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24-Year Courtship Had Legs from the Start

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Samuel DeSpain was in shock when Robert Day finally popped the question.

By Henry V. Thiel

While looks aren’t everything for Robert Curtis Day, it was Samuel Vaughn DeSpain III’s legs that caught his eye on February 29, 1992, at the Paper Moon nightclub in San Antonio.

“Actually, Curt sent a mutual friend over to invite me to join them because he liked my legs,” DeSpain recalls, smiling. “We talked together the rest of that night. We were totally smitten with each other!”

Twenty-three years later, Day proposed—and he still likes DeSpain’s legs.

“To say I was shocked when he proposed would be the ultimate understatement,” DeSpain says. “Curt had never been a big marriage person; it was always just a piece of paper to him.

“Over the years I came to realize that yes, I wanted to marry Curt,” he adds. “I’ve always had a feeling of peace around Curt.  I used to wonder what I did to deserve such a wonderful person in my life. Curt is my rock when things go crazy, and my voice of reason when I see none. I knew what he thought about marriage, so I never brought it up. So when he proposed, I could not believe what I was hearing!”

Day popped the question over dinner on an ordinary weeknight, “using the same voice he uses when he asks me to pass the potatoes,” DeSpain says.

“I thought to myself, is he joking with me? When he steered the conversation to the coming year and mentioned that February had 29 days in 2016, I didn’t know what he was talking about. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t think that he was serious, so I didn’t give him an answer. Then two weeks later, he asks me if I had been looking at possible wedding locations. ‘What?’ I said to myself. ‘Oh my God, he’s serious! He wants to marry me!’ I screamed in my head. I was totally blown away!

“The first thing we did as an engaged couple was to call the friend who introduced us, and asked if he would attend our wedding,” shares DeSpain. “We were thrilled when he said yes.”

DeSpain, 45, attended the University of Texas at San Antonio and works as a manager at Williams-Sonoma. Day, 49, serves as director of finance for the southwest region at Ernst & Young.

weddingguysThey were married on February 29, 2016, on Smathers Beach in Key West, Florida, with William Joseph Weinstein officiating.

“I only requested two things about the wedding,” Day says. “I wanted the wedding to be small, and on a beach.

“We also wanted to be married in the U.S.A. to ensure that no one could contest our marriage,” he adds. “We chose Key West because we knew it would be fun for everyone, and because we have always enjoyed what Key West has to offer.”

To plan their destination wedding, the couple relied on the vendors at WeddingToGoKeyWest.com. “Their professionalism was very helpful, and we would recommend them to anyone,” Day says.

“They may not be high fashion, but they are very much Key West,” DeSpain says. “They helped me find transportation, pick restaurants, and even explained where and how I should go about getting our marriage license.”

The wedding included one time-honored tradition.

“For something borrowed, it was my stepfather’s hanky,” DeSpain says. “Something old was a locket that my mother lent me that belonged to her grandmother. Something blue was a blue ribbon in my pocket, and something new was a set of custom-made cufflinks that Curt gave me as a wedding present.”

The couple shared two favorite moments from the ceremony—one humorous and one somber.

Day recalls the humorous moment that occurred just after they exchanged rings. “We both, at the very same moment, realized that we were so nervous that we had put our rings on the wrong hands, and we had to change them in the middle of the ceremony,” he says. “Everyone was laughing, even the officiant.”

The somber moment involved DeSpain’s father, who died from Alzheimer’s last summer. “Just as the service started, my mother and a cousin both noticed that a large sandhill crane flew by us and landed just a few feet away next to the gentle lapping waves,” he says. “They both swear the crane stood there and watched the entire ceremony. They both said it made them feel as if my father was there watching me marry Curt. I still cry when I think of it.”

The couple has decided to postpone their honeymoon until this year, when they’re celebrating their 25th anniversary.

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Henry Thiel

Henry V. Thiel is a principal with The Epicurean Publicist, a boutique public relations company which works exclusively with chefs and restauranteurs. He loves weddings.
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