Allison Cai and Kurt William Galbraith were both part of a large friend group that would frequently go out together, though they never really connected.
Ms. Cai remembers having a conversation with Mr. Galbraith in August 2017, thinking he was a friend’s cousin. He wasn’t. It was a moment Mr. Galbraith vaguely remembers. What he does remember is teaching Ms. Cai to play “Chinese poker,” at the Jersey Shore on Labor Day weekend.
In May 2018, Mr. Galbraith finally asked Ms. Cai out on a date. “As someone who historically takes things very slow and doesn’t take risks I did some self reflection and realized that she was worth taking a risk for,” Mr. Galbraith said. “I knew that if I didn’t then she would slip away and I would regret it.”
They went to the Brazen Fox for drinks and Veselka, a Ukrainian restaurant, for dinner, both in Manhattan, and then to the movies. Ms. Cai calls it “modern dating via old school meeting,” a kind of organic relationship.
“But when you meet someone through friends and it’s not an on-purpose set up, a first date feels way more serious,” she said.
Allison Cai, 28, born in Hackensack, N.J., moved to the Beijing home of her grandparents, Wang Zhihan and Yang Mingyi, at 18 months. At 4, she returned to New Jersey. “My parents wanted me to know my aging grandparents and my culture and to learn Chinese first hand,” Ms. Cai said.
[Click here to binge read this week’s featured couples.]
She has a bachelor’s degree in economics from N.Y.U. and works as a global marketing manager at Revlon, based in Manhattan.
Kurt William Galbraith, 28, is from Warwick, N.Y. He is an associate at Morgan Stanley, having earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Delaware.
By fall 2019, Ms. Cai knew she wanted to marry Mr. Galbraith after taking their first international trip together with not one argument. “Everyone says that’s always a big test,” she said. “We flew to Nice, France, took a train to Milan, and then flew to Munich for Octoberfest,” Mr. Galbraith said.
It was further confirmed for Ms. Cai when they decided to go on a road trip in February 2020, picking up a camper van in Las Vegas, then stopping to hike in a number of places, including Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Antelope Canyon, and the Grand Canyon.
It was that same van trip that made their love clear to Mr. Galbraith. “Living in a van for a week you get to know someone really well,” he said. “But it wasn’t like a pinpoint moment. It was just a lot of things combined.”
When the pandemic hit, the two decided to quarantine together at Ms. Cai’s Manhattan apartment. After a month, though, when the two realized Covid’s severity, they moved in with Ms. Cai’s parents in Saddle River, N.J., where they stayed for four months before moving back to Ms. Cai’s apartment in July.
On June 27, 2021, when the Manhattan couple was back at Ms. Cai’s parents’ home, this time to house-sit, Mr. Galbraith proposed. It was a lazy, do-nothing Sunday just as the two of them would have wanted.
The couple were wed Dec. 10, which was also Ms. Cai’s parents, Yiquan Cai and Mona Wang, 39th wedding anniversary. A mutual friend, Ryan Henderson, who was ordained by the Universal Life Church for the occasion, officiated at Cedar Lakes Estate in Port Jervis, N.Y. About 130 guests attended the ceremony, which was held atop the ice rink beneath a canopy of lights. They included a traditional Chinese tea ceremony.
The venue was originally a summer camp, so many of their guests stayed on the property. “It was a whole weekend affair,” Ms. Cai said. “It took the pressure off the day. We really got to spend time with everyone.”
The couple surprised guests with a lion dance performance and Ms. Cai’s father gave his speech in Chinese and the bride’s brother, Davis Cai, translated. The wedding favors were tiny cups and saucers filled with Baijiu, a Chinese spirit, crafted by Mr. Galbraith’s mother, Sharon Galbraith, of East Ridge Pottery.
During their sunset ceremony, the temperature was in the low 30s. “I’m just very thankful that our guests were down for it,” Ms. Cai said. “They really leaned into the winter wedding.”