Love: Janette Hendrix & Fraser Gilmour

Janette Hendrix and Fraser Gilmour. With Love & Embers
Janette Hendrix and Fraser Gilmour. With Love & Embers

May 2, 2014, in Merion Station

Posted: June 05, 2014

Hello there

Spring semester of sophomore year at La Salle, Janette and two friends wanted adventure, but needed major-appropriate credits. Searching led to Scotland's University of Glasgow, where Janette could do work for an English/Spanish major with a minor in Japanese.

One January night in 2006, firmly focused on the adventure part, Janette, Christina, and Amanda whooped it up at the Garage, one of the biggest dance clubs in the city.

Fraser was at the bar when he saw his friend Martin talking to them and walked over. "This is Janette," Martin said.

"She stole one of my drinks, and then we talked the whole night," said the mechanical and aeronautical engineering major, who was also at Glasgow Uni.

Janette was smitten in seconds. "I saw him, and that was it," she said.

"It was really easy to get on with her, to be myself," Fraser said.

They discovered a shared love of history and a mutual admiration for each other's culture.

Fraser took her to castles and ruins of castles - and to the Hard Rock Cafe for an American food fix. But the couple did not label their relationship until mid-March, when Janette modeled in the Glasgow School of Art's fashion show.

Fraser spotted her at the after party, where some guy was trying to chat her up.

"How do you know Janette?" the would-be interloper asked.

"Yeah," Janette chimed in. "How do you know me?"

"I'm her boyfriend," Fraser said.

That June, Fraser took Janette to Stone Haven, his hometown, to meet his parents.

Janette extended her one semester stay by two weeks, but then it was back home to Cheltenham. Fraser met her parents in August, when Janette was his tour guide to her favorite city - Philadelphia.

They fought distance and time zones with e-mails and weekend phone calls, plus visits in each other's or other countries as often as possible.

Fraser graduated in 2007 and was hired by the energy project management firm Technip in Aberdeen, Scotland. Janette graduated in 2008 and spent the summer in Aberdeen, working for the City Council. That fall, she began her master's degree in comparative literature at the University of Edinburgh, close enough that they saw each other every weekend. Then she moved back to Aberdeen and worked for the Aberdeen Shire council.

For 11/2 years, Janette, who is now 27, and Fraser, now 29, lived in happy domesticity. Then Janette's world-culture bug bit again: "I decided to move to Japan."

Both dreaded the distance, but they always support each other's goals. "I wanted to settle down, but I was scared to before getting that one goal off my list."

She went via a yearlong teaching exchange program. Fraser visited twice. The year ended with Janette more than ready to settle down. "All of a sudden, I wanted a baby. But I wanted to be married first," she said. She and Fraser discussed these things. She moved back to Cheltenham in July 2012. "Maybe you should consider coming to the U.S.," she said.

How does forever sound?

Building a family with Janette was the goal that kept Fraser working in Scotland when she went to Japan. "I knew ultimately if I have a wife, and family, I want to be able to support them and care for them," he said. "I was trying to get the right experience."

Fraser visited in September 2012. They rented a cabin near Gettysburg, toured the battlefield, and took a ghost tour. But Fraser was acting weird. "He drug me around the supermarket looking for candles," Janette remembers.

Sitting on their cabin's porch with candles lit, Fraser asked Janette about her hopes and dreams. "I was talking on and on for about 45 minutes," Janette said. "Then finally I asked him the same question."

His reply: "I'd like to build a future with you. I'd like to build a family together. Will you do me the honor of marrying me?"

By summer 2013, Fraser persuaded Technip to transfer him to Houston, where the couple still lives. Janette teaches high school English at St. John's School.

It was so them

Bagpipes played as Fraser walked down the aisle with his parents, Ronald and Evelyn; and then Janette with hers, Tammy and Pasquale.

Every Scottish man wore a kilt in his clan's tartan. The groom's Morrison tartan is green with a touch of red.

Journeys of the Heart officiant Diane Smith-Hoban crafted a ceremony focused on the couple's story and their hope for both biological and adopted children. The couples' parents vowed to welcome each of those children into their families.

Before the ring exchange, their hands were bound together with a white cord and a tartan ribbon, a traditional Scottish handfasting ceremony.

Everything that could be was locally sourced. The food was vegan. The 65 guests' invitations, place cards, and thank-you cards were made from recycled paper embedded with wildflower seeds for planting.

Awestruck

Walking up the Art Museum steps for pre-ceremony photographs, Janette saw Fraser waiting, his back to her. "I could see from the set of his shoulders and how he was standing, how nervous he was," she said. When he turned around, Janette saw tears welling in his eyes. "I felt like I was almost getting to know a different side of this person I thought I'd already known so well."

It was Fraser's turn to see tears when Janette walked down the aisle. "She looked so pretty in her dress, and I could see her getting emotional. That will always stick in my mind," he said.

Discretionary spending

A bargain: The florists they considered charged $4,000 to $5,000 for the flowers they wanted. Instead, the couple went with the Snyder Avenue ShopRite in South Philly. The entire cost, including delivery, was less than $1,000.

The splurge: The couple saw the photography With Love & Embers did for some friends, and decided, "Whatever they cost, we're going to pay it," Janette said. "They were what I consider our budget-buster."

The getaway

A trip to Thailand is planned for later this year.


 BEHIND THE SCENES

Officiant: Diane Smith-Hoban of Journeys of the Heart, Jenkintown

Venue: Merion Tribute House, Merion Station

Catering: Sage Catering, Berwyn

Photography: With Love & Embers, Hummelstown

Music: Bagpipes FAO, and JPROD Entertainment's DJ Anthony Ortiz, both of Philadelphia  

Dress: Designed by Amy Kuschel, purchased at the Bridal Boutique at Nan Romano, Bedminster, N.J.


Do you have the date? E-mail us - at least six weeks before your ceremony - why we should feature your love story: weddings@phillynews.com . Unfortunately, we can't personally respond to all submissions. If your story is chosen, you will be contacted.

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