When Maddie first contacted us through a family friend, we loved her and Doug immediately—you can’t help it, she is full of personality and charm.
We became fast friends, immediately teasing each other as if we had known each other forever.
It’s this kind of charm that comes through their video.
And you can tell that we’re not the only ones who feel a bond with this couple. Everyone at their wedding is completely invested in their love.
Maddie & Doug’s ceremony was standing room only. No joke. That was one packed chapel.
Every single person in attendance was intensely listening to the hour long mass, completely transfixed on the couple at the alter. It was a ceremony so touching, I actually cried when they said their vows.
This is the love story of Maddie & Doug. When you read their story, I think you’re going to be as taken with them as we are.
How did you first meet?
Our mutual friend Rob Dunn (a groomsman) snagged an internship as a dietician at Mass General back in April of our senior year of college at UMass Amherst, so a small group of us went out to a local bar (Stackers) on a Sunday night to grab a drink and celebrate.
Doug and I sat diagonally across the table from each other and chimed into group conversation throughout the night, but never really spent time speaking to each other except to quickly bond over liking the movie Safe Haven, which I was obsessed with at the time (hence the reference to him being my “safest haven” in my vows).
I’m not sure if Doug actually liked the movie or just wanted to agree with what I was saying, but it worked and has since become a running joke.
After leaving the bar that night, we each asked friends of ours about each other, and those friends maneuvered us into talking while out as a group later that week.
We realized we actually had a lot more in common than just Safe Haven, and the rest is history.
How did you start dating?
The Friday after we met, Doug and his roommates threw a party that I got an invite to and was pretty nervous and excited about.
Doug’s friends warned me that he was shy and wouldn’t make the first move when I got there, and that I’d have to put in the work. But, the second I walked in Doug walked right over to hug me and asked me to be his beer pong partner (romantic, I know).
I’m the world’s worst beer pong player, but for some reason that night the fates were on my side and I’ve never played better, which got me “stuck” at the table with Doug all night. Before leaving for the night, Doug asked me to go out for lunch that weekend.
We went to the Route 9 Diner for lunch at 11:30AM, and didn’t leave until 8PM… those poor waiters! It was pretty much just understood at that point that we were dating, because we were inseparable from that point on. I mean seriously, who goes out to eat for over 8 hours and doesn’t date the person after that?!
How did you know you were THE ONE for each other?
We both agree that we didn’t “know” on the first date, but we both had a pretty good idea after that date that this was a big deal. Doug says that his friend (and groomsman) Nick came to visit on the Cape over the first summer we were together, and they talked about the relationship.
Doug said that once he talked it all out with a buddy, he realized that I was it. I knew Doug was the one July 4th weekend the year BEFORE we got engaged, after just being together for a few months as well.
We went to the beach with our parents for an evening picnic with wine and snacks, and I was stressed because my nursing boards were coming up and I was getting ready to move to Nashville, and I realized that I really didn’t think I could imagine my life without the possibility of more nights like that.
I looked at Doug that night and totally knew that he was my person.
How did the proposal happen?
Once Doug was in the Navy and I lived down in Nashville, we were rarely able to visit home in Massachusetts together; and so we planned a trip home for July 4th weekend way in advance. Doug almost couldn’t get the leave granted, but thank God he did.
I picked him up from the airport on the morning of the 5th and we had plans to bring a pizza to the beach and just spend some time alone just the 2 of us, since we hadn’t seen each other in a while, and then we were going to meet his family out at a local bar we love.
Doug was super antsy when we were picking up the pizza, and I was just really hangry. Once we finally got the pizza and got to South Cape Beach, I was getting frustrated that Doug didn’t want to go sit in our usual spot—little did I know I had already walked past a photographer he had gotten to take engagement photos of us!
So we turned around and went to his preplanned spot, and I sat down to dig into the pizza.
Doug asked me to stand up again, and I was super mad because I was so hungry and just wanted to start eating… but once I got up, he got down on one knee and it all made sense.
The rest of the day was a blur—we took some photos, put the (uneaten) pizza in the trunk of the car, and drove to the Popponesset Inn where Doug and my parents had arranged an engagement party with all of our closest family and friends. We celebrated the rest of the night, and it was truly the most thoughtful and wonderful day.
And if you’re wondering, we had the engagement pizza for breakfast the next morning and it was just lovely.
What values are important to you as a couple?
Well we’d be crazy if we got married and didn’t emphasize the fundamentals of a lasting partnership—honesty, trust, kindness, etc. We really try every day to make sure that we are emulating those values through good communication.
But we also feel like we value our openness to change and grow together over the course of our military journey.
Not all couples are willing to embrace that lifestyle, but we feel very much on the same page about keeping an open line of communication and figuring out what works on this journey that we feel lucky to be on.
We also really value the importance of pursing each other every single day. Being in love is a choice, and we really take that to heart.
When you’re looking back at this video in twenty years, what do you hope to remember about your wedding?
We left our wedding feeling so euphorically loved by so many wonderful people, and I know that that will come through in our video.
I’d imagine that’ll be the best part of watching it back in 20 years.
The overwhelming sense of happiness, and the hard work that was put into creating the most beautiful day is something that will never get old, and we can’t wait to relive that forever.
Also, I selfishly cannot wait to watch this video when we’re older and remember how smokin’ hot Doug is and how awesome it is that I snagged such a babe (although I’m sure he still will be a babe, even when we’re old).
Doug would like me to tell you that he is NOT looking forward to being reminded of his “awkward dance moves.”
What advice would you give other couples who are considering getting a wedding video?
ABSOLUTELY WITHOUT A DOUBT, DO IT!!
Even though I desperately wanted one, I hesitated to book a videographer until the last minute because my parents did not understand the need and Doug and I wavered on spending the money ourselves.
BUT, luckily I won out in the end because I had a nagging thought and couldn’t get it out of my head.
The process of selecting HVS was easy because their reputation preceded them—and thank the good Lord that they were available for our day.
Following the wedding, my parents have reached out to us simply to express how wrong they were and how grateful they feel that we made it a necessity to book a videographer and that they totally understand the need now.
If I could give a piece of advice to brides in the planning stages, I would say that it is 100% where your money should go when planning your big day.
It goes by so fast and there are so many moments that I wasn’t able to see (guys getting ready, faces at the ceremony, dancing at the reception, etc.) that are now captured forever.
It is invaluable to be able to listen to your vows again, hear people’s toasts again, and actually relive the FEELING that only a video can capture.