The wedding of Crystal Gould and Eric Perrott
Friday, March 4, 2011; 12:02 PM
In 2003, 16-year-old Eric Perrott borrowed his parents' minivan to pick up Crystal Gould for a first date on the beach near their Fort Lauderdale suburb. Eight years later, he married her in the back of a Washington, D.C., pie shop.
A fedora-wearing rocker presided over their vows, 50 guests sipped cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon and the bride wore polka dots. This wasn't an outcome they imagined as high school juniors, but if they had, they probably would've thought the whole scene sounded kind of awesome.
Gould had been dating a friend of Perrott's when she wound up standing next to Perrott at a concert. "We had this moment where we got to get to know each other," she recalls. And as her affections shifted, she made the calculations of a high school girl, figuring, "I'll just drop this one and see how it works out with Eric."
For the next two years they dated steadily, going to concerts and parties with friends. Their parents saw it as puppy love, and Gould says, "For our first couple years together, that was the case."
But as they prepared to leave for different colleges - she was headed to Florida State University, he was enrolling at the rival University of Florida - they decided to stay together.
Each became involved in campus life, but three weekends a month they'd take turns making the two-hour drive to spend time together.
There was no talk of future plans or permanent commitments - they were, Gould says, "just going with the flow." But during a visit their sophomore year, she spent an hour organizing music equipment that seemed to be overtaking Perrott's room.
"I don't want to clean up after you for the rest of my life," she remembers telling him. "Then I was, like, Oooh, I'm using this 'rest of my life' language that was not intended. That was the point where I was, like, Wow. This is a big deal."
They seemed to grow together, both becoming politically active NPR junkies who shared musical tastes and surrounded themselves with artists. Before they could legally drink, the two set up a joint bank account so their entertainment costs could be split equitably.
When Perrott graduated from college a year early in 2008, he moved in with Gould and worked for the Obama campaign in Tallahassee. That fall, she applied for Teach for America while he sent off applications to law schools; they coordinated their efforts so they'd end up in the same city. Soon, Gould found out she'd been picked to come to Washington and Perrott got an acceptance letter from American University.
When they came to visit their new city in February 2009, Perrott proposed on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The two moved to the District that August and began what would be a tough first year of teaching and law school.
When Dangerously Delicious, an H Street NE pie shop, opened near their apartment in the Atlas District, Gould thought it would be the perfect summer job. Perrott joined her, and the two began regularly taking the Saturday night shift, serving pie to crowds of hungry revelers flowing in from nearby bars.
The shop became central to their lives, bolstering their social circle and providing an outlet for untapped creativity. "I think that goes back to our own personalities, where we have this love for artists," says Gould, who now teaches science at the Maya Angelou Academy, a school for youth in juvenile detention centers.
Daunted by the cost and expectations of formality, the couple, both 24, had delayed making wedding plans for months, until they had the idea to get married at the shop. Owner Rodney Henry, who started Dangerously Delicious to help subsidize his music career, gave his enthusiastic blessing.
"We completely understand that we're an anomaly," Perrott says of their relationship, which has now spanned more than a third of their lives. But, he adds, "every day we make each other laugh hysterically."
"Yeah," Gould concurs. "One of the things we say to each other that means the most to me is, 'I love playing with you.' "
So on Feb. 19, Gould carried a bouquet of felt flowers to meet Perrott where he stood with Henry, the rocker/pie-shop owner/newly ordained wedding officiant.
"You're my best friend," Gould told Perrott as tears welled in her eyes. "I don't know who I would be without you."