Above the Delaware River, a Double Wedding Straddling State Lines

Above the Delaware River, a Double Wedding Straddling State Lines

Philip Andrew Kuntz and Patricia Lynn Parent first met as across-the-street neighbors in Parsippany, N.J., when each had been 3 years outdated. “She wasn’t precisely the lady subsequent door, however,” Mr. Kuntz mentioned, “shut sufficient.”

Kelly Craig Heflin and Carol Diane McNitt had been effectively into maturity after they met at a public backyard in Edgewater, Md., in 2018. “Imagine strolling by way of a park someday and assembly the girl of your goals,” Mr. Heflin mentioned.

On June 3, all of them walked collectively onto the Lumberville-Raven Rock Bridge connecting Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the place the 2 {couples} had a double marriage ceremony roughly two years after their first double date.

Though the foursome is extra of a latest entity, the trio of Ms. Parent, Mr. Kuntz and Mr. Heflin has a historical past that dates to their days as college students at Parsippany High School. Mr. Kuntz and Mr. Heflin have been finest associates since assembly there in 1976. Mr. Kuntz and Ms. Parent, nevertheless, by then ran in numerous circles and weren’t as shut.

The two grew even additional aside following their commencement in 1978. After highschool, Ms. Parent and her household left Parsippany for Fort Wayne, Ind., the place she later met the person whom she would wed and lift two kids with earlier than their 35-year marriage resulted in divorce in 2019.

By February 2020, Ms. Parent, 62, had began so far once more. That month she posted on Facebook a few suitor who had talked her ear off. A day later, Mr. Kuntz, 62, stunned her with a textual content message. His eldest sister, Susan Rochelle, had seen Ms. Parent’s Facebook submit and instructed him she was single.

Mr. Kuntz and Ms. Parent began catching up by cellphone, then by way of video calls utilizing Facebook Messenger. Ms. Parent, who on the time was dwelling in Grandville, Mich., realized that Mr. Kuntz had additionally gone by way of a divorce in 2019 — his second — and was dwelling in Rumson, N.J., along with his twin sons, Liam and McDonagh, now 14.

While speaking with Ms. Parent, Mr. Kuntz mentioned he “was so impressed by her spirit.” In the years previous her divorce, she had misplaced a number of family members. Her sister died of most cancers in 2013. Two years later, her elder son, Andrew, died at age 28 in 2015. (Her youthful son, Alex, is now 31.) And in 2016, she misplaced her father.

Mr. Kuntz, now a journalist at Bloomberg in Manhattan, had heard about all from his sister. But discussing the losses with Ms. Parent, a retired day care operator, introduced her into sharper focus. “She’s a very constructive individual,” he mentioned. “She’s unfaze-able. She’s unflappable.” By the spring of 2020, he had fallen in love with the girl he had final seen in 2003, at their twenty fifth highschool reunion.

Ms. McNitt, 54, and Mr. Heflin, 63, had by then developed an equally robust bond after assembly on the Historic London Town & Gardens in Edgewater, in August 2018.

Mr. Heflin, a director of enterprise improvement for BAE Systems Inc., the U.S. arm of a world protection, aerospace and safety firm, was dwelling in Edgewater. Ms. McNitt, a psychological well being clinician on the Luminis Health Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, was dwelling in Crownsville, Md. Both had been nearing the tip of lengthy marriages, and finalized their respective divorces the next 12 months.

“Kelly was strolling his two Border collies, and I used to be there to see the gardens and historic websites,” Ms. McNitt mentioned. “He noticed me studying a historic plaque and we ended up chatting for quarter-hour.”

They did not alternate contact info earlier than parting methods, however that didn’t deter Ms. McNitt from monitoring down Mr. Heflin on LinkedIn that very same night time. Though she didn’t have his final title, she had sufficient info to piece collectively that he was the identical Kelly who then labored as a program manager at AT&T’s workplace in Columbia, Md.

Mr. Heflin mentioned he was “utterly shocked by her reaching out in that trend” — in a great way. “To get an invite on LinkedIn from her was simply unbelievable.”

“We in all probability despatched one another 20 LinkedIn messages every” earlier than exchanging electronic mail addresses, he added. “Carol and I may be the one individuals who’ve romantic text-messaged in a flurry on LinkedIn.”

Mr. Heflin, who has a son, Ian, 30, and two daughters, Alyssa, 28, and Cassandra, 25, described the pair’s early conversations as calm and straightforward. Ms. McNitt, who has no kids, felt the identical. Plus, “I assumed he was extremely good-looking,” she mentioned.

The day after they traded electronic mail addresses, Mr. Heflin requested Ms. McNitt on a primary date, inviting her to a automotive present in Edgewater the place his 1967 Pontiac Firebird was on show. Afterward, they went for drinks on the Pier Waterfront Bar & Grill, the place they talked for hours.

Within two months of assembly Mr. Heflin, Ms. McNitt mentioned, she had fallen for him; Mr. Heflin mentioned he fell for her even sooner. In August 2019, a 12 months after they met, the 2 moved in collectively, into a brand new residence she had lately purchased in Crownsville.

When Mr. Heflin and Ms. McNitt obtained engaged in September 2021, their first thought was that they might elope or do a five-minute marriage ceremony close to the plaque within the backyard the place they met.

Then Mr. Kuntz floated one other concept. He and Ms. Parent, who had moved into his Rumson residence earlier that 12 months, had additionally determined to get married. So why not do a double marriage ceremony?

By then the 2 {couples} had been speaking on a weekly foundation since their first digital double date in the summertime of 2020, when Ms. McNitt and Mr. Heflin shared a display in Maryland, Mr. Kuntz joined from New Jersey and Ms. Parent logged on from Michigan. For onscreen stability, all of them purchased the identical iPad stands “so no one would get seasick,” Mr. Kuntz mentioned.

In July 2020, Ms. Parent flew to New Jersey to go to Mr. Kuntz, and the foursome met in individual. She and Ms. McNitt shortly developed an in depth friendship of their very own. “Patti may be very simple to love,” Ms. McNitt mentioned.

Once Mr. Kuntz steered the concept of marrying collectively at an intimate occasion, the 4 shortly embraced it. But determining the place to tie a double knot took extra time.

Mr. Kuntz and Ms. Parent, who turned engaged in November 2021, and Mr. Heflin, their fellow Parsippany High alumnus, had been on board for a small marriage ceremony someplace close to Mr. Kuntz’s home in New Jersey. Ms. McNitt, who grew up in central Pennsylvania, had hoped to marry in her residence state.

“Carol had no actual connection to New Jersey,” Mr. Kuntz mentioned.

When they recognized New Hope, Pa., which is simply throughout the New Jersey border, as a attainable location, Mr. Kuntz remembered a marriage he had lately attended within the space.

On that journey, he had come throughout — fairly actually — the Lumberville-Raven Rock Bridge, a pedestrian walkway above the Delaware River with one finish in Delaware Township, N.J., and the opposite in Lumberville, Pa. Staging a marriage on it meant that each {couples} may marry collectively, however in numerous states.

Upon seeing an image of the bridge, which opened in 1947, Ms. McNitt dedicated immediately. “I used to be like, that is excellent,” she mentioned.

In February, after the {couples} had discovered their excellent venue, Mr. Kuntz introduced their plan to Jodee Inscho, the director of neighborhood affairs on the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission. She signed off on the situation, asking solely that they not stop pedestrians from crossing.

When they arrived on June 3, the brides and grooms congregated on the bridge’s midpoint of their marriage ceremony apparel. “We fastidiously counted the doohickeys holding the suspension cables to find out the precise center, so Patti and I may get married on one facet of that line and Kelly and Carol may stand on the opposite,” Mr. Kuntz mentioned. He and Mr. Heflin then performed rock, paper, scissors to resolve which couple would grow to be newlyweds first.

In protecting with their joint need for a easy, intimate ceremony, no visitors had been invited. Instead, a few dozen passers-by watched and witnessed, ready politely for the marriage to wrap earlier than crossing the bridge.

Ms. Parent and Mr. Kuntz had been wed by James Waltman, the mayor of Delaware Township, N.J., on the New Jersey facet of the bridge. Ms. McNitt and Mr. Heflin had been married in a self-uniting Quaker ceremony presided over by Mark Baum Baicker, chairman of the Solebury Township Board of Supervisors, on its Pennsylvania facet.

The brides and grooms every recited handwritten vows earlier than each {couples}, pronounced married in about quarter-hour, exited with their officiants on the Pennsylvania facet and walked to the Black Bass Hotel, in Lumberville, for a post-wedding drink.

Later, the newlyweds went to the Dubliner, a bar in New Hope. On listening to of the marriage, the bartender there poured all 4 a glass of champagne, then strapped on a guitar and serenaded the newlyweds with the Temptations hit “My Girl.”

After spending their marriage ceremony night time at a bed-and-breakfast in New Hope, Ms. McNitt and Mr. Heflin joined Ms. Parent and Mr. Kuntz at their residence in Rumson, the place the {couples} hosted a reception with 75 visitors.

Reflecting on their nuptials, Ms. McNitt mentioned, “It was actually simply the 4 of us having enjoyable.”

When June 3, 2022

Where The Lumberville-Raven Rock Bridge connecting New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Double Happiness, Double Thanks Neither couple knew their officiant earlier than they hatched the bridge plan, however each officiants welcomed taking part within the marriage ceremony. As a thanks, every officiant obtained a present certificates to a restaurant on both facet of the bridge.

Something Borrowed Ms. Parent was no less than the fourth bride to put on a marriage scarf that belonged to her sister Kim London, who died in 2013. “My daughter-in-law and two of my nieces have additionally worn it,” Ms. Parent mentioned. “Everybody who has gotten married since has worn it. I stored it with me all day.”



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