Former screw dates to say “I do”

Few students have blissful memories of their freshman screw dance. But for two seniors, Kylie Huckleberry ’11 and Charles Seipp ’11, the long-standing tradition led to a lot more than awkward conversation at a crowded party: Huckleberry and Seipp are now engaged to be married.
“We’ve been dating four years,” said Seipp. “And it’s funny – neither of us wanted to go to that screw dance at all.”
Huckleberry agreed: “Our friends set us up. But we never actually made it to the dance. We just stayed by this old swing that used to be outside of Currier talking and talking. Then we came back to Paresky and looked at the stars.”
The couple’s first few dates took place in the ultra-romantic locale otherwise known as Sawyer library. “I had a lot of work, and Charles would come sit with me while I studied. So I guess our relationship started out with library dates,” Huckleberry said, laughing.
Fast-forward three years to the proposal. “I had it all planned out,” Seipp said. “ I talked to Rick Spalding, and he gave me the key to the bell tower in the church. Then I took her up there and asked her to marry me.”
“And I said yes,” Huckleberry said, flashing her black stone engagement ring.
For friends and family of the couple, the engagement came as no surprise. “They saw it coming,” Huckleberry said. “We spoke to our parents beforehand. We told them that we would be engaged soon and asked if they had something they wanted to say about it.” Soon after, the two delivered the big news via Skype so that they could speak with both families at once.
“Our parents were totally supportive. But my dad is kind of a practical jokester, and he decided to mess with us a little,” Huckleberry revealed. “We said, ‘We’re getting married.’ He really likes Charlie, and he was so happy. But then he said, totally deadpan, ‘I have one big concern. It’s about the children.’ We were both like ‘Oh my gosh! Please, not now!’”
“I was afraid of what Kylie’s dad was going to say next,” Seipp recalled. “I mean, I’m Jewish, she’s Christian. Was he going to ask about what religion we were going to raise our kids in? Then he was like, ‘This is very important. If your children want to join the Tea Party, are you going to allow that?’ I started laughing. What a relief.”
Friends at Williams were equally supportive. “We get a lot of hugs and high-fives,” Huckleberry said. “But we also get a lot of this reaction of, ‘Wow, you’re the first couple I know!’”
In fact, Huckleberry and Seipp are the only engaged couple in which both partners are currently studying on campus. Though the average age for newlyweds is 26 for men and 28 for women, many Williams grads delay their nuptials to establish careers.
“I know easily a dozen people from my graduating high school class who are married,” Huckleberry said. “I don’t see us as that much of an anomaly. In fact, I think it’s unusual that in a school of 2000, we’re some of the only engaged people.”
Perhaps the College’s dating culture (or lack thereof) also limits the number of committed couples on campus. According to Huckleberry, “They say there’s no dating at Williams. There’s either hookups or being married. And we are the token married couple.”
Both Huckleberry and Seipp plan to attend graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin in the fall. “It was something we had to talk about early on. It’s a complicating thing. But we agreed that we were going to at least stay together,” said Huckleberry, who will study neuroscience.
Before applying, the two compiled a list of potential programs and compared them. “Our lists were almost exactly identical,” said Seipp, a chemistry major from Los Angeles. “And after we got in, we both knew we wanted to go to Austin. It wasn’t like we were making a deal or anything. We both just loved it there.”
Though they’ve yet to set a date, Huckleberry and Seipp plan to get married in the summer of 2012. “We haven’t really made plans. But I really want a summer wedding,” said Huckleberry, an Arizona native. “One of my bridesmaids is going to be a friend from Williams. The others are people who I’ve known for years and years.”
Both Huckleberry and Seipp are grateful for the support from friends and family both inside and outside of the purple bubble. “Friends here have been so great and supportive,” Seipp said.
Huckleberry agreed: “People have been wonderful, although we’ve had some people ask us out of concern whether we’ve thought this out.” Both Huckleberry and Seipp are aware of the high divorce rate among 20-somethings. “We know that getting married younger is a risk. You need to be cautious. It takes a little bit of foresight and a little bit of hope. You have to make sure that the other person has seen you at your best and at your worst.” Fortunately, the couple expects a bright future ahead. “Friends have told us this over and over again,” Seipp said, “that ‘If anyone can make it, you guys can.’”

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