The Wedding Planners

Romance is on the agenda for these young couples. Snapshots of the soon-to-be newlyweds.

Steven Lehotsky & E.R. Caitlin Talmadge ’03

July 5, 2003

The high school debating circuit drew together E.R. Caitlin Talmadge ’03 and her fiancé, Steven Lehotsky. They first met in 1997 at a tournament where Talmadge was debating. Lehotsky, who is four years her senior, was judging. The second time they met, Lehotsky was Talmadge’s counselor at debate camp and, though they became well acquainted, Talmadge says, “It seemed unlikely that anything would happen.” Nevertheless, the two began dating while Talmadge finished high school in Dallas and Lehotsky completed his college at Dartmouth. Talmadge says Lehotsky visited her in Texas during the year and the two continued to spend the summers together at debate camp. “My mom was very overprotective,” she says, but her father, also a Dartmouth alum, figured that anyone sharing his alma mater must be alright. When Talmadge became an undergraduate at Harvard, Lehotsky entered Harvard Law School. The two became engaged on Valentine’s Day last year and will get married at Dartmouth this summer.

Benjamin D. Grizzle ’03 & Heather A. Woodruff ’03

June 21, 2003

Benjamin D. Grizzle ’03 and Heather A. Woodruff ’03 met in Annenberg as first-years. Woodruff remembers being intrigued as Grizzle recounted the story of one Harvard senior’s wedding proposal to another. She says she was impressed by the future groom’s creative tactics, but Grizzle assured her that some day his own proposal would be more elaborate. Grizzle and Woodruff became friends that year, while each maintained a long-distance relationship with someone from home.

At the time, it seemed unlikely that any romance would develop between the two. Grizzle recalls that after running Primal Scream in his first semester, he returned to Thayer Hall and bumped into Woodruff, who had observed the event. “Benjamin David Grizzle,” she said, as she approached him, “I just saw more of you than I ever hoped or needed to see!” But by March of their sophomore year they began dating, and they became engaged last August. Grizzle asked Woodruff to marry him while standing in a field of wild daisies at his farm in Virginia. “What else do you do with beautiful places, but propose to beautiful people?” he asks. The couple, who both have parents that met at Harvard, will continue a family tradition when they marry this summer.

Jeffrey W. Helfrich ’03 & Elizabeth B. Cullum ’02

June 19, 2004

With only two weeks left in the school year last year, Jeffrey W. Helfrich ’03 may not have been searching for a wife. But when he met Elizabeth B. Cullum ’02, who was a senior at the time, that’s what he found. The two went to the Dunster spring formal together for their first date and spent a good part of the summer together. Helfrich flew often to visit Cullum at home in Texas, and she traveled to Denver where he was working. Cullum stayed nearby this school year, working as a costume designer in Vermont and driving to Harvard on weekends. The couple plans to live and work next year in Denver, where Helfrich proposed a month ago when the two looked at houses in the city. Helfrich says he took Cullum to the Ritz Carlton hotel and asked her to stand in front of a mirror with her eyes closed. “I got her a necklace,” he explains, “because she sews and can’t wear rings on her fingers.” She opened her eyes to see a necklace with a ring on it around her neck. The wedding is set for next summer.

Eric A. Millican ’03 & Summer Mansur

June 21, 2003

Eric A. Millican ’03 and Summer Mansur have known each other since middle school, when they worshipped at the same church. But it wasn’t until Millican’s sophomore year at Harvard that the two started to date. After spending time with Mansur the summer after his first year, Millican says he asked her out only to be declined. Mansur wanted to begin her first year at Oklahoma Christian University without romantic ties. But Millican didn’t simply return to Cambridge and give up on Mansur. “I e-mailed her every day,” he says. And she wrote back. By October, Mansur came to Harvard to visit, and the two began a long distance relationship nurtured by Southwest Airlines vouchers and cell phones with free long distance. “It was sad at times,” Millican says of being apart from Mansur, adding that he never doubted their relationship would last. They will tie the knot June 21.

Eli J. Lederman ’03 & Meg Barenson

August 2004

A United Synagogue Youth convention in Chicago brought Eli J. Lederman ’03, a Newton resident, and Meg Barenson, a Maine native, together in high school. “He told me I had flabby arms,” Barenson says of their first interaction. Lederman claims “I was just trying to get her goat. And it worked.” The two stayed in contact even while Barenson spent her first year of college in Israel. When she returned to Brandeis the next year, the two began spending more time together. This past December, they took a road trip together to Virginia in search of warmer weather. “We bummed around for a week, but on the last night, New Year’s Eve, we decided to splurge and stay in a bed and breakfast,” Lederman says. After spotting a quality of diamond certificate in the car’s glove compartment, Barenson suspected that a proposal might be coming soon. “I’m not good at surprising her,” Lederman says, “but I was going to do it before we left.” So, after a dinner of cheap Mexican food, he brought Barenson out to the balcony of their room and proposed to her. Conspicuously unsurprised, she said yes.