Intercontinental Romance: Dana Sander & Jack Holden
photos by Araujo Photography
When Jack Met Dana
Dana Sander says Jack Holden’s sense of humor was one thing that convinced her this was a man she could spend a lot of time with.
Dana, who is of Italian heritage, traveled to Italy from Pittsburgh in summer 2012 to teach English in Sanremo. Jack, who is from England, was spending his summer in that program before his final year of college. The two got to know each other during walks on the beach and trips to get gelato. When Jack wanted to ask Dana out on an official date, he put on his best clothes and went to get his hair cut.
“She was sitting [on the beach] with a bunch of her girlfriends, and I was trying to be cool and say, ‘Would you like to come out with me for a glass of wine?’” says Jack, 24. “But the only words that came out of my mouth were, ‘I got my hair cut for you.’ And Dana started laughing. … The rest is history.”
She Said Yes
Jack was scheduled to visit Pittsburgh for Easter — the couple had been traveling back and forth between the United States and London to continue their courtship — on April 18, 2014. Three days before, Dana’s parents took her to a “wine tasting” at Monterey Bay Fish Grotto on Mount Washington, then, “disappeared,” she says. She discovered Jack, who now works at Gateway Engineers in Green Tree as a GIS technician, sitting at a table for two. After an emotional reunion, he presented a sapphire engagement ring — an English custom. The whole restaurant clapped, including Marc Andre-Fleury and Sidney Crosby, who were dining nearby.
The Big Day
It was important for Dana, 25, to be married in her childhood church, St. Bernard Parish in Mt. Lebanon; she also teaches English Language Arts at the church school, and the pair lives in Mt. Lebanon. “Walking down the aisle at St. Bernard was overwhelming … and we both said later to be up there on the altar with the whole choir right there with you and you look out over all the family and friends … it was really overwhelming and powerful,” Dana says. All of Dana’s students attended, as did Jack’s best friends and family members from England, making the day all the more special.
Jack not only fell in love with Dana, he also fell in love with her hometown as he creatively demonstrated in this video resume we featured in July 2013.
ceremony site: St. Bernard Parish, Mt. Lebanon
reception site: Duquesne Club, Downtown
caterer & cake: Duquesne Club
dress: Anne Gregory for the Bride
hair & makeup: La Pomponnee Salon & Spa
florist: Mt. Lebanon Floral Shop
music/DJ: Joel Lindsey Entertainment
Transportation: Molly’s Trolleys
wedding planner: Dana Kotwica of the Duquesne Club