story by Amanda Wager photos by Matt McGraw Photography
Ali Bowen and Rick Duncklee met at a Fox and Hound restaurant, where they had intended to watch a Red Sox/Yankees game on television. The game, it turned out, wasn't on, and the two, along with their respective groups of friends, traveled together to different bars until they finally found one showing it. After the mini-adventure, Ali and Rick sat together, enjoyed the game and, apparently, each other, because they became inseparable from that point on.
Twenty months later, the couple was preparing to go to Key West for a vacation. "I was going about my normal business, and Rick was following me around the house," says Ali. "I said, 'What are you doing? Why are you following me?'" Rick's answer was to drop to one knee and asked Ali to marry him. "He forgot to pull out the ring, so my first thought was, 'Why is he on the ground? Is he hurt?'" Ali says, laughing at the memory. When she finally realized what he had asked, she cried and said yes.
Although she was ecstatic about marrying Rick, Ali had never wanted a big, official, wedding ceremony. She believed that marrying him should be a private, intimate experience. Rick wanted his parents to attend, which would lead to other family members and eventually friends. Ali realized that some kind of ceremony would have to happen and finally compromised: They would have an intimate ceremony on her parents' deck on Easter Sunday. Rick's parents, living in Vermont, agreed to come down to Wilmington. "Mom had plans to have lunch that day with family," says Ali. "Only our parents knew what was going to happen." The whole family was eating and having a good time when Ali, in her wedding gown, and Rick, in his wedding suit, arrived and said, "We're getting married on the deck." Everyone was surprised and thrilled for the couple. "It was special," says Ali. "I didn't want it any other way."
Ali and Rick honeymooned in Jamaica over the summer. "We always have plans," says Ali. "The biggest thing about going was to not have any plans." They spent the whole vacation at a resort, lying on the beach, and relaxing. "We did nothing. That was the best part about it," says Ali.
Ali was happy to find BAC for the reception site, which occurred almost five months after the initial ceremony, on September 4, 2011. "It was the only place that truly made me smile when I saw it," says Ali. "If it wasn't for BAC, there wouldn't have been a reception at all." Family members traveled from Vermont, California, and Florida to attend. "The most special thing about the reception was the family that came to celebrate with us," says Ali.
Today, Ali is a social worker, and Rick is employed by PPD in downtown Wilmington. The couple learned that they were expecting in August and are currently spending a lot of time planning for their first baby.