Bethesda Magazine: March/April 2022 Digital Edition

Page 324


House Party

A Boyds couple held a 70-person wedding at their home, complete with a barbecue dinner, a bouncy house and a visit from the police BY DANA GERBER

THE COUPLE: Suzanne Toerge (maiden name Garrett), 42, grew up in Utah. She works as a sustainability strategy leader at American Honda. Jeffrey Toerge, 38, grew up in Potomac and graduated from Winston Churchill High School. He is a real estate agent with Weichert in Bethesda. They live in Boyds.

HOW THEY MET: When Suzanne moved from California to Washington, D.C., in September 2017 and was looking for a place to live, a friend connected her with Jeffrey, who is licensed in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. They stayed in touch after he found her a condo in D.C’s Tenleytown neighborhood. They consider their first official date to have been in February 2018, when she invited him over to watch her favorite movie, The Man From Snowy River. In January 2020, Suzanne went to Japan for work for what was supposed to be a year. They planned to keep in contact but were “not making any big promises,” Suzanne says. Due to the pandemic, she ended up coming back to the States in October 2020. She arrived in California, where her company placed her, and Jeffrey met her to quarantine for two weeks in a 322

hotel. One day, Suzanne told him, “‘I really just never want to be without you,’” she recalls. “And he said the same thing.”

THE PROPOSAL: Jeffrey popped the question during the 2020 Christmas holidays. Suzanne was in Maryland only for a visit—she didn’t move back to the East Coast until September 2021—so Jeffrey felt the time crunch. He saw his window of opportunity when Suzanne went to a hair appointment. In the midst of a long-term renovation of his house, he used the materials at his disposal. “I had about 30 minutes to put something together and made a sign with spray paint,” he says. When Suzanne saw the sign asking her to marry him, she spray-painted “yes.”

THE CEREMONY: Suzanne and Jeffrey wed on Oct. 16, 2021, at their Boyds home with about 70 guests present. The couple said “I do” under a tent placed in the yard between the garage and the house. The ceremony started around 5 p.m.—just as a rainstorm subsided—with a friend, John Watts, officiating, and a string trio providing the music. Jeffrey’s nephew was “ring security,” and his nieces were flower girls,


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