Kristy Wessman & Ross Herman

Kristy Wessman, 27, is a high school English teacher. Ross Herman, also 27, is a YMCA aquatics director. They live in Downingtown, Pa.

Wedding date: Feb. 11

Location: Milton Ridge Reception Hall, Clarksburg

Kristy Wessman and Ross Herman were married on Feb. 11, 2012. (John Waire/

Guests: 120

How they met: Wessman and Herman were friends at Churchill High School in Potomac but went their separate ways after their 2002 graduation. Five years later, Herman’s online chat “away message” said he had no weekend plans; Wessman responded that she was going snowboarding and invited him to come along. When they got back to her apartment that night, he kissed her.

The proposal: Wessman knew Herman had a ring with him when they took a guided camping trip through Alaska in August 2011. While kayaking on the coldest, wettest day of the vacation, they stopped to take a break on a small island. Herman saw a waterfall and suggested they walk to the top, where he got down on one knee and proposed.

The wedding: They had hoped Wessman’s seriously ill father could attend, but he died before their chosen date. Because Herman’s dad had also recently died, they kept two seats empty at the ceremony in tribute and dedicated a song at the reception — “I’ll Follow You Into the Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie — to the men. Tabletop fire pits for making s’mores served as centerpieces — a reminder of their post-engagement celebration in Alaska, where they drank champagne and roasted the chocolate-and-marshmallow treats.

The honeymoon: The couple planned a snowboarding getaway to Stowe, Vt., for Presidents’ Day weekend.