Wedding Bells at Watermark: Troy Herbst and James Blanchard

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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When asked, James couldn’t just pick one thing about Troy he loved the most — his outlook on life, his smile, his genuine love and concern—because he loved everything about him.

James and Troy’s love story is full of things like compassion and faith, yet their love story doesn’t start off as most others do. While the couple has been together for almost three years now, it was just more than a year after they started talking before they actually met face to face.

“We actually met, believe it or not, online, and we were just friends,”James, who is a verifications coordinator for CareCentrix, says. “We were just chatting as friends…and we talked for about a year as friends.”

Troy&JamesBlanchardJames, 33, is a part of an evangelizing Christian band called Canaan Band. Because of that, he was always on the road. But both he and Troy agree that how their relationship started was the best, because it created a foundation for them, plus it was nice to have somebody to go home at night and just talk to.

“I was excited to finally get to meet James face to face,”says Troy, 43, a financial coordinator at the Moffitt Cancer Center. “With his busy schedule, it was hard to do, that’s why it took over a year. When we met, it was like we already knew each other for a long time. It was very comforting and relaxing; it was like we had known each other for years.”

And he then quickly added: “I don’t think we’ve been apart since.”

Eight months into their relationship, they decided that since they spent so much time together, they might as well move in together.

Troy admits that he never was the type to imagine himself married, and James thought the same about himself, too. Troy says, though, when it came down to it, he wanted to spend his life with James. He finally found someone who was religious like himself, and he says he knew that God put them together to do wonderful things.

Troy planned the engagement about a month and half before he proposed, and it came as a surprise to everyone.

“We both never really thought of marriage, to be honest with you,”James says. “I work from home and he came home from work one day, and we were having dinner with the family. He just walked in and popped the question with a ring, and I was like ‘Are you serious?’”

Both James and Troy are religious and very in touch with their faith. James, specifically grew up in a religious household.

“My grandfather and grandparents were pastors of a church for years,”James says. “There was always a struggle of reconciling my faith with my sexuality, but it was never something that I felt like God was going to disown me for. I had always felt that God had created me as this person, and my faith has always been strong. So I think the same-sex marriage and being LGBT and my faith never really was a question; I had always been very comfortable with that.”

The wedding started off as a small and private event but ended up growing in size due to family and friends. But they have been thankful for all the love and support their family and friends have given them throughout the entire wedding planning process.

The couple had an Indian-style sand ceremony and wore traditional Indian clothing as opposed to a traditional tux-and-suit attire, but James jokes that he was the bride, so he was the only one allowed to wear white.

For everyone that attended the wedding ceremony at Spirit of Life MCC, there was a reception afterward. There was also a more private reception after for just family and their closest friends at the new house that James and Troy purchased.

YEARS TOGETHER: Almost 3 years

ENGAGEMENT DATE: April 20, 2015

WEDDING DATE: August 8, 2015

WEDDING VENUE: Spirit of Life MCC in New Port Richey, Florida

WEDDING PLANNER: The couple and their family

WEDDING CATERERS: Donna Bennett and Jennette Morrison

WEDDING THEME/COLORS: Indian-style sand ceremony with the wedding colors rose red and white

FIRST SONG: They will not have a first dance, but they will have their favorite song, “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri, playing while they’re pouring the sand in their ceremony.

INTERESTING FACT: Troy is an ordained minister, and James is in an evangelizing Christian Band called Canaan Band with Melanie Wilkinson and David Lee.

Planning a wedding? Check out Watermark’s Wedding Guide!


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