T his love story, like many before it, began as an unexpected encounter. The farewell party for a shared friend at his favorite karaoke haunt began like the many other Saturday nights that preceded it, as an unspoken duel of voices. Talented Madonnas, Timberlakes, Houstons and Sinatras would deftly fence for the applause of the crowd. He had just finished a crowd pleasing rendition of George Michael’s “Faith” when an extremely attractive white mouse happened to scamper her way past the stage.
The night they met she attended a cat-themed event with her friend who offered her a ride to another friend’s going away party afterwards. She wore a white cat hoodie with her face painted to look like a cat with black liquid eye liner. She had thought about washing the cat off her face but instead, decided to keep it. As they walked into the party, her friend introduced her to a couple of new faces, one of those being his. He thought she was dressed as a mouse, but she corrected him, telling him that she was actually a cat. Luckily, she decided to add that she was actually a dog person (which was important as he’s not at all fond of cats). A couple days later, he friended her on Facebook. She went back to that same karaoke place the following weekend and there he was again. They chatted about musicals, Disney, and he bought her a drink...
W e are both so incredibly blessed to have the most wonderful family and friends. Here are a few of the fascinating individuals who will be celebrating with us on our special day.
Katie is Nichole’s younger sister by only 20 months. This was difficult growing up as they were very different. Now they are good friends. They’ve gone from sharing a room to living ~2,000 miles away. In school, she was a soccer star and has passed on this talent to her daughter. Nichole is proud of the amazing mother Katie is to Ella and Luke.
Dr. Eric Black is one of Tom’s dearest friends and his chief partner towards achieving global domination. Best friends with Tom and Lee since high school, Eric never ceases to amaze Tom with his unquestioning friendship, intellectual dexterity, and controlled ambition. A fellow graduate of Carnegie Mellon, the Sith Academy and House Slytherin, this towering 6’8 Tartan is currently the CTO of a startup developing disruptive, next-generation wireless technologies.
“Without cunning, there is no innovation. Without ambition, there is no accomplishment.”
Lauren is Nichole’s baby sister. She married last October and just bought her first house with her husband, Mike. Nichole couldn’t have been happier when Lauren achieved her dream of helping children by becoming a pediatric nurse.
Lee Faris is one of Tom’s dearest friends and certainly the oldest. Assigned to sit next to Lee in Mrs. Bassett’s class in 7th grade, Lee was the very first friend Tom made when moving back to Seattle in 1990. Best friends with Tom and Eric since high school, Lee’s good heartedness and skillful intellect helps to temper Tom and Eric’s technocratic proclivities, which kind of makes him the Luke Skywalker in the Palpatine/Vader/Luke triumvirate. Lee is currently a technical lead and manager at the technology startup Remitly.
“Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.”
Lindsey and Nichole have been friends since they met in college back in 2002. This is back when Lindsey was “Schweppe” to Nichole. She and her husband, BJ, have 3 terrific kids and have been married 11 years this June. She teaches Zumba where she lives in Kansas City, Missouri. Although they keep moving farther and farther away from each other, they always make time to see each other when both in St. Louis. Nichole is super excited that the friend she first met so many years ago, is one of her bridesmaids in her wedding.
Jon Serious is one of Tom’s dearest friends and former co-worker. Of all the rockstar individuals Tom has worked with in his storied career, none is more insatiably curious, immensely creative or hard working as Jon; Jon is one of those individuals that everyone fights over to have on their team. In addition to his prowess at work, Jon is an extremely true and loyal friend, generous to a fault and always willing to lend an ear. Jon is currently a Senior Manager at Avanade.
“You will have little joy of your command, but I think you have the strength in you to do the things that must be done. Kill the boy, Jon Snow. Winter is almost upon us. Kill the boy and let the man be born.”
Fitsum is part of Nichole’s Seattle family. They met in 2013 at karaoke. It was actually Fitsum’s very first karaoke performance. Now anytime Nichole hears the song Toxic in her head, its Fitsum’s voice singing, not Britney’s. She is Nichole’s flash mob buddy.
Andy Luong and Tom met as undergrads studying Business at the University of Washington (Go Huskies!). Project partners in many classes, Andy and Tom’s friendship grew out of mutual respect in the forge of academia. One of Tom’s first friends to meet and befriend Nichole, Andy has consistently been a dear and admirable friend to both Tom and Nichole.
“You’re my friend… I’m with you to the end of the line.”
Another member of Nichole’s Seattle family, Anna and Nichole met at karaoke back in 2013. They have been rockin’ the karaoke scene together ever since. Nichole’s favorite karaoke song of hers is “We Found Love” and not only because of the “Let It Go” mashup Fitsum and Nichole do with it.
Mark Flieg and Tom both share a passion for singing and met at a karaoke event several years ago. Though Tom didn’t know it at the time, Mark and Nichole actually grew up together in the suburbs of St. Louis, eventually losing touch after they diverged in their choice of high schools. 17 years later in 2013, Nichole ran into Mark at a karaoke party in Seattle. Since then, Mark has become one of Tom and Nichole’s dearest and closest friends. Mark is currently a visual effects artist at Bungie and has worked on Halo: Reach and Destiny (two of Tom’s favorite games).
“A singer came to me, saying, ‘You protect me, and I do nothing in return.’ I told him to sing, and he understood.”
Ella’s is Nichole’s niece. She is super smart and all-around awesome. She loves to play soccer and dance. She has some serious Disney ride cred as she sat front row, arms up on Splash Mountain and rode the Tower of Terror at 5 years old. When she grows up, she wants to be a nurse practitioner and a singer.
Tom is elated to have Nichole’s darling nephew, Luke Traughber, be his Ring Bearer. Luke is extremely gifted with the Force and shows an amiable disposition towards Wookies, especially Chewbacca.
W e appreciate you all coming to celebrate with us from far and wide, braving the winds and slogging the tide to join us here in sunny, summery Seattle on our very special day. The company of our dearest family and friends is the most precious gift we could ever ask for. If, however, you’d still like to bequeath us a gift in honor of our marital union, we are registered at the following places:
W e’d like to thank all of our guests who will be joining us on our very special day, especially those coming from out of town. To help make your travels a bit easier, here are some discounts that you may find useful: