September 22, 2020, Duxbury, VT

Does love at first sight sound too cliché? Very well. Julie and Mike’s story — how they both fell in love on their first date, how they drove home that night in a blizzard as chunky snowflakes floated past, how they braved the pangs of a long-distance relationship — is a cliché. A sweet one, all the same.

“I looked at Julianne and in my mind’s eye, I saw her driving with me through all of the other snowstorms I was going to have to brave at night,” said Mike, and he couldn’t imagine braving them without her. Julie, too, knew they were “meant to be,” recalling how natural if felt to talk that first date and how she felt totally herself.

The couple met in the summer of 2014, when Julie was visiting family in Vermont. Mike, a friend of the family, joined for dinner and the two immediately clicked.

“I like to say he is a human with the personality of a golden retriever,” said Julie. After she returned to Virginia to finish school, they kept in touch, chatting nearly every day on the phone before their first date in 2015.

Years later, when Mike proposed in the passenger drop-off zone at the Burlington International Airport, Julie said an enthusiastic yes, then boarded a plane to visit her family, beaming with a warm glow the entire flight.

“That it was so unconventional is really perfect to us,” said Julie. “I remember sitting on the airplane and just thinking about our future and being completely over the moon.”

The couple married Sept. 22, 2020.

“Nobody in either of our families even knew we were getting married because we wanted it to be a surprise!” said Julie.

They eloped at the Moose Meadow Lodge, where the couple read their own personal vows and an old tree stump decorated with candles and flowers served as the altar during the ceremony. The nature setting was especially important to the couple, as they both share a love of hiking and the outdoors.

Everything else just seemed to fall into place. With a small wedding and no bridal party or gaggles of relatives, the couple kept planning simple and stress-free — a perk when planning a wedding during a pandemic.

And keeping everything local turned out to be the key. “It made us feel that much closer to our community here in central Vermont,” Julie added.

The most important aspect of getting married wasn’t what kind of dress or flowers to choose, however.

“It was the notion of beginning a life that was our own and starting traditions that were unique to us and to our lives in Vermont,” said Julie.

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