We are so lucky to have such amazing friends to support us through the years, we can’t resist to take this opportunity to gush about a couple of our closest friends.
——- Connie’s Crew ——-
Taylor Chace – Maiden of Honor
The stark contrast of Taylor’s classic Italian (olive skin, golden locks) to Connie’s black Irish (pasty and brunette) might have some looking sideways at the milkman, but it takes no more than half a second in the same room with these ladies (and their identical mannerisms) to see that they are sisters. Throughout the years, Connie and Taylor have been teammates (playing all three varsity sports – basketball, soccer, and tennis – together during high school) and sounding boards for big decisions, including those about potential husbands. And like all siblings, they would occasionally do really rebellious things together, like eat McDonald’s cheeseburgers in the Wendy’s parking lot before basketball practice.
Honest, loyal, with a serious sweet tooth and a keen appreciation for “really great hair”, T loves historical fiction, eclairs, her fiance, Tom, and there love puppy, Dax. Right out of Northeastern School of Nursing, she started working in the Surgical Trauma ICU at Beth Israel Hospital – an impressive position for a new grad to land and a testament to Taylor’s nursing prowess and overall ability to perform in high pressure situations. A home owner in the midst of her career, Taylor often seems like the older sister to Connie, and is always quick to welcome her school-prone sis into her impeccably decorated home with a mimosa and homemade appy in hand. The ultimate planner and party-thrower extraordinaire, Taylor not only puts up with Connie’s more spontaneous, fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants style, but she also threw Connie the most personally perfect bachlelorette party (Asian drag queen included) and bridal shower (right down to a stiletto-heel themed vase full of flowers). Connie knows that she can rely on T for support, a good laugh, an even better time, hairspray, and, of course, some friendly competition on the court or field. Connie feels so lucky to have T in her life and is honored to have her as her Maid of Honor.
Amy Watson – Bridesmaid
Amy is Connie’s roommate and co-mother to the true and veritable Peanut. No one is more responsible for Connie’s maintained sanity (or insanity, depending on your point of view) throughout medical school than Miss Watson. She enjoys horror movies, photobombing and fountain sodas the size of her torso. Nemises: gluten and alarm clocks. Known throughout the land for the impressive girth of her calves, Amy is an accomplished field hockey player (hailing from the varsity team at Amherst college) and continues to smack the ball around in a local women’s league. Amy is a true savant, with the ability to rattle off both medical and miscellaneous factoids on command. True kindred spirits, Connie and Amy share many things, from Payless cowboy boots to a hopeful career in Med-Peds. Nothing rejuvenates the two like a night cuddled up on the couch together in front of a glorious reality TV show or an impressively obscure independent film, tracked down by Amy of course. Chicken sausages or other variety of encased meats generally present. Amy can find humor in anything and has a unique ability to make Connie laugh at the most inappropriate times, a skill that she puts to use as often as she can. Perhaps rooted in her questionable Mexican heritage, Amy’s capacity to listen, reassure and selflessly support is unparalleled and something that Connie will miss deeply once the two are 3,000 miles apart.
Geetha Mathews – Bridesmaid
Geetha, aka world traveler extraordinaire, aka avid thrill seeker, aka crazy motivated student and world-changer alike, has been a constant force in Connie’s life since they traversed Comm. Ave together back at Boston University. Nights studying for organic chemistry on Geetha’s bed (Connie passed out on her book while the ever hard-working Geetha went till sunrise) turned into nights sipping cocktails in SoHo. The two took NYC by storm, Austin fully aware that a debaucherous night in the city was in store whenever the two got together. As a high profile event planner in Manhattan, Geetha brushed elbows with big names like Steven Tyler and Hannah Montana and, more importantly, scored broke student/researcher Connie gigs checking the New York elite into events or promoting movies in Times Square. As the final member of the glorious foody triumvirate, Geetha co-founded the chacarron with Austin and Connie – a 12-hour festival of food, brunch to night cap, spent hopping from restaurant to restaurant, sampling the most interesting dish and drink on the menu while catching up and sharing stories. No one challenges Connie like Geetha, pushing her to get to the root of her many bouts of indecision (BU or Columbia for MPH, med-peds or surgery, thai or sushi for dinner). A fiercely independent lady, Geetha has gone backpacking solo in various parts of the world, moved to India for 2 years mentoring Indian youth, and will be flying back to the a US just in time for the wedding after a 6-month stint in Kenya. Now Connie and Geetha look forward to the all too occasional night spent on skype, simultaneously eating whoppers malted milk balls (using the Mathews-approved technique, of course), Geetha in some foreign land and Connie in between shifts at the hospital. In just a few months, Geetha will be on to her next adventure – Northwestern’s Kellogg school of business.
——- Austin’s Entourage ——-
Sierra Neudecker – Best Woman
The vivacious Ms. Stephanie Sierra Neudecker is Austin’s little sister with a big personality. Growing up, they bickered like all siblings but always had fun exploring in the canyons of San Diego together and in the back seat on long trips with the family. They both remember playing annoying games in the car (until Dad would flip) and negotiating inter-woven sleeping positions that were comfortable for both. In high school, Sierra was a triple threat (dancing, acting, singing), leading one of the best girls’ show choirs in the country and staring in many plays. She played volleyball, the cello (in the youth symphony orchestra) and painted. Despite being overly busy, she always knew how to have fun, exemplifying the work-hard, party-hard mantra.
Graduating from UC Berkeley and Cal Western Law School, Sierra has blossomed into a smart, sassy, sexy and strong woman. Sierra continues to inspire Austin to be bold, daring, and silly – mainly to just enjoy life and not care what others might think. She’s undoubtedly the most fun sibling the ever was.
Jason Carver – Groomsman
Some strange fate linked Austin and Jason when he arrived at MIT. Both obsessed with computers & business, they even sought the same majors and have similar humor. As brothers at Phi Sigma Kappa, Jason and Austin grew close. Austin was always impressed with Jason’s humbleness, willingness to help, and unwavering moral compass. To be honest, Austin wouldn’t have survived MIT without Jason’s help and, to this day, he regularly consults his brother often when making big career moves. This summer they’ll finally be hacking away relatively near each other in San Fran. Hopefully, Austin will be able to glean some nuggets of wisdom from Jason’s recent start-up successes.
Andrew Deddeh – Groomsman
Austin & Andrew grew up together as neighbors on Glen Creek Drive in Bonita. They have countless stories of their shenanigans from fireworks and shoddy bike ramps to pool parties and backyard camping. They suffered enough injuries together to last a lifetime, but the scars were well worth the fond memories and laughs to accompany them. Days lounging in various pools, playing video games, or concocting some half-brained practical joke built the foundation for a deep friendship between the two. Andrew’s kind demeanor always left him susceptible to helping with Austin’s mandatory chores before he was released from indentured servitude. Always understated, direct, and jovial, Andrew never appears to have a bad day.
Patrick Gailbreath & James Marx – Marriage Commissioners
Patrick & James have been an integral part of the Neudecker family since they moved in around the corner over 8 years ago (promptly critiquing every front-yard & facade altered in the neighborhood). They quickly grew close to the entire family, sharing their love of food, travel, and good stories, becoming the resident guidance counselors for most decisions (mind you, this advice can come at a cost, as their taste is not always the easiest on Steve’s wallet.) Patrick and James love to ask challenging and probing questions to aid in self-discovery.
Naturally, they loved Connie immediately and have also acted as a counselor throughout her tough times and difficult decisions. They have witnessed the couple’s growth and struggles, being supportive all the way. As the marriage commissioners, Patrick and James plan to impart their own learnings as a model couple, being committed to each other for over 30 years.
And the real reason we’re here:
——- THE PARENTS ——-
Ellen Sullivan-Chace – Mother of the Bride
Big Mama Chace, as she was often called by Connie’s high school friends, was named so not for her petite frame but for her vibrant personality and propensity for strict curfews. A passionate, gregarious lover of people, Ellen surrounds herself with friends and family. She lives by her mantra “Food is love,” transforming her kitchen into a gathering place for loved ones, her table into a laughter-filled story-telling mill, and her dinner parties into multi-hour long extravaganzas of fun and feast, a fact that has had some requesting extra cushions for their seats. And everyone knows that one of Ellen’s parties isn’t complete without a game or two. Connie grew up immersed in Italian tradition; every holiday had a dish, and every dish had a story. Ellen instilled in Connie an appreciation of her roots and the power of food to bring people together. Some of her favorite memories are in the kitchen with her mom, listening to tales about her grandmother and great aunts.
Ellen bites at the bit to travel and explore other cultures, having ventured with Dave to Sicily, Ecuador and of course, Italy. A registered nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the famed Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Ellen spends her days taking care of the sickest of sick, and has traveled outside the US to do the same in Haiti, Honduras and most recently in Tanzania with Dave.
Ellen prefers to be “outside and moving”, and to say that she is active would be an understatement. She starts most days with a run through the city or finishes a day at work by doing the 36 flights of stairs with colleagues, and on the weekends you could find her on a hike or cross-country skiing in the winter-months. Ellen was Connie’s first soccer coach, having picked up the sport herself after giving birth to Connie. And when she allows herself a moment to slow down, she finds peace in a really good book or a leisurely run on the beach at sunrise at her and Dave’s getaway in Wilbur by the Sea, Fl. Now that her girls are grown, cocktails and a girls night with the E.T.C. (Ellen.Taylor.Connie.), as they call themselves, is sure to be a good time full of boisterous conversation. In addition to snatching up the culinary secrets of her pasta sauce, Italian Christmas cookies and Easter pies, Connie has learned from her mama how to be a strong, independent women, that celebrating friendships should not be saved for special occasions, and to take every day as an opportunity to live life to the fullest.
David Chace – Father of the Bride
Having grown up on a farm with 5 brothers and a sister, Dave is a family man who always puts his wife and daughters before himself. Loving and patient, Dave is known to sit quietly at the table and listen during family dinners, letting his long-winded ladies excitedly battle it out in conversation. It might surprise you to know that despite his quieter nature, he is an artist with the written word, surprising his loved ones with poems on special occasions. And when he does get a word in edgewise, he tells wonderful stories, and the deafening roar that accompanies reunions with his brothers has always been one of Connie’s favorite sounds.
A math and science tutor for the girls and their very first basketball coach, he has a natural skill for teaching, and Connie owes many of her successes to her dad. A basketball all-star himself, Dave made it to the Massachusetts State-Championship game at the Boston Garden as a boy, and was beaming when his daughters did him one better and won their State-Championship on the very same court (a fact that they are all too happy to tout). Though neither of his daughters followed in his footsteps professionally, those take-your-daughter-to-work days must have made some kind of impression, given Connie’s choice to marry an engineer/MBA. After a rich 35+ years in chemical engineering and business, Dave recently retired and has been thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to take long walks through the city, catch a youth sports game or two, grill up dinners for his wife and help Taylor and Tom refurbish their home, now that he and Ellen are settled in Brookline.
Dave always seems to intuit when Connie is struggling with life decisions or stressed over an exam, never failing to give a call to check in, tell her that he’s there for her, and make sure that she’s getting enough sleep. Whether he’s taking her to the gym to practice her jump shot before home room, meeting her for breakfast at their special spot in Boston before work, or driving out to Worcester to change a brake pad, he is always there to help and support in any way he can. Dave not only taught Connie the elements of truly excellent defense on the court, he showed her how to listen and to sacrifice for those you love.
Karen (Worley) Neudecker – Mother of the Groom
Easily one of the kindest people on the planet, Karen is a loving mother, insatiable traveler and fashionista all in one. Despite her humble demeanor, Karen is a world traveler extraordinaire having visited around 75 countries. You’d never guess she’s almost been taken by the Taliban, survived East German gun-point, endured a run-in with the Chinese secret police (thanks Steve), and sky-dived! Ever the quintessential caretaker, Karen left her ‘Big 8’ accounting firm to build her own tax practice while raising her children.
Karen has continually inspired her kids to expand their perspective. She loaded her kids with every lesson and experience they could possibly cram in, often sending them to travel on their own at a young age and even pushing them to complete activities in which they where NOT keen to participate (like playing their violins on layovers in airports), somehow magically transforming them into decently independent and well-rounded (yet slightly A.D.D.) adults.
Karen loved Connie as a daughter upon first meeting and is ecstatic to have them back in San Diego (at least for now). Always smiling and with a great sense of humor, Karen always goes out of her way to help, especially if her momma’s-boy son needs anything. Full of love and always smiling, Karen is a model mom.
Steve Neudecker – Father of the Groom
Meeting Steve, you’d never know this hedonist was raised a good-ol’ Kentucky boy. Captivated and passionate about wildlife, Steve studied to become a marine biologist. After circling the globe with his lovely wife, he became one of the first aquanauts (living underwater while researching in Guam and the Caribbean). After diving throughout the world, Steve finished his PhD at UC Davis, where Austin & Sierra were born. Shortly after, Steve obtained a Directorship of a new nature center in San Diego focusing on preserving local wildlife and educating the community. Thus, Austin and Sierra have many childhood memories of exploring the wetlands, sleeping at the center, and feeding the snakes, bat rays, sharks, hawks, owls, fish, etc. After a stint as a professor at UCSD, Steve now runs his own environmental consulting practice.
Known for his obsession with cooking, Steve’s famous culinary skills rival the best chefs anywhere (easy to say, hard to believe, but test our claim on your next trip to San Diego). As past President of the Wine and Food Society, Steve accompanies any dinner menu (and yes, there usually is a menu) with a carefully selected wine pairing for each course. Recently, Steve has become a bicycling fanatic, and even Austin & Connie haven’t been able to keep up.
Steve is known for his risk-seeking behavior, famously (albeit accidentally) launching baby Austin headfirst into a snow bank from his backpack while skiing. Over time, his sometimes impatient exterior has melted away to a loving and proud father of two accomplished kids.
Additional ‘wedding details’ sections:
Wedding Details – just the highlights
Schedule – details for the entire weekend
Wedding Party – our much-loved family & crew
Accommodations – options nearby
Transportation – getting there and around during the weekend