No Crying Over Spilled Beer
At their first meeting, Paul Justin Kremer was feeling a bit nervous in front of Stephanie Blair Turner. They were having happy hour drinks at the now-closed Beer Bar in Midtown in November 2013. Mr. Kremer had seen Ms. Turner’s picture on Facebook and had requested that a mutual friend make an introduction.
Mr. Kremer, a lawyer, had honed his public speaking and gesticulating in the courtroom. But, that evening, his nerves got the best of him and he knocked over his drink on the table. Beer spilled all over Ms. Turner. He apologized, but she was unfazed. “I was having a good time, so I tried to forget about the wet dress and carry on,” she said.
The two forged ahead and learned that beyond work — Ms. Turner is also a lawyer — they shared an interest in some niche musical subgenres: pop punk, New Jersey pogo punk, country punk, folk punk and post-hardcore. Such musical tastes, they said, are rare in their circles. “A lot of lawyers I encounter are surprised to hear how often I find myself in mosh pits,” Mr. Kremer said.
After the happy hour drinks, Mr. Kremer, now 37, offered to walk Ms. Turner, now 35, toward her subway stop, but they ended up at another bar called Park Avenue Tavern a few blocks away. “It became a late night,” Ms. Turner said.
While neither of them had been looking for something serious, their relationship status became official after a Cory Branan concert they attended at the Mercury Lounge that winter. At the show, Mr. Kremer offered to pay the musician back for albums he illegally downloaded years earlier, but Mr. Branan (whose music they categorized as revival punk) wouldn’t hear of it. Instead, Mr. Branan took their picture and tweeted about them, calling them a “lovely couple.”
When Mr. Kremer saw it the next day, he thought, “Oh, I guess we’re a couple.”
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Another factor solidified their connection over Thanksgiving weekend in 2015: a scrawny black cat. Ms. Turner had moved into Mr. Kremer’s apartment in Stuyvesant Town that July, and she had been pining for a cat. When Mr. Kremer was in his parents’ home in Smithtown, N.Y., for the holiday, he saw the cat wandering in the woods outside. He called Ms. Turner, who was at her family’s home in Rockaway, N.J. She told him not to move and drove to meet him.
“We lured him out with leftover Thanksgiving turkey,” Mr. Kremer said. After no one responded to their lost cat posters, they brought the cat home and named him Socrates.
“It really affected how we interact with the world and think about the environment and animals,” Mr. Kremer said. The couple also decided to embrace veganism.
Ms. Turner has a bachelor’s degree in English from Barnard College and a law degree from Yale. She is a lawyer and the senior pro bono manager at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in Manhattan. Mr. Kremer has a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from Loyola University Maryland and a law degree from Harvard. Mr. Kremer works in the Manhattan office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, which is based in Los Angeles.
When the couple thought about their future, they didn’t picture an elaborate wedding. Over the course of their relationship, they have attended more than 30 weddings together. Ms. Turner also officiated one, while Mr. Kremer officiated four.
“It seemed like a whole lot of work,” Ms. Turner said.
Then Socrates grew sick and, in December 2022, they had to put him down. Losing their cat put their relationship into perspective.
“After going through that, we felt like we wanted to be there to support each other through all the best and worst parts of life,” Mr. Kremer said.
The couple were married at the city clerk’s office in Manhattan on April 3 by Yan Fang Chen, a clerical associate, with just their photographer as a witness. Ms. Turner wore her grandmother’s cat silhouette pin, and Mr. Kremer wore a pocket square that an artisan from Etsy had embroidered with a picture of Socrates.
Afterward, the couple met about 30 friends and relatives at the Winslow, a bar in the East Village. A few out-of-town friends surprised them by flying in for the celebration.
Mr. Kremer lifted his glass and thanked those who had gathered to help the couple mark the occasion.
“The toast was champagne,” he said, “and not a drop was spilled.”