Tying the Knot: Work you love with the one you love

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Tying the Knot: Work you love with the one you love
Lacy and Nate King met in 2017 working at the same nonprofit in Washington, D.C. (Photo/Rachel May Photography)
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By Kaitlin Murphy | kmurphy@alextimes.com

 For Alexandria couple Lacy and Nate King, doing the work you love with the one you love is the most rewarding. 

“Our shared values of faith, desire to be good global citizens and supporters of justice led us respectively to the nonprofit, International Justice Mission,” Nate said. “IJM is a global organization supporting efforts to protect vulnerable populations dealing with difficult issues such as abuse and human trafficking.” 

The couple met in 2017 while working for IJM in Washington, D.C. 

Lacy worked on the fundraising team while Nate was on the advocacy and government relations side. They didn’t work directly together, but Lacy recalls, “Nate had to walk by my desk every day.” 

Their work addressed heavy topics, so friendly greetings and supportive values at the office created an environment of congenial colleagues. Knowing the level of importance the mission was to both of them, starting a relationship seemed like it had a solid foundation. 

“Nate had a crush on me for a few years. I knew he was a nice guy so when he asked me out in March, I was excited to see where this would go,” Lacy admitted. 

Their first date happened in 2020 at Le Diplomat. 

“Nate asked me to dinner Friday, March 13, to celebrate my birthday that had just passed and then the world shut down the next day as the pandemic hit,” Lacy sighed.

Lacy and Nate King met in 2017 working at the same nonprofit in Washington, D.C. (Photo/Rachel May Photography

Due to the pandemic, they no longer saw one another at the office on a daily basis. Lacy and Nate both had roommates at the time, so they all had to navigate being socially distant while in the early stage of their relationship. 

“We had virtual dates, Facetime calls, lots of texting and calls and Nate sent me handwritten letters in the mail,” Lacy said. 

As their relationship became more serious, other pandemic obstacles got in the way. When Nate tried to meet Lacy’s family in July, the trip had to be canceled. They were able to visit Nate’s parents in Colorado and fairly quickly, Lacy realized, “This was something; this was it.” 

Nate started looking at rings in 2021 after being together a year. Coming up with engagement plans was tricky. The nonprofit was still on a telework mandate and people were still being socially distant and not traveling. 

“I really wanted to speak to Lacy’s parents in person to ask for their blessing to marry her. There was no easy way to tell her that I had to be out of town without her getting suspicious,” Nate recalled. “So I told her I had some errands to run.” 

Lacy laughed sarcastically at his admittal. 

“I was not suspicious at all,” she said. “When he got back 24 hours later I asked, ‘How were those errands?’’’ 

Nate tried to avoid her suspicion and upped his proposal plans for Lacy. He planned a weekend doing their favorite things as a misdirection. 

“Saturday morning was a walk through one of our favorite places – the Bishop’s Garden at the National Cathedral – and I thought this would be a lovely place for a proposal. But there was no proposal,” Lacy said. 

They had tickets to a Nationals game in the afternoon, marking the first baseball game they ever went to together followed by dinner. 

“At the end of dinner, I told her we will be doing more things tomorrow, but don’t get excited,” Nate said. 

Lacy remembers thinking, “What was this weekend then? Maybe he will keep doing sweet things like this.” 

Two weekends later, she was completely unprepared for the proposal. 

Nate had coordinated with both sets of parents, as well as Lacy’s sister and her husband, to be in Washington, D.C. for the ask. On April 30, 2021, he proposed to Lacy in his back yard in Northwest D.C., where they planned to meet before going out to dinner. 

“It was just the two of us so it was very sweet and special. Nate had set up candles and notes from our relationship and a friend was there to take photos,” Lacy said. 

Their moment was even more special when they arrived at dinner at Irongate to celebrate and their loved ones were there as well. 

“I had a fun District of Columbia weekend planned for everyone after all the time apart and we enjoyed making new memories to kick off our engagement,” Nate said. 

Planning the wedding was very organized, as Lacy’s mother got the ball rolling and booked the church the day Nate asked for her hand. 

“As soon as Nate asked my parents, my mom called the church to get some dates since so many events were backed up due to the pandemic. Our wedding was set for April 30, 2022, which was exactly a year to the day we got engaged,” Lacy said. 

“My father-in-law said this was super smart as we would have one date to remember two big anniversaries,” Nate laughed. 

The ceremony was held in Lacy’s hometown of Charlotte, N.C., so Lacy’s mother handled a lot of the ceremony and reception logistics as the engaged couple planned out their first season of marriage in the Metro area. 

“We decided to make Old Town Alexandria our home once we were married,” Lacy said. “We love the city since there is so much to do and we have fun walking along the waterfront. It was fitting that we took our engagement photos in Old Town.” 

Since working for an international nonprofit can prove challenging at times, Lacy does watercolor painting, calligraphy and wedding invitations in her free time. 

“It is good to have a creative outlet when the topic of work is heavy,” Lacy said. “I turned marking the first baseball game they ever went to together followed by dinner. 

“At the end of dinner, I told her we will be doing more things tomorrow, but don’t get excited,” Nate said. 

Lacy remembers thinking, “What was this weekend then? Maybe he will keep doing sweet things like this.” 

Two weekends later, she was completely unprepared for the proposal. 

Nate had coordinated with both sets of parents, as well as Lacy’s sister and her husband, to be in Washington, D.C. for the ask. On April 30, 2021, he proposed to Lacy in his back yard in Northwest D.C., where they planned to meet before going out to dinner. 

“It was just the two of us so it was very sweet and special. Nate had set up candles and notes from our relationship and a friend was there to take photos,” Lacy said. 

Their moment was even more special when they arrived at dinner at Irongate to celebrate and their loved ones were there as well. 

“I had a fun District of Columbia weekend planned for everyone after all the time apart and we enjoyed making new memories to kick off our engagement,” Nate said. 

Planning the wedding was very organized, as Lacy’s mother got the ball rolling and booked the church the day Nate asked for her hand. 

“As soon as Nate asked my parents, my mom called the church to get some dates since so many events were backed up due to the pandemic. Our wedding was set for April 30, 2022, which was exactly a year to the day we got engaged,” Lacy said. 

“My father-in-law said this was super smart as we would have one date to remember two big anniversaries,” Nate laughed. 

The ceremony was held in Lacy’s hometown of Charlotte, N.C., so Lacy’s mother handled a lot of the ceremony and reception logistics as the engaged couple planned out their first season of marriage in the Metro area.

Lacy and Nate King were married at the same church in Charlotte, N.C., where Lacy’s parents and her sister got married. (Photo/Rachel May Photograhpy)

“We decided to make Old Town Alexandria our home once we were married,” Lacy said. “We love the city since there is so much to do and we have fun walking along the waterfront. It was fitting that we took our engagement photos in Old Town.” 

Since working for an international nonprofit can prove challenging at times, Lacy does watercolor painting, calligraphy and wedding invitations in her free time. 

“It is good to have a creative outlet when the topic of work is heavy,” Lacy said. “I turned this into a bit of a side business around the time of my sister’s wedding in 2019. I did her invitations and I loved how the details were very personalized.” 

Lacy made their wedding invitations and included as much personalization as she could. Her wedding dress had a vine detail flowing down the skirt, so she used watercolor vines on the invitation. The wedding ceremony even included a scripture reading about the vine. 

In addition to the invitations, Lacy reused the flowers Nate had given her throughout their relationship. 

“Nobody knew this but I saved all the flowers he gave me, dried them, and then pressed them into wax seals on the dinner reception menus,” she said. 

Also featured on the reception tables were block-printed napkins made in India. 

“These napkins were meaningful to us since they were printed by survivors of traffickers who work for Mended, a company founded by a former colleague. This is another example of how our work and relationships intersect,” Nate said. 

“We support each other in our work and our work supports vulnerable populations around the world. It was special to be able to share that side with our guests,” Lacy said. 

Following in her family’s tradition, Lacy and Nate were married in the same church where her parents married in 1989 and her sister married in 2019. Charlotte Country Club was the reception venue, which also shared in the tradition. Around 200 guests were in attendance with 10 bridesmaids, eight groomsmen and three flower girls. People came from all across the country to celebrate the couple. 

“It had been years between weddings and other celebrations, so it was really fun to all be together,” Nate remembered. 

Their reception was traditional with a twist. There was a cocktail hour, seated dinner, cake, a live band and, as a surprise to Nate, Lacy added a bourbon bar knowing he’s a self-proclaimed whiskey fanatic. 

“The fun kept going and we had late-night snacks including sliders and hummers, which are boozy milkshakes that my family likes,” Lacy said. 

Since the wedding, Lacy and Nate have continued to blend their lives in many special and meaningful ways. They set down roots in Old Town North and both work from home. While Lacy now works for Redeem International, a nonprofit spin-off of IJM, they continue their shop talk supporting their related work efforts. They each travel for work to India and Uganda respectively and cross paths with each other’s colleagues. 

“This is a fun community for us to share with so many personal connections,” Lacy said. “We feel supported professionally and as a couple.” 

Closer to home, Lacy and Nate have an eight-month-old golden retriever puppy. 

“We named the dog Poppy, short for Popcorn, because Nate loves baseball and concession snacks like popcorn. It was only fitting that we found another way to highlight our personalities,” Lacy laughed. 

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