James and Steph met in September of 2006, and will have known each other for two years and one week when they wed. As with all stories, it is hard to know where to begin. Both James and Steph feel like every moment has been leading them towards their union! But perhaps it is simplest (and less starry-eyed) to begin with their respective meetings of one Ross McDemott.
Stephanie and Ross met in New York City – he being an old high school friend of Steph’s current Richmond roomie. The two VCU students were in Manhattan visiting the Cooper-Hewitt, and Ross was too good of a diversion to bypass. Steph and Ross hit it off, quickly recognizing their affinity for capitalizing on the advent of personal blogging platforms and online photo journals for their growing design portfolios. Afterwards, the two kept in touch easily, but not frequently. Stephanie would leave her old haunts in Richmond for design work in the nation’s capitol, while Ross ventured into Japan and then back to Virginia to be closer to his family. They would see one another only a few times during the next two years.
One of those times was at a housewarming party Ross had at his new digs in Charlottesville, Virginia. It was at Ross’ house that James and Stephanie could have met—but just missed one another. Ross even mentioned to Stephanie that a friend of his named James would be coming over and that they should meet; it “could be a love connection” he suggested. However, no introductions were made and their ships passed silently in the dark summer night. This was the night that Stephanie met Wheeler, Emily (now Mr. and Mrs. Gum), Ryan and Darrah McDermott, and Josh and Mary Caler for the first time, all folks she now counts as her dear friends. Bridesmaid Allie also fell to Ross’ charms and the two became friends that night. Since so many friendships were formed, they all made tentative plans to hang out again someday. Indeed, throughout the next two years they did.
But where was James? No doubt smoking on the back porch. There is an apocryphal anecdote that Steph must include in which she noticed the elaborate hors d’oeuvres that he brought, but neglected to notice the body attached! James had moved to Charlottesville in 2006 to escape the depressing Boston winters and be back in the presence of his family. He felt like he was heading the wrong direction and wanted to be away from the cold metropolitan meritocracy and in an environment much more warm and loving. He began to attend Christ Episcopal Church. James was bowled over by the community of caring, vibrant and cool people he met there. Ross moved into town shortly after James arrived, and helped show him that Christians could be actively involved and interested in relevant, challenging and exciting modern culture. The two became friends, and James looked forward to any and all events with the new circle that Ross and he were surrounded by. As for Ross’ housewarming party; of course he was there. But Groomsman Scott was also in town visiting, and James was busily showing off his new life to his old friend. One can almost forgive his overlooking the radiant Stephanie in the evening’s busyness (almost).
About a year later, Ross was in Washington, DC doing a freelance job (Ross is a very talented photographer). He, Stephanie and other friends all met up that night. It also happened to be the day before Stephanie was to move into a new apartment and needed moving help. Ross offered to help Steph move and during the day the two ended up talking at length about relationships and current events in their lives. Ross suggested again that she should meet his friend James and detailed all of the ways in which they were a great match. She was very interested in meeting him. James loved “electronic music” even! She told Ross she’d love to meet him, but only if James was equally interested in meeting her. Ross agreed and two months later in September of 2007, James and Ross made the drive up to DC to attend a party Steph and her roommates were hosting in celebration of their new apartment. James, an inveterate introvert was not wont to do such things, but knew somewhere deep down that this was somehow, against all odds and doubts, to be an important event. Steph too had an amorphous feeling that this was something special. When James and Stephanie met at the door of her apartment on that late summer evening in Columbia Heights, it was a moment that seemed so everyday: two people shaking hands. James said “Hi. James Fishwick, pleased to meet you” and Stephanie said “I’m glad you could make it!” And then life changed in a split second.
James got in touch with Stephanie a few days after the party and they made plans to see one another again. Throughout the following months they fell in love. They dated long-distance for about six months and James proposed just after their one-year anniversary.
They thank God everyday for bringing them to each other and are thrilled to be spending the rest of their lives together, loving each other more and more!