First, I want to thank everyone who sent in their "love story," their "how we met" story, their "wow how the heck did we manage to pull this one off" story. We received so many wonderful emails, thank you, thank you, thank you! It was quite difficult to choose just one, so we've decided to add a 2nd and 3rd place and those folks will be emailed today.
We have chosen Christen Simon and Mark Marabate to receive a wedding cake for their September 4th wedding at the lovely Villa Parker in Parker, CO! What a truly wonderful couple these two are! This is their story:
It was the fall of 2007 and a little independent musical called "Boy in the Bathroom" was all the rage in New York City. Mark's best friend, childhood chum, and soon-to-be Best Man, Michael Lluberes, was hosting a party in honor of his successful show, at an upscale restaurant near 42nd Street. It was here that Mark and Christen first crossed paths.
Mark, the guy from Los Angeles who wrote "movies," was the odd one out in a room full of theater artists, so he was happy when Christen happened to sit down across from him and introduced herself as a close friend of Michael Lluberes. What Mark didn't know was that Christen was actually Michael's closest female friend and someone whom he had spent a great deal of time with as actors while touring around the country. Both Christen and Mark had heard about each other from Michael for over four years but never met nor saw a picture of each other. So although they had a close friend in common, Mark and Christen meeting was fairly coincidental (or maybe a bit of fate).
Due to Micheal's success he had very little time to spend with his friend Mark so he pawned Mark off onto his other friend, Christen. This selfless act by Michael allowed his two best friends to become friends on their own. As Christen and Mark spent the next three days walking through New York City talking, laughing, and trying to avoid angry New York taxi drivers it was clear something was blossoming. And by the end of Mark's trip it was also clear that having a relationship would be difficult when one lived in New York and the other Los Angeles. There could almost be no greater distance in the United States. They soon found out that they had quite a few differences to overcome. Mark was a young, caucasian, Jewish man who was raised in Michigan. Christen was African American, Catholic and was raised across the country as an Air Force Brat.
But fate dealt a lucky hand when Mark was hired to do Travel Channel work, thus often bringing him to New York, where he was able to have time to visit Christen. But whether they were together, or utilizing Skype phone services on the internet, they began a very untraditional form of dating. They found that no matter how many seemingly differences they had or someone else may have noticed they had they never saw nor felt that way. Those "differences" are the perfect formula to their happiness! Those differences have never come close to what the deep love and instant connection that they felt since night one. Then, after a year of several dozen flights, Christen made a big choice to move to Los Angeles so that Mark and she could be closer together and see where their relationship could go. She hasn't looked back. And a year and a half later they were engaged!
Recently I had the pleasure of meeting Christen and Mark recently during their whirlwind visit to Denver to get some wedding tasks done. Despite the pressure of trying to cram so much into a few short days, they were so at ease and seemed to truly enjoy being able to do this together. They have overcome some serious hurdles to be together and their joy is contagious. I am so thankful to them for sharing their story with me and allowing me to share it with you.