Helen Hsu & Colin Lavigne

Helen Hsu, 31, works for Liberty Mutual Insurance. Colin Lavigne, 27, develops content for virtual world applications. They live in Lorton.

Wedding date: Sept. 16

Location: Renaissance Festival, Annapolis

Helen Hsu and Colin Lavigne married at the Maryland Renaissance Festival on Sept. 16, 2012. (Sarah Culver)

Guests: 40

How they met: They met via MySpace in April 2007. After several weeks of exchanging messages and phone calls, they decided to meet in person at a Barnes & Noble in Spartanburg, S.C., where Hsu was working. Lavigne was in college about two hours away in east Tennessee. Hsu said she was excited and nervous about the meeting, not knowing what to expect. But they bonded over their love of technology and horror movies and went to a nearby park to continue the conversation.

The proposal: Hsu and Lavigne, who were living in Lorton in April 2011, went to Manassas for a mini-vacation. The two like to use their fingers to spell words on each other’s backs and then see if one can guess what the other wrote. The last night of their getaway, Lavigne spelled out, “Will you marry me?”

The wedding: They decided to be married at a chapel at the Renaissance Festival because it was nontraditional, and they thought “everyone would have fun.” They rented medieval costumes online, sticking to Hsu’s favorite colors — blue, black and white. Most of their guests dressed up, too, and partied at the festival after the ceremony.

The honeymoon: Hsu and Lavigne will travel to Taiwan in the spring, first visiting Hsu’s parents and then relaxing at a beach resort.


Wedding overload: How did “one special day” become a marathon of events?

Tell us about your Washington-area wedding

12 tips for singles at weddings

Wedding planning: Pinterest or professional?

PHOTOS: Surprise celebrity weddings

More wedding stories and advice

— Janet Bennett Kelly