‘He is the most kindhearted person’
Even before their first date, Kathy Grannis and Casey Allen had to overcome a series of misunderstandings.
It started with the couple’s first encounter, at Fado Irish Pub in Washington in October 2008. Kathy, noticing Casey from across the crowded bar, enlisted a friend of a friend to act as her wingman to approach him.
She was surprised when the friend returned and reported that Casey wasn’t interested. She was particularly confused when she learned why: He had seen her “kissing” his friend earlier that night.
In reality, Kathy had leaned in close to the stranger seated next to her — Casey’s pal — to ask him to guard her bar stool. Casey happened to look over at that moment and misinterpreted their exchange as romantic.
Luckily, the confusion was resolved when Kathy and Casey struck up a conversation while waiting for drinks. “He walked up to me, stuck out his hand and said, ‘I heard you wanted to meet me. I’m Casey,’ ” Kathy recalls. “I turned beet red and said, ‘ Yes, yes I did.’ ”
After the initial awkwardness, the pair hit it off and soon discovered they had attended rival high schools in Southern Maryland. Before long, the two slipped away from their friends to the quieter RFD Washington bar next door.
They continued talking until closing. “We just had so much fun,” says Kathy, a senior director of media relations for the National Retail Federation. “There were no lulls. It was easy.”
“It was one of those moments where you just know this was a great person to be with,” adds Casey, an employee and labor relations specialist at the Department of Commerce. “Even if it didn’t work out to be a relationship, it would definitely be a friendship.”
The mix-ups, however, didn’t end there. At the end of the night, Kathy was under the impression that Casey was moving to South Korea (Casey had recently returned to the United States after teaching English abroad for a year).
“When we caught up again, a few days later, I said, ‘I’d really love to see you before you move,’ ” Kathy says. He replied, “I’m moving offices, not to Korea!”
She was elated, and, within a week, they returned to Chinatown for their first date at the old PS7’s. The night started out a bit rocky as Kathy’s cosmopolitan, filled to the brim, spilled onto Casey’s lap.
“My underwear was soaked,” Casey jokes. Thankfully, he laughed it off.
After drinks, Kathy suggested they try Clyde’s for dinner. Managing a limited budget, Casey suggested they go instead to the nearest burger joint, Harry’s in the Hotel Harrington.
“The idea of taking somebody out to dinner was already a tough thing for me,” Casey says. “The struggle was real.”
She didn’t mind a bit. “Kathy looked at me and said, ‘ That’s great! Even better,’ ” Casey says. Kathy kicked off her heels, switched into flip-flops and proceeded to Harry’s.
The more they talked, the more their interest grew. They even befriended the bartender, who peppered them with questions testing their compatibility the entire evening. “We immediately realized our personalities matched,” Kathy says.
Casey liked Kathy’s adaptability. “I grewup moving a lot as a kid, and so I’ve always learned that . . . the best thing you can do is to stick out your hand and say hi,” Casey says. “She has that same ability. She can walk up to anybody and have a conversation.”
Kathy found Casey to be “a true gentleman.”
“I felt like he was wise beyond his years. I remember what I was like at 25, living in a city, and I was not that mature,” Kathy recalls. “He got my chair . . . he got my beers, he held the door— l mean things that are stereotypical of a first date but I felt were genuine.”
Kathy would soon discover that Casey was more of an old soul than she initially thought— he had added a few months to his age and was actually 24, not 25. “I don’t know really why, but I wanted to seem a little bit older,” Casey says, laughing. “This led to an awkward conversation, after the fact, when my birthday was coming up.”
Luckily, Kathy found the revelation more funny than troublesome. “I did say, ‘ Look, I’m 29. I spent the latter half of my 20s in the city having fun. . . . Are you sure you would like to be in a relationship?’ ” Kathy recalls asking. “‘ Being 20-something in the city is a pretty special experience. . . . I don’t want to take that away from you if this isn’t something you want.’ ”
But he did, and weeks into dating, he bought the pair Nationals season tickets. “The whole purpose is that I could spend more time with her,” Casey says. “It was a guaranteed 13 more dates with her. I played the long game on that one.”
The two bonded over the ballgames and became avid fans of the team and each other. Kathy introduced him to her parents after one month, and within two they were exchanging “I love yous.” After a little over a year of dating, they moved in together.
“She has passion, and I love that about her. I see it at the baseball games, when she gets into topics related to work, when she’s around animals,” Casey says. “When she believes in something, she really sticks to it. . . . I find that refreshing.”
Kathy admires Casey’s generosity. “He is the most kindhearted person I’ve ever met,” she says.
The two had begun talking about marriage by their second anniversary, and Casey began saving for a ring.
On Jan. 25, 2014, Kathy threwa 30th birthday party for Casey at their favorite bar, Stetson’s on U Street. In front of 30 of their friends, Casey took a knee and asked Kathy to “bemy best friend for the rest ofmy life.”
“It was just what I wanted,” Kathy says. “It was very us.”
Kathy Grannis, 35, wed Casey Allen, 31, on May 16 before 90 relatives and friends at the historic Whittemore House near Dupont Circle. At the reception, the bride slipped on blue Converse sneakers under her elegant strapless wedding gown, and guests dined on food-truck fare, including grilled cheese from the Big Cheese and lobster rolls from Red Hook Lobster Pound.
To tie in their love of baseball, the couple entered the reception to the baseball anthem “Centerfield” by John Fogerty and used vintage Cracker Jack tins as their centerpieces.
“Casey and I are best friends and always have been,” Kathy said after the wedding. “Since we’ve been married, that friendship feels more solidified. . . . I feel I have a friend and a partner for the rest ofmy life.”
“It was one of those moments where you just know this was a great person to be with. Even if it didn’t work out to be a relationship, it would definitely be a friendship.”
Kathy Grannis and Casey Allen were marriedMay 16 in front of 90 guests at the historic Whittemore House near Dupont Circle. The pair met at Fado Irish Pub inWashington in October 2008.