TJ Housum pays attention to details. It’s his job to do so as a security professional. Well, he was paying attention the January night in 2011 when he was working security detail during a Zappos employee party at Horseshoe Casino in Indiana. Among the several hundred people at the party, he noticed a woman dressed as Tinker Bell, who was working the party as well, throwing beads and dancing. She was with her fellow University of Louisville Ladybirds dance team, dressed up and entertaining guests for the evening. The pair talked off and on throughout the night, but left at different times, never exchanging numbers. TJ realized, though, that Tinker Bell’s driver’s license had been scanned when she came to gamble in the casino, so he went through more than 400 IDs just to find her name. Tinker Bell did, in fact, have a name: Maureen Semeraro.
TJ looked for—and found—Maureen on Facebook and sent her a private message, asking her to meet for drinks. Three weeks later, they went on a date.
Fast forward two years to Washington, D.C. TJ was living there after accepting a job with the Department of Homeland Security. Maureen came up to visit him for the Cherry Blossom Festival and to celebrate their two-year anniversary. When she arrived, TJ told Maureen to pack a light bag because they were going on a surprise trip. He took her to the White House and then divulged that they were going to spend the night at the Hay-Adams Hotel directly across the street. They then went to the Tidal Basin of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial for a paddleboat ride. What she didn’t know was that he had a ring waiting for her in his backpack. What she also didn’t know is that he was all consumed with that backpack falling in the water for the entirety of their paddleboat experience.
When they docked, he made sure she was out of her life vest (so as to not ruin the impending proposal pictures) before getting down on one knee and proposing. All the while, the manager of the memorial property was taking pictures for TJ, who describes the moment perfectly: “All I could remember was the four things Maureen and I had discussed that we wanted to do whenever that moment came. Say her full name, get down on one knee, ask her father for permission and make sure we got pictures. And I made sure to cover all of my bases, as well as not drop the ring in the water!”
TJ and Maureen were married on July 5, 2014, in Louisville in front of 200 guests at St. Louis Bertrand Church. The reception at The Olmsted followed, with a sit-down dinner, dancing and a surprise guest from their past. But more on that part later …
Though they were both living in Washington, D.C., the bride and the groom wanted to begin their story in the city where they first met: Louisville. There was only one church in mind: St. Louis Bertrand Catholic Church. It was the same church where Maureen’s parents, Joe and Karen Semeraro, were married more than 30 years ago.
There were so many special touches Maureen included in the wedding. Her “something old” was a piece of her mother’s wedding gown sewn into her wedding gown. Her favorite “something new” was her wedding shoes, which TJ helped her choose. Her “something borrowed” was a rhinestone brooch from her sister-in-law. Maureen wore the brooch in her hair at the wedding. Her “something blue” was a Tiffany blue horseshoe rhinestone brooch given to her by her maid of honor.
Maureen did not have a dream dress in mind, but she did have one requirement in the one she was to choose: she had to be able to dance in it. She found her dress at Sher’s Bridal in Louisville, a Maggie Sottero strapless wedding gown, which was fitted at the top and flared out from her knees. Sher recommended a beaded belt, tied in the back in a bow. The belt with the bow was the perfect touch to this dress, and Maureen knew immediately it was perfect.
The couple used Ellen Fox of ShaFox Weddings & Events to help plan the entire event, as they live 10 hours away in Washington, D.C. Ellen created the perfect feel and aesthetic for them and also helped to alleviate the stress of long-distance planning.
Maureen was a Ladybird at the University of Louisville and won four national championships. At the request of some guests, they had a spur of the moment Louisville Ladybird Ditty Dance appearance. (Ditties are the dances they do during the ball games.) All the former Ladybirds came out to the dance floor, where they formed two lines. Their former coach, Todd Sharp, counted off “5, 6, 7, 8 … ” and they started dancing their favorite ditties. Although they had not danced together in a few years, it was as if they had never stopped.
The bride’s parents, Joe and Karen Semeraro, along with event planner Ellen Fox, planned a surprise for the bride and groom. They arranged a special appearance toward the end of the reception from the same drag queen who was present on the night that TJ and Maureen first met. Dressed head to toe in a Mardi Gras theme, marching in to “When The Saints Come Marching In” and throwing out beads, she definitely was quite a surprise, yet fabulous entertainment for the guests.
Thank you to Maureen and TJ for sharing their story with us today. Cheers to a lifetime of happiness!
- Wedding planner ShaFox Weddings & Events
- Ceremony: St. Louis Bertrand Catholic Church
- Photography: Amy Shepherd Photography
- Videography: Two Rings Wedding Videos
- Bride’s gown: Sher’s Bridal and Formal Wear
- Reception: The Olmsted
- Bridesmaids’ dresses: Rebecca’s Wedding Boutique
- Mini maids and flower girl tutus: Handmade by Christie Clements
- Groom’s & groomsmens’ formalwear: Rebecca’s Wedding Boutique
- Invitations, programs and menu cards: ShaFox Weddings & Events
- Hair and makeup: Pure Salon Spa
- Flowers: In Bloom Again
- Catering: Masterson’s Catering
- Ceremony music: Jack Griffin and Commonwealth Musicians
- Reception: Triangle Talent, Inc.
- Cake: Mert’s Cakes by Virginia
- Guest accommodations: The Seelbach Hilton and Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham Louisville East
- Transportation: CAAL World Wide Limousine (1957 Bentley George Car) and Xtreme Transportation