Love: Kimberly Cowperthwait & Christopher Turner

Kimberly Cowperthwaite and Christopher Turner were married July 16, 2011 in Malvern. (Photos by: Graham Bunn)
Kimberly Cowperthwaite and Christopher Turner were married July 16, 2011 in Malvern. (Photos by: Graham Bunn)

July 16, 2011, in Malvern

Posted: October 12, 2011

Hello there

The first time Chris laid eyes on Kim, he had taken a break from "pursuing the whole acting/writing thing" in Los Angeles to direct a play in his hometown of Wilmington, Del. His friend Tina was one of the actors. Her friend Kim was in the audience.

Instantly smitten, Chris asked Tina for an introduction. Tina obliged, but "Kim wouldn't give me the time of day," Chris said.

Kim, who grew up in Berwyn, didn't notice Chris' interest. During that summer of 2008, her heart was still tied up in a failing relationship.

In January 2009, Chris had a realization: he didn't want to be 70 years old, working as an extra on a TV show just to afford his rent in Los Angeles. He decided to stay in Wilmington for good and secured a job as an audio-visual coordinator for Advanced Audio Visual in West Chester. He satisfied his love for directing and acting by joining the Wilmington Drama League.

Kim, who by day teaches third grade at McVey Elementary in Newark, Del., also acts in Wilmington Drama League productions, and so she and Chris were frequently together. At one post-production dinner, Chris heard Kim say she didn't date theater guys. And when Kim heard through the grapevine that Chris wanted to ask her out, she told Tina to tell him not to.

"The minute I got off the phone with Tina, I knew I had made a big mistake," Kim said.

The next thing Chris knew, the woman who didn't want to date him was frequently calling and messaging. "I kept thinking, 'How does she not like me when I'm the last person she talks to at night?' " he said.

Kim began to realize her feelings for Chris when she pulled into a parking lot to wait out a hailstorm, and Chris offered to come get her. But she didn't tell Chris of her epiphany. One night, when he was a bit inebriated, he sent a flirtatious text to another girl.

Kim found out, and was hurt and furious. She called Tina, who told her to just call Chris, already.

"We were in our thirties, acting like we were 16," Kim admits with a laugh.

Soon after the call in which Kim confessed her feelings, Chris was the last guest remaining at her end-of-summer party. "I kissed her," he said.

How does forever sound?

In April 2010, Chris and Kim went to Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida. Chris, who had worked for Disney in California, made a few calls ahead of time.

In the days before the trip, Kim's friends suggested she was about to get a proposal. "I don't think so," she told them, although curiosity led her to search his packed bags. She didn't find a ring.

At the Brown Derby restaurant at Disney World, actors were playing actors and directors. Vladimir the Director came to their table and started gushing about how pretty Kim was, and how she would be perfect for his next film.

"How does he know my name?" Kim asked Chris.

"From our reservations," he suggested.

Vlad started giving stage directions to Kim: "Pretend to be scared!" he said. "Pretend to cry!"

Then he turned to Chris. "You're a director," he said. "What role would you cast Kim in?"

"I would cast her as my wife," Chris said, pulling out an engagement ring.

Kim's surprise was not an act.

It was so them

The couple, who live in Wilmington, were married and held their reception for 163 guests at the Farmhouse at People's Light & Theatre Company, in Malvern. During the ceremony, their friends played guitar and sang. Instead of traditional vows, Kim and Chris each described three things they love about each other.

Kim, now 39, told Chris, 35, that she loves the silly happiness they share when they make up Broadway-style songs about mundane happenings. "We can sing for 10 or 15 minutes, with harmony, about a trash can, or going to the laundry," she said.

Chris told Kim he loves that no matter what, she accepts him for who he is. But he couldn't resist sharing the exception: She wishes he would keep his hair shorter.

Each table was named for a musical. The couple sat at "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change."

Instead of having bags at the candy buffet, the couple provided Chinese take-out boxes bearing the words "Sweet and Sour, Kim and Chris." Chris was born in Korea and thought it was a nice nod to his Asian heritage.

Chris will treasure the memories made with his good friend, Bruce, 36, a groomsman. Bruce, who lived in Philadelphia, died of a heart attack in September.

This didn't happen at rehearsal

Marianne, an exchange student who once stayed with Kim's family, traveled from Finland to attend the wedding. A combination of jet lag, not eating, and the heat got to her. "She passed out during the reception and had to go to the hospital," Kim said. Marianne soon recovered.

Awestruck

The couple's favorite wedding moments came during their choreographed dance to assembled snippets of songs from musicals they have done together. This included Seussical the Musical, Rent, Chicago, and Next to Normal.

"It showed that we aren't afraid to be goofy with each other, even in front of all these people," Chris said. "Yet it was also us together in our private little moment."

Discretionary spending

A bargain: "We had an iPod reception," Chris said. Friend Matt served as DJ. "It didn't cost us a penny."

The splurge: Guests learned their Broadway musical table name from a poster modeled after a call board - the list of actors who have been chosen for a certain production. The couple designed it with PhotoShop, then had it printed and framed. This splurge wasn't in dollars, Kim said, but in time spent: It took about 40 hours to make.

The getaway: Thirteen days at Disney's Beach Club Resort in Florida.


Love: BEHIND THE SCENES

Officiant

The Rev. Brandon J. Soda, Universal Life Church,Collegeville

Venue

The Farmhouse at People's Light & Theatre Company, Malvern

Catering

The Farmhouse at People's Light & Theatre Company, executive chef Craig Orlando

Photography

Graham Bunn Photography, Berwyn

Flowers

Judy Shaw, Flowers by the Greenery, West Chester

Dress

Fantasia Bridal & Cocktail, Wilmington, Del.

Invitations

Amy's Hallmark, Christiana, Del.


Love: DO YOU HAVE THE DATE?

Tell us in a short e-mail – at least six weeks before your ceremony – why we should feature your love story. Send it to weddings@phillynews.com. Unfortunately, we can't personally respond to all submissions. If your story is chosen, you will be contacted in the weeks before your wedding.

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