Julie Wean and Jeffrey Partridge love to travel. The book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die is a favorite at their Mount Airy home—one by one, they’re checking locations off the list.
In January 2008, they were on a cruise to the Caribbean, a yearly tradition with friends. After they’d been dating for almost two years, the thought crossed Julie’s mind that Jeffrey, better known to his friends as Opie, might propose. Despite a 13-year age difference, the pair, who met when Julie’s sister married Opie’s best friend, had hit it off right from the start.
But after formal night on the ship came and went with no proposal, Julie, 24, a contract specialist with the Naval Medical Logistics Command, assumed she was wrong. So when they were docked a few days later in St. Lucia, she was suspecting nothing. Julie and Opie, 37, a Maryland state trooper, spent the morning ziplining through the rain forest with their friends. Later on in the day, the group decided to hike up the side of a mountain to a scenic overlook where the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea collide.When they got to the top, Julie was busy taking in the view when one of the women in the group told her she should go check on Opie. He was tired from the trek and wasn’t looking so good. “When I went over to him, he looked absolutely fine to me,” Julie says. “He handed me a black marker, which I still have, and told me that I was going to need it. He turned around, and written on his back was ‘Julie, will you marry me? Yes or No.’ I immediately turned around, and our whole group of friends was huddled together with huge smiles and a few tears of joy.”
As Opie got down on one knee, his shorts split open. “Julie’s laughing at me as the ripping of my shorts makes a noticeable sound,” Opie says. “I present the ring to Julie and pop the question. She says yes! She starts crying again as I put the ring on her finger.”
Then Opie got up and turned around again—and Julie circled “yes.”
When: May 1, 2009.
Where: Ceremony at Towson United Methodist Church; reception at Valley Mansion.
Colors: Black, clover green, and orange.
Cake flavors: Almond pound cake with raspberry-mousse filling. Opie calls it Toasted Almond Surprise.
Music: A string quartet for the ceremony; then a friend of the couple will DJ the reception. “We sure hope everyone remembers their dancing shoes,” Julie says.
First dance: It’s a surprise!
Honeymoon: Barbados and Petit St. Vincent.
First date: Snow tubing at Ski Liberty followed by dinner at Outback, for Valentine’s Day in 2006. “We shared a lot of laughs that night,” Opie says. “We shared an awkward first kiss but both recovered and continued to see one another.”
First impression: “I thought she was sweet, smart, very pretty, and all-around wonderful,” Opie says. “I just couldn’t get enough of her and wanted to find out more about her.” Julie says from the start she knew Opie was a goof: “He is a true kid at heart. When Opie and I started spending time together after my 21st birthday, I just knew that he was my other half. I could see that he would be that one person that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. He was so interesting and always full of surprises. There was never a dull moment when we were together; there still isn’t.”
Silliest fight: Over their Chihuahua, Mocha, being outside in the cold. “I really thought she should be inside—she was shivering,” Julie says. “I took her from him and brought her in the house. It escalated from there. After a while, we ended up sitting inside with Mocha on our lap, laughing at how ridiculous the whole situation was.”
Favorite date spot: At home. “There is something so wonderful about Chinese takeout, a rented movie, and a bottle of wine,” Julie says.
Most romantic gesture: Opie planned a surprise weekend away for Julie—a road trip on his Harley to the Jack Daniel’s distillery in Tennessee. “The whole trip was so that he could tell me he had fallen in love with me,” Julie says. “Three days, 1,500 miles, and five states later—just to say ‘I love you’ for the first time. Now, that’s romantic!” Julie’s most romantic gesture for Opie? Saying yes to his proposal, Opie says. “I don’t think you can get more romantic than that. I think we both felt completely in love and like the luckiest couple in the world that day. I still feel that way every day!”
Sweetest nickname: Julie calls him pumpkin, he calls her babe or dear.
Something others would be surprised to know about Julie: “How amazing she really is,” Opie says. “She’s just an all-around wonderful person.”
Something others would be surprised to know about Opie: “He can be serious,” Julie says. “There are plenty of people that know silly Opie, but not too many that know serious Opie. I’m the lucky person that really knows him like that!”
When Opie knew they were meant to be: “I don’t know how to describe it, but I somehow think I’ve always known.”
When Julie knew they were meant to be: “After that trip to Tennessee, I knew it was all over, or just beginning. I had found the one!”
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