Clumsy Moves on the Dance Floor Lead to Romance

Sara Saxner and Daniel Coughlin met by pure accident in January 2017. “We literally backed into each other dancing to ‘Baby Got Back’ at our local Virginia-Highlands bar, Dark Horse,” Ms. Saxner said.

But from their proposal, which Ms. Saxner shared with The New York Times in May 2020, to every last detail of their wedding, intention rather than accident has ruled their decision making.

Ms. Saxner, 29, from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has a bachelor’s degree in social sciences and a master’s degree in public administration and policy from Florida State University. She is the chief operating officer of Hex, a boutique development and design consultancy in Atlanta. She also runs her own business, Bridge & Arrow, “focused on using business, technology, and product for good,” Ms. Saxner said.

Mr. Coughlin, 27, is from Atlanta and has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a certificate in economics from Georgia Institute of Technology. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in data science while working as a director of product and technology at Honeywell Connected Enterprises, which is based in Atlanta.

The couple live in Atlanta.

After their dance-floor meeting, the pair exchanged phone numbers, and a few days later they met for drinks at the Atlanta rooftop bar Six Feet Under Pub & Fish House. They were smitten.

Mr. Coughlin proposed in March 2020. He initially had highly elaborate engagement plans that included friends and family from all over the country flying in to celebrate. “Little did he know, a global pandemic would force him to adjust his plans multiple times in a matter of weeks,” Ms. Saxner said.

Instead, after getting Ms. Saxner out of the house, Mr. Coughlin and his family set up a romantic picnic at their home, “complete with photos mirroring our lives leading up to memories from the last few years together on farmhouse wooden screens he built,” Ms. Saxner said.

After a photo shoot in their home and at nearby Piedmont Park, they enjoyed their at-home picnic with food from their favorite local restaurant, Wrecking Bar Brewpub, underneath the Edison bulb chandelier that Mr. Coughlin made for the occasion. “We ate a meal, called family and friends, drank champagne and danced in the quiet of our home,” Ms. Saxner said.

They were married on July 31, 2021 in Atlanta at Summerour Studio in what the couple called a Jewish/Deist, Modern Mediterranean wedding. “Sara was raised Jewish and I was raised Catholic,” Mr. Coughlin said.

The wedding was officiated by their close friend Dominick Ard’is, who was ordained through the Universal Life Church for the event. About 160 people attended in person (the majority of the guests were vaccinated) and 40 via livestream.

Every bit of the wedding was rife with intention, including the jewelry Ms. Saxner wore and the brooch carefully tucked into her bouquet. “The brooch was my maternal grandparents who are no longer with us,” she said. “They’re from Kentucky and it had a photo of them in it. The brooch was made from pieces of clothing, jewelry, and furniture they had.”

And hanging over the bridal party table was the Edison bulb chandelier that Mr. Coughlin had made for their engagement picnic.

The ceremony music, performed by the pianist from their reception band Emerald Empire, was also personal. An avid golfer, the groom walked down the aisle to the Masters Tournament theme song. A “Hamilton” fan, the bride walked out to “Helpless.”

“Anyone we spoke to said how authentic and us our wedding was,” Ms. Saxner said.

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