How Garrison Anne Rufa and Theodore Joseph Lavoie didn’t meet before they did is a mystery to them both. The two were avid snowboarders growing up in New England, which has a tight-knit snowboarding community.
Ms. Rufa was so involved in the sport that when she was 15 her family relocated from Little Silver, N.J., where she grew up, to Chester, Vt., for her to train at Okemo Mountain School in Ludlow, Vt., and to compete.
Mr. Lavoie spent years as a professional snowboarder, riding for Eastern Boarder, an East Coast skate and snowboard supplier, and appearing in a handful of snowboard videos and magazines. “We have friends and acquaintances in common,” Mr. Lavoie said. “It’s crazy that we never crossed paths. We potentially were both on the mountain the same summer.” (Snowboarders and skiers sometimes “chase the snow,” Ms. Rufa said, by heading to Mount Hood in Oregon and other West Coast mountains in the summer.)
The two finally did connect on Tinder on Aug. 6, 2020. “Ted’s first swipe ever,” Ms. Rufa said. “We exchanged phone numbers immediately.”
They texted for several days before meeting on Aug. 11 at Odiorne Point State Park in Rye, N.H., to walk Ms. Rufa’s dog, Layla, a 12-year-old brindle-pit mix. “We walked along the coast and sat by the ocean,” Ms. Rufa said.
[Click here to binge read this week’s featured couples.]
A few minutes in, the two realized that one of Mr. Lavoie’s snowboard friends had recently dated Ms. Rufa’s roommate, whom he knew from his snowboard life. The two talked until it was too dark to stay any longer.
But when they got back to their cars, they realized the park had closed and the exit gate was locked. “We had to wait for the police to come and let us out,” Ms. Rufa said.
The next day, Mr. Lavoie met Ms. Rufa at her place in downtown Portsmouth, N.H. When he arrived, he realized he had sat on that very stoop, having attended a party there.
“Shortly after meeting, we became inseparable,” Ms. Rufa said. “We spent every damn day together. Some would call it fast, but nothing about it felt wrong.”
Four months later, in December 2020, Ms. Rufa moved into Mr. Lavoie’s home in North Hampton, N.H., where the couple now live. But by June 2022, things no longer seemed to be working. “There was so much unsettledness,” Ms. Rufa said, mostly about their future. “I was very direct about wanting to get married and have a family from the beginning.”
“I wasn’t sure that was what I wanted,” Mr. Lavoie said. “Having done this before, I know firsthand it’s way worse to jump without being sure.” He was previously married for five years and divorced in November 2019.
So, in July 2022, Ms. Rufa moved out. But, she said, “During our breakup, we never really stopped talking, even if the conversations were difficult.”
Two months later, in September 2022, the two reconnected about the future. “We had a deep conversation about our break and time apart,” Ms. Rufa said. And, on Sept. 30, the two had their second first date over pizza. Just over a year later, Ms. Rufa moved back in with Mr. Lavoie.
The breakup, “was one of the best things to happen to us,” Ms. Rufa said. “It made us regroup about what we really wanted.”
And on Sept. 8, 2023, Mr. Lavoie brought Ms. Rufa coffee, as he does every morning. But that morning, he brought something else as well — an engagement ring. He waited for her alarm to go off and, when it did, he was already down on one knee and proposed.
Ms. Rufa, 33, is a wedding planner and the owner of Garrison Anne Weddings & Events. She also organizes and manages wedding sales for Foster’s Clambakes & Catering in York, Maine, where she was formerly a full-time catering manager. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of New Hampshire.
Mr. Lavoie, 37, is a general contractor and the owner of Blueprint Builders of North Hampton, N.H. He has a bachelor’s degree in education from Plymouth State University. Mr. Lavoie grew up in Southbury, Conn.
The couple were married Dec. 29 by Jason Cooling, a friend of the groom who received a temporary officiant registration through the state of Vermont. The ceremony was outdoors atop Pikes Peak on a private property near the Inn at Weathersfield in Perkinsville, Vt., where the reception was held. Thirty people attended: 20 adults and 10 children. “It was very sweet how excited the kids were to be a part of it,” Ms. Rufa said.
The couple spent the day before the wedding snowboarding on Okemo with friends. “It was my home mountain and Ted’s first mountain he snowboarded on as a kid that was bigger than the Connecticut mountains he grew up snowboarding on,” Ms. Rufa said. “It was fun to share with them a mountain we both love.”