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The Last First Date: The Wedding of Claire Rodgers + Chris Bolinger

When your boss-slash-friend says they want to set you up on a date with a friend of theirs, it is professional suicide to say no! Such a question running through the mind of Claire Rodgers would have been quite understandable, but rather than shrugging off the suggestion or managing to be “super busy,” the Tennessee native agreed, taking it on trust that the guy she was being fixed up with might just be a winner. And a winner, he was—or at least, he was hoping so when he scored tickets to play-offs game for the Nashville Predators. And while the ice on the hockey rink might have chilled the air around them, things got heated between Claire and Chris Bolinger, quickly going from casual dates to a serious romance that her family welcomed with open arms.

Spending more and more time with Claire and her “super close and crazy” family at their home in Gallatin, the just-over-the-Kentucky border boy knew that he had found the love of his life and during a Rodgers family trip to Panama City Beach in June 2016, Chris dropped to one knee in the sugary white Florida sand asking Claire to walk with him forever.

Forever started six months later, on December 3, 2016, when Claire donned a strapless champagne satin gown to walk down the aisle at The Silo Event Center, each step of her University of Kentucky-blue pedicured feet taking her closer to the future she ha always dreamed of. “I’m a Tenessee Vols fan, so the blue toenail polish was definitely a sacrifice, but for Chris it was one I was willing to make,” she laughs. Perhaps owing to the gusto with which they shared their first kiss after saying their “I do’s,” Claire’s veil took a tumble from her head, surrendering its spot as it fell to the floor. “Oops,” she says with a shrug and an easy smile.

Smiling even more at the reception, the newlyweds joined their friends and family for a night full of celebratory fun, dancing like fools and dining on a buffet of low country favorites like pulled barbecue, smashed potatoes, and mac and cheese. After exchanging blissful bites of a three-tiered cake topped in a bounty of dusty pink and magenta roses, Chris and Claire took their leave to jet off to paradise, honeymooning in Jamaica before returning to start their lives in Hopkinsville, where Tennessee-born Claire and Kentucky boy Chris will prove that Orange and Blue really can be a match made in heaven.

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