Wedding Season is Upon Us!

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Join us in congratulating Corps de Ballet Member Alexandra McCullagh on her recent nuptials here in San Francisco!

The New York Times caught up with Alexandra to learn more about how she met her husband, Riley. Check out their story via the Times, below, along with the photo snapped here in our studios by our own Director of IT, Murray Bognovitz:

 Alexandra McCullagh, Riley Newman

A Scientist and the Value of Meddling

Murray Bognovitz
By ROSALIE R. RADOMSKY

Alexandra Buck McCullagh and Riley Sutthoff Newman were married Saturday at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. The Rev. Jude A. Harmon, an Episcopal priest and a minor canon at the cathedral, performed the ceremony.

The bride, 25, is a dancer in the corps de ballet of the San Francisco Ballet. She is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in performing arts through a program for dance professionals offered by St. Mary’s College in Moraga, Calif.

She is a daughter of Nanci Buck McCullagh and George P. McCullagh of San Rafael, Calif.

The groom, 30, works in San Francisco as the director of data science at Airbnb, a Web site for short-term home and apartment rentals around the world. He graduated with degrees in international studies and economics from the University of Washington. He also received a Master of Philosophy in economics from the University of Cambridge.

He is a son of Lisa Prince Newman and John S. Newman, also of San Rafael.

Mr. Newman said that he saw Ms. McCullagh for the first time in 2000 when he was a senior in high school and accompanied his parents to a performance of “The Nutcracker” at the Marin County Civic Center in San Rafael. His sister, Maria, and Ms. McCullagh were students at the Marin Ballet school and were in the production. Year after year he dutifully returned to see “The Nutcracker.”

“She was always dancing the lead roles and was incredibly athletic,” he said of Ms. McCullagh. “She’s an incredible jumper. She would leap across the stage and she had the biggest smile.”

In the winter of 2006, while Mr. Newman was at Cambridge, his parents spotted Ms. McCullagh in the corps de ballet when they went to see the San Francisco Ballet. They then spoke to her when she came out to see her parents afterward. “You should fly home and bring this girl roses after every one of her shows until she goes out with you,” Mr. Newman remembered his father telling him on Skype. His father also told him he was convinced he had met his son’s future wife. Mr. Newman laughed it off.

In the summer of 2008, a year after Mr. Newman graduated from Cambridge and was living in San Francisco, his mother, by then on the board of the Marin Ballet school, invited him and Ms. McCullagh to a school benefit. She showed up with a boyfriend, another dancer, whom his father furtively invited for a drink at the bar to give his son some time to talk with Ms. McCullagh.

Mr. Newman became Ms. McCullagh’s friend on Facebook, but that was it. In spring of 2010, when he and his mother were on the way to see the San Francisco Ballet one evening, they saw Ms. McCullagh on the street rushing to a performance. With his mother’s encouragement, he caught up with her at a stoplight. “She was nice and smiling, her perfect smile,” he said, and the next day he was surprised to find a Facebook message from her. He then asked her out.

A couple of days later, they had dinner at an Italian restaurant in North Beach.

“It felt like I was meeting an old friend,” she said, adding with a laugh, “for a ballet dancer to end up with a data scientist at a tech company, sometimes it requires a little bit of meddling.” 

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