Valerie Persinger and Michael Webster were targets of an unlikely matchmaking pair: her sister and his former boss, who happened to be married to one another.
Ms. Persinger, 33, and Mr. Webster, 34, first met in August 2017. Mr. Webster, a captain in the Air Force at the time, was attached to a Navy Squadron at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in Washington State, which was under the command of Ms. Persinger’s brother-in-law, Michael Lisa.
Ms. Persinger, living in Plainsboro, N.J., at the time, thought she was just going to visit her sister, Cynthia Lisa, and her family. But Ms. Lisa, she said, had done a bit of “matchmaking recon” before her visit.
A Short Hills, N.J., native, Ms. Persinger graduated from Seton Hall University with a degree in public relations and journalism. Mr. Webster, from Brown Deer, Wis., has a degree in packaging science from Clemson University.
The two currently live in Rapid City, S.D., where she is the vice president for business development for the Rapid City Rush ice hockey team. Now an Air Force major, he is a B-1 bomber weapon systems officer.
The spark from their first meeting ignited into a flame during her next visit to Washington in May 2018. He then visited her in June in New Jersey. But it was when she went to Washington again in July 2018 that the couple made it official.
Despite living on opposite coasts, they made a commitment to see each other at least once a month. “We fell in love somewhere along the way,” Ms. Persinger said.
Mr. Webster proposed in January 2020 at a cabin in the Black Hills, a South Dakota getaway that had become an annual tradition for the couple.
“The kitchen was lit up by tea light candles in the shape of a heart,” Ms. Persinger said. “Mike was 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 long,” Ms. Persinger said.
They were married Aug. 20 at St. Catharine Church in Spring Lake, N.J. Her father, Joseph Persinger, who is a Roman Catholic deacon at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., officiated.
She did a “first look” with her father before he walked her down the aisle. “Dad handed me off and then went behind the altar, which required a uniform change from dad to deacon,” Ms. Persinger said.
The reception was held at the Sunset Ballroom at Jack Baker’s in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J. On their way, the couple stopped at the beach for photos.
They included their one-year-old, German shepherd mix, Derby, a rescue, in their wedding with their custom cake topper, a specialty “Derby’s Delight” drink, and “Derby’s Doggie Delights” treat bag favors.
Their first dance was to “No Place,” by Backstreet Boys. Later in the reception, Mr. Webster and his groomsman and friends pulled Ms. Persinger out onto 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 buddy’s weddings two summers ago, and we did it. It’s a thing 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.’”