Sara and James

How we met: Sara’s story
I met James 10 years ago when I was studying abroad in London. I was an American college student and James was a British NGO worker. As part of my study abroad program I was placed at an internship at an international charity in London where James was my supervisor. Although I was only there for a couple of months, we became friends and kept in touch once I went back to school in North Carolina. Across 2 continents and 10 years we kept up on email, and only had a chance to meet up a couple of times, once when I was in London and once when he was in the States. Even though over that time I felt like I had developed strong feelings for James despite the distance, I couldn’t quite communicate them because I had no idea what he was feeling. And it seemed crazy for me to have this connection with someone who was so far away and leading such a different life. So we just went about our lives, through different jobs, different relationships, and different cities, and tried to keep in touch when we could. With the distance and our timing, there never was really anytime that we were able to spend with each other, or have deep conversations, and our feelings for each other never came out.

But everything came together last year when James’ job in London had him coming to Washington, DC often for work visits. I have been living in DC for the past several years since grad school, working for a non-profit. When James and I met up last January, even though we hadn’t seen each other in almost 4 years, we immediately reconnected. After just our first couple of nights out together it was clear there was something between us, and James finally got the courage to be more honest with me about how he felt. When I asked him why I had heard so little from him the past 4 years if he had these feelings for me, he said “I think I thought about you almost every day for the past four years, and always wondered if you were thinking of me too.”

After that it was full speed ahead with our relationship. Even though James is still living in London, he was booking plane tickets to see me in DC every few weeks, we speak on the phone almost every day, and email all day long. We have so much lost time to make up for, and we can’t believe that we have known each for so long and never realized how perfect we were together. The feelings I had for James before were amplified by a thousand times when we got to know each other better and how much we had in common and how we wanted exactly the same thing out of life. No one has ever been more perfect for me.

James proposed to me in January, almost a year exactly after he and I reconnected again in DC. We’re planning a summer wedding in North Carolina, near my family. After the wedding, I will be moving to London to live with James. Sometimes I’m so amazed thinking back how we first met, how we kept in touch for so long, and never did I dream he would be my husband one day! Life has a crazy way of working out sometimes, but nothing has ever felt so right.

How we met: James’ story
Sara and I met 10 years ago when she was studying in the UK. At the time, the not-for-profit I was working for was part of a study program which saw interns placed with us for a number of months. I remember one day coming to the office and being told there was a new intern starting the following day and I would be managing her – I wasn’t that happy as I was really busy and thought this might be more time-consuming than the benefits it brought. The next morning Sara walked in! I thought she was stunning, bright, intelligent and great fun to be around: there was an immediate connection. We became good friends, keeping in regular touch and following each other’s lives for the rest of the decade. We managed to meet up a couple of times during that time, but really we were reliant on email and following each other lives on Facebook. It was a very strange situation. I knew I had these feelings for Sara, and whilst I suspected she felt the same, I was never sure. Added to the problems of distance and time differences, it felt like it would be impossible to ever really explore whether we shared the same feelings, and even if we did, if anything could possibly work between us given how separate our lives were. So we both got on with our lives, having other relationships and building our careers, whilst keeping in touch whenever possible. It really seemed like we would never be together.

That all changed just over a year ago when I started visiting DC frequently through my job. For the first time in 10 years we had a chance to spend time in each other’s company for more than an evening every few years. Whenever I was in DC with work, we started spending quite a lot of time together and really reconnected. I was amazed how easy and natural everything felt given how little we’d seen each other. It became really clear to me that we were supposed to be together, and I finally realised that Sara felt the same. I’m still living in London, and Sara in DC, so the last year has seen an awful lot of air miles generated. Things have moved quickly in that period: we both feel we have 10 lost years to make up for. It’s still incredible to think that despite all the obstacles we have had to overcome, we are finally together and about to marry!

How I asked: James’ story
Sara and I hired a cabin for the New Year period, and I had planned to propose when we were there (at midnight on the porch under the stars!), but there had been a delay in getting the ring, and I wanted to have it when I asked Sara. I remained in DC for the first week in January, by which time I had collected the ring, and was trying to work out a way to propose before I returned to the UK that weekend: which didn’t prove easy in a city I don’t know that well. Whilst at the cabin we had spent a lot of lazy afternoons playing monopoly, so on the Friday evening I suggested we play a game. I’m not sure it was quite what Sara had in mind for our last Friday together! I set up the board, and put a note under the first ‘Chance’ card with a note asking her to marry me. Then I realized that I may land on it first, so put notes under the next three ‘Chance’ cards as well….

Then I went to prepare some drinks and noticed out of the corner of my eye that Sara (always keen to prevent any type of cheating, even in Monopoly!) started to shuffle the ‘Community Chest’ cards – the ‘Chance’ cards were clearly next! So I dashed over, thrust a drink in her hand, and pretended to shuffle them myself. The game started, and with Sara’s first throw she landed on ‘Chance’ – the first time anything had ever happened quickly in our relationship! She seemed to take forever to read the card before giving me a massive hug and kiss and saying ‘Yes’.

Photos by Charlotte NC photography company Themba Imagery

Wedding Venue: Arboretum

Wedding Planner: Southern Celebrations