WILLIAMSBURG – William and Mary's Wren Chapel typically hosts between 80 and 100 weddings each year, but chances are a recent ceremony will stand out.
Nicky and Lisa Hutchinson were married July 19 at the historic chapel, which opened in 1732 as an addition to the original 1699 Wren building. It was a surprise wedding for the bride: Nicky popped the question just 20 days before the wedding was to take place, and he'd already planned the entire thing when Lisa said yes. Right down to the horse-drawn carriage that took them from the Williamsburg Inn to the Wren Chapel on their wedding day.
"Every single detail you think he wouldn't know, he just knew," Lisa said. "At the end of the day, he knew what I wanted even though I didn't know what I wanted."
Lisa, 38, is an alumna of William and Mary and Duke Medical School who is a practicing pediatrician. Nicky, 39, owner of Baltimore sheet metal company Fab Pro Technologies. The couple plan to live at Lisa's home in Vienna,Va. until they buy a place of their own. A honeymoon will have to wait until later this year because of their work schedules.
The newlyweds met through Match.com. An accident, Nicky says, because he wasn't aware he had an active profile. Lisa only had about a week left on her own subscription to the online dating website when she received a reply from Nicky.
"We're both pretty spiritual. I prayed about it," Lisa said. "I'd been going through a lot the last few years. … He came right when I needed him. Sometimes you don't know what you need until it walks in front of your face."
Nicky said the wedding day was all about making Lisa happy – whatever it took.
"There's no such thing as 'no' for me," he said. "You have to pay for it or work for it, but you'll get what you want. Anywhere in Williamsburg would be sentimental for her, but I wanted to shoot for the stars – the Wren Chapel."
The Wren Chapel is open for weddings only to William and Mary alumni, children of alumni, faculty and staff members, and children of faculty and staff members. Kimberly Renner, assistant director of William and Mary's Historic Campus, said one of the great things about the Hutchinson wedding is the common misperception it disproves.
"There's a myth that the chapel is booked so far in advance, and that's not always the case," Renner said. "We can't plan weddings too far in advance, because I have to make sure the wedding schedule coordinates with the college's calendar."
One time, Renner said, the college was able to accommodate a 24-hour turnaround for a wedding in which the best man was about to be deployed overseas. Nicky – who had been to Williamsburg only once – approached Renner about the wedding just six weeks before the date.
"I've tremendously enjoyed working with them," Renner said. "... It was such a beautiful, elegant wedding that was put together so quickly, but you couldn't tell it was put together so quickly."
Thrilled to be married at one of her favorite places, the new Mrs. Hutchinson raved about Williamsburg and William and Mary – and her new husband.
"Everyone is so sweet and supportive in this town. That's why I love Williamsburg," she said. "It's a very kind town, very relaxing. It allows you to grow and develop. I was a shy, introverted person in high school. William and Mary helped me grow out of that. That's why I love this school. For Nicky to give me a wedding in my favorite place – and for him not to have been here but once and know every detail – it was huge."
Sampson can be reached at 757-345-2345.