This couple's story is rooted in tradition, starting with the school they both attended, five years apart. In their four years as a couple, they've started many of their own traditions.
Wedding Date: June 16, 2012
Her story: Erin Berman, 27, grew up in Pikesville and is a Lower School teacher at Jemicy School, a school for students with dyslexia and other language-based learning disorders. Her father, Steve Berman, is president of Mid Atlantic Realty Management, Inc. Her mother, Susan Imber, is local sales manager for Comcast Spotlight. Her stepmother, Heidi Kenny Berman, is managing member of the Law Offices of Heidi S. Kenny.
His story: Jim Welsh, 31, grew up in Lutherville, and is a partner at Reliant Fish Co., with his two brothers and brother-in-law. His father, Patrick G. Welsh, passed away two years ago. His mother is Lois Welsh.
Their story: They met Memorial Day weekend, 2008.
"We met at Nick's Fishhouse in South Baltimore and he stepped on my toe," says Erin. "I told my friend, ‘Oh, he's really cute.’ "
"I was out with my cousins and there was this girl in a blue top," says Jim. "I was just awestruck. She was absolutely gorgeous. She had big beautiful eyes. She just beamed. She doesn't need to wear makeup. She just has a glow about her. I was immediately lovestruck... She was the most beautiful girl in the bar, and I couldn't keep my eyes off her. I went up to the bar to get a couple of drinks and stepped on her foot. I apologized and walked away. We left and my cousins convinced me to go a house party and Erin happened to be there, too. And I thought, 'Oh, wow, there's the girl I didn't have the courage to do anything about.’ "
"He started talking in a French accent and I thought, ‘Who is this kid?’ Oh my god, he's crazy,’ “ says Erin. “But, later on I found out he's just goofy. He asked me what I did for a living, and I said, "I am a teacher at Jemicy School."
"I said, ‘I went to Jemicy School,’ and she said, ‘So did I,’ “ says Jim. “We immediately hit it off and it's been great ever since."
Erin says, yes, she would call it love at first sight.
"It became a relationship right off the bat," she says.
"You know when you first meet someone and you're hesitant because there are a lot of crazy people out there?” she asks. “But, Jemicy is a small school and community, so we automatically felt very safe with each other. We always say a lot of it had to do with Jemicy School, because Jemicy has a very special way of teaching. We both have very similar morals and values so we refer back to the way we were taught — to think outside the box, and be creative. The way we communicate is very creative."
That creative communication included how they cemented their relationship.
The proposal: "On June 3, 2008, we were at the Corner Stable, which has amazing ribs,” says Erin. “ He put a rib in my mouth and said, 'I'll treat you as good as this rib tastes if you'll be my girlfriend.'
"Two years later, on the exact same date, at Corner Stable, doing the exact same thing, he asked me to marry him. He waited until I had rib sauce all over my hands.”
"I wanted to surprise her," Jim explains. "She's eating her ribs. I'm starting to sweat because I have this ring in my pocket, and I'm not eating ribs. She's asking me why I'm not eating ribs."
"I like to know everything," Erin says.
"Since he's usually a really romantic person, this was the least time I expected him to propose,” she says. “I expected something with rose petals and cheesy. But this was very authentic. It was important to him to surprise me. He had set it up, so that when he went down on his knee, they put it on the loudspeaker. I had to wipe my hands with the towelette because I had rib sauce all over them.”
The ring: "I bought the ring at Radcliffe,” says Jim, “But I shopped the diamond for months. I signed up for this diamond group that monitors the diamond markets. I followed that for just about a year. When I got serious about looking for diamonds, I knew what I was looking for. I looked at a lot of diamonds for about 2 -3 months before I found the right stone that was 2 karats...Erin knew she wanted a round diamond. Any time we looked at rings, she always loved everything. But she always came back to this setting that was timeless and beautiful. So, I had one built — modeled on a Tiffany ring with one baguette on each side and the round diamond in the middle."
Engaged: Erin Berman and Jim Welsh
Jim Welsh and Erin Berman (handout art from bride / May 10, 2012)