They forged a friendship while walking from the Upper East Side to Brooklyn during the blackout in the summer of 2003. That friendship turned to love and then marriage. Kathryn Leenhouts and Justin O’Connor wed at City Hall on September 2, 2011.
Kathryn and Justin met at an orientation when they were both working at Memorial Sloan Kettering. They ended up getting a drink with a few members of their orientation class after the lights went out. Kathryn had very recently moved to New York and was feeling more than a little nervous about making her way back to Brooklyn sans subway. They went to a nearby bar, drank for a bit, and then got bored of waiting, realizing that the subways might not start running anytime soon–which, as we now know, they didn’t. Justin, Kathryn and two other women decided to walk to Brooklyn. A year later Justin and Kathryn were dating.
Now, Kathryn, 31, is an analyst at a hedge fund. Justin works in the development department at the Fund for Public Health. In their spare time they enjoy relaxing at home in Park Slope with their cat, watching movies and traveling. For their honeymoon they flew to Washington State and took two weeks to drive from the San Juan Islands to Los Angeles, along down Highway 1, the ridiculously beautiful Pacific coastal route, exploring Seattle, Portland, the Redwoods, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Big Sur, Monterey, Malibu, Santa Barbara and Venice Beach along the way.
After their City Hall nuptials, the couple went to Scottadito in Park Slope for a celebratory dinner with close friends and family. On Saturday, September 3, they threw a larger party for more friends and family at Superfine in DUMBO. “We wanted a smaller venue that would be intimate and personal and fun,” says Kathryn. “Superfine was perfect–it was intimate and we loved the atmosphere.”
The pair may have already had a day of marriage under their belts when the party started, but they dressed in wedding finery for the occasion. Kathryn wore a wedding gown with a black sash and black Christian Louboutins. Justin wore a light gray suit, skinny black tie, and patent leather shoes.
Although the couple didn’t have a formal wedding party Justin asked his best friend Rob to be the best man, and Kathryn had co-maid of honors–her sister Kerry and her best friend Evie. Their first dance was to the Cat Power version of Sea of Love, and Kathryn and her father danced to I Loved Her First by Heartland.
The party was like a playground for Kathryn and Justin’s guests with a prop and costume-stocked photobooth from We Love Photobooths, and a dessert surprise. “We rented the Wafels & Dinges truck as an end of the night treat for our guests,” says Kathryn.
And, as part of the celebration of their union, Kathryn and Justin took the opportunity to pay respect to the cause of marriage equality. “In honor of our guests, we made a donation to Freedom to Marry,” Kathryn explains, “An organization which is working to legalize gay marriage in all 50 states.”