Everyone Assumed They Were a Couple, Except Them

Susannah Leigh Steele and David Anderson Weigel are to be married April 28 in Greenville, S.C. The Rev. Robert J. Reuss, an Episcopal priest, is to perform the ceremony, with the Rev. Patricia A. Reuss, also an Episcopal priest, taking part, at the chapel of Furman University.

The bride and groom, who met when she was a teacher and he a student at Furman, each also received a bachelor’s degree from the university. Both did graduate work at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro; she received a doctorate in piano performance and he received a master’s degree in vocal performance.

Ms. Steele, 38, is a pianist, who offers private lessons and also teaches early childhood music with the Musikgarten curriculum, all in Chicago.

She is a daughter of Barbara Pilloud Steele and Robert S. Steele Jr. of Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Mr. Weigel, 31, is an opera singer and a member of the ensemble in the program for young artists at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. He earned a professional artist certificate from the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute at the North Carolina School of the Arts, and in May, is to receive a doctoral degree in vocal performance from the University of Michigan.

He is a son of Jayne L. Anderson and Larry N. Weigel of Asheville, N.C. The groom and his parents are the trustees of the Eric Anderson Weigel Memorial Fund, which was established after the groom’s younger brother died in a kayaking accident in 2013.

The couple met in 2009 at Furman, though each remembers the time he approached her about the graduate program at U.N.C. Greensboro, which he was then considering for his master’s work, as the only personal conversation they had there.

It was several years later, after his brother had died and she had become a foster parent, that the two became close. They were both working at the Music Academy of North Carolina in Greensboro.

“She was by far my closest friend and the person I could rely up on for support,” he said.

“David and I were not dating — we had different relationships through that time,” the bride said. “But we spent so much time together, we looked like a family.”

After her first foster child went back to his biological family, Ms. Steele took in a toddler, whom they call Pip and whom she eventually adopted.

“He and David had a connection immediately,” she said. “As long as David was holding his hand, he was fine.”

When the groom left for Michigan, to complete his graduate studies, his relationship with Ms. Steele continued. The two watched television shows and “Game of Thrones” together on FaceTime, and his parents regularly visited Ms. Steele and Pip, whom they had grown to love. When Mr. Weigel had vacation, he would head back to visit.

Mr. Weigel and his parents went to the home of Ms. Steele’s parents to spend the Christmas holiday in 2017, and he said it was then that he realized his feelings for her and Pip ran deeper than he had previously acknowledged.

“They inspired me to be the man that I wanted to be, that I had been working toward, and that’s when I really fell in love with her,” he said. “I think it was very natural for us. It had been underneath for such a long time.”

But Ms. Steele didn’t recognize the shift in their relationship until Mr. Weigel asked her to move to Chicago with him in spring 2018. “I was shocked,” she said.

After he explained the evolution of his feelings, they kissed and immediately commenced acting like the couple that everyone had always assumed they were.

“I think I was sort of wanting that question but not admitting it to myself,” she said. “I’m more of the romantic, so I was not holding out, but I didn’t think he was interested. And it turns out he was! We just took for-EVER to get there.”

Source: Read Full Article