You’re reading this because you mean something to us and knew to look up this website! More seriously, you are here because you are loved by Nat and/or Gary and our families. We are very excited to come together on May 25, 2024 for a big celebration! Below is a FAQ that we hope will clear up some things.
How did y’all meet?
Many people meet online these days, and this go-to phrase is how we quickly answer that question when thrown at us. But we didn’t meet on a dating app… We met on Twitch.
Twitch is a live streaming platform geared towards a wide range of content, though most notably, video gaming. Gary has been watching Twitch off and on for more than a decade (he was on Justin.tv for the few of you who understand that), while Nat only stumbled on it in 2019. Both would mostly watch speedruns of Nintendo-like games as background noise while they worked. With the pandemic, both started chatting more frequently and becoming engaged in communities across the globe.
In January 2021, Gary began interacting in a chat Nat often visited, and they immediately hit it off and became friends. They loved chatting about exercise, food, and the outdoors. In May, Nat innocently reached out to ask Gary about his recent GoPro purchase, but once the private conversation started, it never quite ended. They realized how much they had in common and slowly began to catch feelings. Despite being the same age, Nat was moving to Wisconsin to start her PhD in Chinese history, while Gary was in the final year of this PhD in engineering at Michigan.
In July, Gary was messaging her about activities they could do together in Michigan when Nat cheekily responded, “Sounds like a date.” From there they discussed their grown affection for one another and began their relationship once they met up a few weeks later. The rest, they say, is history.
How did Gary propose?
We very quickly realized we made a good team, so the idea of marriage was openly discussed as long term goals for us. For Gary, a hike at Devil’s Lake State Park had him seriously considering Nat as his life partner. We took a selfie at a popular photo spot, and it quickly became a favorite of theirs, despite Gary’s pandemic mustache. Gary found it fitting to return to that exact spot to propose to Nat in June 2023.
Aren’t y’all already married?
Yes. While May 25, 2024 was the set date since April 2023, a few weeks after their engagement, Nat’s grandfather began getting progressively more ill. His three year fight with bladder cancer was consuming his body. Anyone who knows Nat knows the tight bond she and her Papa had, and years before, they had agreed about wishing to have him walk her down the aisle alongside her father. Her grandfather was the first family member Gary met, and as Gary never knew any of his grandfathers, he saw him as his own. We had agreed before the engagement that we were willing to have a quick and private ceremony if his health were to decline because of how much he meant to them. Thus, unsure of how much time was left for Papa, we asked him if he could bless their rings and be a part of a small ceremony at his assisted living facility.
On July 27, 2023, we whipped up a small ceremony with our immediate families present as well as the same officiant and photographer. One of the Nat’s dearest friends, Kristen, who lives in town and is in the bridal party, took Nat dress shopping plus came to the ceremony as the flower girl and Livi handler. Plus, her sister made a strawberry cheesecake from scratch for the ten of us to enjoy. It was an incredibly special day. Not even two weeks later, Papa passed.
What’s with the URL with both last names?
We are both keeping our surnames at the moment! Nat loves her unique last name, and even more so because she is working on being the next Dr. Belew following her grandpa who also got his doctorate at University of Wisconsin-Madison in the late 1940s. Gary doesn’t mind but also likes his last name. Once kids are in the picture, we will figure it out from there. So, we kindly implore you to avoid calling her Mrs. Collins or Dr. and Mrs. Gary Collins. Also, fun fact for those reading this far… you put can our surnames in either order in the URL.
Why does Gary now live in Baltimore while Nat is in Madison?
Nat is in Madison working on her PhD in History, but she plans on finding work in the DC area after she finishes. Gary just got a headstart getting established over there! He loves working as a researcher at the Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Lab and also his work can be done remotely. We visit each other as often as we can and video call every evening for multiple hours. We also do date nights once a week where Gary will surprise order Nat food and eat together while watching a show 🙂. We share a lease in Madison with most of Gary’s stuff there.
We'd Love to See You There!RSVP