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Love Among The Coffee Beans: Couple Weds At Starbucks

Wedding of Chris and Jeff in Starbucks Somerset.

Chris and Jeff Feldman, after their July 13 wedding at Starbucks on Cedar Grove Lane.
This and cover photo: Nat Clymer.

A Starbucks Coffee house is not the most traditional place to hold a wedding, but what else would one expect from a couple who became engaged over a plate of sushi?

Jeff and Christine Feldman say they wouldn’t have had it any other way. The township residents were married July 13 in a short ceremony in the Starbucks in Cedar Grove Plaza, before about 60 friends, family and, well, Starbucks’ regulars.

“The wedding was us, it was our personalities,” Jeff Feldman said.

Furniture at the rear of the store was rearranged to create aisle seating, and the ceremony took place in a nook where one would usually see people busy at work on their computers.

The store has a special place in the couple’s hearts: they met there four years ago, when Christine – then Christine Puccillo – was a barrista and Jeff was a regular customer.

“There was one day when I was at the register and he was like, ‘You’re new, I’m Jeff,’” Christine said. “And I was like, ‘Hi Jeff, I’m Chris.’ And then we started talking, and we talked a lot.”

A lot and about everything, they said.

“We started just sharing book recommendations, and movie reccomendations, and comparing notes on what we thought of different things,” Jeff said.

“Comic books, too,” Christine added. “He brought me all the comic books.”

The two eventually became Facebook friends and exchanged phone numbers, but there was one roadblock to things progressing: Christine was seeing someone else at the time.

“We started out as just friends, but then, when I became single, he asked me out,” Christine said. “Apparently, everyone at Starbucks knew he liked me, except me.”

“We’d known each other about a year before I asked her out,” Jeff said. “It kind of had been brewing for a little while. I knew that her relationship was not in the best of places, but I was trying not to push on it, but there was part of me that was hoping that an opportunity would present itself for us to get to know each other on another level.”

It did, shortly after Christine and her former beau broke up.

Jeff asked Christine if she’d like to get a drink, and the two ended up talking at the Stage House on Amwell Road for several hours.

“It turned into our first date,” Christine said.

The couple’s relationship progressed, and then, in Decemeber 2014, Jeff “popped the question” at their favorite sushi restaurant, Shumi in Somerville.

“I had made arrangements beforehand with the head chef to hide the ring on our sushi platter,” Jeff said.

“It was under a lemon, not in the fish,” Christine was quick to add.

“It was hidden in a little lemon boat,” Jeff said. “At one point, I told her we had to pick up the piece of lemon. So she picked up the piece of lemon and the ring was under there.”

Jeff said her initial response was positive, but something that can’t be printed on a family Web site.

“I said absolutely,” Christine said. “He said, ‘I didn’t ask you yet.’ I ran around the table and hugged him.”

“So then I asked, and she said yes,” Jeff said.

The couple had initially planned to get married when Christine finished grad school – she’s studying clinical mental health counseling at The College of New Jersey – and Jeff’s work status was more settled, but Christine said, “We didn’t wait for either of those things.”

“Both of us had some personal stuff going on, and it was rough for a couple of months, and I just felt like, and she agreed, that we needed to do something to celebrate ourselves,” Jeff said.

The two originally talked about getting married in a small ceremony officiated by a Justice of the Peace, but that plan soon changed.

Jeff Auger Pic

Chris and Jeff Feldman.
Photo: Jeffrey Auger

“I jokingly said to her, we should get married at Starbucks,” Jeff said. “So we talked to the store manager here, and he thought it was a great idea, and he talked to the district manager, and she was behind it.”

The first plan was to have a small ceremony with just some friends, they said. But that plan, too, soon changed.

After all, family and close friends needed to be there as well as Christine’s co-workers at Starbucks. And then there was the regulars.

“We invited about 25 friends or family members, and then the co-workers were another dozen or so,” Jeff said. “I’d say we had twice that total number, because the community came out.

“So many people wanted to see us get married because so many people, through knowing her through working here and knowing me from just hanging out here, knew our story, and people just wanted to be a part of it.”

The wedding ceremony’s location was a nod to where they first met, and the reception commemorated the place in which they had their first date.

“We were just basically going to call ahead and flood the bar and everybody was going to pay for their own stuff,” Christine said. But then Dr. Gerri Bauer, who with Brian Baptiste owns Eyeglasses on Easton, on Easton Avenue, and a friend of Christine’s for several years, called the Stage House’s executive chef and told him their story, resulting in a donation of the restaurant’s outside seating area and a complimentary round of drinks.

“Gerri and Brian were nice enough to donate hors d’oeuvres to the event,” Christine said.

Starbucks’ management provided the space, and local photographers Nat Clymer and Jeffrey Auger donated their service to record the evening.

“The community basically came together and gave us a wedding,” Christine said. “It was awesome.”

 

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