At first, there was a minor misunderstanding.
Laura Mosby and Aaron Carlson, then juniors at Duke University, were in the library studying for a cell biology exam. A mutual friend told Laura that Aaron wanted to study with her.
"No, I never said that," he responded.
But they did study together, until the end of the semester. And eventually, he asked her to dinner in a Thai restaurant.
A meat and potatoes guy, he rarely ate vegetables other than lettuce, cucumber and carrots. Laura, who loves veggies, "especially squash, eggplant and mushrooms," rarely eats meat and used to sneak vegetables into dinners she prepared for him. Aaron, who didn't even like to cook when they met seven years ago, now enjoys knowing his way around the kitchen.
That brings us to "one beautiful summer evening" in Atlanta, in 2010. Having cooked dinner for Laura on the patio at her apartment there, he proposed. And, she says, "after a few seconds of speechlessness," she said yes.
The couple graduated from Duke in 2007, he with a bachelor of science in biomedical engineering, she with a bachelor of arts in art history.
Their postgraduate work meant moving to different places. Laura, 27, a St. Petersburg native and the daughter of Dav and Glenn Mosby, enrolled in medical school at Emory University in Atlanta.
Aaron, 27, whose parents are Jeffrey and Elyse Carson, was born in Fair Lawn, N.J., and moved back to the Garden State to study biomedical engineering at Rutgers.
Nearly every day for the next five years, they spoke by phone. Nearly every month, they were able to see each other. Laura was attracted to Aaron's "kindness, motivation and intelligence." He was drawn to her "beauty, compassion, love of helping others, and her drive to succeed at everything she set her mind to."
Laura earned a degree from Emory and moved back to Durham, N.C. She is a second-year obstetrics and gynecology resident at UNC Hospitals in nearby Chapel Hill. (Several upper-level residents covered the call schedule for their wedding weekend so that her entire class could come to St. Petersburg to celebrate with them.) Aaron, still at Rutgers, is finishing his doctoral degree.
The couple planned their marriage ceremony — Laura is Episcopalian, Aaron Jewish — by "doing lots of reading and introspection, and by having many discussions with each other and our families in order to determine what was most important to each of us and to us as a couple," Laura says.
With Rabbi Gary Klein and the Rev. John Suhar officiating, they married in the Tea Garden at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort in St. Petersburg. Greenery and flowers — pale traditional, cabbage and spray roses as well as magnolias, hydrangeas, lilies, Queen Anne's lace and stock — twined into the pergola rafters forming the chuppah, or wedding canopy.
They used a Kiddush cup belonging to one of Aaron's grandmothers. Laura, and later Anna, her sister and maid of honor, wore a necklace belonging to one of their grandmothers.
And soon, they hope to make their home together in Durham, where they fell in love in college, where there are job and research opportunities for Aaron and where there are easy nonstop flights between them and their families.