Falling for Each Other, Then a First Date

Though Julie Louisa Hagenbuch and Eddy Arturo López Noguera developed a friendship not long after meeting in September 2016, it would take 11 months for them to consider one of their outings as an actual date. And by that point, both say they had already started to fall in love.

The two first introduced themselves to each other at a printmaking studio at Bucknell University, in Lewisburg, Pa. Mr. López, 44, had just started his current job as an assistant art professor at the university. Ms. Hagenbuch, 35, a self-employed photographer and writer, was doing freelance video work for its communications department, and had come in to visit a friend who at the time was working with Mr. López.

That day, they only shared a brief hello. But as Ms. Hagenbuch put it, “in a small town with similar interests, it’s hard not to run into each other again and again.” When their paths crossed on campus, they would strike up short conversations and offhandedly invite one another to events.

Unsure of the other’s feelings, each shied away from anything romantic for almost a year. “It was a slow burn,” Ms. Hagenbuch said, until the end of August 2017, when she invited Mr. López for a cup of coffee after running into him on a street near Bucknell.

“We sat down, shared a muffin and had a really great conversation,” Mr. López said. “I think I was much more obvious about my interest” in her, he added. Afterward, they exchanged text messages throughout the day and met up a few more times on campus, including at Mr. López’s art studio, where they talked even more that evening.

From then, Ms. Hagenbuch said, “It wasn’t just running into each other anymore; we were finding reasons to spend time with each other.”

Two weeks later, they had a first kiss following a day spent at Tewksbury Grace Farm in Muncy, Pa. Shortly after, they began to refer to the other as their partners.

Raised in Dillsburg, Pa., Ms. Hagenbuch graduated from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, where she received a bachelor’s degree in writing. She is the owner of Canister, a photography and design business, in Milton, Pa.

Mr. López was born in Matagalpa, Nicaragua, in the midst of the Sandinista revolution. When he was 9, his parents, afraid that he would be drafted to fight as a child soldier, sent him to live in Miami with his older siblings, who had come to the United States in the years before as refugees. He holds an associate degree in visual arts from Miami Dade College, dual bachelor’s degrees in art history and in painting and printmaking from Florida International University and an MFA from the University of Miami.

When the pandemic arrived in March 2020, Ms. Hagenbuch moved into Mr. López’s home and soon after drove with him to Miami to pick up his father, who then moved in, too. The couple spent the next year cooking, crafting with Mr. López’s father, working from home and driving to new towns each weekend.

That time made Ms. Hagenbuch “happier than before,” she said, “even happier than traveling across Europe and Mexico.” Though she and Mr. López had already started to discuss marriage by then, the pandemic solidified for her that she wanted a future and family with him, she added.

On July 23, 2021, while the couple was visiting Sequoia National Park as part of a six-week, cross-country road trip, Ms. Hagenbuch proposed to Mr. López. In their first year together, to avoid putting pressure on him, she had told Mr. López not to propose to her and that she would ask him when she was ready to get married.

They wed May 31 in a self-uniting ceremony at Tewksbury Grace Farm in front of 15 guests, all of whom were vaccinated with the exception of Ms. Hagenbuch’s 4-year-old niece. The bride’s mother and the groom’s father were witnesses.

After the ceremony, the newlyweds and their guests celebrated at a reception that included lunch, dancing and a tres leches wedding cake baked by the bride’s mother, which was decorated with fondant plumeria flowers, the national flower of Nicaragua.

“I feel like I’ve experienced a lot in my life, but I realized at some point during our engagement over the past year that there’s this whole part of life I haven’t experienced yet,” the bride said. “This marriage is going to be a before and after moment.”

Added the groom, “The thing I’m most excited about is setting ourselves up to build an intentional future together.”