When Cindy Olsen was in her 30s and single, she thought she just wasn't going to get married. Brooke Farquhar, a bachelor at 40, also "wrote off" the idea of finding a spouse.
Both were happy with their careers, close families and great friends, and Brooke says, "I'd rather not have [a marriage] than settle."
Then, in July 2001, the two met while Cindy, an assistant interior decorator, and Brooke, who installs home theaters and other equipment with Starr Systems Design, were working on the same condominium in Cross Keys. They hit it off immediately. After a month they knew they wanted to be together for life, and on July 12 -- one year and one day after they had met -- they married at the Baltimore Museum of Industry, overlooking the Inner Harbor.
"Both of us had kind of written it off," says Cindy, now 36, of marriage. But when she met Brooke, 41, "Everything clicked for the first time in forever."
The arrival of Cindy and her colleagues from Alexander Baer Associates interior designers interrupted Brooke's work the day they met. But he didn't mind. "There was an electric, vibrant change in the air," when he first saw Cindy, Brooke says.
He made an excuse to stay around the house, helping the designers, and she found opportunities to go into the rooms where he was.
When the client asked Brooke to do a few extra jobs, he said he would if Cindy would have dinner with him. Cindy said yes immediately. At the end of the day, the client paid Brooke $50 for his extra work, and Brooke ripped the bill in half. He gave one half to Cindy and told her she would have to go out with him if they were going to use it.
"I was psyched," Cindy says. She thought, "This is the most romantic thing ever."
They went out that night and ever since have been pretty inseparable, says Brooke, who grew up in Silver Spring. He helped Cindy, from Timonium, renovate her house in Federal Hill. They also like to garden and spend time with friends and family.
At the end of August, Brooke told Cindy's parents he wanted to marry her.
Brooke and Cindy say it did not feel too early to talk about marriage after a few weeks. And after seeing the two of them together, their friends and family understood why they wanted to have a wedding.
One key to their success: "We communicate much better than many couples I know," Brooke says.
Brooke officially proposed in October. They went for a walk and, Cindy says, "He was a nervous wreck." After walking around the Inner Harbor, Brooke suggested they go to Federal Hill, even though Cindy was tired and hungry and did not see the point. It all became clear, though, when they reached the park and Brooke gave her a diamond engagement ring. It included a diamond that had been Cindy's great-great-grandmother's.
The couple wanted their wedding to be a big party and to be near the water. They also have an affinity for the Dominos Sugars sign, so they chose to have the ceremony and reception under the large gazebo at the Museum of Industry.
Tiny white lights decorated the structure and a group of juvenile ducks paraded through unexpectedly before the bride walked down the aisle with her parents. Cindy's sister and brother were her attendants. Brooke's two brothers were also in the wedding party and one of them played the processional and recessional music on the piano. His sisters gave readings.
After dinner 230 guests danced to live zydeco, swing and jazz music.
After two weeks in Jamaica, the two are moving into a house in Towson. Now that they are married after so long thinking they would never be, "We just want to stand here and look around for a little while," Brooke says.
He adds, "Everyone should be as lucky as we are."