Kristina Nauman, an OrangeTheory Fitness coach from Greensburg, Pennsylvania, and Ryan Smith, cornerbacks coach for Virginia Tech University from King George, Virginia, met while they were working for Penn State football in 2016. After eloping in 2020, they celebrated with loved ones at an intimate wedding at Dover Hall in June 2021. See the details of their meeting, proposal, and the wedding below.
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“After a home football game,” says Kristina, “some of us went to a bar downtown.” Kristina thought she was just heading out with co-workers, but later found out that Ryan had arranged the gathering so they could meet, after spotting her at the game.
She noticed him immediately upon arriving at the bar, and thought he was really handsome, but saw he was talking to another group of girls and decided to move on. “I thought he thought he was big time,” she says. Initially, he says, he thought she was out of his league. But ultimately he approached her anyway and they bonded over their shared love of travel. They didn’t exchange numbers that night, so two days later Ryan messaged Kristina on social media. Their schedules didn’t align right away, but eventually the pair made plans to go on a proper date.
Just five months after they began dating, Ryan moved to North Carolina for a coaching job at Elon University, and Kristina made plans to move to be closer to him that following spring. “Even though we’d only met a few months prior,” she says, “I knew he was it for me.” But life, she says, “threw a really, really hard curveball,” when her mom passed away suddenly in May 2017. She decided to stay in Pennsylvania to be closer to her family for the next year.
The following December, of 2018, Ryan proposed on Mount Washington, a scenic overlook of Pittsburgh, where Kristina grew up.
“That day, we had plans to meander around the city to enjoy the holiday installations and later meet my family for dinner,” Kristina says. “I had a feeling something was up and that a proposal might be coming soon, so when I was getting ready for the day I asked my younger brother, Michael, which of two outfit options I should wear that day. One was more casual, while the other was a bit nicer. If he told me to wear the nicer outfit, I was convinced that Ryan might be proposing that day. Michael picked the nicer outfit.”
As the pair were driving up to Mount Washingtonian, Kristina spotted her family waiting there—a surprise to both her, and Ryan, who thought they would be hiding. “Looking back, Ryan was really stressed when he saw them because he thought they ruined the [surprise], but, Kristina insists, even then she wasn’t fully convinced it was happening.
“The actual proposal was so perfect. We were standing on the overlook just taking in the views of the city when Ryan dropped to one knee and asked me to marry him. I think both of us blacked out because he doesn’t remember what he said and I just remember being taken over by a wave of emotion. My whole family was, of course, there to celebrate and embrace us right after Ryan proposed, which was very special.”
The spent some time taking pictures together, until another couple asked them to move along so they could get married in that exact spot—something Kristina thought “had to be a good omen.” Not even 15 minutes after that wedding ceremony, she says, another couple got engaged! “It was a big day for love, I guess.”
The Planning Process
The pair planned a wedding for June 2020 with more than 200 guests, but their plans changed with the pandemic. Ultimately, they decided that the celebration could wait but the marriage could not.
“Since Ryan and I got engaged in 2018, our only constant has been change,” says Kristina. Aside from planning a wedding in the midst of a global pandemic, she says, other details of their lives were at play, too. “[Ryan] is a college football coach. In this profession, with each December comes the very real possibility that our lives will be uprooted as the coaching carousel spins. Well, we took not one but two rides around this carousel since our engagement, changing jobs twice and home addresses three times in the two-and-a-half years between our engagement and wedding celebration. Add to that a major global pandemic, dozens of executive orders affecting our plans, and countless hours spent wondering if having a wedding was even a possibility—we got comfortable with change very quickly.”
They eloped—”sans guests, bells, and whistles,”—on June 26, 2020, and pushed the wedding celebration to June 26, 2021.
“Although [the 2020 ceremony] was not what we had planned or had in mind for what our official wedding day would look like,” says Kristina, “neither of us would change a thing. With it just being the two of us, we were able to breathe, soak in every moment, and appreciate each detail of the day—no distractions, just us.”
A few months later, they say, they were back in event-planning mode.
“Our wedding planner, Lauren, was our north star in this whole process and helped us weigh our options with a clear head,” says Kristina. “In the end, we landed on a more intimate celebration—50 guests instead of 200-plus—with a more elevated design.”
On June 26, 2021, the pair celebrated their marriage, and their first anniversary, with 45 guests at Dover Hall, amidst a color palette of terracotta and emerald.
The menu included an assortment of salads; a pasta station that included orecchiette with pancetta and herbs and three-cheese tortellini with clam sauce; a butcher’s table station of seared strip loin in truffle jus; and a seafood station that included seared salmon, and cajun shrimp and grits.
Among Kristina’s favorite details was the furniture at the reception (“I would furnish my house with those pieces,” she says). As added entertainment, the couple enlisted a sommelier to lead a wine-and-chocolate pairing station. And for favors, the couple gifted guests bottles of wine with custom labels.
Instead of cake, the couple chose a dessert station with house-made gelato, tres leches cake, and a brioche bread pudding.
Photographer: Keith Cephus Photography • Venue: Dover Hall • Planning & Design: Swoon Soiree • Florist: A. Morgan Event Floral Design • Invitations: Minted • Hair and makeup: Elle Style Studio • Bride’s Attire: Casablanca • Groom’s Attire: Hart Schaffner Marx from Davidson’s (Roanoke, VA) • Music: DJ Jay May • Transportation: Richmond Limo