• MK Mancuso

Kristi and Dan

Kristi easily recalls the moment she met Dan. She was 35 and had just been transferred to work on a special project at Wegmans. February 8th, 2016, it was her first day at the store and she was introduced to all the department managers. Dan, who 33 at the time, was the store's produce manager.

For technicality reasons, Kristi was recorded as a produce employee. Although she wouldn't be directly reporting to Dan, she was still prompted to meet with him after a store conference.

In meeting him, she immediately thought he was handsome. However, with her shy personality, Kristi found it hard to speak freely around him. Looking back, she remembers being sweaty and nervous.

Shortly after, Kristi received an email from him asking when she'd be working in the produce department again. The email included a smiley face and that's when she sensed he was interested too. Over a short period of time, working together on projects for the company, Kristi's supervisor asked her to continue her partnership with Dan by tackling a different project that had come up.

It didn't take them long before they were texting each other out outside of working hours. Two months later, Dan had officially asked her out. Since Dan was new to the area, Kristi recommended the restaurant, Firebirds Wood Fired Grill. On April 11th, they walked there after work for some drinks and appetizers and stayed until the bar closed. They left the evening knowing a second date was inevitable—they were hooked!

By the third date, things took a turn. After attending a Washington Nationals game, the couple admits they had one too many margaritas throughout the event and forgot to use the restroom before jumping on a metro.

It was a crowded ride home and taking longer than expected for the train to arrive at it's scheduled routes. Eventually, they couldn't hold back and ended up hopping off stops before their destinations.

Panicked to find a restroom they realized that none were to be found, so in a last resort to relieve themselves they had to make a hard choice. Finding an open area in the metro station they quickly attempted to resolve the issue. Things only got worse—with Dan downhill, Kristi's stream ran straight into his. It was embarrassing back then, but now years later and happily married—it's become a funny memory.

While some memories hold a tone of humor, others are filled with romance. Dan knows he will never forget the first time Kristi made a meal for him. He was blown away by the dish she prepared that night. The dinner was going to be a salad, which seems simple enough, but what Kristi had in mind was something so much more.

Arriving at his place, Kristi already had a bottle of wine and all the ingredients needed to create her masterpiece. Dan watched in amusement as Kristi took her time preparing the strawberries and gourmet shrimp for the salad. He thought it was absolutely incredible.

For Kristi, one of her favorite memories shared with Dan is much different. She knew Dan's family meant everything to him. The year they met was the first year Dan was away from everyone. She could tell that the few occasions where he was able to travel and be with them, were priceless.

It was about four months into their relationship and Dan was headed to Rochester for a little reunion. He spoke about his family with such excitement as the trip approached, but what was to come surprised Kristi.

While on his family getaway, she received a call. Dan invited her to a family, weekend-away wine tour. The romantic gesture filled her heart. She admits that at this point she had already fallen for him, but didn't have the courage to express the full extent of her feelings. The invitation made her feel a sense of overwhelming acceptance from his family and love from Dan. The weekend of the wine tour went amazingly and it was on October 22nd of 2016 when she finally said the words, "I love you," for the first time.

Before these lovebirds met and fell in love, their lives had been very different. Dan was in a busy stride of work, not ready to settle down, and although he partook on a few dates, no one left a long-standing impression.

For Kristi, she had just left a 16 year-long relationship, was bogged down by work, and was content on staying at home to work on her designs. She spent her Sunday evenings with her parents, enjoying family dinner time, and had come into the mindset that she would never marry. For her, the decision was a comfortable and confident life choice. Nevertheless, meeting Dan was a course of fate that would surprise both of them in their feeling about marriage and alter their plans for the future to come.

As individuals and as a couple, the pair share a fair amount of similarities to make them compatible, while also having enough differences to keep things fresh and intriguing. Both of them are family oriented, have a good sense of humor, and are homebodies. As driven individuals with similar goals for the future, they are able to agree and plan accordingly for the objectives they aspire to accomplish.

Being late bloomers to the world of marriage, they find it has been easier for them to express their true selves without compromising anything about them as individuals.

With their differences, the two are like yin and yang. Dan is outspoken, confident, impulsive, and enjoys the tastes of the limelight. Kristi, on the other hand, holds her confidence internally which she admits makes her come off as hesitant, and at times insecure. However, she is a skilled writer who analyzes everything and likes to create things that demand recognition.

If all the world were a stage, Kristi would be the one crafting the gorgeous set design and writing the plays while Dan would draw in the crowd as he takes on the staring roles that Kristi's artist vision would create.

In their day-to-day life, Kristi and Dan enjoy their quality time by cooking meals together or by working on decorating and fixing up their home. On slower nights, they hang in and relax on the couch. The pair enjoy some cozy cuddles with their fur babies. They have a silver toy-poodle named Bella, and a sphynx cat named Athena.

When the time came for Dan to propose, the two were across the world enjoying the sights, tastes, and sounds of Venice, Italy. It was a trip with Dan's family. The travel party of twelve were ready for fun and relaxation together.

Kristi went back in time as she reminisced over the strong heat of July in Italy after they had just arrived from their strenuous flight overseas. Exhausted, but unable to take a rest, they began touring the city.

A few hours passed of indulging on Venice's finest drinks before they returned to the hotel to freshen up for an evening of music they had planned ahead. The rooftop band at the hotel was playing, but lightning cut the music short as it sent guests fleeing for indoor coverage.

Time passed, as did the storm, and soon Dan swept Kristi away to be alone. His little niece followed in tow, but without Kristi's notice, Dan signaled for his sister to come grab her.

Kristi, so focused on the gondolas passing them in the river streets, hadn't seen Dan get down on one knee. With the glimmering ring in his hand, Kristi was caught off guard as he spoke, "Babe, I want to ask you a question."

The moment overtook her. She hadn't sensed that a proposal was on its way. In her shock, Kristi may have even asked if he was serious, but she can't remember if she had or not because the excitement was overwhelming.

Her answer, naturally, was "yes."

Throwing her arms around him, she smothered Dan with love and kisses and waited for him to slip the ring over her finger. He was so nervous he forgot, so Kristi took the ring, put it on, and said yes again.

Meanwhile, Dan's family was busy starring from a window of the hotel, making sure not to miss a second of the joy. Then, about a moment or two later, they burst out with a parade of elation, capturing photos and giving congratulatory toasts to the newly-engaged couple.

That was it, July 2oth, 2018 when they took the next step. They were engaged for five months and ten days. As they are both efficient with organization, piecing together the upcoming wedding was handled with more ease than most couple's experience. Kristi explains that Dan makes fast and snappy decisions while she likes weighing her options, but together they were able to quickly pull everything into place.

During the process, they found that the hardest part was choosing a venue. Kristi had a vision in mind—architecture would be key. For her, the aesthetic of her venue needed to be a certain way and she wasn't budging.

Her vision filled her head with fantasy. She pictured rising ceilings, an atrium, and an abundance of windows. A garden, if there were one, would surely be a plus.

The words, "chic and elegant," needed to be the essence of wherever they chose. To Dan and Kristi's luck, the last place they toured was exactly what had been dreamt about. It even exceeded Kristi's expectations.

For them, choosing a date was the easiest piece of the puzzle. Kristi had her heart set on a New Year's Eve wedding and Dan was fully on board with the idea. Before they even debated the logistics of it, Dan was texting family and friends the date.

Prior to a wedding, it isn't uncommon to experience cold feet. However, for Kristi and Dan, they said, "I do," feeling that there were no surprises or last minute questions. They went into the marriage prepared and accepting of each other. Kristi notes that starting a marriage later in life made them more confident and knowledgeable. They both have great role models for parents and they also took a marriage class (against their will at first) which set the foundations of a sturdy and supporting life partnership. They knew they already loved one another, but the steps they took to prepare for their "I do's" helped furthered the solidification of a great union.

After the wedding date came and went, this newly-wed couple made it a point to keep sight of their personal goals. Dan aims to be the division manager for Wegmans. Meanwhile, Kristi is investing herself in a massive design project—planning to create their dream home. They haven't decided where their dream house will be built, but they wish to fill it with the laughter of children, both of them wanting between three and four little ones.

With Kristi by his side, Dan finds his life has only gotten brighter. Since the start of their relationship, Dan's coworkers have seen the change in him. His joyful and vibrant energy has become infectious. He feels this plethora of joy is in thanks to the support and fun of being with Kristi. Waking up to her and falling asleep beside her, she puts him on cloud nine and he can't get down (not that he'd want to).

For Kristi, Dan is everything and more. He makes her feel as though the impossible is possible. As a partner he challenges her. This mental strength has pushed her to be more self-assured and positive.

Together, their bond has encouraged the pursuit of their dreams and if they could contribute one piece of advice to the world of hopeful lovers out there, it would be this...

"Take a marriage counseling class. Invest in a good one. Hatch everything out and talk about the details BEFORE moving in with each other. Talk about what you want out of life together, from each other, and talk about the details: Family, Money, Sex, Work, Location. I’d personally say wait until you are at least 30 to have lived a life of your own, grown up, and can support yourself that way you are fully ready to support unselfishly and commit with your whole heart. It’s much easier being established going into marriage!"

Kristi & Dan 12.31.18

Makeup artist/ Hair Stylist: Gina, (210) 693-9774

DJ: Titus Touch Music Professional DJ (443) 699-9191

Florist: Maryam Flowers (703) 385-2929

Caterer and Venue: Sheraton Tysons Hotel (703) 448-1234

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