SPECIAL- WEDDINGS- Starry eyed: Love soars the second time
When artist Sharon Shapiro and restaurateur Tim Burgess crossed paths near the Downtown Mall in the fall of 2007, they smiled and said hello, then kept on going. Both parents of children in the city schools, "we each knew who the other was," says Shapiro, "but had never spoken." Just over two years later, the couple were married following a courtship that could restore faith in romance in all but the hardest of hearts.
Splitting his time between Park City, Utah and Charlottesville at the time, Burgess, a chef who co-owns Bizou and Bang! restaurants, says his New Year's resolution for 2008 was to pursue creative interests. But when he realized his nomadic life prevented taking painting classes at PVCC, he recalled an announcement in the paper that Shapiro taught painting as well.
"I'm not stupid," Burgess says wryly. "She's beautiful, seems like an interesting person, why not contact her, see if she's teaching?"
Unfortunately– or quite fortunately, as it turned out– her classes were full, so Burgess agreed to one-on-one instruction.
"Immediately, there was this connection," says Shapiro, 42. "We talked about everything from art to kids to music to books, all kinds of stuff. Both of us knew there was something big going on," she says, "but we didn't know what was going to happen."
That changed on February 20, 2008– a month after now 47-year-old Burgess had signed up for class– when Shapiro picked him up from the airport. There was a lunar eclipse that night and as they drove toward town, the clouds parted, offering a clear view of the night sky. They chose Observatory Hill for better viewing on what became their first official date. Many dates followed, and on February 20, 2010 they returned to the O-Hill, this time with friends and family, for the first wedding ever held in the McCormick Observatory.
"The telescope is so awesome– it's looking into another world," says Shapiro, who carried the star-gazing theme throughout the event with the invitations featuring a telescope and the reception tables named after planets. "When you get married, that's what you're doing," she says, "cutting ties and looking off to a new horizon."
Both Burgess and Shapiro had been married previously, and they agree the second time is "very different."
"When the first marriage happens, you don't know what the challenges will be because they're coming at you as you go. With the second marriage, they're right in your face," says Burgess, citing money stress and kids– he has five while Shapiro has one daughter.
But juggling the responsibilities of career and family is worth it, both agree, even with the complications they inevitably bring.
"We're not 27, but we have a lot of life ahead," says Burgess. "We love being together."