On Love

Weddings: Samantha Lewis and Shawn Wright

It was a whirlwind romance for Shawn Wright and Sammy Lewis. After only six months of dating, the couple decided to tie the knot at Washington's Hard Rock Cafe.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, July 18, 2010

At first, Shawn Wright and Samantha Lewis weren't going to tell anyone. The plan was to get a marriage license, hire an officiant and run off to the woods where they could exchange vows in secret.

A wedding would be expensive, and worse than that: Their families might not approve.

Wright had first seen Lewis across the bar at a Damascus house party in September 2009. "I just remember looking over and being like, 'Wow -- who is that? I want to know that girl.' "

But he didn't introduce himself, and when he asked around about the petite brunette, no one seemed to know whom he was talking about.

Of course, Lewis's friends knew exactly whom she was talking about when she mentioned catching eyes with the cute rocker guy. Wright's well-teased hair was hard to miss.

A month later that unmistakable mane showed up when Lewis logged into her Facebook account and there was a note suggesting that she add him as a friend.

She sent the friend request immediately. "I was like, 'Man, there she is!" Wright recalls thinking the day he got the request. "This girl seems interested, too."

But Wright wasn't exactly single. The 27-year-old was in the midst of a breakup with a girlfriend of four years. He was about to move out of their apartment and back to Damascus, where he'd grown up. Lewis, 21, had done the same thing a couple of months earlier, when her own relationship unraveled.

But in mid-December, Wright, the lead singer of a death metal band called Extermination Angel, e-mailed to ask Lewis out. They worked opposite schedules -- he was up early for a 6 a.m. shift with the grounds maintenance team at Montgomery College, and her tech support job kept her at work until almost 10 p.m. -- so the first date didn't happen until after New Year's.

They went to the movies, and barely said a word to each other.

"We were so nervous around each other," Lewis says. "This was the first time I'd actually gone out on a date with somebody I didn't know."

Things didn't improve much with the next few dates, often spaced out over a week and a half because of their scheduling conflicts. When they did find time, they'd spend it watching TV from opposite sides of the couch and ending their evenings with an awkward wave.

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