“Mark is wonderful and will go along with all the crazy schemes and everything I come up with – and he’s always there beside me, loving me and supporting me no matter how crazy my little mind can go,” Jason says.
When Jason Newkirk, a writer and office manager for a production company, first met Mark Badley, a pharmacy buyer, he was at a loss for words, which isn’t like Jason, being a person who always has something to say.
“I was actually doing a benefit show for Theatre Downtown back in June of 2012,” Mark says. “I was in the show, and Jason came with some of his friends to see the production.”
Jason was working on The Real Live Brady Bunch show at the time and was tired, and he initially didn’t want to go see Mark’s show, because it was a late-night performance. He ended up going, and as he was watching the show, Mark came out shirtless, and Jason jokingly said, “You know what? I think I’m going to marry that boy.’” A mutual friend introduced them afterward.
“We found each other on Facebook, and we probably chatted for three, maybe four weeks on Facebook, and then we set up our first date,” Mark says. “Our first date, we went to Mount Dora and took the nature boat, and that’s pretty much it.”
“We have not actually been a part from each other since our first date,” he adds.“We’re both very eclectic; we’re both very adventurous. We love to travel; we love to see Disney and all that razzmatazz.”
As for their engagement, they took a tour of the Ringling Brother’s mansion – also known as the Cad’Zan –and its grounds in Sarasota. Mark arranged for a tour of the mansion and had the guides get prepped for the proposal. At the end of the tour on the top turret of the mansion, Mark knew that was the perfect moment he was waiting for all day.
“When they took my phone [to take a photo], I got down on one knee and proposed to him on the turret as the tour guide took pictures and I believe some video, too,” Mark says.
Because Jason wanted to make sure Mark got a proposal and ring too, a year later on their anniversary when they were at Middleton Place in Charleston, Jason took Mark out to the gardens at the location and proposed to him there, too.
They joke about how they had a “long engagement,” because they wanted to wait until it was legal. And even once it was, Jason wanted to wait to have the wedding the two have always wanted.
“I wanted, to quote Irving Berlin, ‘a big wedding with a big church with bridesmaids and flower girls,’ Jason laughs. “I wanted to wait so I could have that.”
Mark is excited about the venue they found in St. Augustine – Castle Otttis. They want the reception to have a fantasy or Neverland type of theme. He’s also very excited for the reception because they have a very big production planned for the reception.
“My favorite thing about Jason is he’s very caring and he’s very sweet,” Mark says. “Like I said, he’s very adventurous. He doesn’t like to sit a lot – he’s very go, go go! I think that’s great, because we’ve seen a lot of different things together, and we’ve seen a lot of different countries together.”
YEARS TOGETHER: 4 years
ENGAGEMENT DATE: August 11, 2012
WEDDING DATE: May 28, 2016
WEDDING VENUE: Castle Otttis in St. Augustine, Florida
WEDDING COLORS: A “Royal Fantasy/Neverland” theme for their wedding, and their colors are black and teal
FIRST SONG: “Only You” by Yazzo
INTERESTING FACT: Jason and Mark have traveled to 95 percent of the Caribbean and plan on making it 100 percent by the end of 2016.