Tedd Marefka (left) and Justin Trabert at Lord Thompson Manor / Photo by Jubei Raziel
When Tedd Marefka met Justin Trabert at a beach party back in the fall of 2008, he knew Trabert was The One. (“I knew the second I saw him,” says Marefka, 42, about 34-year-old Trabert.) Unfortunately, as Fate would have it, the two were just not meant to be together: Trabert had a boyfriend back in Germany. Nevertheless, Trabert took a risk and asked Marefka to have a drink with him anyway. They talked, they danced a bit, and they bonded — but it was all rather depressing for Marefka, knowing that nothing could come out of it.
After the beach party, however, Trabert received an email from his boyfriend asking him not to return to Germany — so several months later, after settling down and getting a job in Florida, he remembered his night with Marefka and called him up. It took a few dates for the two to really hit it off, but it was eventually clear to both of them that they had something special. “I always knew we were meant for each other,” says Marefka, “but it took [Justin]…a little bit longer to figure it out.”
Once October of 2009 came around, Marefka felt that it was high time for his family to meet Trabert’s mother, so he rented a sky lodge in Pennsylvania’s Seven Springs Ski Resort. After all, Marefka had a new job—as Vice President of Human Resources for Health Choice Network—so he had enough money to fly the lot of them up there for a weekend of fun and relaxation.
Naturally, everyone had a great time. In fact, they had such a great time that Marefka decided to hire a family photographer on Sunday to document the occasion. But while everyone was positioning himself or herself for the picture (Marefka and Trabert sat on a blanket in front), the photographer kept saying, “Something’s missing… something’s missing from this picture.” So after a few seconds of confusion, Marefka supplied what was missing: an engagement ring, which he then slipped onto Trabert’s finger. Surprise! It was a set-up! Marefka had even asked Trabert’s mother for permission to marry her son beforehand!
Despite all that pre-planning, however, Marefka forgot the most important part: As his sister pointed out, Marefka had forgotten to ask Trabert if he actually wanted to marry him. So he turned to Trabert and said, “Well, do you wanna?” Trabert, tears running down his face, said yes—and the two wed on February 25, 2012 in a “beautiful” ceremony at Lord Thompson Manor in Thompson, Conneticut.
According to Marefka, the pair chose the venue based on size (they only invited about 25 guests) and location (they were sick of the Florida heat and wanted to get married somewhere colder.) They had also wanted a secular ceremony, despite Marefka’s and Trabert’s religious upbringings (Marefka’s family is Catholic, Trabert’s is Baptist.)
Marefka admits that it’s a “struggle” to live in a state which doesn’t recognize his marriage, but he is confident that things will look up for him and Trabert. He may have to stay in Florida for now (due to the demands of his job), but he is optimistic and excited about whatever the future holds.