TAMPA — Birds of a feather flock together — so perhaps it was no surprise to Kimberly Andreu and Michael Hendee that they would be among a dozen close high school friends who would wind up together in law school at the University of Florida, Class of 2013.
Then again, what were the odds that Kimberly and Michael, who met in geometry class at age 15, would be married 10 years later, surrounded by some of those same classmates?
"It's nice to have a ready-made network of attorney friends who have known you through all stages of life," Kimberly said, "sharing celebrations and disappointments, too."
It was June 2004 when they first paired off "at a Stanley Cup party, and the Tampa Bay Lightning won," Kimberly said. "My mom drove us home that night," and the two of them chatted away.
"The next day, she told me, 'You should hang out with him.' Our dads are both lawyers and they actually worked in the same building at the time."
All that summer, heading into their junior year at Henry B. Plant High School in South Tampa, the teens met for bagel dates at Einstein's, played miniature golf and went to the beach.
"Our first date, he picked me up at a hotel where my family went during a hurricane threat," she said. "On Aug. 6 he asked me to be his girlfriend."
Neither has dated anyone else since.
"We grew up together," Michael said, "with similar values and life outlooks. My friends really liked her, too. She is one of the nicest people that anyone will ever meet."
As undergrad Gators, they cheered three UF national championships — two football and one basketball — rushed Greek life and crammed for the LSATs. During a semester spent studying in Rome, they visited Paris, London and Barcelona.
"We travel really well together," she said. "He's the navigator and I'm about the sights and the food, like picnicking and drinking wine under the Eiffel Tower. He taught me to pack light, and I taught him to get to the airport early."
By fall 2010, they were two among the 12 members of the Plant High Class of 2006 starting UF's Levin College of Law. "It was like high school all over again," Michael said.
"There have been some general growing pains," he said. There were two brief breakups in a decade, "but we always knew we belonged together."
The couple were academically competitive in high school but joined forces in law school, moving in together for the last two years.
Certainly no one was surprised when Michael proposed in March 2013, except maybe Kimberly.
"I thought he would wait till graduation or until after we took the bar exam," she said.
So when he suggested they drive to St. Augustine and walk Lily, their golden retriever, on the beach, and stop by to see her 92-year-old grandfather, she didn't suspect a thing.
Kimberly said yes, of course. They rushed to tell Poppy the news, then back to Gainesville, where Michael had arranged to have friends and family waiting at their house to celebrate.
Eventually, the young lawyers passed the bar, rented a house in South Tampa and went to work: the bride in insurance law at Austin & Laurato, the groom joining his father in tax and estate planning at Brett Hendee PA.
Mr. and Mrs. Hendee, now both 26, took the oath of marriage on the Palma Ceia Country Club golf course May 17. They danced the night away to the Atlanta Party Band, then left for a honeymoon in Anguilla the next day.
There was a preponderance of lawyers on the guest list, including quite a few former classmates, but thankfully for the newlyweds no one objected.
Contact Amy Scherzer at (813) 226-3332 or firstname.lastname@example.org.