Editor’s Note: This is part of a series on how local couples met. Do you have a couple who should be profiled? Write firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael Loughran led his wife Jennifer across the dance floor to the sultry sounds of Michael Buble’s version of “Fever,” their song, played before 220 guests at a backyard wedding that included an ice cream truck, a bouncy house, croquet, and Southern-style BBQ.
The Weehawken couple’s creative, casual, and kid-friendly approach this past May provided a fun atmosphere, enough to win them a $20,000 honeymoon trip to Aruba as participants on the TLC “Four Weddings” reality show, which aired in August.
“I always kind of loved him since we met.”— Jennifer Loughran
Led Zeppelin, pool, and three inch heels
“She had a really cool hat on that night,” said Michael about the first time he met Jennifer. “It was brown with a rim [and] a poufy top. I noticed she was wearing [3-inch heel] boots.”
“I can win pool in any shoes. I used to play semi-pro. I’m kind of competitive,” said Jennifer, proud that she beat Michael at pool nine out of 10 games that night, the one loss due to a technicality.
With guidance from a friend who set them up on a blind date, Michael strategically picked an underground pool hall in the Upper East Side with a jukebox that played Led Zeppelin throughout the evening. Even though Jennifer hiked 10 New York City blocks in high-heeled boots, it didn’t deter her from winning, a quality that impressed Michael.
“She was very confident…very independent. She knew herself well. She knew the type of person she wanted to be,” said Michael.
“He was just handsome…so cute, so sweet. The sweetest person I had ever met. [He acted] like a gentlemen,” said Jennifer.
Trials of love
“He is super charming and I couldn’t stop thinking about him,” said Jennifer.
Their love would grow over time, but there was something special about that first encounter that set off a spark.
“I always kind of loved him since we met,” she said.
Their love was put to the test many times over the seven-year courtship. But the first trial came on a Valentine’s day skiing trip to Vermont a few months after they met.
“I’m a little bit of a showboater. I pulled a really awesome trick. When I landed, I snapped my Achilles heel. I still landed but skied to the side,” said Jennifer.
Michael took care of her on that trip and for months afterward, until her injury healed. He constantly made trips between Battery Park, where Jennifer lived at the time, and his Upper East Side apartment. He even walked her dog Maggie and repainted her apartment.
Jennifer taught Michael how to skate and wowed him with her cooking.
“She made just about everything. She is very creative. She can make…something ordinary into something extraordinary,” said Michael.
Michael proposed last year on Aug. 3 on a boat cruise around the New York harbor. Shortly thereafter, Jennifer was approached by TLC to be part of the “Four Weddings” show after registering on theknot.com.
As a participant, she attended three other weddings and judged each experience as well as the dress, the venue, and the food. Jennifer’s was the only outdoor reception amongst the four weddings.
“We paid for the wedding,” said Jennifer. “We are not in debt, which is awesome.”
Since the wedding was to be held at Jen’s childhood home in Bridgewater, they used some of the money they saved for the wedding to upgrade the home. They added a patio, a new deck, and repainted the house, among other fixes.
Michael and Jen took made the centerpieces as well as including bibs for the BBQ that said, “Marriage is messy”.
Famous Dave’s BBQ catered the wedding and served items like pulled pork quesadillas.
“BBQ is the greatest food on the planet where we are from. I grew up in a Southern family – even though we were transplanted [to New Jersey],” said Jennifer.
The other brides from “Four Weddings” took their turn in the bouncy house, but the real stars of the wedding were the 30 kids in attendance.
“The most important part was that we could invite families,” said Jennifer. “I invited kids from the skate school. They participated in the wedding.”
While adults helped themselves to frozen margaritas from a machine, kids jumped in the bouncy house, took part in a beanbag toss, or took turns on the tire swing.
“Kids make me laugh,” said Jennifer. “Michael acts like a big kid. He cracks me up all the time.”
‘Sun lights up the daytime, moon lights up the night’
Despite a steady flow of rain weeks leading up to the wedding, the sun lit up the stage when Jennifer and Michael had their own bit of fun with a jazzy dance.
“There was one thing I knew I could get away with giving [Jen] on [our] wedding day,” said Michael. “I made this promise that every day until the day of the wedding, we will dance…every day for two months…If a man can dance, a woman will love him.”
Even though the floor was slippery and shoes were wet, Michael lifted Jennifer up in her princess dress and spun her across the floor. Guests were ecstatic: everybody got the fever.
Michael and Jennifer were married on May 21, 2011. Their friend from college, Chris Spinney, officiated.
Besides owning Uptown Skate School, Jennifer wrote a novel about girls who skateboard called New York Pipe Dreams. Michael is a network administrator and a photographer.
Adriana Rambay Fernández may be reached at email@example.com.