They grew up just 30 minutes from one another in Maryland. They lived in the same neighborhood in Philadelphia. She went on two dates with one of his med school buddies. But it wasn’t until they moved to Cleveland the same week in the summer of 2011 that Rebecca Cook and Jeremy Davis first met. Like a growing number of 21st-century love stories, it was Match.com that brought them together.
“I think the only two things I remember in his profile is that there was one line that said he works as a doctor but gets to be a rock star at night,” says Rebecca, a genetic counselor who was then working at the Cleveland Clinic. “And then the other one was about him cooking these gourmet meals, but I sort of chuckled about the doctor by day, rock star by night idea.”
“She was clever and put some effort into what she was saying when a lot of people don’t,” recalls Jeremy, a dermatology resident. “I remember one line that was like, ‘Affliction T-shirt-wearers need not apply,’ and I was like, check! I qualify for this!”
After a few messages and one phone call, Rebecca asked him out to brunch. And after meeting for the first time, they knew their initial bad luck in the Cleveland dating scene was about to end.
“I was just tired of meeting someone in a bar. . . . I wanted an adult and I wanted someone who wanted something more serious,” Rebecca says. “I just remember that with Jeremy, the conversation never stalled. I remember standing outside by our cars talking for 20 more minutes and not wanting to leave.”
The “instant chemistry” that formed was thanks to a mutual love of travel, politics (her father is American political analyst Charlie Cook) and medicine, a topic that allowed them to geek out about genetic and dermatological conditions because of their similar backgrounds and schooling. They continued dating and took advantage of festivals and free outdoor concerts in the Cleveland area, but they wanted to test their relationship with travel.
“Our first trip outside the U.S. was a two-week cruise with my parents from Barcelona to Lisbon. It was small, confined places and there was no escaping each other, and we were probably the youngest by 30 years,” Rebecca says. “Pretty early on, I knew I needed to tread carefully because I knew that I could really fall hard for Jeremy, so that trip was a time where I knew we had something great and enviable.”
“I knew that I was very in love at that point, but I had been married before and in long-term relationships and was very wary,” Jeremy says. “It was like we were waiting to find a hole in the relationship, but it all went so perfectly. We had been together for about a year at that point, and I think I called my mom after that and I told her it went really, really well, and my mom was like, ‘Well, I guess that’s it then.’ ”
Another test of their relationship came last year, when Jeremy was offered a grant to work in Botswana for a month starting in May. It was a huge opportunity for him, given that international aid work is a passion of his and he was going to a place where he would, at times, be the only dermatologist in the entire country. It was hectic on many levels and made more stressful by unreliable Internet and electricity. Jeremy was able to write one long e-mail to Rebecca every night, and because of the time difference, she wrote back every morning.
The trip itself, however, ended on a sweet note. With Rebecca beyond envious of Jeremy’s adventures abroad, he decided to bring her to Africa and get engaged there. The two had talked extensively about getting married and had even shopped for a ring together, so a proposal wouldn’t be a complete surprise. Jeremy was just waiting for the right moment to pop the question. The only real hiccup in his plan was finding the perfect ring so far from home.
From the very beginning, Rebecca had been smitten with the idea of an emerald engagement ring, but after a strenuous quest, Jeremy wasn’t able to find one in all of Botswana. As a last resort, he asked around about any local traditions and was told to give Rebecca an elephant hair. So Jeremy found a silver ring with a little elephant hair embedded in it and used that as the ring he would propose with.
While Rebecca was flying across the Atlantic, Jeremy called to ask her parents for their full permission and approval. Once she landed, they immediately set off on a day-long adventure. They took a scenic drive into South Africa and a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River and stopped at Victoria Falls, which is where, under a full moon and a lunar rainbow, Jeremy dropped to one knee.
Before their nuptials, Jeremy heard from his fellowship program and learned that he and Rebecca would be moving to Santa Monica, Calif. (They leave in July.) It’s a much-appreciated and thrilling change from Cleveland, and, as anyone who has survived a winter in the Midwest knows, they’re really looking forward to one thing in particular: warmth. They like to think of the news as an early wedding present.
On April 12, Rebecca Cook, 28, and Jeremy Davis, 37, wed at the Mansion at Strathmore in an outdoor ceremony surrounded by 135 of their closest family members and friends. The bridesmaids wore emerald green, and the couple wrote their own vows. They said the wedding itself was “easy,” which is something they’ve called their relationship all along.
“I remember talking to my mom during previous relationships and she would always say, ‘It should just be easy,’ and I’d think, ‘No, Mom, you always have to put in some work,’ ” Jeremy said after the wedding. “But it really is easy when it’s the right one.”