RealTravel: This Couple Met at a Wedding in Mexico

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Who: Stephanie Rudnick and Duncan Schieb, Founder USA, a video production company

Where We Fell In Love: At our friends’ wedding in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Relationship Status: Married with a 2-year-old son and a little girl on the way in September.

When We Met: April, 2009

(As told by Stephanie) 

It’s pretty crazy, considering the night before I met first Duncan, I had a date with a great guy back home in New York. But the next morning on my flight to Mexico for my college friend’s wedding (she was marrying an Australian), I had a realization: I told myself that I was not interested in getting married or having kids. I had a great life, had traveled the world, and I was so grateful. Coupling up and having kids was never a huge priority at all for me.

And then, “Boom!” Eight hours later when I got to Mexico, I met Duncan, who was friends with the groom from boarding school.

Related: #RealTravel, Love on the Road: Paris

On the Thursday night of the wedding weekend, there was a beach bonfire barbecue where the tequila was flowing. I met Duncan at the bar (naturally). We hit it off right away.  Neither of us was looking for a serious relationship, especially after finding out we lived on opposite sides of the world (Duncan, like the groom, is Australian)!  But it was love at first sight, which I’d always thought was crap.


This pic was taken in Mexico, literally minutes after Steph first met Duncan. She says: “I feel like this looks like we’d known each other forever.” (Photo: Stephanie Rudnick)

We spent the entire night partying with our friends and didn’t leave each other’s side the rest of the long weekend. Being a typical New York woman I was playing it very carefully, expecting games, an awkward weekend, and a sad goodbye. But Duncan — like, I’ve come to realize, most Aussie men — is not wishy-washy like American men and doesn’t play games. They’re straightforward, no-b.s. kinds of guys.

Related: #Real Travel: Love on the Road: Peru 

We didn’t leave each other’s side until Monday morning, when he flew with the bride and groom for the first week of their honeymoon in Guatemala. I met them in Guatemala City; the groom had invited a small group of us to join them on a boating trip through Guatemala and Belize (at the time the most highly pirated waters on earth). When we got to the port after a six-hour drive in a small van, all excited to get on our “yacht,” we were welcomed by a true Guatemalan catamaran (Las Sirenas). Let’s just say, it was not luxurious.  We spent the first two days in life vests holding on for dear life as the waters were choppy. There were no showers so we didn’t shave or really shower for all seven days.  It was rough and the other guests were less than thrilled, but Duncan and I were gaga in love so nothing mattered. 

Related: #RealTravel: This Couple Fell in Love After Meeting on an Indian Camel Safari 

After the boat trip, I flew back to New York and he flew to Cuba for a week. After Cuba, he planned to visit the Bahamas and then fly to Kansas to visit friends. But he had a little too much fun in the Bahamas and missed his flight to the U.S. He called me from the airport and said, “Babe, I’ll be in New York in three hours!” He stayed for 2 1/2 months! Duncan then flew back home to Byron Bay, Australia. I flew there for four weeks and spent time working out of my office in Sydney. 


After their Mexican meet-up, New Yorker Stephanie and her Australian beau dated for a year long-distance (Photo: Stephanie Rudnick) 

We dated long-distance like that for a year. It sucked.  The 16-hour time difference was a bear; when I was just coming home he was up and at `em, and vice-versa. Skype was our life-saver. Seeing his face and expressions was hugely helpful. It forced us to get to know each other by having to communicate so much.

After going on like that for seven months, we got engaged on November 7th,  2009 during one of his visits to New York. Appropriately, it happened over a flight of tequila at The Brandy Library after dinner at Locanda Verde.

In April of 2010, Duncan moved to New York City.  We’d first started talking about who was moving where back on that catamaran in Guatemala a year earlier. He was so cool about it; it was a no-brainer for him.  He chose to move to New York because he had his own business and flexibility. I was tied into a job I loved, my mom in Chicago wasn’t well (she still isn’t) and Im extremely close with my sister who lives here with her family.

When Duncan arrived in the U.S., all of my friends in L.A. had a welcoming party for him when he landed there from Australia. He then drove eastward across the U.S. to see the country and raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, an organization close to both of our hearts. His little reel is here.

We got married in downtown NYC on Sept. 25th, 2010 — 17 months after we met.  Charlie arrived on May 7, 2012.


The Happy Couple on their wedding day (Photo: Stephanie Rudnick)

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