Valerie Persinger and Michael Webster were targeted by an unlikely couple: her sister and his former boss, who happened to be married to each other.
Ms. Persinger, 33, and Mr. Webster, 34, first met in August 2017. Mr. Webster, then an Air Force captain, was attached to a naval squadron at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in Washington State, which was under the command of Mrs. Persinger’s brother-in-law, Michael Lisa.
Ms. Persinger, who at the time lived in Plainsboro, NJ, thought she was going to visit her sister, Cynthia Lisa, and her family. But Ms. Lisa, she said, had done a little “matchmaking exploration” before her visit.
Born in Short Hills, NJ, Ms. Persinger is a graduate of Seton Hall University with degrees in public relations and journalism. Mr. Webster, of Brown Deer, Wisconsin, has a degree in packaging science from Clemson University.
The two currently live in Rapid City, SD, where she is the vice president of business development for the Rapid City Rush ice hockey team. Now a major in the Air Force, he is a B-1 bomber weapons systems officer.
Their first meeting sparked off on her next visit to Washington in May 2018. He then visited her in New Jersey in June. But when she returned to Washington in July 2018, the couple made it official.
Despite living on opposite coasts, they promised to see each other at least once a month. “We fell in love somewhere along the way,” Ms. Persinger said.
Mr. Webster proposed in a cabin in the Black Hills in January 2020, a South Dakota getaway that had become an annual tradition for the couple.
“The kitchen was lit by tealight candles in the shape of a heart,” Ms Persinger said. “Mike was standing in the middle of the kitchen and asked if I wanted to dance.”
He put on a song they both loved, “No Place,” by the Backstreet Boys, and then asked her to marry him. “I found out later that he had the ring in his pocket all day,” said Ms Persinger.
They were married on August 20 at St. Catharine Church in Spring Lake, NJ. Her father, Joseph Persinger, a Roman Catholic deacon at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, officiated.
She did a “first look” with her dad before he walked her down the aisle. “Dad gave me up and then went behind the altar, which required a uniform change from father to deacon,” said Mrs. Persinger.
The reception was held at the Sunset Ballroom at Jack Baker’s in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ. Along the way, the couple stopped at the beach for photos.
They incorporated their one-year-old German Shepherd mix, Derby, a rescue, into their wedding with their custom cake topper, “Derby’s Delight” specialty drink, and “Derby’s Doggie Delights” treat bags.
Their first dance was on “No Place” by Backstreet Boys. Later at the reception, Mr. Webster and his groomsman and friends, Mrs. Persinger, took to the dance floor and serenaded her with “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin.”
“We had sunglasses on and everything,” Mr. Webster said. “I think she probably knew it was coming because we went to one of my friend’s weddings two summers ago, and we did it. It’s something we do.”
The couple had a cake, a Viennese table and a chocolate fountain, which the youngest guests loved. Ms Persinger said: ‘With her face covered in chocolate, my 10-year-old niece Madeline said, ‘That was the best party. I want to have a wedding like that.’”