ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CNS) — How do you choose the exact day you’ll pledge to love someone until death do you part?
Do you pick a week when you know you’ll have some free time? Or when your favorite wedding venue is available? Or when the weather will be nice?
All those options didn’t seem special enough for Brent Snyder.
“(My fiancee, Julia, and I) were talking and we were like, ‘We don’t even know how to go about finding a date to get married.’ What goes into it?” he said. “So I (said), ‘When is Dec. 28 this year?’ And it just so happened to be on a Saturday.”
That was only six months away, but if they were able to pull it off, they’d be getting married on the same day both Brent’s parents and grandparents were married. So Julia got to work.
Julia and Brent first met at the Basilica School of St. Mary in Alexandria. Julia, then Miss Chevlin, taught first grade. Brent was the facility manager.
“I fixed all the teachers’ classrooms, and there were a lot of requests coming from Miss Chevlin’s room,” he joked in an interview with the Arlington Catholic Herald, newspaper of the Diocese of Arlington.
The couple first got to know each other after she invited him to her housewarming party. He realized she lived right next to the school where he coached youth lacrosse, so he started coming over before practices. A few weeks later at the Washington Capitals’ Stanley Cup championship parade, he officially asked her to be his girlfriend.
Almost a year later on a Sunday in June, Brent proposed to Julia in her apartment, then brought her to a celebration in Old Town Alexandria where her friends and family were waiting. The next day at school, her students were ecstatic.
“The kids in my class, when they found out I was engaged, they were screaming. When they found out it was to Mr. Snyder, they could not get over it,” she said. “When he walked downstairs during lunch, they gave him a standing ovation.”
The school year ended a few days later, and Julia had two weeks of summer vacation before starting her new job as assistant principal at St. Anthony of Padua School in Falls Church, Virginia, to see if a Dec. 28 wedding was possible.
“During that time, she was a boss,” said Brent. She called Fr. Edward C. Hathaway, basilica rector, who reserved the church for them. She booked a reception venue — the Hay-Adams Hotel in Washington. “She got the flowers done, she got the DJ, she got everything,” he said.
Their wedding was all the more special because of the family significance. What started as a coincidence is now a family tradition. According to Brent’s parents, it just happened to work out they were married the same day as Brent’s grandparents.
“My dad was a Naval Academy grad, and he was about to be deployed and it was just a date that was available,” said Brent.
On the Snyders’ wedding day, Brent’s parents celebrated 34 years of marriage. Brent’s grandfather recently died, but it would have been his grandparents’ 62nd wedding anniversary. His grandmother was touched, said Brent.
“My grandma was beside herself. She was like, ‘Well did you know, my grandson and I share the same anniversary?’ It was truly awesome,” said Brent. “My parents both said it was the best anniversary they’ve had.”
So good they might have to get together again this year.
— By Zoey Maraist, Catholic News Service. Maraist is a staff writer at the Arlington Catholic Herald, newspaper of the Diocese of Arlington.