Shane & Colleen

Are Getting Married!

October 8, 2022 | The Watershed Institute, Hopewell, NJ

Our Story

Shane and Colleen met in the fall of 2013, at Cornell University Tae Kwon Do team practice. After a particularly long stretch of confusion and miscommunication, they finally started dating on May 17th, 2014, exactly two days before the end of the spring semester. They're real risk takers, those two.

They spent that entire summer on opposite sides of the country, Colleen in Ithaca, and Shane in San Francisco. They texted and called each other on most days, and when they'd finally had enough of being apart, Colleen flew to California and they spent the week together, fingers locked, inseparable.

Colleen and Shane spent the rest of college as a team of two. They moved in together with the rest of the Tae Kwon Do team senior year, and when it came time for Shane to fly across the country again, this time to Seattle, Colleen came along, with no hesitation. After only a month of living in Seattle, our favorite couple had already adopted a puppy. You can see what we mean about the risk taking.

Even though Colleen spent the next year in Germany, she and Shane grew closer every day, and when they moved to New York City together in 2017, they agreed to just quit it with all this long distance stuff. A brief three years, four gerbils, and another dog later, they finally got their acts together and got engaged.

A New Family, and a New Name

Most often, when two people get married, they take the man's last name. But if you've met Shane and Colleen, you probably know that “everyone else is doing it” isn't usually a very compelling argument for them. So, as they're prone to do, they started thinking.

Family names help us tell our stories and forge our identities. They connect us to our ancestors, but also to our siblings. And Shane and Colleen's stories have a lot of family names. Moore, Higgins, Geller, Morrow, Kerner, Gibbons, Parker, the list is practically endless. These names have a power to them; they invoke feelings of love and solidarity.

Some family names have sadness, too. Sometimes they remind us of those we love that are no longer with us. Sometimes names change, and sometimes they vanish altogether. Because women often take the names of their husbands, their family names can be lost. And sometimes names are lost for other reasons, like immigration and assimilation.

Like we said, lots of thinking.

Shane and Colleen spent a lot of time thinking about lost names. They thought about other naming traditions, too, like the Ashkenazi tradition of naming new family members after those that had recently passed away. They thought about Shane's grandmother, Elinor Geller, who recently passed away, and her mother, Ruth Friedman, who died when Shane was young. And they thought about the name Friedman, an Ashkenazi name that means “one of peace”.

Soon, there will be a new family. It will join the Moores, the Higginses, Gellers and Morrows, Salvatos and Parkers. And it will have a new name.