Caroline Trowbridge and Devon Minarik, both of Hunt Valley,… (Baltimore Sun photo by Kim…)
As the bottlenose dolphins swam gracefully past the viewing window at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Devon Minarik and Caroline Trowbridge said their vows on 01/01/11.
"It's a special place. It's gorgeous and we like to be different," Trowbridge said, adding that New Year's is "my favorite holiday."
The couple is the third generation of Minarik's family to say 'I do' on the first day of the year. The New Year's vows, after all, seem to work for them.
Minarik's parents celebrated their 30th anniversary Saturday while his grandparents — who will both turn 90 later this year — enjoyed their 66th year together.
"My grandparents are such a wonderful example of what a marriage should be like. And my parents," he says. "I feel blessed to share in that, and to keep the tradition going would be all I could ask for.
"Every year people make New Year's resolutions. It's starting fresh and something new that's being created. For a wedding, it's almost too perfect."
Minarik, a 24-year-old underwriter, met his wife, Trowbridge, who's 25 and works for an e-mail marketing firm, in college at Virginia Tech. Introduced through a mutual buddy, they quickly became best friends, joining the school's triathlon club together.
On Saturday, as Trowbridge prepared for the ceremony, she applied makeup and squeezed in a few reps with her 8-pound dumbbells since she couldn't go to the gym because it was closed.
They both enjoy physical challenges. Last Valentine's Day, while many couples sipped wine, nibbled chocolates and cuddled, the two competed in an ultramarathon. On their wedding programs, there was the image of a small bicycle beneath their names.
Minarik asked Trowbridge to marry him a year ago on Thanksgiving weekend while hiking along the Gunpowder Falls. Before they started the hike, he told her he'd have a surprise for her halfway through. So when he sat her down on a rock alongside the water and pulled out a package of Berger cookies, she was delighted. "Nope," he said. "There's more," and brought out a homemade photo scrapbook of the couple's time together. She paged through all the captured memories and on the last page found the proposal — and a sapphire ring he'd dug out of his pocket when she wasn't looking.
"I swung around and got down on one knee and proposed right there on the side of the river," Minarik remembers. "She was completely surprised. That was my goal."
As Trowbridge attached her veil before the ceremony, she recalled the day with a grin and said, "That was a nice hike."
About 150 people attended the aquarium wedding, held in front of the underwater viewing area, with dolphins swimming by. Minarik's father is the aquarium's director of visitor operations.
Minarik's grandparents, George and Marie Minarik, married in Baltimore in 1946. It was her second marriage; her first husband died in World War II. Minarik was an engineer for Western Electric. She was an operator for the phone company. Their families set them up, it was love at first sight, and the couple married in the middle of a New Year's snowstorm.
Bill Minarik says his parents are "glowing" that their grandson chose their anniversary to marry.
"When you look down at 90 years, all the things you might have done, this kind of thing affirms, hey, we made some great choices," he said. "This is coming from the love that we shared."
Bill and Linda Minarik, who live in Kingsville now, met shortly after he graduated from college and went to work for the Boy Scouts of America in Oshkosh, Wis. Athletic like his son, one of Minarik's first stops in town was the local YMCA and one of the first things he saw there was a young woman at the front desk.
"There was this person working at the desk there with long brown hair and big eyes. I was smitten immediately," recalls Bill Minarik.
They had planned a June wedding when he was offered a job in California. Thinking they couldn't move cross-country and plan a wedding, they decided to just marry immediately. And immediately was New Year's Day, in a church that was once a dairy barn.
"New Year's is about looking forward and new beginnings," he said. "It's worked for parents. It's worked for me and it really looks like it's working for Carrie and Devon.
Baltimore Sun reporter Jessica Anderson contributed to this article.