Wedding Bells Class of 2024

By Io Y. Gilman and Amber H. Levis, Crimson Staff Writers
By Courtesy of Jacelynn Bryant

Benjamin F. Allen ’24 and Alexandra N. Pipkin ’23

Benjamin F. Allen ’24 and Alexandra N. Pipkin ’23 first started flirting over Zoom. It was an online summer course, a History of Science class on deadly diseases. Ben was a rising sophomore who had just gotten out of the Navy, and Alex was a rising junior. “It wasn’t fly at all,” Ben reflects, “but I was literally like, ‘Hey, why don’t we play a game where we try to make each other laugh during class,’ which is talking about, like, millions of people dying from the Black Plague. So, totally appropriate game to be playing, which made it really funny.”

But there are some difficulties with flirting over Zoom. “I may or may not have sent the professor some messages,” he admits.

Another difficulty was finding a way to meet in person. As it happened, his summer residence was in the same building as hers — Leverett G. And luckily, he had the perfect wingman: his dog, Stanley. During class, Ben DM’d Alex and suggested that she meet Stanley during the 10-minute break.

“But I get down there with Stanley, Stanley’s chasing the rabbits doing his thing, and five minutes go by and I’m like, ‘Where is this girl?’ And then it’s like eight minutes, and then she finally comes out,” Ben recalls.

“It was not that long,” Alex counters. “It was like two minutes, max. I filled up my water bottle before coming out.”

They started seeing each other more outside of class, but Ben was still unsure if Alex returned his feelings. Then, one night, they were texting. Ben texted her that he’d love to see her smile. Alex wrote back: “Imagine how big my smile would be when you finally ask me out.”

“I was swooning,” Ben remembers. He started Googling the most romantic spots in Boston and decided on a picnic at Piers Park. He picked her up from her rugby game — after waiting either an hour or an hour and a half, depending on you who ask — and they drove over. Ben was prepared: he had borrowed a friend’s car, done a Trader Joe’s run, and bought a bottle of champagne. They toasted to the glowing Boston skyline across the harbor.

Then a cop showed up. “We then put all the champagne in a water bottle, which Alex didn’t want to do. And I was like, ‘It’s fine. It’ll wash out.’ It smelled like champagne for like three weeks,” Ben recalls.

Every year, on their anniversary, they return to the scene of the crime.

Benjamin F. Allen ’24 and Alexandra N. Pipkin ’23 got engaged on spring break in Paris.
Benjamin F. Allen ’24 and Alexandra N. Pipkin ’23 got engaged on spring break in Paris. By Courtesy of Benjamin F. Allen and Alexandra N. Pipkin

Ben knew for a while that Alex was the one. But, being three years older than her, he wanted her to set the pace. Even on the first date, he says, “I was like, ‘I’ve had such a great night tonight. I’ve thoroughly loved our time together, and I’d really like to kiss you.’” Ben suggested playing a game of rock, paper, scissors: if he won, he would get to kiss her. He told her ahead of time that he would throw rock — and so she threw paper.

Before the proposal, they knew they were on the same page; they had discussed their futures together. They decided on a signal. When Alex was ready for Ben to propose to her, she would give him a ring.

Ben, as always, had a plan. As co-president of the Harvard Undergraduate Wine Society, he was able to arrange a club trip to France during their spring break. After everyone else left, they stayed another two days. They got pastries and walked around in the cold Paris drizzle. They stopped in front of the Notre-Dame de Reims, a cathedral so beautiful it brought Ben to tears. She handed him the ring. Though it didn’t exactly fit in with his plan, he knew it was the perfect moment and proposed immediately.

Their wedding isn’t for another two years, so not much about the ceremony is set in stone. What they do know is that Stanley will have a place of honor.

Joanna H. Wang (Bai) ’24 and Thomas S. Wang

Joanna and Thomas first learned about each other because a mutual friend thought they looked alike.

The two were members of their high schools’ rival speech teams, and “it sort of became this meme between our two teams that we looked the same,” Joanna says.

After bumping into each other at a graduation party the summer before their senior year of high school, Joanna and Thomas grew close, and partway through the school year, they began dating. In 2019, Joanna and Thomas graduated and the long-distance portion of their relationship began.

While Joanna took a gap year, Thomas became a missionary for the Church of Latter-Day Saints, first in American Samoa and then in New Jersey after the Covid-19 pandemic started.

To block out distractions — during what Joanna described as a “really sacred time for a lot of young adults” — missionaries are only allowed to call home and answer emails once a week. For two years, Joanna and Thomas communicated primarily through weekly emails.

After coming back from his mission, Thomas started at Brigham Young University in the fall of 2021. Now, Thomas and Joanna call every night, visit each other about once a month, and spend school breaks together.

Joanna H. Wang (Bai) ’24 and Thomas S. Wang were married in August 2023.
Joanna H. Wang (Bai) ’24 and Thomas S. Wang were married in August 2023. By Courtesy of Joanna H. Wang (Bai)

Joanna and Thomas enjoy watching movies and shows together. “He really likes Lord of the Rings. He thinks they’re the most perfect movies ever made,” Joanna says. “I personally am a little bit more of a rom-com girlie.” They also watch a lot of Los Angeles Lakers games. “I’ve sort of converted him to be an L.A. Lakers fan,” Joanna says.

When Joanna visits Thomas in Utah they also like going to Nickel City, an arcade where every game costs a nickel.

Joanna and Thomas got engaged in December 2022 in their hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. After picking up Joanna from her flight, Thomas suggested they visit the church’s Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple.

As they walked around the temple, Joanna realized that he was going to propose. At that point, she says, “I completely blacked out.”

“I’m assuming that he asked me to marry him. And I’m also assuming that I said yes,” Joanna says. “I’m really just going off of inference.”

Eight months later, on Aug. 5, 2023, they were married at the Bohemian Gardens in downtown Omaha, before going to the temple where they got engaged to do their temple sealing, a church ritual meant to preserve the couple’s relationship beyond death.

Joanna looks forward to moving to Utah after graduation. “We won’t be long-distance married anymore, which I think will be a great chapter,” she says.

Sofiya O. Lysenko ’24 and Felix D. Perez Diener ’23

When Sofiya and Felix’s Zoom turns on, they are sitting in Felix’s Las Vegas apartment wearing matching shirts that say “Tunnels Mars” on them.

Felix works at the Boring Company, a tunnel construction company owned by Elon Musk, and each Friday, everyone wears those shirts. “The joke is that someday we'll have tunnels on Mars,” Felix says.

The astronomical shirts are appropriate, though, because, as Felix and Sofiya explain, they had their first real conversation “under the stars” at a retreat for the Harvard Undergraduate Christian Fellowship in August of 2022.

From that conversation, the two clicked, and the following semester, they grew even closer while psetting together in Computer Science 120. Every week, Sofiya says, “we would make memes together about the class materials,” posting them on the class forum.

“Through that, I think, we started becoming better friends. I think I realized we had a similar sense of humor,” she adds. “We vibe together well.”

That October, Felix called a friend of his and mentioned Sofiya. “It sounds like you really like this girl,” he remembers his friend telling him. “I was like, ‘What do you mean?’ But then I thought about it and I was like, I guess the idea of taking Sofiya on a date actually sounded pretty exciting,” Felix says. So he asked her out.

A little over a year later, now graduated and living in Las Vegas, Felix would recreate their first date — a walk around Back Bay — for the proposal.

That morning, Felix had flown into Cambridge to surprise Sofiya, knocking on her door at the time they usually call each morning. They then took an Uber to Boston where Felix, at first, “fake” proposed. After gesturing for her to look away, he knelt down — but just to tie his shoe. “I didn’t know he was going to propose,” Sofiya says. “I also thought he was just messing with me.”

But then, Felix walked her to the Northeastern computer science building, which they had visited on their first date. There, with a photographer waiting, Felix proposed for real.

Sofiya O. Lysenko ’24 and Felix D. Perez Diener ’23 are engaged to be married in June 2024.
Sofiya O. Lysenko ’24 and Felix D. Perez Diener ’23 are engaged to be married in June 2024. By Courtesy of Sofiya O. Lysenko

They will get married on June 1, 2024, in Felix’s hometown of Goshen, Indiana at the church he grew up going to.

They are excited for married life. “I’m looking forward to our evenings together,” Felix says, adding that he’s excited for “the daily rhythms of life.” Sofiya says she’s looking forward to building a home and family with Felix and having their “own little space together.”

In the meantime, they will continue to enjoy each other’s company. When apart, they like to spend time on the Discord server they use to talk to each other and play “Hand-and-brain” chess on When together in person, they play sports, particularly pickleball and acroyoga — a combination of acrobatics and yoga where partners contort their bodies into intricate poses.

At the core of their relationship is a strong friendship. “We just get along well,” Sofiya says, pointing out that they were good friends for several months before they began dating. “It just feels like we’re still friends,” she adds.

With their shared faith as another foundation for their relationship, Sofiya and Felix are grateful to have each other as they navigate young adulthood. “We’re in it for life and I’m excited to start that,” Sofiya says.

Emma K. Greaves ’24 and Nolan D. Jacobs

For Emma and Nolan it’s important to “live boldly,” Nolan says — hence their upcoming wedding.

“I always give this advice to couples that they shouldn’t be afraid, that fortune favors the bold, and they should just go for it when they feel like it. Because what’s the worst that can happen?” Emma adds.

Their relationship even started with a bold move — going out for two days on a camping and canoeing trip at Sebago Lake in Maine as their first date in the summer of 2022. They had met two weeks before through their mutual friend Nate A. DeLucca ’24, who also grew up in Nolan’s hometown of Houlton, Maine.

“We decided to do the camping trip, because no matter what, we were gonna find out by the end of that if we were going to work,” Emma says. By the end of the camping trip, they were committed.

With that, the long-distance portion of their relationship started. Around once a month, Nolan will come to Cambridge or Emma will go to Philadelphia, where Nolan attends the University of Pennsylvania. This semester, though, they’ve had a little more time so it’s been closer to twice a month.

Cheap Frontier tickets also help: “There’s an itinerary from Boston to Philly that’s 40 bucks round trip,” Emma explains. “We’ve been kind of spoiled the past six months,” Nolan adds.

Whether in person or long-distance, Nolan and Emma like to stay active. They go on runs and have completed a Murph — a workout where you complete 2 miles of running, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, and 300 squats while wearing a 20-pound vest or body armor. When apart, they give each other kudos on Strava, a social app for runners and bikers.

Emma and Nolan got engaged in February of this year at Cira Green, a rooftop garden in Philadelphia. Nolan says that before the proposal, one of his married friends told him that something always goes wrong the day of the proposal. “I was like, ‘No, it’s not gonna happen.’ But when we got there, the elevator was broken so we had to walk up 11 flights of stairs to get to the top,” Nolan says.

In the end, the broken elevator in some ways ended up being an advantage — the rooftop was almost empty, except for “this pair of amateur photographers, which sounds planted, but it was a really happy coincidence,” Emma says.

Since then, the couple has been caught up in wedding planning. “My friends have been joking with me because I didn’t write a thesis that this is my thesis,” Emma says with a laugh.

Emma K. Greaves ’24 and Nolan D. Jacobs are engaged to be married in May 2024, just three days after Commencement.
Emma K. Greaves ’24 and Nolan D. Jacobs are engaged to be married in May 2024, just three days after Commencement. By Courtesy of Emma K. Greaves

On May 26, 2024, Emma and Nolan will get married in Groton, Massachusetts, in a wedding they describe as “elegant meets rustic charm.” Emma and Nolan are excited to spend a special night with their friends and family before they move across the country to San Diego, where Nolan will be commissioned as a Navy officer and Emma will work in biotech. They are excited to build a shared life in San Diego.

“I think distance has been great, and we’ve definitely grown together as a couple but also as individuals because of the long distance,” Emma says. “But I think it’ll be really exciting when we’re making our life out in San Diego to be doing that as a couple.”

Soren E. Choi ’24 and Isabella M. Meyer ’24

When Soren E. Choi ’24 and Isabella M. Meyer ’24 met, Isabella thought he secretly hated her. “It was kind of like an enemies to friends to lovers arc,” she says.

They were in the Harvard University Choir together and Soren’s frankness initially came off as confrontational to her — “I just have a lot of strong opinions,” he laughs — but it eventually became something she now appreciates about him most. “I understand the benefits of someone who is a mirror to me and will always give me the truth, even when it hurts,” she says.

During the winter break of their junior year, they discovered they had feelings for each other. The more they talked, the more they realized they also shared the same life goals.

“Kind of an awkward set of realizations over the phone when you’re in your childhood bedroom,” Isabella chuckles. After all, for them, dating is serious business — a sort of “trial marriage” as Soren calls it. “I’ve always been very upfront with the fact that I expected any relationship I enter into to be with the intention of marriage sometime down the line,” he says. They’re both observant Christians and have traditional family values. “Yeah, we want children. We want to be married at a young age,” Isabella says.

They started dating when they returned to campus in January of last year. That summer, Soren left for a month-long Reserve Officers’ Training Corps training camp. For two weeks, he didn’t have access to the internet or his phone. Unbeknownst to him, Isabella and his mother were scheming. By the time he returned home, the wedding venue had been booked. (“You have to book a year out!” she protests when Soren teases her about this.)

While it may seem hasty to book a venue before the proposal, the truth is that they had been talking about marriage from the start — Isabella had even explained her wedding ring preferences. The only question left for them was when.

It was Oct. 12, Isabella’s birthday. They had just had dinner, and despite the biting New England cold, they went on an evening walk on the riverbank of the Charles. He handed her a gift bag. As a student of Victorian literature, she was delighted to find a book — a Penguin clothbound copy of Pride and Prejudice. It was a marriage plot. She opened it, and inside was a carved rectangular hole. Inside the hole was a ring.

Soren E. Choi ’24 and Isabella M. Meyer ’24 are engaged to be married in June 2024.
Soren E. Choi ’24 and Isabella M. Meyer ’24 are engaged to be married in June 2024. By Courtesy of Jacelynn Bryant

They’re getting married in June, three weeks after they graduate, at the Oxford Divinity School — a filming location for “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” It was the next best choice once they found out that Westminster Abbey only holds weddings for clergy members and royals.

As musicians, they enjoy going to classical concerts together, particularly those held by the Handel and Haydn Society and the local opera company. “We’re really old souls. We’re like 75-year-olds put into 21-year-old and 22-year-old bodies,” Isabella says.

For them, marriage is all about partnership. “Marriage comes before financial stability or career success,” Soren says. Going forward, any career opportunities they accept and next steps they take will be joint decisions. “You’re building a life together rather than trying to bridge two separate lives,” he says.

But in another sense, they find that the engagement hasn’t changed their lives significantly. “While you are much closer and privy to a lot more, that doesn’t mean that your relationship with that person just magically changes because your Facebook status changes,” Soren says.

But there is one thing they’re looking forward to once they get married: getting a dog.

Hanna M. Johnson ’24 and Jared C. Zimmerman

“The day I saw her, I just imagined, envisioned her in a wedding dress and everything and I instantly knew I wanted to marry that person,” Jared says, explaining that they met while working together at a fast food restaurant as high schoolers.

Despite Jared’s certainty, the couple didn’t start dating until more than four years later. “It took me quite a bit longer to get there. But something always did feel different about him,” Hanna says.

Over those four years, Hanna and Jared developed a close friendship. “We were both really interested in politics, which is not super common in the Midwest,” Hanna explains. The couple hails from the Fargo-Moorhead area, though Hanna lived on the North Dakota side and Jared lived on the Minnesota side.

Their friendship ran deeper than shared interests: “He was always the first person I ran to with good news, or the first person I went to for comfort,” Hanna says.

Around two years ago, they decided to date. “I think it felt a lot scarier for me because I knew that he wanted to marry me,” Hanna says. “So I couldn’t just go on a first date with him and test the waters.”

For their first date, they took a trip to Minneapolis. A highlight of the trip was seeing the Basilica of Saint Mary, the first Catholic Basilica built in America, since Hanna was about to convert to Catholicism.

They will be wed at the Basilica on Aug. 15, 2025. They chose August 15 for the wedding because “15s are really important in our relationship” — they met on March 15 and started dating on July 15. Jared also proposed on June 15 in Washington, D.C., where Hanna was living at the time.

Hanna M. Johnson ’24 and Jared C. Zimmerman are engaged to be married in August 2025.
Hanna M. Johnson ’24 and Jared C. Zimmerman are engaged to be married in August 2025. By Courtesy of Kate Carpenter

“We’d always wanted to involve something with politics and history,” Jared says, so he planned a scavenger hunt around D.C. — a fun surprise for Hanna because she already knew he was going to propose that day.

At each place he took her, he connected the location to their relationship. For instance, when they went to the Capitol, Hanna says, “We talked about our relationship as a symbol for bipartisanship.” Hanna is a Democrat and Jared is a Republican.

Finally, at the Lincoln Memorial, with the Washington Monument in the background, Jared proposed. Overwhelmed by the crowds a bit, they decided to walk to one of the world war memorials, where it was “quiet and beautiful.” Jared proposed again. “I said yes both times, of course,” Hanna says.

In addition to two proposals, there were two rings. One ring was designed by Hanna. But Jared still wanted to pick out a ring and surprise Hanna, so he bought her “a much less expensive one that I could wear traveling and things like that,” Hanna says.

Hanna also bought Jared a ring with ancient Roman designs to honor his interest in the Roman Empire. “I think it’s silly that only one partner gets to have that documentation,” Hanna says. “I’ll replace it with a wedding band next year. But until then, especially given our long engagement, we have something.”

After graduation, Hanna will join Jared in Minneapolis. While he finishes his law degree at the University of St. Thomas, Hanna will work at RISE, an advocacy group that works to pass laws supporting sexual assault survivors.

They are looking forward to all the “little things” that come along with married life — shopping, cooking, decorating an apartment, and more. They are also excited to plan their future together and discuss building a family together.

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