Natasha Ruberry's friends told her she was silly to believe in fate. You'll never meet a man and just know he's "the one," they said.
Her father told her believing in fate was foolhardy. Don't wait around for someone, he advised. You've got to get on with your life.
So, Natasha threw in the towel. She purchased a house in White Marsh, moved in alone and let go of her hope that fate would someday bring that special person to her doorstep.
"I couldn't wait around for the right person any longer," she said. "So I sort of gave up."
Six months later, fate came knocking.
While working on an assignment for her job at T. Rowe Price in Baltimore, Natasha met co-worker Jeffrey "Jeff" Streib. They'd been working at the same office for four years, but had never gotten acquainted. They were supposed to talk about the job. They ended up talking about everything.
"There was something so intriguing about him," she said. "We had so much in common and had the lengthiest conversations."
A few weeks later, in March of last year, Jeff asked Natasha to accompany him to a fund-raising event at the Walters Art Museum. That night, Natasha realized she'd met the man she wanted to marry.
"I just knew he was 'the one,' " she said. "Just like that."
Over the next few months, Natasha and Jeff spent most of their time outside of work together. In addition to seeing movies and talking over long dinners, they spent much of that time working on Jeff's house in Fallston. An avid carpenter, Jeff was building an addition, and Natasha was eager to help out.
One afternoon, while putting together the framework for the addition, Jeff accidentally hammered a nail through three of his fingers. He ran inside to Natasha, and asked her to find some pliers, which he used to pull the nail out of his hand. Many girls would have screamed at the sight. Others might have fainted, or rushed to call an ambulance. Not Natasha, not in front of the man she hoped to marry.
According to Jeff, she remained calm.
"She completely kept her composure," he said. "She even let me go back to work on the house. At that point, I knew that I could see spending the rest of my life with her."
A week later, Jeff went out and bought Natasha an engagement ring. Last fall, on a cruise to Mexico and the Cayman Islands, he proposed to her on the bow of the ship.
"I was totally shocked," said Natasha, 30. "Of course, I said yes. He's my best friend. I can't imagine being without him."
"I was really nervous to ask her, but also nervous that the ring would fall overboard," said Jeff, 27.
On Nov. 9, Natasha and Jeff were married in front of about 140 friends and family at Shrine of the Little Flower in Baltimore. Their reception, held at the Sheraton in Towson, mixed the bride's Finnish heritage with the groom's Polish roots.
The newlyweds are traveling to St. Lucia for a weeklong honeymoon, to be followed by a relaxing week spent at Jeff's house in Fallston.
As for fate, Natasha now swears by it.
"Just when I started to doubt fate, it blindsided me," she said. "I wholeheartedly believe in it now. And I'll tell anyone that it's well worth the wait."