out as friends in high school, our first official date was in the summer of 2006 at the Ruby Tuesday near Turfland Mall. The fact that the restaurant AND the mall closed many years ago is a testament, we guess, to how long we’ve been together!
Where did you share your first kiss?
It was so long ago that neither one of us can remember where our first kiss was, but it must have been magical since we are still together after all these years!
When did you know that he/she was “the one”?
As close friends for so long, by the time we started dating we had already shared so many “life moments” together that transitioning from friends into something more seemed totally natural.
Gentry: We always knew that if we started dating it would be something special, and it turns out we were right!
Kathryn: I have early memories in our relationship of Gentry and me cooking dinner together and of him playing guitar for me (that still makes me swoon!), but as the years passed and Gentry continued to stand by me through all of life’s ups and downs, I realized that I couldn’t imagine life without him by my side. That’s when I knew for sure that he was “the one”.
Tell us about your engagement proposal…
The engagement was quite elaborate, even for Gentry, who regularly plans super special dates for the couple. Gentry told Kathryn that the evening was a birthday surprise for her, but when the night finally arrived and Kathryn saw all that was Gentry had planned, she suspiciously (and wisely!) asked Gentry if he was proposing. Gentry said “no” and Kathryn believed him, since he told her that their desired ring designer was unable to make Kathryn’s dream ring, and that he had scheduled an appointment to look at rings again the following weekend.
The night began with a set of pink envelopes which held clues Kathryn had to decipher to figure out where they were going (their very own DC scavenger hunt!). Each place represented somewhere the couple had traveled, and the whole date centered around their two favorite loves: food and travel!
Over the course of five hours, Gentry and Kathryn celebrated with local specialties from The Caribbean (representing their cruise to Key West, Florida, Grand Cayman Island, and Ochos Rios, Jamaica), California, Greece, Italy (celebrating a trip to Naples and the Amalfi Coast), Naples, Florida, and Strasbourg, France.
The night ended with one final stop at Gentry’s apartment. When Gentry opened the apartment door and Kathryn saw that the room was filled with rose petals, pink and white flowers, and candles, she finally knew that Gentry was proposing. Kathryn asked Gentry one last time if he was proposing and he responded by saying “Just come on in.” Upon entering, Kathryn said “It is all just so beautiful, I don’t know if I can go any farther.”
Gentry then sat Kathryn down on the couch (her legs were shaking) and played a song he wrote for her that had the lyrics, “I want forever to start right now. I can’t wait a second longer. I want forever to start right now, because this is right where I belong.” They were both emotional during the song, and when he finished singing, Gentry got down on one knee to give Kathryn the ring (it was her dream ring, which he had actually had all along!).
The night ended in happy tears, pistachio gelato (from Kathryn’s favorite DC spot, Dolcezza), and phone calls to Kathryn’s mom (who originally was worried since it was 1:00 AM when the phone rang), Gentry’s parents (who were excited to hear that Kathryn had said “yes”), and Kathryn’s friend and Maid of Honor, Claire Viall.
image by aesthetiica.com
When and where were you married?
While we live in Washington, DC, we couldn’t wait to share our Kentucky roots with our family and friends from around the world, so making the decision to get married in our shared hometown of Lexington, Kentucky was an easy one! Our ceremony took place at Central Baptist Church on August 30th, 2014, and was followed by a reception at Lexington Country Club. The reception was Kentucky-themed, complete with a Bluegrass band, lawn games, and good, Southern food (Kentucky Hot Browns, pulled pork BBQ, fried chicken, shrimp and cheese grits, a Kentucky Proud salad bar, and Graeter’s ice cream – a hometown favorite – for dessert!). To further share our love of The Bluegrass State with our out-of-town guests (from England, Belgium, Germany, Ecuador, and across the United States), we held a Kentucky Day the day after the wedding, hosting a brunch at Holly Hill Inn, followed by a tour of Old Friends Horse Farm and Buffalo Trace Distillery.
image by aesthetiica.com
He Said/She Said
My partner’s best quality is…
Kathryn: His patience and the kindness he shows to everyone he meets. Gentry is literally the guy that will help an elderly woman cross the street (I saw him do it one time!). I also love his smile, his sense of humor, and how much he loves me – I pretty much love everything about him!
Gentry: Her passion. Kathryn approaches everything she does with her whole heart, and that’s what I love more than anything about her. This makes her a wonderful friend and an amazing wife!
The thing about my partner that drives me crazy is…
Kathryn: The fact that I can’t stay mad at him – he always knows how to make me laugh, especially when I don’t want to!
Gentry: She always steals all the covers at night – I’ve threatened that I’m going to have to get my own comforter!
My number one piece of advice about love is…
Kathryn: Love your partner with your entire mind, heart, and soul. Always be their cheerleader and biggest advocate. Above all, never give up on love or on each other. Life is going to be hard at times and throw you curveballs, but as long as you’re committed to one another, there is nothing you can’t handle.
Gentry: I cannot stress enough the importance of strong communication in any relationship, but especially in a marriage. Tell the person you love how special they are and how much they mean to you as often as you can, and always be there to listen and share during the good times and bad. Kathryn and I started playing a game where we ask each other daily: “What do you love about me today?”. It’s a nice reminder to take a moment out of the everyday craziness to remember why we are together and to celebrate our love.
Thanks, Kathryn and Gentry! May your first year of marriage be filled with amazing adventures!
To true love.
**All images were provided by the participating couple**